TEDxWellington 2016 | Trusting In Trust

TEDx experiences should be special.

The above was special. It was scary. And hopeful.

To be part of the TEDxWellington team who volunteered and put this together will remain a creative and significant high point in my life.

We started with an idea of trust which soon became a real action to be taken as more and more people (as part of building an event on this scale) had to be bought into the ‘inner circle’. Not one person let us down.

It was a year we intentionally stepped beyond our comfort zone, and:

  • sold out in 2minutes
  • tripled the amount of speakers / performer applications
  • doubled the livestream count
  • tripled the amount of volunteer applications
  • nailed something which has never been tried before with a TEDx event

Read about the other things we did in the TEDxWellington 2016 Review | The Story Of Trust blog post.

Oh and just wait till you hear what we got planned next year.

ADDENDUM 18.3.16: our little event got covered on the TEDx Innovations blog on ted.com.

2015 Review | Taking Stock, Switching Paths, Future Gazing

Recapping the year and welcoming the future.

In terms of gigs in 2015, the final total was 3 keynotes, 6 other talks, 2 workshops, 4 roundtables, 2 facilitations (totalling 6 days), 18 mentor sessions, 2 consults, and 2 MC gigs (R9 Accelerator and AnimFX).

Many of the above you can read about here and here—heartfelt thanks to all the clients for the opportunity to continue to learn and hone my craft.

There were some mammoth highlights professionally in terms of my own personal development and achievements, however, the challenge was always sustaining regular gigs from my base in Wellington, NZ.

As for my online efforts, a modest offering compared to previous years:

The last in the list is a post indicating where the majority of my days will now be focussed in 2016 (the rest of my time being split amongst TEDxWellington plus a personal pledge to recommit myself to punching again).

The new job takes me away from the specific social media sector and into a broader ‘smart cities’ and ecosystem development space. The long-term goal of which is threefold:

  1. have the City Council (who provide the funds both for the role plus operational budget), widen it’s commitment beyond the three years;
  2. for Wellington to start to attract global interest in terms of the work we’re doing, evidenced by web traffic, enquiries and invitations to share;
  3. make people smile and / or think.

Obviously, all of the above relies on demonstrating a causal link between the activities of the Collider programme and the more connected and effective creative, digital and tech city ecosystem. An audacious challenge, but then again, if we aren’t being audacious then what’s the point in turning up‽

Come at me 2016!

Activating An Ecosystem | Collisions, Connections, Collaborations

bizdojo collider logo

Changing tracks and prototyping a smart city programme.

I’m two months into a new role as Activation Manager for BizDojo, the largest co-working space in Australasia.

The post is funded by Wellington City Council and focuses on a programme called Collider:

Our purpose is to transform Wellington into an innovation capital and an internationally recognised Smart city by activating an effective creative, digital and technology ecosystem.

This basically means developing and delivering a series of event, activations and collaborations with existing service providers whilst also creating new opportunities as a way to fill the gaps between current operations.



Nestled in a vibrant and stimulating environment, surrounded by a kick-ass team who have collaboration as part of their DNA plus a community of ambitious residents, this is exciting opportunity to serve the city and hopefully add value in its continuing development as the creative capital of New Zealand.

The role came at a time I was considering opportunities overseas and against a growing tiredness of a decade in the social media sector. Making the decision to take the job was a commitment to the three year funded programme (success being the continuation and wider evolvement of such a venture due to its impact).

So it’s back to getting up every morning, putting on pants and going somewhere to do a job, and that feels good to me…

Twitter Roundup #4 | Curating The Curated

tasty pep flakes

Mouth-watering selected offerings from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. Introducing the Citizen Equality Act of 2017 by @lessig : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  2. The British Library put 1 million images for up ‘re-use’ : Flickr link / Tweetmail link
  3. Older people reacting to 3D printing : Youtube link / Tweetmail link
  4. From US Marine to Zen Monk : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  5. CH25 is a showcase of creators & innovators who are working to drive the world forward : Website link / Tweetmail link
  6. Mindfulness: From the monastery to the startup : Article link / Tweetmail link
  7. Why “follow your passion” is an astonishingly bad piece of advice : YouTube link / Tweetmail link
  8. NASA posts 8400 high-res Apollo mission pics in public domain : Flickr link / Tweetmail link
  9. A zine to spark imagination : Website link / Tweetmail link
  10. 100 images for visual brainstorming : Slideshare link / Tweetmail link
  11. ‘Unicorns’ & ‘decacorns’ and the potential looming dot com bubble : Article link / Tweetmail link
  12. The Story Of Light from Bell Labs : Vimeo link / Tweetmail link

Why am I doing this? Read previous Twitter Roundups posts.

Just in case you want to follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Image credit | CC 2.0

Inventing Worlds In A Changing One | Creativity, Faith And Curiousity

Wisdom and insights from heavyweight creatives.

What a combination: Sir Jony Ive and J.J. Abrams interviewed by Brian Grazer. So many pearls here to chew on, digest and adopt.

The openness of Ive remembering his boss as someone who was focused on simplifying things to be beautiful, functional and good whilst championing the idea of craft and care to create superior utility. Love his highlighting the designers quest for being desperate in that care so others will sense it. Other gems include the challenge to how, when you create, you should learn from the things you worked on and the things you learned from the act itself. And finally, his sharing of how Steve Jobs taught him focus by asking: how many times have you said no today.

jony ive discerning quote

We are capable of discerning far more than we are capable of articulating.
Jony Ive

J.J. Abrams unpacks the creative process as asking the right questions along with having ferocious curiousity (something Ive also agrees with—see above). Abrams also advocates the concept of following your gut and not starting from a place of deconstructing other peoples work, rather, find a story which should exist and do that.

jj abrams creativity quote

Any act of creation is a leap of faith.
J.J. Abrams


What did you take away?

There And Back Again | Rounding The World

amelia earhart adventure quote

Delivering some kick-ass gigs whilst adventuring for AMA, BBC, Hasbro and The Friday Institute.

“When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it.”Amelia Earhart

A couple of months ago I returned from a six week (felt longer) round-the-world adventure via Singapore, UK, Ireland, USA and back to NZ—an intense trip of family, reunions, love, illness, meetups, tragedy, reconnections, friendship, plus the following gigs:

Arts Marketing Association Annual Conference

Was the closing keynote for the three day Arts Marketing Association annual conference in Birmingham to 650 arts and cultural folks. Also did a panel on ’embedding digital experimentation’—good times:

Bringing the biggest AMA Conference to date to a close, DK delivered an absolute blinder of a keynote. Of course we knew he would—that's why we asked him to do this particularly important job!

Our theme was “Stay Curious” and DK urged and inspired us to think and do differently: To use social not just for marketing but to create uniting explosions of wonder; to seek not just improvement but innovation – embracing disruption, failure and risk; to consider all three ROIs (Return on Investment; Ripple of Impact & Risk of Ignoring); to adopt the number one social media strategy – comment on other people's content; to think about our audiences' audiences. DK was a total hit with our delegates and ended the conference on a real high.”
Jo Taylor, Chair of the Board for Arts Marketing Association

BBC Wales Internal Innovation Staff Lunchtime Sessions

Every month the BBC Wales innovation team sets up an internal staff lunchtime session to hear from three speakers (each getting 10 minutes to speak on their chosen topic). Was humbled to be given all three spots to share my thoughts on social media and digital innovation.

Afterwards, I got invited to be a judge on the Welsh Media Awards (specifically focussed on online):

What a thought provoking and entertaining presenter! DK delivered three superbly succinct talks for us, helping inspire staff here at BBC Wales and give them a glimpse of where we should be going on Social Media.
Robin Moore, Head of Innovation & Connected Studio, BBC Wales

Hasbro Social Media Days

Created and facilitated a two day off-site for the innovation and wider supporting team to explore developing a social media strategy for a new initiative. A mashup of design thinking and my own brand of discovery and exploration created an intense and challenging (in all the right ways) experience:

“DK crafted and facilitated a two-day off-site for a cross-departmental group of folks to explore the digital and social media opportunities / consequences of a new initiative. He steered the discussion and activities superbly, sensitive to the levels of literacies whilst igniting the latent talent in the room to a great set of outcomes.”
Phil Sage, Senior Director : Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations, Hasbro

North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network

Keynoter for a two day event plus did a workshop on digital curation for the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network in Raleigh, organised by the wonderful The Friday Institute:

“DK recently spoke at an event we held in Raleigh, North Carolina where he was well received by all who attended. Prior to the event, DK spent time talking with the planning team to identify the needs of the audience to make sure that he would meet the needs of the participants. His presentation style was engaging and fast-paced and he took time to answer questions from participants afterwards. DK is a wealth of knowledge and a great presenter!”
Nancy Mangum, Digital Learning Lead, The Friday Institute


Always grateful for the opportunities to collaborate with amazing people who are passionate and good at their core.

Twitter Roundup #3 | Curating The Curated

tasty treats

Sweet treats from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. How to start a successful blog (no excuses now) : youtube link / Tweetmail link
  2. 75 Years of classic poetry readings released free by Library of Congress : website link / Tweetmail link
  3. World’s biggest data breaches (greater than 30k records) visualised : website link / Tweetmail link
  4. 100,000 free art images in high-res from the Getty Museum : website link / Tweetmail link
  5. Umberto Eco: advice to young writers (& all us creatives) : vimeo link / Tweetmail link
  6. Handheld GoPro gimbal which stabilises your shots : website link / Tweetmail link
  7. An amazing tool / app to teach stuff : website link / Tweetmail link
  8. Pocket-sized-attachable-DSLR-quality iPhone cam : website link / Tweetmail link
  9. Another reason to love Keynote, you can create motion graphics with it : website link / Tweetmail link
  10. 12,644 public domain video footage for creative use : website link / Tweetmail link

Why am I doing this? Read previous Twitter Roundups posts.

Just in case you want to follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Image credit | CC 2.0

Email Gating | Blocking Versus Trusting

tim ferris email gating

An email signup pop-up which appears directly above an actual email signup form on the page itself (via Four Hour Work Week blog).

Imagine this:

You head to a restaurant that a friend has told you good things about, all hungry and keen. You arrive and the place looks good. As soon as you take a step inside though someone blocks your way and asks for your postal address, with a smile. It’s explained that it’s so the restaurant can send you notices of when there’s new items on the menu or special offers. Again, said with a smile and a trusting wink accented by the promise they won’t send any spam, just good stuff.

Now you haven’t tried their food or experienced their service let alone seen a menu, but alas, you now have to deal with this first.

Just as in real life, when you have your own site there’s a huge amount of control of the experience you want visitors to have and the relationships you want to build. Email newsletters are an element of that potential connection and content distribution.

Unfortunately, the growing trend in the past few years is ‘gating’ access to websites via email newsletter signup popups which block the content either as soon as you enter the site or after you scroll a little.

‘Email gating’ is slowly eroding the web and illustrates the shallow nature of the reliance on numbers to prove impact.

Some of us can still recall those intrusive popup ads in the early years of the web and how there’s a collective understanding how obtuse this strategy is (so much so we now have the blocks built into our browsers). There’s no difference for email newsletter signup popup.

If you visit a site which is email gated, there are three decisions available:

  • sign up
  • leave
  • close the popup and continue surfing

Only one of them serves the creator and unless the website owner is using a system utilising cookies to track the closing of the message so as not to serve it up again plus the website visitor is not using cookie blockers or software which cleans these out, this will happen every time someone visits the site. Every visit corroding the experience and the relationship (potential or existing).

And why do so many organisations, companies and individuals email gate? Fear. They are scared they aren’t relevant. Scared the market or tribe will walk away and won’t come back. Scared that quantity rules over quality. Terrified of doing this (ironically you have to sit through or click the ad off to get there).

If website owners don’t trust both their story and the ability of the visitors / tribe / users to find a simple signup form which sits in the sidebar or bottom of the page, then what other message does that convey. There is no hope. No trust. No respect.

Do the opposite.

Have more faith: in yourself, and us (as visitors).

The visitor also has a role. These tactics will only change if we the viewers of this content reach out to the creators and just ask for a little respect. Request, politely, that we now how this stuff works and if we like what you have to say we will trade. Our time or even our email address for a continued relationship.

So content creators and website makes / designers / founders, learn to tell your story and we’ll stick with you. Please stop interrupting us. Please stop making us not like you. Please help us, help you. Stop email gating.

AirBnB Verified Human | Retaining Personal Information / User Bias

airbnb logo

How personal information is something we increasingly have to make an effort to retain.

It’s been a year or two since I’ve used AirBnB and in that time they’ve introduced a verification system. To get validated everyone has to upload a government ID (drivers license / passport) and also give access to another online profile (like Facebook, LinkedIn). Until completed the platform and it’s service is not available.

Any effort to protect users (especially a peer-to-peer offering which potentially is open to abuse) is a good thing. However, the type of information requested plus the linking to another social account, raised questions in my brain around privacy and permission.

After a short email exchange with AirBnB’s help desk, the following were the main barriers for me:

  • this highly personal and identifying information (drivers license / passport) sits on a third party server which even though is cited to have great security, potentially could still be open to hacks / leaks (there’s a growing list here);
  • linking to another social account such as LinkedIn would give AirBnB access to my network (full names and identifying information) which simply wasn’t ethical (as I don’t have specific permission to share that information on);
  • there’s enough information / evidence / videos etc about me online to validate my identity anyway.

AirBnB are a $20 billion dollar company with over 500,000 users every night and now dealing with some guy questioning their systems when they were put in place to protect folks. So to be honest, I held very little hope in seeing any outcome other than a repetition of the policies and reasons.

To my surprise, instead of dismissing my counters and above statements the customer service rep asked me to create a video stating my name and “AirBnB” plus to hold up my passport (just the outside). They would then explore with management what they could do. I did as requested utilising Vimeo’s password protected option to host my video and forwarded the link / password on.

36 hours later, boom, verified and invited to continue using their service.

Thank you AirBnB for treating me with respect, for listening to my concerns and challenges, for exploring alternative ways to validate my identity and basically approaching this in a manner which verifies yourselves as humans. Appreciate it’s a longer process although one which could provide an exemplar for those who decide to protect their information but would still like to use your service. What you lose in time you make up for in respect.

Special thanks to Sam from customer service who fielded my questions and assisted in getting me verified.

This interaction and outcome serves as a challenge that maybe we should all not blindly agree to terms of service and keep asking those ‘better’ questions, especially if they are ones which protect ourselves and those in our network.

Twitter Roundup #2 | Curating The Curated

choice cuts of meat

Choice cuts from my meaty Tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. Car maker develops ‘impairment suit’ so their designers can experience old age : website link / Tweetmail link
  2. How the internet of things and the web can be used against us (if we’re not careful : video link / Tweetmail link
  3. Leader of state who shares his code : article link / Tweetmail link
  4. When opera and Instagram collide : website link / Tweetmail link
  5. Tiltshift your images for free : website link / Tweetmail link
  6. Why arts is more important than STEM : video link / Tweetmail link
  7. The challenge of growing into manhood : video link / Tweetmail link
  8. Kickstarting coding for kids : campaign link / Tweetmail link
  9. Your bank committed fraud : video link / Tweetmail link
  10. Stats of 24hrs after we announced TEDxWellington : webblog link / Tweetmail link
  11. How much it costs to buy a US politician : article link / Tweetmail link
  12. If you give presentations you need this : website link / Tweetmail link

As explained in the last update, the main reasons I use Twitter are for:

  • connecting / keeping in touch with wonderful souls / minds around the planet
  • listening and researching ideas / stuff
  • distributing delicious and juicy finds from my web wanderings

The last one, which I’ve been doing for a number of years now, is also a strategy of not just distribution and adding value, but also one of recording for future reference. I save all my tweets to a dropbox text file, an online google spreadsheet plus into an evernote folder (via ifttt.com), where it can be searched any time for previous content.

Also aware that many of these goodies get missed as only tweet them out once, hence the curation.

Follow me on Twitter (or better yet, follow your dreams instead).

Related posts: Twitter Roundups
Image credit | CC 2.0