Category Archives: tuttle club

SE1 here I come #backtowork

From Monday 20th, all being well, I’ll be starting to work from the Concrete Basement in Lower Marsh (home of Anthony Epes and some new friends) – I know I’ve been down in the basement there before sometime, perhaps one of you can own up to also being there, to help me with my failing memory…

Lower Marsh is a great little street that’s feels like it’s been on the edge of gentrification for as long as I’ve been hanging out in London.  That feeling might be accelerating a bit at the moment (key indicator: new, funky coffee shops) but isn’t that everywhere?  And it’s been remarkably resilient given that it’s slap bang next to Waterloo Station.  The other plus for me is that there are three major theatres and the Southbank Centre all in walking distance.

Anyway, that’s where I’m going to be hanging out for the time being.  I shall kick off with some self-appointed Social Artist in Residence stuff, for the space and for the street, but I shall also be focusing on getting Tuttle consulting going again and hoping to use local venues for Open Spaces looking at the human experience of work, technology, economy ‘n’that.  Other ideas for collaborative projects always welcome.

Please come and see me, bring exotic teas, stories of “one time, I was in Lower Marsh and…” and perhaps something small but inspiring to put on the wall or sit on my desk.


The Airbnb of Brains #tuttle

Consulting around technological change is a very large market indeed, dominated by accounting and strategy consulting firms – if you were going to build a firm from scratch to compete with the big four/five/six professional service firms, you’d need to spend a lot of money over a long period of time, wouldn’t you?

When Tuttle started, eight years ago, I called it a prototype but I wasn’t quite sure that I knew what it was a prototype for.  At the time it felt like we were making a new kind of space for work, and that looked like the emerging co-working model, of which, at the time, there were no real examples here in the UK.  So yeah, we were probably going to be a co-working space.  But then we carried on meeting and it turned out that even when there were co-working spaces, there was still something to be done, there was still much life in the marketplace for people and ideas that is two hours between 10 and midday every Friday, somewhere in London.

We created together a consulting offer, which we took out with some success, but most of the economic, commercial and energetic work happened in small autonomous groups, peer-to-peer.

I’ve been thinking again recently about how we can open up aggregated knowledge and skills, sliced in interesting ways to help businesses and large organisations deal with technological change.

Silicon Valley may be bubbling right now, but it’s unlikely to ever stop lobbing over these little bombs of change and disruption in the form of new hardware and software and ideas for organising the world more effectively.  When I’ve spoken to people recently about VR, Blockchain, IoT and Artificial Intelligence, they’ve expressed weariness in the face of yet another wave of tech.  Most people my age say “We lived through the introduction of PCs to the workplace, then we had to deal with e-mail and the web and now you’re saying it’s all going to be turned upside down again?”  Well yes and the biggest mistake we can make is to think this is the last round.

Silicon Valley is an engine for ongoing disruption and if we can accept that, stop fighting it and instead accept that we need people who can map out what’s really going on;  distinguish between hype and those things that look crazy but are true;  and help you make good decisions about what to do next.

Tuttle can do this.  We have many people in our near and extended network who have immersed themselves in watching how technological change happens and coming up with new processes for dealing with it.

I’ve been thinking about how to unlock the capacity that we have in the network.  And so I’ve been looking at co-operative business models, blockchain-based methods for recompensing creative work, internal currencies etc.

And then on Tuesday night I met Robin Chase and finally looked properly at the ideas in her book Peers Inc.  There, in the introduction, was a sentence that echoed what I was thinking and helped me make sense of our network in a different way.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 17.06.15

We are definitely a group of diverse peers – one of the sticking points for many people hearing about us for the first time is “If these people don’t all have something specific in common, then what do they talk about, and how can it be of any value?”

We have a platform for participation – it’s every Friday morning at 10am for a couple of hours, it’s a marketplace where ideas and opportunities are traded.  It’s a very very limited form, compared to what it could be but because we’ve practiced it for many years now, some of us understand it very well.  I’m starting to think about what a web platform for this might look like.

And we have excess capacity, as I wrote yesterday – lots of people with underused or misused brains.

What if we could leverage these things together in the service of large organisations?

Which is why I just tweeted:

That’s what we’re going to make next.

Join me, comment, argue, nod vigorously, come and help, whatever works for you – but if you need help with thinking about how you can ride the waves of technological change  instead of being swamped by them, my friends and I are the ones you should be talking to.



We get all sorts at Tuttle, but over the years there’s been a consistent pattern within the whirl of on the one hand, freelancers, artists, startup founders, pet geeks and others all of whom hustle their way from gig to gig and on the other hand people with jobs who manage to escape the desk-shackles for a couple of hours of thinking differently.  In between are the people who are “resting”, between jobs, on gardening leave, or have had a few bits of freelance or interim work.

Most of these people have been in full-time employment in large organisations for many years.  They’re not lacking in skills (except perhaps hustling) but they’re loath to jump straight back into another corporate role (they’re likely in their late-forties or early-fifties) to take them through to retirement.   They also haven’t made enough money to live on that long even though they’ve enough from a redundancy package or savings or a small inheritance to keep them going for now.  They’d like to work and they’d like to have an income but none of the things on offer look tasty enough and the thought of starting a new business from scratch is too much.

The question is, how can a network like Tuttle help people like this (more accurately, how does the network help itself)?  We do it week by week in informal ways, lots of opportunities arise, good conversations and connections are made, projects get kicked off and people disappear to do them, but it feels like time again to have a go at something a little more formal, enough structure to make something happen (and hopefully not much more) – come and talk about this tomorrow and any Friday, but also let’s talk openly (here in the comments or on your own blog) about how to organize for making the most of this excess capacity because I have a feeling we’re only going to have more of it.

Help me reboot #tuttle

The most frequently asked question about #tuttle is: “Is it still going?”  To which the answer is “Yes, still Fridays, still 10am-noon, still no agenda, currently on Level 5 at RFH”

And.  We operate on a much smaller pool of people, which means the possibility of more intimate conversation (I’ve had some doozies!), but also the risk of stagnation that lack of diversity brings.

I am often reassured that “it’s not about you, Lloyd, it’s about me:  I have work to do; I don’t manage my time well enough; I’d love to come but it’s just too far if I haven’t anything else in town; I’m always thinking about coming, it’s just that…”

I’m also reminded regularly that people do still long for space to be themselves, where no-one tells them what to do and they can talk about what they want to talk about without an expected outcome/output/powerpoint/post-its on the wall.  A thing that’s not about the thing but about the relationships and potential for things to happen that builds over time.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but talking to Jon Hickman for his article on Social Capital has helped me remember what a good thing this can be and how I don’t believe the time for it has passed.  Stories about online social networks spying on us and manipulating our streams to study our emotional responses as well as the constant drip, drip of acquisitions that lead either to sunsetting or unscrupulous use of personal data – these are the things we’ve talked about and organised against in places like #tuttle but my experience of the current crop of events is that these conversations are still squeezed into the breaks and space after the main speaker rather than the focus of getting together in the first place.

So how can you help?

Firstly, you can just come along.  No need to register or submit your details anywhere, just turn up at the Royal Festival Hall sometime between 10 and noon and chat (and bring someone with you if you want).

Secondly you can  help me develop a sustainable model for me keeping this thing going and making it better over time.  The main issue has always been that while others have built working relationships and created opportunities, I’ve had a massive injection of Social Capital which is hard to pay the rent with.  I also don’t really want to take money from outside the community while understanding that some people in the community don’t have a lot of money to give.

I’m looking at Patreon as a micro-patronage platform for subscriptions toward developing and rebooting the event.  Some of you have kindly “micro-patronised” me before – the difference this time is that I’d want to tie levels of support to some pretty specific goals and to allow for much lower donations per person.  Patreon offers both these functions.

In connection with that, you can help me by suggesting what those goals might be.  So far I’ve got:

  • Working with new venue(s);
  • Creating an online presence more worthy of 2014 than 2007;
  • Reviving Tuttle Consulting;
  • Setting up a marketplace for #tuttlers to sell their wares;
  • Doing other themed events for the community.

But I need to know what else?  What did you always wish would happen either at  or between  #tuttles if only somebody could take the time to?

So let me know what you think about any of that: Yes? No? Yes. but do it another way? No, but have you ever thought of?


My five-year old: #tuttle

Birthday #Tuttle in full swingYes, 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.

New Year, New #Tuttle

tuttle club at the coach and horses, sohoIt’s back, even though it never really went away! Five years ago, a few of us were pushing around the idea of y’know getting people together on a regular basis who otherwise were hanging out in cyber-social-media-space. There were some experiments in late 2007 & early 2008 but The first regular prototype of the London Social Media Cafe at the Coach & Horses was on February 15th 2008 and before long it was known as the Tuttle Club (#tuttle on teh twitter) and it’s happened every Friday apart from Christmastime shenanigans ever since.

Going to #tuttle has been blamed for anything from hair loss, hair gain, meeting future work colleagues, meeting future partners, meeting future ex-partners, meeting users of your software, meeting heroic developers of software you love, but mostly having an excitable natter about internet’n’media’n’learning’n’stuff during work hours, drinking far too much coffee and tweeting about what a fab time you’re having.

#Tuttle has had many homes in the last five years and now it’s moving again. I’m going to pitch up on the 5th Floor at the Royal Festival Hall, from 10am to midday, this Friday, January 4th 2013 and drink coffee and chat with whomever turns up. As always the rule is that if two or more (yes, including me!) are there, then the event is a success, if any more of you come along, it’ll be just dandy! Just remember that you can get coffee on Level 2 (riverside) before you make the long slog up the stairs or in the lift.

Assuming that it works out (what could possibly go wrong?) we’ll carry on doing it here until we get bored again.

OK? See you Friday.

(photo credit: Josh Russell CC BY-NC-SA)

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.