All posts in random

Culture Hive Digital Marketing Academy | Everything Is Beta

abraham-lincoln-axe-quote

Mentoring is never linear.

For the past three years I’ve been honoured to be mentoring ‘fellows’ from the cultural sector via the the Arts Marketing Association, Digital Marketing Academy.

Fellows are invited to devise, test, develop and share digital marketing experiments with the help of a leading digital specialist as their Mentor. The experiments are developed on real audiences in order to trial and adopt good practice and achieve new ambitions and perspectives in digital marketing.

Every year, I’ve been working with three fellows and although many experiments have seen fruition, like using printed flyers to promote digital offers, connecting schools with arts and cultural organisations online and using online data to drive digital efforts, the most important learning is that everything is beta.

Ideas don’t follow a neat, linear pathway to actualisation, there are just too many factors which influence things, like resources, time, other projects, literacies, organisational culture etc. Developing pathways to action is sometimes more about understanding deeply the causalities of the hurdles and / or clearing the route rather than walking them.

The two most common challenges facing the fellows during my time as mentor is that of capacity and expectations. The first relates to simple the amount of ‘other’ in the professional portfolio the mentee is juggling. Space for reflection let alone experimentation is rare so even being part of this initiative is a fantastic opening of potential. The latter is obviously an internal, softer set of attitudes which the organisation manifests. Again, another ongoing, sometimes abrasive hinderance to the intent of the projects, which is specific and is tackled by rephrasing or positioning the efforts in a digestible and values / outcomes based manner.

Without at least attempting to address these factors then experiments rarely gain deeper traction.

Put another way, the axe needs sharpening first.

Big thanks to my mentees this year: Rachel and Ryan from the digital team at Barbican Centre plus Helga who’s heading up the marketing team at Pavilion Dance South West.

PechaKucha Night Wellington | Hugs Are Currency

20 slides, 20 seconds per slide—lets hug it out!

On the bottom of my site for the past few years I’ve had the statement:

Around here, hugs are currency!

It’s a cute line although it’s also something I dearly believe in.

So, to the embrace the challenge and put together a talk on this for PechaKucha Wellington the other month was a pure joy.

Huge thanks to the organisers for trusting me with a rogue subject matter and hope you will learn the ROI of hugs, why they matter and how not to give a hug (plus also how to give a great one).

Minimalism: A Documentary | Challenge Consumerism, Live Intentionally

Love people, use things—the opposite never works.

On Saturday, 23 October 2010, I posted the first blog entry to my Declutter100 project, an attempt to take one hundred hours to explore minimalism.

Nearly two months later, a comment from a chap named ‘Josh (one half of the minimalists)’ started a conversation which transitioned into a friendship (including the other one as well).

The Minimalists have forged a movement and rallying cry towards a simpler and fuller life through their writings, talks and wonderful storytelling.

Last night I watched their documentary (finally, sorry guys) and was reminded again about how living intentionally, without forced consumption and expectations of ownership, increases the richness of the moment plus amplifies the essential experiences of human relationships:

How might your life be better with less? MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.

Watch the film although be prepared to have it question your habits, ideas of success and consumerist lifestyle.

Well done Ryan and Josh for this great achievement and thanks for doing what you do.

Connecting, Collaborating, Converging | Activating Smart City Projects

Crafting collisions.

On November 21st 2015, PM John Key launched the three year Wellington City Council funded Collider activation programme, which focusses on transforming the city into an internationally recognised smart city.

This is what I’ve been spending the last nine months managing.

The programme website was launched mid January so the whole initiative has had about a six month stint and as the council funding year runs from July to June, we celebrated the first year this week.

In that time the initiative has:

  • hosted 124 events
  • had 3,209 curious attendees
  • averaged 21 events per month (our KPI is 15)

The rest of stats can be found in this handy to read and downloadable infographic:

Collider 1st Year Infographic

The true excitement which is brewing is building on the momentum into year two with a mandate to explore more smart city focussed options. The programme will continue to support existing meetup groups and activities plus run masterclasses, workshops, roundtables etc, although know we have the encouragement to explore new ideas.

All this and more we announced and featured the other night in this Collider blog post.

As we launch into year two, the video above repositions our efforts firmly in the wider city context and highlights the aim to connect, collaborate and converge (our three strategic pillars).

This is just a beginning.

It feels like I’m just starting to get warmed up…

Twitter Roundup #5 | Curating The Curated

tasty fruit

Mouth-watering selected offerings from my tweetmailing.

Here we go:

  1. INTERESTING: @PodcastMotor is a complete podcasting production, editing & publishing service http://buff.ly/1XGHLMX -> emerging industries / Tweetmail link
  2. LISTEN to cofounder of @stanforddschool @bernie_roth sharing insights on How to Design a Life http://buff.ly/1Rl4wSR with @GAllenTC / Tweetmail link
  3. READ Belgian court orders @Facebook to stop tracking non-members (which it’s been doing for 5 years) https://t.co/onzpTX1ACg / Tweetmail link
  4. WATCH @PhilipSheppard create a musical masterpiece out of nothing at this years @C2Montreal http://buff.ly/1LkXIPL / Tweetmail link
  5. LISTEN Remembering Oliver Sacks from @Radiolab http://buff.ly/1MWs3Fs “the generosity of his curiosity” / Tweetmail link
  6. WATCH This is how to store human knowledge for eternity http://buff.ly/1OnkAmk via @BBC_Future -> one for @JasonSilva to riff off ;-) / Tweetmail link
  7. WATCH @jerrycolonna’s ‘Disappearing into the Fire:Surviving the #Startup Life’ http://buff.ly/1Nju7hn / Tweetmail link
  8. WATCH the last talk at this years @TEDTalks event by BJ Miller from @zenhospice http://buff.ly/1LECWel / Tweetmail link
  9. WATCH people react to being called beautiful http://buff.ly/1SylA8o -> so lovely / Tweetmail link
  10. WATCH The Story of Buckminster Fuller & the Union Tank Car Dome http://buff.ly/1NyGQuT / Tweetmail link
  11. WATCH another great offering from @TheeNerdwriter -> deconstructing @neilhimself’s Sandman: What Dreams Cost http://buff.ly/1NTBypt / Tweetmail link
  12. / Tweetmail link
  13. FREE from @nypl (thanks) 180,000 out-of-copyright photos, maps, letters etc http://buff.ly/1PTgp2r -> get remixing / Tweetmail link
  14. USE @fulltextrssfeed for getting around those who truncate their feeds http://buff.ly/1W26Xwd -> tweeted before but deserves another / Tweetmail link
  15. WATCH this amazing video essay from @AdamWestbrook about the struggle for art in a world obsessed with popularity https://t.co/blXMQjVD4L / Tweetmail link
  16. READ about biowearables via tattoo circuits http://buff.ly/1OIJ8GU / Tweetmail link
  17. DOWNLOAD 40,000 Works of Asian & American Art for free from @Smithsonian http://buff.ly/1OQq8DH / Tweetmail link
  18. LISTEN to @Calnewport talking about his new book ‘Deep Work’ http://buff.ly/1ORkNfW -> “focus is the new IQ” / Tweetmail link
  19. WATCH / READ 1st driverless bus trial on public roads in Netherlands http://buff.ly/1nEgvSQ / Tweetmail link
  20. DOWNLOAD 48million artworks, artefacts, books, videos & sounds from across Europe http://buff.ly/1Q0GwCk / Tweetmail link
  21. DOWNLOAD Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums http://buff.ly/1R5yvAJ / Tweetmail link
  22. WATCH ‘X-Ray Audio: The Documentary’ about bootlegging music on X-rays in USSR http://buff.ly/1Q0SX1t / Tweetmail link
  23. WATCH The Boy Behind The Burqa http://buff.ly/1RMaZox @AsifaLahore UKs first out Muslim Drag Queen @TheLostLectures / Tweetmail link
  24. READ London pigeons with tweeting pollution backpacks http://buff.ly/1pmyEoD / Tweetmail link
  25. WATCH & be inspired by Bhutan’s Prime Minister @TsheringTobgay’s http://buff.ly/1psBVDs / Tweetmail link
  26. WATCH The Next Rembrandt http://buff.ly/1Spr1EQ & marvel how science & technology can produce art / Tweetmail link
  27. READ The Wood Wide Web – trees can exchange large amounts of carbon via the their roots http://buff.ly/1WAwsH0 / Tweetmail link
  28. DOWNLOAD 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) -> thank you @davidrumseymaps http://buff.ly/1YGLSbk / Tweetmail link

Haven’t done this since November last year due to things like TEDxWellington and my new role.


Why am I doing this? Well I tweet some good stuff I find during my RSS adventures and online digital breadcrumb following, thought it be a good exercise to curate them.

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

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