First Week In #TuttleCoWork

It’s a week since I decided to spend my work time in the public spaces of the National Theatre.  It’s been good.  I’ve turned up every day.  People have dropped by for a chat more than sitting and working together, which is OK and it’s been nice to see some unexpected faces.  My weekend was wiped out by a rotten cold and I’m not back at 100% yet but I’ve come in and done little bits of writing and audio editing.

I’ve wandered throughout the building and I’m finding some favourite spots.  The Olivier cafe area between level 2 and 3 is quiet a lot of the time, but popular with chatty staff meetings.  The wifi holds up all over – it’s not great for VOIP, it seems to dip up and down too much for that (I’m sure there are smartphones trying to connect all the time.)

There are lovely outside spaces on the balconies and the weather has been perfect.

I realised this morning that it’s turned into a bit of a duty, I feel like I’ve got to be there in case people show up, which is ridiculous, but it’s really helped me to have more of a routine and somewhere to go.  It also is good for me to be overhearing staff conversations and remembering just how many people it normally takes to get seemingly small things done so I can let myself off the hook for not achieving as much on my own.

It will continue.

Come work with me! #TuttleCoWork @NationalTheatre

The rest of this post is a lot of justification and explanation blurb – the core thing is this:

I’m planning to work in the public spaces of the National Theatre in London for the time being

and would love to have you along as a co-worker.  Check #TuttleCoWork on twitter, or you can SMS or DM me if you’re around and there are no details for today.

I wrote this last year about workspaces:

  1. We’ll work anywhere
    We recognise that no environment will ever be perfect, but we can make the most of any space that comes along.  Stop worrying about making somewhere that fits every need – keep it simple and we’ll adapt.
  2. But not necessarily the same “anywhere” everyday
    There is no single space or form of space in which people can best work.  There are times when conversation is required, there are times when the group needs to work quietly side by side and then there are times when everyone needs their own private space and total isolation.  So it can be anywhere, but it will not be the same anywhere all day everyday.

I can’t work at home.  I’ve tried, but there isn’t enough structure, there’s not enough room, there are too many distractions, too many little domestic tasks that could be done and do get done, in between dithering about whether to do them or do some “real work”.

Co-working spaces don’t work for me.  There’s just too much structure.  There’s probably a fee, which means I feel obliged to maximise my value for money – if the wifi stops working, I’m quickly and excessively indignant because I’m paying for a service.  If there isn’t a fee, then it’s too easy to become a cog in the machine of someone else’s business model.  It’s often hard to invite others in, informally.  There’s someone or something on the front door stopping just anyone walking in.

I moved Tuttle to the Southbank a couple of years ago and that works well.  We moved along the river this year to the National Theatre cafe, because it’s less likely to be disrupted than the RFH (which often gets rented out for big events), but also it’s slightly less welcoming (yeah, paradox!) and has more diversity in its spaces – there are tables you can work at and comfy bits and a cafe and they’re all pretty much all on top of each other.  It does have regular matinee performances which mean that the space is madly busy for about an hour at lunchtime, but otherwise it’s quiet with a gentle buzz.

So I’m experimenting with working here on weekdays for the time being.  And I’d love you to come too.

It’s an informal arrangement.  I don’t know how long it will last.  I don’t know how much time I’ll spend here, but I’m making a commitment to try it and an invitation to you to join me if I’m here, or work here alone if I’m not.

If you’re thinking of coming, it’s probably best to send me a text or DM me on twitter (my phone number is in the left-hand sidebar of this blog)  but I will also try to remember to tweet that I’m here, and which bit I’m in, with the #TuttleCo hashtag and tweet again when I’m leaving.

This is not (just) an invitation to conversation (Tuttle on Friday is a great place for that)  I shall probably have stuff to get on with and you should bring something too, but I promise not to just blank you and stick my ear buds in.

I’d be especially thrilled if people working elsewhere in the building decide to come and join me.

Thinking about Decentralization is hard

So my article on block chains and the potential for disruption in financial services is published today on

I’ve had lots of lovely feedback, thank you.  But it does show for me that we’ve got a long way to go in thinking about decentralized models for anything at all.  Our experience of decentralizing media, for example, has been that we started out with high hopes of revolution and found that what happened was  our tools were co-opted by the big players and new players came along who used blog technology to build a new kind of newspaper – cheaper to run, but still along the same lines: we’re going to collect all the stuff and sell advertising off the back of it and we’re in competition with everyone else who tries to do the same.

I do think that decentralizing finance is a different matter, but maybe we’ll just build decentralized markets that are supposed to belong to the participants but then get taken over by the incumbents.  That’s what we’re trying to guard against with the stuff around mycelia.  Maybe extractive capitalism is just too strong, or maybe we just need to get better at helping people think in decentralized models.  I’m aware of the irony that the partially decentralized publishing platform that paid me for writing it is folding after 21 months.