You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘events’ category.
Yes, on 15th February five years ago, the London Social Media Cafe which was soon to become better known as The Tuttle Club held the first regular meetup at the Coach & Horses in Greek Street and we’ve done the same thing (more or less) somewhere or other every week (give or take) since then.
A bunch of lovely folk turned up this morning to do the same lovely thing as ever: talk, drink coffee, laugh, talk, meet new people, have a moan, whatever it is that you all do, I don’t know, I just wander around grinning inanely.
First thing this morning, Rob O’Callaghan showed his appreciation for #tuttle (which inspired his Tunbridge Wells group: (#twuttle and its various spin-offs) by treating me to breakfast at the top of the Gherkin in the City. Because it was something he could do. It was great. I’ve never been up in any of these super-tall structures before and the 40th floor with it’s 360-degree view is amazing. Thanks to Rob and Phil Macleod who hosted us.
Back down at the RFH #tuttle buzzed its way through three hours (at least). I was asked, by people who’d been around for a while and new people too, what I got out of doing it. It’s a question that obsessed me at the beginning, but the answers aren’t what I expected back then.
It hasn’t made me rich or particularly famous. I’m skint most of the time and I have been for five years, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been and anyone who wants to tell me that it’s all a failure because it doesn’t make money is missing the point of life, in my opinion.
About six months in, I decided that I would commit to just showing up and welcoming new people and I knew then that I wasn’t ever going to make money directly from #tuttle and that it wouldn’t thrive for long if I made it all about me and used it as a vehicle to get well-known and cash-in from there. And I wanted it to thrive for a long time. I still do.
But I’d already learned this from blogging – that you get your rewards *because* of the things you do, not *for* the things you do. So what are the things I got?
Well doing this thing changed the whole way I see my life and work and it changed how I am perceived by others. I no longer think of myself as any kind of consultant,(though I will still happily take consulting fees!) I’m an artist, I make beautiful things, and #tuttle is one of them. The biggest thrill I got today was being told by a newcomer that “it was beautiful”.
I’ve been able to do things that I didn’t think possible. I’ve traveled and written and photographed my way coast-to-coast (and friend-to-friend) across the USA twice and then hobo-ed around the UK for a whole year living and working with people I’d met on the internet who’d got to know and trust me because I did #tuttle.
I got to call myself Social Artist in Residence at the Centre for Creative Collaboration and then spend a couple of years really thinking about what the hell that meant.
I got to work with a group of the simultaneously nicest *and* smartest people I’ve ever met on creating a new approach to business consulting, a process that resulted in some fabulous open data and the creation of at least one company.
My recent work on #ourdigitalplanet and #wewillgather (I’m considering amending my bio to say just “I work on hashtags”) has been successful because of this weekly deep experience of organising without an organisation.
And I got to meet you all and share in your journeys. I got to see you grow and be encouraged and build your lives and projects and businesses. I got to listen when you were down and depressed and couldn’t see the light just around the corner. I saw hungry young things take flight and soar and become industry stalwarts. I saw a certain entrepreneur meet hardcore users of his product and get real user insights into the thing he’d later sell for millions. And I got to partake in the multitude of fascinating soap-operas of our intersecting lives, laughing and scheming and crying and dreaming and, conversation by conversation, reaching a far better understanding of this social web thing together than we could ever have done on our own.
Thank you all, everyone who’s been along on a Friday morning, even just the one. Thanks to everyone who picked up the idea and started one in their own town (otherwise how would I have ever known to visit Long Beach?!?) Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and guidance on making it better. Thanks to the trolls who spewed and stewed and (thankfully) repeatedly went hungry; please, if they wake up, don’t start feeding them now…
OK, that’s all, go back to what you were doing. See you next week.
I’ll be attending SXSWi in Austin, Texas again. My panel was not picked, but emotion aside all that means is that I’ll have to pay $blah or so for a ticket. So I’m definitely still going to go – it’s just well, you know, too lovely and awesome not to.
Last year we flew over a few days before and had some holiday time hanging out and getting acclimatimed and then flew back the day after interactive closed.
This time I want to take it a bit more gently. Here are the bare bones of the evil plan, which I’d prefer to do with a gang of tuttle-istas if we can find ways of funding it:
1. Find the shortest flight to North America possible (does that mean least-polluting? I don’t know but that seems like a good aim to bear in mind) and fly at least a week before SXSWi opens ie arrive March 5th at the latest.
2. Devise a series of train journeys from wherever I land, down to Austin, preferably going via New Orleans to visit that good friend of Tuttle, Mr Taylor Davidson and see how his Crescent City adventure is panning out. Yes, you read that right, train journeys. I understand that the US train system is not quite as beautiful or efficient as its European sisters. However, train travel rocks, it just does.
3. At stopping places throughout the journey hold Human-scale Conversation sessions with local people talking about differences between US and British culture – not trying to solve anything particularly, just getting the subject out on the table and seeing what comes of it. There will be heavy-duty social reporting of these conversations. Note that the format has been refined since July with some extra flourishes – this is how I introduced something like it at the Tuttle/Counterpoint event in December.
4. Once in Austin, continue to hold Human-scale Conversation sessions on the same subject and present #kebab-style what we heard, found, learned, saw along the way.
5. Make our way back to the east coast overland again, putting together a documentary film from the footage shot during the first part of the trip, so that we have something ready to show when we get back to London.
Howzat grab ya?
Here’s 8 ways you can help (and I’m sure you’ll come up with more)
1. Tell me how you’d improve on the plans and make them even more exciting.
2. Tell me why this is oh so very wrong-headed, misguided and stupid (I won’t listen very much, but I’d rather ask you for this than you just provide it out of the blue!).
3. Help me work out rough costings for each variation.
4. Provide money (just loads of it, regardless of the costs!)
5. Suggest routes and interesting stopover points, tell me why you think it’s interesting.
6. Volunteer to tag along and tell me how we’d pay for that.
7. Find other supporters with more money than time who’d like to see this happen.
8. Introduce me to sponsors who might provide help in terms of cash, food, shelter, transport as well as social reporting equipment.
UPDATE (18/01/10): The planning for this trip is now going on over here Come see!
I enjoyed myself at rebootbritain this week (it was a bit of a bastard child of 2gether08 and Innovation Edge) I think I’d have preferred if it had more genetic code from barcamp and opentech but I’m fussy like that. I don’t think it was ever going to be a real “doing” place. More thinking, talking and connecting, all of which are still very important things to do, if we want to move on to “doing stuff”.
And I believe that we need to practice this a bit more if we’re going to get good at collaborating in spaces like this – it’s one thing to have a difference of opinion in a conversation about how someone’s project should engage online. It’s quite another if the group you are in is trying to actually make that happen there and then. It’s not that the doing is more difficult necessarily but I think collaborative doing is easier and goes better when people are well practiced in talking with each other in a small group. It’s yet another thing I’ve learned from growing tuttle from a small seedling and then going out doing consulting with people from the network.
Back to what actually happened on Monday. I see two basic models of how people can talk to each other at events like this. There are conference rooms where the speaker to listener ratio is between 1:50 and 1:700 (not including those watching live on the web) and the other “Coffee Track” mode of people speaking in pairs, joined by a third which gives the opportunity for one of the original pair to slip away and for a new pair to get talking. Of course there are other mutations and variations that spring up around the place but they don’t live for long, the ecosystem keeps returning to two dominant, parallel states, the very large and the very small. The flavour of discussion in each of these is markedly different. In large scale meetings, the speakers often speak about what “we” are doing – sometims that is a specific group of people, but often it’s a more slippery “public policy we”, or “we in society” it’s a Global we. Q&A where allowed gets dominated by those with something to sell (if it’s me, it’s usually my own cleverness!). Meanwhile in the corridors the conversations are led by the question “So what are you doing?” or if you don’t know them already “So what do you do?”.
This means there’s a very high level global conversation going on, and a very personal (but rarely intimate) conversation going on, but nothing in between.
So, encouraged by others to do something to reboot rebootbritain I sought out Steve Moore and got permission to use one of the rooms that was shown as empty on the schedule. Then I thought more about what I wanted to do. I wanted to create something tuttle-ish but more structured, so I plumped for conversation circles and added in a rule or two: 7 +/- 2 people popped into my head, whatever that really meant, I worked it out later – and remembered the reference. An another ‘rule’: you can talk about whatever you want. Then I wandered around pitching it to people in their twosomes and tweeted the time, location and basic form.
As I talked about it to my chums around the place, of course the pitch and my idea of what we were going to do evolved and I am an unreliable reporter of the exact sequence – just remember this is my post-hoc rationalisation, it was (even) messier than this…
So I let as many people as I could, know that we were doing “something”. Found that the start clashed ith sessions that people wanted to go to: “Is the Web Female” and the Social by Social launch – but then it had to clash with something. Only one person, noticed that I was interrupting their conversation to invite them to something which, on the face of it, sounded quite similar to what they were already doing.
I went up to the room at 2pm to find that the group occupying it had been told they could carry on for a bit but we soon managed to be turning the seats around from their parallel ranks into circles. Three or four people from this previous session asked what we were doing and on hearing, joined in enthusiastically. In fact, they were among those who eventually stayed the full three hours. And so, the conversations began. Two groups to start. I noticed quickly that there were a couple of other rules to add. Firstly an exhortation to come in, sit down and join in. And then another to encourage people not to interview each other but rather to focus on sharing their own experience. Interview-style conversations can easily slip into Q&A which is replicating the dynamic of the Global conversations, just with fewer people taking part. Oh yes, and I introduced the law of two feet although very few exercised their rights under this law.
Overall several people stayed for the three hours before Steve came and ushered us downstairs to listen to Howard Rheingold. Many others came and stayed for half an hour or so and then moved on. In the tradition of tuttle, I had no attachment to “success” or “outcome” and therefore there could be no failure.
Many people said to me on the day or since that it was the best bit of the day for them. There was even a brief flurry of tweeting suggesting that I should be gifted money by NESTA for instigating it. It’s a practice of mine never to say no to money, but it was interesting when this subject came up in one of the conversations on the day how difficult we all found to talk about it.
I do think that practicing conversation at this scale is important. I like it. I’m going to do more.
The Seesmic Clique
This morning at LeWeb:
We are on the western side of this time zone, so it was still dark at 8am.
Early birds include Dean Whitbread who marched past me as I exited the metro & @whitscott & @ledretch etc.
W00t! blogger tables at the front with wired internet and power (but no power)
Heartwarming smoochycoochy welcome from the Le Meurs
Spotted @fred2baro in the crowd.
Steve Gillmor straight into Silly Valley insider gossip fest with some MS dude
More of the same from Google fella
DAVID WEINBERGER!! FUCK YEAH!
MySpace drone drove me downstairs to the comfy sofas, the better wifi
On the way caught JP to muse on internet fame and self-organisation viz Stansted invaders, but more scarily for us all with teenage children, organized crime around facebook parties.
Sophie Cox dropped by, no doubt hoping to try and straighten my badges, but ended up modelling the giveaway beanie from the goodiebag.
Hugh McLeod sauntered in, shared some off the record bits of his evil plan, which had be giggling and ready for anything at which point he pulled out some hot wet pussy.
Out into the hall for lunch – not quite attack of the microlunches, but close run, given that as Stephanie noted there seemed to be lunch for 150 whereas we have about 1500 people.
Realised that Hermione Way really hadn’t thought through the name of her new startup techfluff.tv when I called her techfluffer in chief – seems she didn’t know till recently what a fluffer was. I nearly ended up drenched in red wine.
Nipped out and got some turkey kabanos from the jewish mom & pop store down the road and met Hugh again in the snow, so we had a bitch about London, Paris and the like.
Came in and chatted with David Langer about social media consulting, me, tuttle, self-organising and other interesting stuff about err… me
It’s the people, people. We come for the people. Think I’ll go sample Paulo Coelho in the main hall.