Category Archives: What I’m doing

“Why can’t you just… be a better person?”

This was an old joke between my first wife and me, when a discussion or argument that had reached the point where one person wanted to shout “Why can’t you just do what I’m telling you to do?” – the other would pull out this line and defuse the situation (obviously not foolproof as you may infer from my use of the phrase ‘first wife’).

But it’s a good question, why can’t you just be a better person? Why is personal growth so hard?

Why do we have to grow at all? Can’t we just carry on where we are? Well, no it appears not. Even the most stagnant relationships and work situations don’t last forever. We end up having to change in one way or another and we can either do it consciously or unconsciously. No scrap that, it’s not either/or, it’s a matter of degree of consciousness – my experience has been that for every epiphany as a result of conscious work on myself there are a hundred little growth spurts that I don’t recognise as such until much later on.

So what is this conscious work? It’s a kind of growing up, it’s a way of building good character, it’s dealing with the unconscious triggers that result in disturbance (/me being a dick). Most spiritual traditions and teachers have a way of doing this and for me it boils down to a few steps:

    • Admit that the disturbance is in me. Not that the outside world is perfect and I’m wrong, but that the thing causing me the most pain is not outside of me, it’s within.
    • Accepting the thing I’m doing is part of me and likely has been around for a while (ie it’s not just a product of this situation). This is tough. Who wants to admit that they’re habitually self-centred, self-righteous or dishonest?
    • Remembering that just because it’s a (perhaps quite old) habit doesn’t mean that it’s the ultimate truth about me. I am fundamentally honest and I’m mostly capable of enacting that but there are times, when I feel under pressure, that I say things that aren’t true.
    • Forgiving myself for doing it one more time and forgiving those that I’d associated with my disturbance.
    • Doing something to express that forgiveness to anyone I’ve harmed through the disturbance – this requires a couple of careful steps, one is assessing who has been harmed (it might only be me!) and the other is how to do something about it without compounding the original harm.  Finding someone else who can help you see the right path through this bit is invaluable.
    • Get on with doing something helpful and useful for someone else.
    • Rinse and repeat as required.

I’m not done, by the way, I have no illusion of my own perfection, but it helps, it really does.

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?

Thankyou!

No ukgc13 tomorrow? Let’s still do something #altUKGC13

So UK GovCamp 13 isn’t going to happen tomorrow.  It’s definitely a *postponement* rather than a cancellation: as well as people finding it difficult to travel from outside London and risking getting stranded till the weather subsides, it seems our venue hosts understandably didn’t want to take that risk for their staff either.

I spoke to Steph from behind his stacks of sponsored t-shirt boxes today and he’s basically just having to rearrange with IBM when we can use the space for sometime in February.

But I was looking forward to it.  And I know a lot of you were too.

James Cattell is doing great stuff trying to get online interaction going and he’s going to focus on that.  But the thing I was most looking forward to was not so much the content as the catching up with people in the gov/web world.  And as my hosting duties for the day were already sponsored, I’m up for helping make something happen in addition to the online shenanigans.

So I suggest the following for anyone who’s in or around London and can get into town easily enough:

James and I will be on Level 5 of the Royal Festival Hall (next door-ish) to the original venue from 10am (that’s when they open) tomorrow, Saturday 19th January.

You can let us know if you’re coming by signing up on this wewillgather page

Whoever turns up will be able to get involved in organising the rest of the day, we can have as many sessions as we can make happen, we might all sit behind laptops communing online, or we might have a day-long tuttle-like conversation that people drop in and out of. Whatever!

Keep an eye on the hashtag #altUKGC13 to see how it’s going, whether we’re still there.

There is delicious coffee and sugar-infused dough things available for purchase on Level 2 of RFH and there is free wifi available throughout (although finding power sockets can be trickier)

Naturally, please don’t make a special journey to see us if the powers that be have told you not to go out unless your journey is essential.

I invariably over simplify everything so do ask questions either in the comments here or of me directly on twitter @lloyddavis

See ya!

 

 

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)

Attention Sellers!

Just heard another pitch for a hamster-wheel business. “We want to let people organise their stuff” translates to “We want to sell advertising space to brands and a ‘service’ to people who want to sign up for ‘information’ about a bunch of brands while organising their stuff”. Confusion still reigns about who the real customer is and startups like this thrive on that confusion.

My advice, for what it’s worth (and it ain’t worth much) is this. If you really really need to do this awful thing, remember what you’re actually selling. You might think you’re selling the attention of 18-24 year-olds to an established brand on the basis that the brand’s sales will go up on the back of that attention. You’re really selling the illusion of that attention. You can do all the market research you like and all you’ll ever be told by those 18-24 year-olds is “Yes, we’d use that” because people will tell you what they think you want to hear. Never forget that, you’re in the illusion-selling business, don’t fall for your own smoke and mirrors.

So your sales filter needs to exclude people who are round about as intelligent as you are – you need people who are either way way more stupid than you are and will buy this empty schtick believing in the illusion and by the time they realise, you’ll be long gone. Or you need to sell to people who are much much smarter than you. So smart that they can see a way of making money out of what you’re doing now that you probably won’t understand until five years after they’ve done it.

But really? Really?