Tag Archives: coworking

“A bit of Blockchain” with @berniejmitchell

One of the immediate benefits of working in downtown Euston has been that I’ve been reminded of this podcast I did with Bernie a few months ago when we first started talking about the “Airbnb of Brains”.

Check it out. It has a bit of Blockchain, but it’s mostly about different ways of working together. I’m listening myself for the first time, it’s not bad!

Come collaborate with me at @WorkHubs

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From this Monday, I’m going to be hanging out (as full-time as I ever do such a thing) and working in the Euston co-working space atworkhubs with the lovely Philip Dodson and Bernie Mitchell.

I’ve been to a couple of Blog Clubs on Wednesday morning and there’s also a Write Club on Thursday mornings (short planning session, get into writing for an hour and a half, quick group review). And I think Art Club too but I can’t find a link for that!

It’s a nice convenient space, right next to Euston and Euston Square stations with just the right balance of people – not too mad noisy, not too dead quiet.

They have an affordable and flexible range of membership options including day passes so if you’re looking for somewhere straight off the train at Euston, it’s a real goody.

Anyway I’ll be there and it would be good to see you too.  Ping me if you’re nearby and up for a coffee or something.

At the moment, I’m expecting to see some 1:1 clients there; run some workshops; hold some evening or breakfast events etc., but I’m open to suggestions, let me know if there’s something you think I should be using the space for.

I need a place to work (and it’s more than a desk with power and wifi)

Five years ago, when I decided to go nomadic (and ended up living and working with others around the country for the next twelve months) it was largely because I’d realised that while I needed somewhere to live, the place I was in wasn’t working for me and it seemed that nothing in the market was really for me either. I didn’t want to move out of London for good, but I also didn’t want to stay. I didn’t want to live on my own and I didn’t want to move in with someone else (yet). I didn’t want to get a job and I didn’t want to work on my own. I wanted something else but I found it really difficult to articulate what it was. But I did find it over time. I found stimulation in the variety of people that I worked and lived with. I found rest on the road, knowing each time that I was moving again that new possibilities were opening up.
So now I’m settled, I like where I live, I’m married again, but I’m restless around work. I’m mostly working from the dining room table and sitting in coffee shops (or theatres!) and I’m feeling the need for a workplace that goes beyond the basic needs of desk, power, wifi. I need people and I need space to host in. I think of new invitations for open spaces and unconferences practically every day and they include working through some of the ideas around co-operative knowledge work with #tuttle that I wrote about before I went to America last month. I don’t know whether anything among the current crop of co-working spaces might be close enough – I definitely want to be part of a community rather than just another desk-renter.

I don’t know much more, but I was reminded by a wise friend yesterday that my best work comes when I express as much as I know and let others fill in the last 20% rather than trying to hide away until I have something finished.

So help me fill the gaps in this. Or y’know, put your earbuds back in and get back to what you were doing.

To Bletchley Park

190520091486I’d only had fictional accounts of Bletchley Park until yesterday. I’m really glad that I took the opportunity to go up and sample it first hand for one of the StationX social media cafe events.

I first heard of Bletchley Park in 1986 when I saw the pre-west-end run of the stage version of Breaking the Code with Derek Jacobi as Alan Turing at the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford. It’s a hugely touching human story of course but also intriguing that so much was going on during the war that we had no idea about.

I went at some point around 1991 I think, to a Computer Conservation Society open day at the Science Museum and Tony Sale was talking about the prospect of rebuilding Colossus. Some people were looking at him clearly thinking he was bonkers, but he did it nonetheless.

Then I read Robert Harris’s Enigma about ten years later when I was in need of fiction to read just after my finals. It is fiction, it is a bit Ripping Yarns but it’s also thrilling and brings the whole story to life.

So I was not at all surprised at what I saw when I arrived yesterday morning. It was good to see Christian as always and Bill Thompson was there, recording some stuff for his Digital Planet show. Highlights were the ever growing National Museum of Computing with it’s mainframe room, new PC gallery and nascent supercomputing room with a stonking great CRAY YMP-EL sitting in the middle of it. Adam Bradley is working on getting it going, apparently. He’s 14.

190520091458Then we popped over to the mansion and a special treat to be allowed to see and photograph inside Station X itself, an MI6 transmission station, high up in the tower. I heard yesterday that the X is like the X in OS-X it just means Station Ten, rather than being anything particularly top secret, although of course it was, y’know, particularly top secret.

Another unexpected treat was the cinema and film projection museum. Real geekgasm material here, mainly because it was such a surprise to find it all in such a small nondescript building. Great place for a solobasssteve gig, I think. By the time we got to the reconstructed bombe machine, I was running short of time and blood sugar. But there’s still an awful lot more to see. I’ll be back.

One particular idea that Christian floated was to turn some of the derelict concrete buildings into a geek warren – make it safe, run in a big fat net pipe, add some soft furnishings and get some use out of the space again at least for a few years, with a use that’s congruent with the place’s history for housing the sharpest mathematical and computing minds.

And if you haven’t done so before or recently, chuck some money in the pot to keep them going.

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more random notes from Austin

#kebab was interesting in what it brought out in people when they were given the opportunity to run something themselves. It certainly showed the appetite, particularly among the British contingent to do something different – the only problem was that everyone wanted a different sort of different. It also showed up the difference between UK & US cultures – one I want to explore more, I think there’s something to do to try and build bridges.

The Texas Tuttle went well on Sunday , lots of people packed onto the stand and I got to meet some new people plus Justin Souter who I’d only chatted to on the phone before. Big thanks to Sam and Emily for making us so welcome and arranging the catering. Which reminds me that I need to give a special Tuttle merit badge to Dougald for courage in the face of US customs, risking a full body search by entering the States with PG Tips in his luggage.

The regional whuffie panel put an interesting perspective on coworking and social capital building as a means to raise the social capital of a city or location as well as to that of individuals. junto.org looks an interesting event. Tony Bacigalupo put together this list of links to all the people on the panel and their various activities and endeavours. I came out able to say the word whuffie without dying of embarrassment. The single most important thing I’ve got from attending SXSWi has been the inspiration and motivation to pick up the coworking element of Tuttle again and make sure that we’ve got something to talk about with these folks, this time next year.

Work Places

05112008518This is a photograph of what’s left of the car park that used to be on the corner of Rochester Row and Greycoat Place. In the top left-hand corner, you can see the windows of the offices of 33 Greycoat Street, now occupied by the Commission for Social Care Inspection. In 1999, the Audit Commission took on that building as part of it’s growth in preparation for inspecting Best Value (wha’ that?) and one of those first floor offices later became the place where my manager took residence and I’d sit with her, trying to avoid conversations about how well I was doing, what I wanted to do next and how the Commission “could help in my development”. I mainly stared out of the window, at that car park and wondered how long she would wait to change the subject.

I love these holes in the city. Demolition sites that, once flattened, last only too briefly. The chance to see through further than you could before, see the backs of places only imagined, see a bit more of the sky, regain a sense of scale. Maybe some of them will hang around for longer if redevelopment money is short. Mind you, there still seems to be plenty of activity of some sites, although those may be ones where the mentality is “we’ve started so we’ll finish”.

Which also reminds me of conversations we had early on about Tuttle that included a kind of office-in-a-box a travelling co-working space that could be set up anywhere we could find a space. I’m becoming attracted to that again. Perhaps Amplified08 might be a place to specify what’s needed.