Warren says that secrets have a wisdom to them. After three years, he's collected more than 200,000 postcards mailed to him, each with a different secret. Postcards are listed anonymously - whether cruel, sad, embarrassing, humorous, etc., and really say something human, usually in one or two lines of text and often accompanied by photos or artwork.
Many people filled out cards minutes before the speech began. Warren announced a handful of those, including one that admitted the person who wrote it was there to steal ideas from startups.
Another said, "Work paid for me to come here but I'm actually looking for another job."
Warren's site at www.postsecret.com contains many of the cards, all provocative. He says there are two themes to his work: one is the idea that secrets keep us instead of the other way around by undermining our relationships and the way we see the world. The other is that we all have the potential to change our lives by admitting a secret that has hindered us in some way.
What started as an art exhibit with 80-90 postcards became a phenomenon worldwide when picked up in a viral environment. A music video followed and then a series of best-selling books. The idea feels genuine even though it might not always be so and is rather artistic and innovative.
Warren has supported suicide prevention groups and sees his collection as an extension of that. The process of people admitting to things anonymously has been a form of therapy for many.
Audience members even came up to the microphone and told secrets about themselves. One of those was a marriage proposal. Another was a girl who cried and said her sister was terminally ill. Warren seemed to really have a good time and said he'd love to come back. He was an extremely engaging keynote speaker and I'm sure he more than made up for the debacle at yesterday's address.