Sharing a gem.
Just rediscovered a pic of a quote I noted down. Can’t remember if it was friend Jessica or I who said:
“Don’t let the size of your post-it note confine the size of your idea”
Ever since we connected online in 2010 (when I was starting my minimalist journey), have watched with smiles and head-nods the flourishing of these remarkable humans.
What started as a blog, curating experiences from a lifestyle change, it’s now morphed into:
In conversation over breakfast, I shared ideas about creativity and being vulnerable, just like a jazz band.
The core idea is about creating space then trust in the ability of your other band members to add value in the gaps. A strategy which means being open to risk and curious enough to ask the question in the first place.
This is the model The Minimalists have been exploring for the past 7/8 years, and a lesson for us all in doing the same, but different, as a way of adding value to the central cause.
Are you doing the same?
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.
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:
…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?
I shared this via Twitter last month and it became my most clicked / retweeted / liked tweet of 2017:
For anyone who had ‘leaving Facebook’ as their New Years resolution this year, this might help:
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.”
Not much blogging (compared to previous years) but here’s what else I offered the world:
Last week, the (sold out) inaugural Creative Leadership NZ conference brought together 14 speakers / facilitators and 150 attendees for:
Two days of ideas / insights into inspiring and managing the creative process / people which leads to innovation.
The event took about four and half months to organise and featured 6x keynotes, 5x different workshops, 4x idea-bombs, and 1x jazz trio (for the first day), plus 3x two-hour masterclasses which were repeated (for the second day).
In an attempt to learn out loud here are my takeaways:
As you can see from above we had a healthy gender representation of females. 15% of attendees were from outside of Wellington and overall there was representation from 70 cross-sector organisations (judging by email addresses):
Just like at Speaking with Purpose 2017 earlier this year, nearly every one of the speakers / facilitators got remunerated in some way (some wouldn’t / couldn’t take payment). Everyone also got a plus one for the event to gift on as they pleased.
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
Creators of Wellington’s first Gym for mental wellbeing, the CoLiberate team are leaders in personal and professional mindhealth.
Director Te Auaha
Making safe spaces for creative types to flourish at Te Auaha – New Zealand Institute of Creativity.
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.
MC / Design Strategist
Collaborator in residence for design-focused leaders and currently consumed as an accidental entrepreneur at StrataMap.
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.
Designer-in-residence at Google.
At Google she facilitates human-centered design processes & spearheads social impact programs. In Creative Nomad Project, she leads global organizations to foster creativity in education & sustainable impact. Also lectures at Stanford d.school.
Producer / Speaker / Advisor
TEDxWellington licensee. Producer of many events. Speaker coach. Creative Welly founder. Arts Marketing Academy Mentor.
Design Lead at Wellington City Council. Passionate about people, design and the urban environment. Looks after brand and pushes design deep into council.
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 runs PwC’s Wellington Sandbox. She’s framed, designed, and facilitated dozens of collaborative spaces.
Founder of BeWeDō® + Senior Lecturer at Massey University, School of Design. #BeWeDō is a unique motion-led creative leadership experience.
This was privately funded venture (even though many were approached for sponsorship / support) and delivered under the Creative Welly initiative.
Other support came from Wellington Chocolate Factory who offered some gift packs for the speakers / facilitators plus our wonderful venue hosts The Roxy Cinema for a little discount for returning and booking the whole place out for two days.
The event cost $55k to run although I achieved the goal of just about doubling the profit of the Speaking with Purpose 2017 event.
The ‘Creative Care Packs’ included: a printed brochure / agenda (with poster of creative leadership quotes on back), name badge, post-it notes, spare paper, Airline 210 medium black pen plus a bar of custom made chocolate for sustenance. These were given out to all attendees upon arrival and cost approx $3k.
There were items which wasn’t first budgeted for including fees for the jazz trio and the extra chairs to ensure preferred execution of the workshop experience, plus added material costs for the masterclasses / workshops.
Additional extras included nearly $2.5k on external lighting and sound / mics (to improve the experience) as well as paying my pal Emilie Fetscher for her MCing duties.
A few services were traded and registrations swapped against programme / brochure design plus the photos and main video on the top of this post.
Again, I didn’t use a ticketing service and invoiced everyone individually to both save on ticketing fees (as every ticketing provider holds on to the monies until after the event) whilst also creating the working capital needed for pay for venues and other costs.
The other things I personally undertook were:
I also crafted extra content for promotion. These little ‘visual pearls’ were insights into what each speaker / facilitator will be bringing to the conference (example):
I tried to engage support in this area and spoke to half a dozen people in Wellington. Two didn’t respond, another three were busy and one agency priced themselves way above what was briefed.
Had some lovely support from several organisations in featuring the event and opportunity through their social channels.
One thing I did this time was spend time talking to gatekeepers within of organisations: business development, head of marketing, team leaders, CEOs etc. Those who are considering the larger impact of their brand plus who have direct access to monies.
From this I gained there’s not a lot of consideration given to leadership development and / or budgets set aside for professional development. Maybe something to remedy by highlighting the opportunity earlier in the year for future budgetary considerations.
Three big takeaways from this event are:
Encouraging and nurturing creative literacies plus leadership talent here in Wellington is part of the larger Creative Welly initiative, however, conversations are already starting with other regions in the country who have expressed an interest in hosting future events.
Connections are also already being made with potential sponsors for next years event as this is definitely something I’d like to replicate if the city and attendee base is willing.
Over the past year or so LinkedIn has been dwindling in its usefulness in regards to showing me what people are posting / sharing / writing about. My feed has become littered with stuff from days ago and from folks I’m not connected to (although which others in my network have commented on or liked).
The only option users have to control their feed is ‘top’ (which are suggested posts based on algorithms) and ‘recent’ (which is new posts plus more featured things again someone in your respected network has commented on which you probably won’t care about etc.).
As the top image shows, I contacted LinkedIn recently and then got invited to complete a form (because for some reason asking on Twitter is not the same?). I finally got a response back saying the solution would be to hide a person to stop seeing the things they comment on or like. This obviously would also hide anything else they will post which was the opposite point of the whole exercise.
In the same response though was also this:
When many of our members ask for the same improvement, we try our best to get it done.
And what followed was the suggestion to do this “by clicking any “Feedback” link on the right side of your homepage. This will send your comments directly to the appropriate team.”
Unfortunately it’s not that simple as LinkedIn hide this away. After a little searching though here’s how to do it (see gif below—you have to click ‘more’):
If you use this platform I invite you to join me in submitting the suggestion to have granular control of your feed (even though it says they will not get back to you regarding your feedback which is a little dismissive). To aid the effort, just cut and paste the following (don’t forget to add your name though and a little line to personalise it to ensure it goes through and is not marked as spam):
Hello LinkedIn – I’d like to have control over what I see in my feed please. The current functionality doesn’t increase engagement although this simple addition would clean up the feed, foster goodwill whilst also provide a differentiator to FaceBook. It would also show trust in us as users to understand what we want to see.
Thanks for playing and realising again these platforms do want to hear from us the users on how to not make their services suck. Help LinkedIn!
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!
I followed my friend Kaila Colbin as she wonderfully made heads spin about the exponential growth in technologies using the Singularity University lens (and her role as Ambassador). My part was to continue the discussion with (another pal) and MC, Sarb Johal on stage for the 300+ attendees.
The main thrust of this section of the conference was digital disruption, something which for over a decade I’ve been delivering services around relating to social and digital media. And even with the newer concepts of AI, automation, big data etc. already shared, I mainly focused on the need for understanding the importance of creating work cultures which amplify curiosity, celebrate learning, plus cultivate audacity and exploration:
“The feedback we had about DK’s “Reflections” component was all extremely positive and people were talking about the Digital Disruption Topic late into the night whilst referring to the ideas he brought up, along with Sarb and the video presentation from Kaila as well – DK’s contribution certainly hit the mark.”
John Dow, Director of “Work in Progress – Wellington’s New Collar Future” Conference
Many state the above as line in the sand, a closing down of conversation, a refusal to explore further.
Others get excited, and lean forwards, hungry for adventure, ready to fail forwards.
These are the creatives!
Whether it be composing an orchestral piece in 10minutes from nothing:
Collaborating on a dance piece when you can’t speak each others language:
Drawing blind to spark an abstract drawing piece:
…this is the imaginative mindset at work.
When mixed with curated ideas and experience plus audacity and mad curiousity, its forms the most delicious path to potential.
Whether you’re starting a business, leading a team, beginning at a new organisation, figuring out the next steps in life, or shaping a city-wide initiative to infuse a city with creative literacies…
…saying “I don’t know” more often is a rallying cry to creative action.