All posts in random

The Pauses We’ve Lost | The Cost Of Skippable Media

sacrificing quiet places quote nicholas carr

Why waiting was / is a good thing.

There was a time when the height of technological superiority was how slow the tape deck opened. The smooth, deliberate action hinted at a deeper level of sophistication and created a moment or two of heightened expectation.

tape

All media was slow and own its on timetable, like TV programmes, magazines and newspapers, to consume them meant waiting for their delivery. These pauses in our consumption related directly to the increased intention to savour the outcome.

As we know, the cassette went on to become one of the first portable mediums which influenced a whole set of other disruptive technologies; minituarising hardware which would enable us all to eventually take our music, then media, and now, our online and networked world, with us.

Three decades later, nearly all media is now transient. Fleeting. Immediate. Skippable. Waiting times are mere milliseconds, and even then we guffaw at any buffering icons working to serve us another video of a kid falling off a piano or a cat running into a tree.

If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with “content”, we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture.
Nicholas Carr via the article ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid’

Maybe it’s nostalgia relating to being of a generation who knew that watching movies meant putting on a coat and getting out money and the house due to a trip to the cinema or the video store. Or when recording television programmes meant running up or down the stairs and pressing the record button when they were literally ‘on’. Or from the experience of having to wait up to ten or twenty minutes for games to be loaded into my ZX Spectrum etc.

These delays were inherent. Built in. Welcomed even. There was space. Time. Time to create. Reflect. Be.

Technology has decreased patience along with the capacity to accept any empty length of time as a positive factor in the equation of the experience—waiting simply creates another opportunity to gaze into another screen and skip again. Our whole media interaction to the world has become skippable but what have we lost in those moments? What is the cost?

Social media (the industry I gave up this year after being in it for over a decade) has become diluted with “experts” throwing around words like connection, transparency, authenticity, engagement, but there’s fewer voices championing trusting the consumer with making balanced choices, framing content which situates us into the now and championing taking time offline or with others.

This isn’t a one way deluge. We produce more than ever before. We are saturating each other with our requests for attention and validation that our meal or view or opinion means something beyond our own experience of it. The cloud has given us immediacy although it only fogs our view to the importance of discernment. Of choosing better.

All brands and organisations care about is eyeballs. Attention. But it’s the lingering that matters. That’s where the impact is. The video or blog post which creates space and reflection are the ones folks remember.

It’s time to take time back again. To focus on the pauses. To stop hurrying and start living in the conscious(ly created) delays. To start appreciating the slow openers again.

It's OK Not To...

It’s OK Not To… | Be Kind, Add Value

It's OK Not To...

This is not about innovation / tech / startups / disruption / the net / hustling.

Despite the awful (your / you’re) error, I tweeted the above and many seem to like it (also got my tweetmails auto-posting to Linkedin and lots appreciate it on there as well):

Just in case you’ve forgotten, it’s OK not to:
– have an interest in innovation
– be involved in the tech sector
– be in the start-up scene
– care about disruption
– like the internet
– hustle
…as long as you’re kind, adding value to the world & feeling good, you’re winning!

What else am I missing?

Suction Media | The Death Of “Social”

suck suck suck spaceballs

Social media no longer has the spirit of unbiased discovery and the foundation of open collaboration it used to.

Gone are the bloggers exploring their voice and building story through a variety of mediums. Quiet are the RSS advocates hungry to curate their own discerning media menus then sharing it through their networks which they build with care. Muted are the excited discourse of connected communities who celebrate learnings of others and champion wonder / curiousity.

Platforms now base their whole business model on distraction and extraction; squeezing users for as much information as possible, repackaging to sell on to others, all whilst positioning only the content it wants its patrons to see which keeps them on the platform and in turn, their shareholders happy (as these are paid for ads). And so the cycle continues.

It’s no longer “social” but “suction” media.

Chamath Palihapitiya we are being programmed

And the permeating enabler is the rise in “smart” technology or any “surveillance device that also does something else” (our phones, computers, wearables, childrens toys, cars, offices, homes, cities). This is the crucial layer which provides multiplying access points without awareness and explicit permission from the user, and certainly without due care to the culture its cultivating.

Watch Cory Doctorow drop some knowledge about the impact of all this (an illustration of how deep the rabbit hole really goes):

Welcome to the suction media age.


In 2016 I launched a little blog focussed on how young people are consuming and creating new media. MediaSnackers (and the complimentary Social Media For Suits, a couple years later) became a business and flourished in their modest ways: in 5/6 years hit the six figure turnover threshold plus was employing a handful of awesome humans as well as enabling organisations to accelerate their understanding and adoption of new / emerging technologies.

In that short amount of time it took me to five continents, put me on stages speaking to tens of thousands of other cool folks and basically rapidly increased my learning by using the technology tools and the social media strategies I was championing.

In 2011 the move to NZ was to take up the position of social media manager for a national education company, an opportunity which included the indication of the same company buying into my ventures with the intention of relaunching it in the Southern Hemisphere. This buy-in never transpired and 18 months later I high-fived out and went back to the freelance life. Both MediaSnackers and Social Media for Suits were put into permanent-pause mode and I picked up social media speaking and consulting gigs ever since all over the place.

Even with employment stints like a year as a business designer or a little longer as an activation manager setting up a city-wide event programme, I still kept the social media services going and have been so lucky with the clients I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the wonderful souls I’ve collaborated with, the skills I’ve gained, and the lasting hunger for learning its created.

I owe a debt to the sector of “social” and it’s definitely been on the whole an enriching chapter.

But alas, the soul has been sucked out of it.

If I had the time and energy the focus would be on advocating for a newer form of social technologies. One which has opt-in/out options already built in rather than hidden due to the regulatory protection which protects its users. Assisting the development of school curriculums to focus on teaching algorithm biases and how to navigate / curtail / complain to platform creators. Learn how to code mobile apps / city infrastructure software which act with integrity and appreciation of the users interest first.

However, my service offerings have already been repositioned with this new site design, and the focus is now on:

  • creative producing—crafting delicious learning experiences for brands / organisations, continuing with TEDxWellington and also building on the past two independent events (this and this);
  • speaker coaching—storytelling and public speaking coaching for senior executives and leaders;
  • Creative Welly—imagine if Wellington was the most creative little capital in the world.
Addendum: This doesn’t mean I’m quitting social media and digital technologies. Will continue to utilise these as tools to humanise the brands and activities I’m working on, to add value to communities I interact with, to learn / curate like a banshee whilst celebrating those doing amazing work. It just means I’m no longer taking paid consulting / speaking gigs on it.

Apart from…

…if anyone wants a vitriolic talk taking to task the ninjas and gurus who have diluted the sector or the smart technologists who need to be smarter, then this is the only ‘social / digital media work’ I’ll now be available for. Anyone brave enough?

2017 Review | Embracing The Mess

Taking stock and taking bold new paths.

2017 was a good year.

Gloriously messy and varied, but good:

The focus of 2018 will be about building a body of work and new brand relating to my producing and coaching services. These have been the major themes this past decade as well as aligning with my hunger to be more creative and human (less digital).

The aim is to ‘create wealth that matters’, going beyond just financial and into the realm of radical collaborations, crafty collisions of sectors and new experiences, which in turn (I’m hoping), will lead to more speaking gigs.

Here’s to a wonderful end to the year, a messy new year. Be kind to others and gentler with yourself, remember:

“We’re all just walking each other home.”
Ram Dass


Not much blogging (compared to previous years) but here’s what else I offered the world:

Related post: 2016 Darkens | 2017 Lightens

TEDxWellingtonWomen 2017 | Building On Wellingtons Diversity

Championing difference through spaces for understanding and extending the gender discourse.

Having attended TEDxWomen events in the past I was keen to explore how we could create a broader audience to ensure the ideas worth spreading did just that, spread. Pitching the TEDxWellingtonWomen volunteer team our event should aim to have a gender balance (which nobody in the world has ever done before) was audacious—as shown above, we did it!

Read more.

Registrations Open For Creative Leadership NZ | Book Your Spot Now!

CLNZ logo REGISTER NOW

After many months of development am honoured to announce Creative Leadership NZ:

Two days of ideas / insights into inspiring and managing the creative process / people which leads to innovation.

On 27th-28th November, will be heading back to The Roxy Cinema (as they hosted us so well at the beginning of the year for Speaking With Purpose).

The pedigree of the speaker / facilitator line-up is brain-tingling impressive:

Gus Balbontin

Gus Balbontin

Investor – Founder – Advisor

Former Executive Director at Lonely Planet, Co-founder of SneakySurf, Director at Roshambo, Entrepreneur in Residence at Vic Uni.

Bop Murdoch / Sarah Tuck / Jody Burrell

CoLiberate

Creators of Wellington’s first Gym for mental wellbeing, the CoLiberate team are leaders in personal and professional mindhealth.

Victoria Spackman

Victoria Spackman

Director Te Auaha

Making safe spaces for creative types to flourish at Te Auaha – New Zealand Institute of Creativity.

Pavani Rao Boddapati

Pavani Rao Boddapati

CG Supervisor at Weta Digital

Pavani has over 12 years of experience in visual effects for film and has worked on numerous projects including Avatar, Planet of the Apes and The Hobbit trilogy.

Emilie Fetscher

Emilie Fetscher

MC / Design Strategist

Collaborator in residence for design-focused leaders and currently consumed as an accidental entrepreneur at StrataMap.

Aithan Shapira

Aithan Shapira, MFA PhD

Founder + Leadership Strategist

Founder @ Making to Think. Lecturer @ MIT Sloan. Aithan builds leaders’ creative instincts using time- and science-tested techniques from the arts to expand perceptions and accelerate solutions.

Elysa Fenenbock

Elysa Fenenbock

Creative Nomad

Designer-in-residence at Google.

DK

DK

Producer / Speaker / Advisor

@TEDxWellington licensee. @swpconf creator. @creativewelly founder. @amadigital mentor.

Nick Kapica

Nick Kapica

Design Lead

Design, customer insight, and strategy, also interested in collaborating, teaching design and innovation.

Gareth Parry

Gareth Parry

Designer

Gareth Parry is a partner in PwC’s Experience Centre. Gareth has experience in architecture, learning design, digital advertising, infography, human centered design, and event creation.

Ruth Keiry

Ruth Keiry

Designer

Ruth Keiry runs PwC’s Wellington Sandbox. She’s framed, designed, and facilitated dozens of collaborative spaces.

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford

BeWeDō® practitioner

Founder of BeWeDō® + Senior Lecturer at Massey University, School of Design. #BeWeDō is a unique motion-led creative leadership experience.

And here are the cheap-as-chips prices:

See you there and please assist in spreading the news to your colleagues / friends / peers / family / communities etc.

Creative Leadership NZ | Working On A New Conference

clnz logo

Coming soon for the creative capital…

…a conference focused on inspiring and managing the creative process / people which leads to innovation.

A two day cross sector / industry event aiming to amplify creative literacies via keynotes, workshops, masterclasses.

Held at the end of 2017 for those looking to accelerate their personal and professional development.

Interested? Sign up to receive the blog post updates via email (on the right hand side there).

TEDxWellington 2017 Videos | Giving Voice

A labour of love.

For the past 9 months TEDxWellington has been a massive focus of mine. Above are the final thirteen talks which are the highly public product of the event and which rock!

As the licensee, my job is to be across all aspects of development and delivery whilst ensuring all the rules are adhered to plus also build / communicate / inspire the volunteer delivery team to deliver upon the vision (on top of leading the speaker coaching as well).

Phew!

The reason I devote so much of my time to such an endeavour which none of us get any kind of monetary remuneration for, is to give people voice.

There’s the obvious voices on the stage but also those in the audience who to come together and experience a TEDx event, then share as a community plus discuss and connect around the topics presented. There’s also enabling a core team of disparate strangers to collaborate and build something within the confines of the format. And finally, there’s the idea of giving a city an expressive platform to illustrate its own wonderful story (as most of our speakers / performers are always drawn from the region itself).

This year was all about scaling:

  • to a 1,000 person event
  • the team to deliver such a beast
  • in the complexity of interactions between all of the above

Along with my co-organiser Hannah, the learning and insights of what to do and equally, what not to do, also expanded in scale.

Even though nearly every external aspect of the event was a success, there’s always stuff to improve upon and do better, and there are many aspects to change and tweak for the next annual event in 2018 (with a few adjustment to trial with the upcoming TEDxWellingtonWomen event in November).

And as I start to reflect further and write up the review blog post for the event plus finish off the finer details like paying invoices, following up with partners / sponsors, ensuring all the speakers are happy etc., I can’t help but feel that twinge of excitement for next year, as hungry to revisit the theme of doing something unique like in 2016.

Life’s to short not to be audacious!

TEDxWellington 2017 Review | Our Closing Perspective