Category Archives: social media

Tuttle needs to move

Tuttle is a travelling circus. It needs to move and it needs to go where the people are. I needed a rest from herding the Tuttle cats and C4CC was a great place to let the show rest and settle and for me to run around doing other crazy things for a bit (OK 2 years). But I miss old Tuttle. And other people do too. I think it’s time to get it going somewhere else.

The question is, “where?” At the moment that’s quite a high-level where. London? Yes. East or West? Not sure.

I get frustrated by talk of what made Tuttle “work” in 2008/9. “It was this person. I liked the ICA because it was like this. I liked the Coach & Horses because it was like that. etc.” I don’t think any of us really know what the secret-sauce was, because there was no single secret sauce.

But I think the most important thing to answer now is: if Tuttle is a thing for everyone, where can lots of people go to that’s near enough to where they were going to go on Friday morning anyway?

Or is it?

None of us know the whole story… *ever*

But that doesn’t stop us believing that we do.

My twitter stream this morning is full of bile, shock, disgust, fear, misanthropy and argument about a young man who’s been arrested for trolling the diver Tom Daley and the loss of Twitter access by Guy Adams of the Independent for having a go at NBC about their Olympic coverage.  On the one hand the abuser of a popular sportsman is hounded by the mob, on the other, Twitter itself is seen as the bad guy for limiting freedom of speech when asked to by a business partner.

At least that’s what I saw.  You may see it differently – but I recognise that that statement itself is subject to my own biases, framing and prior decisions about how the world is and how human beings operate within it.

There was a piece yesterday from Mark Earls on the futility of trying to change people’s minds with information and argument:

“We only see what we expect to see, distrust and discount the witnesses who present what we don’t want and devalue their evidence if they turn out to be from the other side.”

There’s nothing we can do about this [imho] it’s just the way [I believe] the world works.  The other side of it is that it’s easy to say something that inadvertently presses someone’s buttons and sends them into a disturbed state.  I see it everyday in all my relationships where tension and arguments arise, with even those people I love the most and with whom I think I share most common ground.  Somebody will, in the course of an ordinary conversation, say or do something that doesn’t fit with my view of how people should be and immediately I label it “totally inappropriate” and suddenly “I can’t believe they just said/did that!”  If I don’t pause at that point and think “Oh, that’s an interesting reaction, Lloyd” then retaliation is likely to follow and we can end up spiralling into pretty yucky stuff.

But when it happens on a global network between people who don’t know each other or care particularly about each other, it can get really nasty and the law needs to get involved (either the law of the land or the Twitter Terms of Use).

I think the things to remember are these:

1. When you direct something critical to another user on a social platform like Twitter, especially if that user is a person in the public eye or a corporation, it’s possible that you’ll be ignored but you may also be mobbed.  Be aware that you’re not just dealing with another person, you’re potentially also up against their friends, colleagues, business partners, fans, pretty much anyone who has experienced grief after the death of someone close to them *and* their unconscious reactions that may turn you literally into the spawn of Satan in their eyes.  The interaction with them might draw behaviours out of you that you’d rather not have displayed in public, which may turn out to be illegal when expressed on the internet and may result in real-life physical consequences for you, your friends, colleagues… etc.

2. Twitter is a privately owned company with its own vision, priorities and agenda. Value to the company, their shareholders, and by extension those with whom they have strategic and commercial alliances, will always trump the needs of an individual non-paying user.  They are not a nationalised industry, or piece of public infrastructure, no matter how much we wish they were.  If we want a public utility like that, we’ll have to build it and pay for it ourselves.

G20: Lessons Learned

IMG_0256The G20 Voice team did a brilliant job. The first I heard about this gig was a phone call from Shane McCracken on the day I’d returned from SXSWi (ie when I’d just finished a 16-hour journey and was trying to stay awake to stave off jet-lag) and then two weeks later I was sitting in the Excel Centre a few yards from President Obama.

Not everything went perfectly, but the problems were not of the obvious kind that could have been predicted and mitigated against. They were mostly things none of us knew about how the day would run, what the content would be and how a group of 50 bloggers would react to being thrown together to report on something so huge. The main feedback I gave to G20Voice was that I was very impressed by their flexibility and willingness to learn with us over the course of the two days we were together.

So there’s a bunch of things I think I learned in the course of the two days we had together that I’d like to work out and share here.

The only events I’ve covered before have been traditional conferences or trade shows. There’s always *something* going on, whether it’s plenary sessions, product demos or just delegates hanging around chatting at lunchtime, and so it’s easy to blog without very much preparation or knowledge of the subject area. You can do the standard in through the ears, out through the fingers liveblogging or get out among the people with a camera, jump in and ask open questions, following up with intelligent probes.

The G20 summit was not like that.

The summit happens in private, away from any reporters at all. They talk all day, perhaps have a little argy-bargy, but then emerge with a summary of what they’ve agreed – the communique.

IMG_0348I felt cut off. Cut off from the action and cut off from my online tribe because I was being boring – I had nothing of interest to say for most of the day, because nothing was really happening except the occasional entrance of a Minister or Celebrity Activist. I blogged during the day (and the day before) that I didn’t know what to do to be useful. I wanted to be like the other guys who seemed to know everything about everything and were, no doubt, writing Pullitzer Prize-worthy copy all day long. I kept thinking that I should be doing something else, but when I went and did something, I thought I should be back at the desk and online.

But just because it’s a news event, doesn’t mean you only have the day to publish stuff in. I’m lucky, I don’t have any deadlines or a target for how much to write or create, except those that I make for myself. And I was forgetting that I do have an eye for interesting stuff and so the behind the scenes content that I’ve shared with you seemed like it was a cop out, too easy, just hanging around behind other people being photographed and filmed. It wasn’t until I got it all out and had a look at it that I realised where the story was and that I had stuff that was unique.

So Learning Point #1 Remember you are unique and have a unique perspective. Be yourself and trust that you will be enough.

my workstation at the G20 summitIt helped me to have plenty of equipment so that i knew that when I did have something to report, I’d be ready. I had two laptops, one mainly for tracking stuff on twitter, flickr and the G20Voice site and the other for getting stuff done, writing, encoding video and uploading photos. I was lent an HG10 by Canon (thanks to Colin & Donna at 1000Heads) so I could shoot anything I wanted to. I was also lent an iPod touch and handsfree set (thanks to Best Before TV, especially Karen & Steve, whose touch it was!) so that I could record Audioboos – I like this a lot. I also had my flip camera in case I needed to just do something simple and quick, my N95 for backup photos, video and Qiks and my Edirol in case I wanted to do longer audio interviews.

The thing I’d forgotten was that I’ve switched to Linux on my two laptops since I last had an HG10 and I could have done without all the faffing needed to start from scratch in order to transcode from AVCHD to MPEG. I’ve now found Handbrake which is actually very good indeed especially once you have time to play around with it.

Learning Point #2 Take more than you need and ask for what you want and need. Make sure you’ve got all your software up to date and test loan kit before you get there.

Yes, I felt cut off. But surely I was on a table full of bloggers, just like me? Well no, I was actually on a table full of specialist journalists (in some cases operating in a tiny niche) who choose to mainly communicate online. They were mostly lovely, but there wasn’t a great deal of playful collaboration. There were few other media hacker types of the sort that frequent the Tuttle Club.

I quickly tired of us being referred to as “The Bloggers”. I think if there’d been a media hacker table or just a few more of the folk I normally play with, we’d have come up with something more creative. It might have got us chucked out or severely reprimanded, but it would have been more fun.

Learning Point #3 is for the G20Voice team (or anyone else doing this sort of work) and comes in two parts: a) All that bloggers might have in common is that they have a blog. and b) Focus the Briefing Day on helping the bloggers get to know each other, trust each other and collaborate and interact online (there’s a whole nother post on this, I think)

IMG_0525I was really pleased with the photos I took of the president at the podium. I know they’re all much the same and that people all around me were taking the same shot too, but I really like that I got them for my very own. I could not have done so if I’d done what I was told. Firstly, I went to the front of the queue when photographers were called. I took advantage of the fact that my pass said “Blogger” while others had, I imagine, “Journalist” or “Photographer”. I used the ambiguity to be a writer when it suited me and a photographer when that’s what I wanted to be. So I then just went up to the front of the hall with the other photographers. It was crowded and the press office guys were going back and forth trying to weed out people who weren’t official photographers. I felt a little inadequate with my little video camera, but I just stood my ground and avoided eye contact with them by looking at my viewfinder.

Learning Point #4 Be confident, use ambiguity to your advantage, go for what you want.

So by the Friday morning, I felt like I was just about ready to get started. I guess the overall point would be it’s OK to learn as you go, keep asking the question of how you can be useful and remember what you learn for next time.

About.me 2008 version

There’s nothing like an extended period of underemployment to get you thinking about who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. I also recognise that I’ve met an awful lot of new (to me) people in the last year or so, many of whom aren’t intimately acquainted with what I’ve done. Many of these people have come to me via the Tuttle Club/Social Media Café and I know they’d love to help me get more work, so especially for them, this is the story so far.

I started out in the theatre, training at the Guildford School of Acting and spending the next couple of years in traditional actors’ roles – behind bars, on building sites and temping – oh and an audition and show here and there :)

The lure of tech called me aside and I got into databases, data analysis and what we then called “programming” – what’s a developer? This led me back into education and a degree in Computing & IT at Surrey University.

My industrial placement was at the Audit Commission, which I joined after graduation working in research, information and, latterly, knowledge management. By the end I was responsible for the redesign and rebuild of the intranet and internet sites, focusing on a common information architecture between the two and working with people to set up offline Knowledge Networks across organisational boundaries.

Since then I’m been working as an independent consultant specialising in how people in organisations communicate with each other and with their stakeholders, particularly how the might do that using internet technologies. Around the same time I was introduced to blogging and which extended for me over the years into photo-sharing, audio and video work – check through the archives here to see some of the high- and low-lights.

In the last few years my focus and interest has become refined in the use of social media and I’m now mostly interested in how online interaction can help build offline relationships and vice versa. I’ve done this in a range of assignments as consultant, trainer, facilitator, mentor and content producer.

I’ve become adept at helping people understand how social media and online social networking can be used in their personal and organisational context. As a near obsessive early adopter (I was one of London’s first podcasters in 2004), I have a strong understanding of how social technology and the network effect come together as a powerful tool for organisation and productivity. What I have that is unusual is an ability to translate what I and my friends have been doing for years into something that makes sense in your world/

So I’m now looking for more opportunities, specifically in training, mentoring and consulting for individuals and small teams, preferably within medium to large organisations (500+ employees) especially those interested in using a combination of social media to achieve a specific business benefit.

What would you do if I sang out of tune?

Lloyd busking 018I’m doing a workshop intro to social media for a client at the end of the month and they just sent me through a draft agenda – mine is just one in a series that they’re doing at a two-day staff event. On the agenda mine is entitled “Libraries gave us power” I had no idea what this was a reference to, so I asked and was told that they’d given all the workshops names from song lyrics (mine was apparently from the Manic Street Preachers or some similar popular beat combo – perhaps they think I’m Welsh?) Anyway they also asked if I had a lyric that I’d prefer and so, of course, rather than thinking it through for myself, I asked my outsourced brain, aka my twittermates, to come up with suggestions for me.

They did not let me down.

benayers @lloyddavis anything by 50 Cent. Check out thisis50.com and you'll see why. His ppl utilize social media in a big way. (See buddylube.com) about 1 hour ago from web reply to benayers

Whatleydude @Lloyddavis - Jailhouse Rock? Something from Hotel California? How about 'I remember when rock was young...' ? ;) about 1 hour ago from txt reply to Whatleydude

stml @lloyddavis "With a little help from my friends?" about 1 hour ago from web reply to stml

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis" My fingertips are holding onto the cracks in our foundations, and I know that I should let go, but I can't." Kate Nash about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

Ronna @LloydDavis Wouldn't a euk number be most 'authentic'? about 1 hour ago from web reply to Ronna

lewiswebb @lloyddavis How about McFly's "it's all about you"? about 1 hour ago from web reply to lewiswebb

billt @LloydDavis Paranoid Android? about 1 hour ago from twhirl reply to billt

johndodds @LloydDavis he's too sexy for his shirt? about 1 hour ago from web reply to johndodds

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "Up, down, turn around Please don't let me hit the ground Tonight I think I'll walk alone I'll find my soul as I go home" NewOrd about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "I'm your only friend I'm not your only friend But I'm a little glowing friend But really I'm not actually your friend But I am" about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis " Ihave a secret to tell From my electrical well It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells" about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

emmalwallace @lloyddavis "My connection ain't thick, dick" De La Soul may be a little risqué? about 1 hour ago from twhirl reply to emmalwallace

giagia @lloyddavis Bridge Over Troubled Water? about 1 hour ago from web reply to giagia

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "yup yup rabbit yup yup yup rabbit rabbit bunny jabber yup rabbit bunny yup yup" Chas & Dave about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "You know the rules and so do I A full commitment's what's I'm thinking of You wouldn't get this from any other guy" anon ha! about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

JofArnold @LloydDavis - Big it up Digg-stylee by coming on to Dare by the Gorillaz: http://tinyurl.com/y55pdv Get the crowd standing on their seats! about 1 hour ago from web reply to JofArnold

TigersHungry @lloyddavis I would like to throw in my 2 cents and second the chas and dave selection. about 1 hour ago from twitterrific reply to TigersHungry

jopkins @lloyddavis go for "the one and only" and power fist to it 44 minutes ago from web reply to jopkins

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "Boom! shake-shake-shake the room Boom! shake-shake-shake the room" 42 minutes ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

Ajpegg @LloydDavis bebo-pa-loola, perhaps? 42 minutes ago from web reply to ajpegg

Rebeccacaroe @lloyddavies "I'm the one that you want" - an oldie but a goodie [like you and me]

billt @LloydDavis because we're watching you - sometimes it isn't paranoia! :-) 38 minutes ago from twhirl reply to billt

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "Nervous you need a drink tired you need a lift you feel on the brink maybe you need new tits" - Social Life - Iggy Pop 38 minutes ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

audio @LloydDavis You could go for "Simply The Best", but it's all a bit David Brent! 37 minutes ago from web reply to audio

jopkins @lloyddavis elevation/U2 is a favourite for motivational ppt numbers 33 minutes ago from web reply to jopkins

dungeekin @lloyddavis: cheesy, but how about from "We Are the World" - 'When we stand together as one'... 33 minutes ago from web reply to dungeekin

dungeekin @lloyddavis: Or: "Everybody's talking at me, I don't hear a word they're saying" 32 minutes ago from web reply to dungeekin

dungeekin @lloyddavis: ''Let's Work Together" - full lyrics here: http://tinyurl.com/2v5m4n 31 minutes ago from web reply to dungeekin

audio @LloydDavis don't be silly, that's just not a good idea. 31 minutes ago from web reply to audio

Ronna @LloydDavis I don't know, there's a certain degree of analogy with 'When I'm cleaning windows', and it would be memorable and wake people up 30 minutes ago from web reply to Ronna

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "I think he'd like to have been Ronnie Kray But then nature didn't make him that way" Blur 30 minutes ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

emilicon @LloydDavis Option: 'If you make sure you're connected, the writing's on the wall' from 'Connected' Stereo MCs¿ 29 minutes ago from txt reply to emilicon

londonfilmgeek @LloydDavis "Pussy pussy pussy pussy pussy pussy walk" Iggy pop again 26 minutes ago from twitterrific reply to londonfilmgeek

mike_ohara @lloyddavis "come on over to myspace, hey you, we're havin a party..." 26 minutes ago from web reply to mike_ohara

solobasssteve @LloydDavis if you're going for an inspirational future-web talk, you could try 'talking about a revolution'... 25 minutes ago from twitterrific reply to solobasssteve

JofArnold @LloydDavis - can't you imagine auditors strolling on to Dare? I can - it'd be awesome! :-D 19 minutes ago from web reply to JofArnold

dungeekin @lloyddavis: Cool - I'm still thinking about possibilities, watch this space. 19 minutes ago from web reply to dungeekin

Suw @LloydDavis: Just get him to play the Flumps music. That should set the tone properly. 13 minutes ago from twhirl reply to Suw

emilicon @LloydDavis Oh right, I don't know, I don't watch TV so really not with the program on adverts, thankfully. 12 minutes ago from web reply to emilicon

johndodds @LloydDavis "Beyond our normal boring stuff" is the perfect title. 5 minutes ago from web reply to johndodds

Dungeekin @lloyddavis: Eureka! The Co-Operation Song from Sesame Street! http://tinyurl.com/2jacpj 2 minutes ago from web reply to dungeekin

Phew! I think some people got confused some way in and thought we were looking for music to play, but that's the way these conversations go. So I think I'll go with @stml's suggestion which I'll expand a little to "I get by with a little help from my friends" thanks James, I owe you one! But there are some other great suggestions in there - I'd love to try "Rabbit" and "Paranoid Android" might have been particularly appropriate for this audience if not the subject matter.

Thank you everybody for contributing - another twitter crowd-sourcing legend for the books.

Cumbrian Social Media Meetup

snowhunt10OK, this is one for those living more than half way up the island of Great Britain but less than three-quarters of the way up. My twitter and seesmic buddy, William Tildesley is providing an opportunity for Social Media folk in the North-West of England and South of Scotland to come together in a Tuttle-ish kind of a way. In Penrith. Frankly, it’s fairly straightforward to get a bunch of hungry, chatty geeks together for coffee and croissants in this huge metropolis. I think Will’s got great guts doing it up there on his home turf – I wish I hadn’t waited until I was twice as old as he is to pull my finger out and do stuff.

They’re going to be at:

The Narrowbar Café
13 Devonshire Street
Penrith, England CA11 7SR

on Saturday 29th March from 1pm

Sign up on the upcoming page and follow along with what William’s doing on his new startup blog

The picture is from my last visit to Cumbria which I realise was two years ago next Wednesday – and it was snowing. Obviously. I hear it’s sometimes a bit warmer than that.

Social Media Café as Platform

PolicyUnplugged 085At our first prototype meeting, I perceived a tension between the people who were interested in making a profitable business and those whose interest was solely in the community possibilities and opportunities for collaboration. I came away unsure of what legal structure would work best – a traditional shareholder-owned limited company or a non-profit company limited by guarantee. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then.

On the same occasion I said something along the lines of: “What I want to create is a platform that enables people to create value for themselves.”

The inspiration for this comes from the tech world – CP/M & MS-DOS, the IBM PC, the Internet, the Web, Amazon Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook – what they all have in common is that no matter how they get paid for or how they’re organised, or whether or not they make money for their inventors, they have also given other people the opportunity to create new relationships, markets and businesses that weren’t possible before (btw, I use big examples so that people will recognise what I’m talking not because I think our little project will be on that scale.)

I want everything we do to in some way support people doing cool stuff on their own. I don’t think we have to own *every*thing and I certainly don’t want to create a walled garden. We’ll get a lot more done by creating the conditions for people to

So turning back to the legal structure, the choice seems to come down to a limited company (or a partnership) which exists to create value for it’s shareholders (or partners) or a company limited by guarantee which exists to… well do whatever we decide it should do – I think it should serve the needs of people interested in Social Media in London – if that’s not too wooly (or too specific) – but I’m open to suggestion. There was broad agreement that limited by guarantee was the right route for us but the aim and purpose does need to be boiled down to something that expresses what we want and allows us (as a group) to do as much good as possible.

So if that is sorted, my mind then turns to the structure of this business. I’ve always talked about the three bits – café, learning, working. But that might not be all we want to do together – other ideas for services have come up in meetings too. Can we make the Tuttle Club our base platform? With no direct services except to facilitate cool stuff happening. Then the first cool thing it does (quickly) is to set up a Social Media Café or perhaps the café space, a learning space and a workspace could each be individual, but co-located businesses. And then it can do other things too as they arise. Or am I making it too complicated?

Let’s talk about this at the next prototype – but there are many who aren’t able to join us there so let’s do it in the google group as well.

Digital Coaching, Catalysts and Sitting on Your Hands

MacBraynes Bus by conner395

I’ve been reflecting on some of the social media work I’ve done over the last year and seeing where I might improve my offering. The model piece of work that I’ve sold to people has gone as follows: “You tell me you want to have a go at this new fangled social media mularkey, but you don’t know where to start. So I’ll start for you and show your people what I’m doing. We’ll start off with me doing everything but my involvement will taper off as your team’s involvement increases and by the end of the project, you’re folk will be doing it all for themselves.”

Great. Sold. But….

What has actually happened is that people have had some great blogs from me (natch) but there hasn’t actually been much change in what they do, the comms teams I’ve worked with have liked the idea but as long as I was doing it *for* them it was too easy to sit back and continue to say “Yes, that’s nice, I wish I was able to do that”. I think there’s still a space for doing live-blogs of events as discrete pieces of work, but more ongoing stuff needs to be done differently.

So I’m looking for a better model. And over coffee with Jonathan Laventhol of Imagination I understood what it might be. He said to me “You need to sit on your hands more” And he’s absolutely right. Just as when you’re helping someone to learn to drive it’s not good to keep grabbing the steering wheel, I think there’s much more value that I can offer as a non-doing coach or catalyst for action.

In their excellent book on decentralised networks, The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom talk about the difference between two roles that Julie Andrews made famous.

“In The Sound of Music, Maria enters a dysfunctional family, teaches the children a valuable lesson, convinces the father to pay attention to his kids, and shows the family how to get along. Likewise, Mary Poppins visits an equally (albeit charmingly) dysfunctional family, gets equally adorable children to behave, urges equally clueless parents to pay attention to their kids, finds equally effective ways for everyone to get along, and sings equally catchy tunes.”

“At the end of The Sound of Music, though, Maria, after falling in love with the children and the father, sticks around. It’s obvious that from now on she’ll be the one running the show. Mary Poppins, on the other hand, chim-chim-in-eys right out of London. It’s not that Mary Poppins has a fear of commitment. From the very beginning, it’s clear that she’s come to do a job. Her job is complete when the family can thrive on its own. Once she accomplishes her goal, she rides her umbrella into the sunset.”

I’ve tried both models, but like Mary Poppins, I’m much better as a catalyst. Going in, making change happening and moving on to where I’m needed more, rather than working my way up, establishing an empire and sticking around for the long haul.

Then I saw Seth Godin writing about Digital Coaches

“What’s a digital coach? A freelancer (individual) who usually works with entrepreneurs, small groups or companies to teach them how to dramatically improve productivity or market presence using technology. For example, a digital coach might hook up your cell phone to be more powerful or teach you how to use blogs and Facebook to connect to your audience.”

I think for me it’s a totally bottom-up approach – aimed at individuals inside and outside organisations who want to beef up their personal productivity using web 2.0 and social media tools. They might have a social media project hat they need to contribute to, but would also generally benefit from catching up with what’s arrived in the last year or so and someone to help them think it through in their own personal or business context. The focus is on enhancing productivity, preferable in simple, measurable ways.

When I’ve mentioned this to people, some have said “Wow, yes please” and others have said “Oh, I kind of thought that’s what you did already” So I think it’s probably right. :)

Photo credit: conner395 on Flickr licenced with cc-attribution

Keeping the prototyping going

Seesmic London DinnerOur first little flashmob was quite a success in my view. It certainly showed me that there were people ready to turn up and talk about stuff. It also suggested to me that we need to follow a two-track approach for now.

I’m going to continue to write (as and when I have the space and time) a formal business plan to help communicate more clearly and completely what it is we are doing and to help people understand why they might want to put money into it. I want to get as much feedback and input from others into that as possible so I’ll be blogging about it more regularly from now on as well as organising face to face sessions.

In addition, I think it’s worth trying to keep prototyping and move slowly from the dormobile model towards the travelling circus model. For those who haven’t seen my presentation on this, I characterised the first phase of prototyping as a VW camper van where we just hang out essentially wherever we can find somewhere to park for the afternoon. The travelling circus is a bit more formal – it’s where we would have a venue that remained the same for a period, perhaps up to a month, before we moved on. So how might we do that? From the start people have been suggesting that we should just find somewhere to “squat” but ideas for actual places to do this have been thin on the ground.

Now, though, courtesy of the sterling persistence of Lee Thomas (londonfilmgeek) we’ve got a couple of initial sessions booked in the upstairs dining-room at (Norman’s) Coach and Horses in Greek Street (corner of Romilly St, opposite Kettners). To say the least, the place does have some media history. Far less significantly it was where we had the recent Seesmic Dinner.

We’ll be there from 10.00 to 13.00 on Friday 1st February though the landlord would no doubt welcome you staying on for a later lunch and drinking in the bar for the rest of the afternoon if you really can’t tear yourselves away :)

I’ve put a simple page on the wiki for sign-ups – just so that people know who else is coming.

Right, so I’m now on the look out for more places like this and I thought I’d blog the requirements and what’s in it for the venue and see who out there might have have somewhere we can use or at least see whether you can come up with suggestions of places to approach.

What the venue gets – people, punters, customers, you know, dosh-givers – especially at those times that are usually a bit slow. More people drinking coffee and eating cakes, sandwiches and other geek comestibles (erm… I suppose I mean beer here, especially on a Friday lunchtime). Moreover the people it brings in are well-connected and quite influential in their own circles. And we’re generous – if you give us nice things like wifi and electrickery, we will say nice things about you. Don’t forget that when we say nice things, we say them quite loudly on the internet (a global network of interconnected computing devices), where they stick around forever getting clumped together with other nice things and thus bringing you warm fuzzy goodness – the kind of warm fuzzy goodness that encourages cash out of people’s wallets and into your till.

Our requirements – we’d like a space please that we can, however temporarily, call our own. It’s great if it can be demarcated in some way (a separate room, those three tables, etc.) and we need free open wifi (if you don’t have this, we can talk about how we can help you set it up) and access to electricity points. Errr.. that’s about it, really. Anything else, I think we can work around.

Know anywhere like this? Own anywhere like this. Let me know – my contact details are up at the top of this page.