I’m in New York for a couple of months, working on a combination of business and personal projects. I’m loving the experience…..
The year started with a chance to see one of my favourite authors, Seth Godin, speak about his new book “The Icarus Deception”. The Video below gives you a nice flavour of what the books (and the overall project) is about.
At Seth’s talk at the Haft Auditorium in Manhattan, his focus was on how people needed to find their art. It’s a continued theme in Seth’s writing to not conform, not be a cog in the machine, be unique, be a linchpin. He talked passionately about the “Power of Connection”. That the “More we connect – the “richer” we get!”. This resonates so much with the work I am doing with Climbing Fish – my new venture with John Lynch.
Seth also talked about the new “Connection Economy” and how it is created by the generosity of individuals mixed with their art.
It was a great couple of hours – and I got to shake hands with the great man (smaller than me – but we share the same hairdresser!)
Seth Godin and Phil O’Brien at launch of “The Icarus Deception”
Good evening – My name is Phil O’Brien. As you can tell from my accent, I am an Englishman living in New York for a while.
My art is connecting people. I like to help connect the dots of people’s lives. It gives me energy – it’s my passion. I love listening to people, strangers. Trying to find something of their essence – and then connecting them to someone I know, or another stranger that I meet, a person who has a fresh perspective that will help each of them to grow.
I’m working on a project called Climbing Fish. The name comes from the Einstein quote: “Everyone is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.”
I’m trying to develop and refine my “off-line” connecting art – and see if there is any way to take what I’ve learnt to accelerate connections on-line. I believe that conversations with strangers help people discover new paths, rewire their thinking, help their quest to rediscover genius. Sadly we’ve lost the appetite for serendipitous conversations in this time managed, too many meetings, over connected world.
I’d love to chat with any of you strangers/you geniuses – let me buy you a coffee or a beer.
I want to help you cast off your LinkedIn “game face”, your CV, your resume. Leave behind for a little while your Family/Facebook/Friends who often don’t want you to rock your boat – or indeed theirs.
I’d like to help you explore through conversations with strangers your undiscovered genius, maybe add fire to your “mild rage” or give you a whole new perspective. I believe this could change you, the people you meet and maybe the world for better – and help us all rediscover our art!
Let me see if I can help connect some dots for you. I’d appreciate you helping me to become a better connector – and to practice my art.
Please do come and say hi – or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are the cautious type and you want to learn more about me – please go to philobrien.com. Thank you
I was recently asked to give a talk to a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs on the subject of mentoring. As anyone who has been asked to give a talk will know – the preparation is usually started with a quick session on Google. So here were my results….
I found a good definition – “Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.”. Quite inspiring…
I also found out via Wikipedia that Mentor was a person in Greek mythology – and I found another definition “someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with less experienced colleagues. It also brought back to me the word “protégé” – which seems to have slipped from common use. This is someone who is being mentored (a mentee in common speak these days).
I have been lucky enough to have had some brilliant mentors in my journey firstly as a photographer and then as an entrepreneur. Latterly, I have also taken on this role for other people – including an aristocrat, a professional sportsman and a property developer.
These days, increasingly there is access to professional mentors/psychologists/life coaches – and I think they serve a purpose. However, at its purest the relationship of a mentor/mentee is a partnership. There has to be a chemistry – a meeting of energies that motivate both sides to really work. It’s not a pure paternal relationship (although age difference might make it feel that way) – both sides have to gain.
I love the quote (although I cannot find the source) that “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” A mentoring relationship can be any of these. Certainly I have experienced all the versions.
For example, in the 90s, my business changed when the Getty family and Bill Gates moved in to the “cottage industry” of the photography world. I have two mentors who helped me through. You can read more about that experience here – but in essence I had a mentor, Chad Murrin of 3i, who introduced me to the world of corporate finance and venture capital (he remains a friend today). At the same time, I had a short term mentor in the form of Tom Kirby of Games Workshop – he helped me understand strategy (which drives all my thinking today). Both had an illuminating effect on my life for reasons, seasons and lifetimes.
Since the sale of my business, I have tried to use my experience to help others. I have found the relationships two-way. I believe I have managed to learn more, find different views and hone some of my skills – while sharing my experience. I am very clear on what I can offer to people. It’s a passion to get individuals to lift their heads from their daily grind and consciously decide where they are going. This is coupled with my desire to get people to look around and find solutions away from the narrow path they often tread. “Head up – mind open” is always my mentoring message.
Going back to the original definition I found – we all have a drive to “become the person we want to be.” I believe that you cannot do this by sitting on your own reading self-help books and making plans. John Lennon had it right “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” You need to get out and live life – and that means meeting people. You will know when the chemistry is right and you have met someone that you can be a mentor to – or ask to be mentored by. Avoid the professional life coaches, unless you have a very specific issue to deal with – get out and meet a mentor today! Two final quotes (you can tell that I love them).
“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things, the books you read and the people you meet.” ~ Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
“…often it is strangers who help us make sense of where we are going and who we will become.” ~ Herminia Ibarra “Working Identity”
I love Wow projects – and am always happy to chat over a coffee in Bath. I’m currently working as co-founder of a startup business Climbing Fish (inspired, of course, by a quote “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” ~ Albert Einstein
Social Media has revolutionised the way we interact with our family, friends, contacts and acquaintances. We now have tools at our finger tips that help us to socialise, connect and share.
However, I feel the system has become a little flawed – because it doesn’t seem to work when we start to combine our on-line and off-line worlds. Let me explain.
I was at an excellent conference the other week at Battersea Power Station – The Power of One. The speakers were great – and one triggered an issue I have been trying to get my head around for a while.
Jason Calacanis talked about the challenges of future work. One of the key themes was social isolation. He said that the iPad works against social isolation. He made the point that you can easily share what is on the screen of the iPad with others close to you. A smartphone screen is too small – and a computer is too clumsy. The way we use the iPad means we can consume in more intimate places – like when we are going to bed or waking up. Most importantly it’s the first computer tool that you can use to socially engage with off-line.
He is right – and I have seen it happening in my family environment – and it prompts me to demand a joint account. Here is the example.
I love an iPad app called Fancy. It probably pips Flipboard to the post as being my No. 1 app. If you’ve not had a play – then you should have a look on the web, but it’s a whole new experience on the tablet. The App simply displays pages of 4 images of attractive products, designs, places, gizmos, accessories, gifts, etc. The idea is you “Fancy” a picture – and it is stored against your profile.
That works fine – but in the real world (as my wife will tell you) it is shared by going “oh, look at this” as I turn around and show the iPad screen to anyone passing by/sitting near.
The other element – and here is my key point – is that my daughter, Millie (who is 12) loves it too. She will sometimes sit with me – and we will “fancy together” … and sometimes she will pick it up and “fancy” her own stuff. So, if you look at MY profile on Fancy – you can often see a mixture of the latest super car/gadget…. and something pretty, fluffy, in pink!
The iPad gives us the first device that can be shared off-line easily (and there will be more to come). How do we make it that we can have a joint account and to reflect what we do together?
I wrote a while ago about my belief that the individual is the new group. That new services based on the principle of Soloware would replace corporate Groupware. I still believe that our technology and personal network will be based around individuals in the future – with the corporate group effectively bringing those individual units together. What I think is missing is something in between.
I’m just researching a possible venture using mobile devices in the heritage sector with a friend. The same challenge exists there. How do you make a couple or family group share an experience in the real world – but not define them as a group or individual in the on-line world. There are elements that we want to keep individual – but there is a lot that we want to automatically share (using the same device).
Anyway, there’s the challenge. Facebook, Google, Twitter – and especially Fancy … ‘I’d like to open a joint account, please”.
Friday 11/11/11 will go down as one of the most surreal of my life. The day started with a look through my twitter feed on Flipboard. Lo and behold, I discovered the ideal Christmas present my Angry Birds addicted wife – “The Angry Boobs Bra: For Ultimate Angry Birds Fans”. The site that was selling it had a very funny sales line “If you are brave enough to pit one boob against the other, but all means, buy this hand-painted Angry Birds bra.” How do people think of these things – Angry Birds … and the bra?
Actually, later on in the day I attended the Power of One Conference at Battersea Power Station. Part of this Angry Bird’s question was answered.
For those of you have not been – Battersea Power Station is currently a shell. It’s a listed building (protected as an historic monument) – but there are just the chimneys, walls … and no roof. The conference is held in a large marquee at the centre of the building. We were told that this would be the last conference held on the site before it was redeveloped. By a twist of fate, the only other time I had been there was the very first conference held by Sun Microsystem in the mid-90s.
The significance of the day was not lost – 11/11/11. At 11 o’clock, along with the rest of the UK we observed 2 minutes to honour those who had lost their lives in defence of our country. Seemed strange being stood in a conference hall underneath those great towers. Low point was shared by a delegate who reported on Twitter “Cannot believe that I was just asked if the two minute silence observed at #p1event was to remember Steve Jobs.”
Error, failure and especially perseverance became a bit of a theme of the conference. This was brought home by the after lunch speaker – Yosi Taguri from Israel. He’s probably the best conference speaker I have seen – rivalling any of the great Jewish comedians (with a raft of bad language thrown in!).
Josi’s headline to the presentation was how he had spent his life F###ing things up. However, through perseverance he had managed to find success. I’m hoping the presentation will be available on-line soon – but there is a good write up on The New Web (TNW).
His story was peppered with failures and near-miss successes. These culminated in him creating a very simple game app called Pah! It’s such a simple video game. Space ship moves and shoot things. The twist is that you move the space ship up an down by saying AHHHH! and fire the rockets by shouting PAH!. You can see a couple of videos below – one of it being reviewed:
… and the other of a Chinese mum playing the game.
There are many more YouTube videos of the game in action. Here’s another one showing a violinist playing the game through the noise of her instrument.
Do support Josi and buy Pah!, it’s only 69p. It’s a great social game – breaks down barriers.
In the evening, I headed of for a “date” with a 16 year old! Well not quite. My friend’s daughter, Polly, who is 16 had to take a “business person” to a Black Tie guest night at her school. Her brief had said the person should be over 25. I think she had misread and thought the person had to be double 25! I was honoured – but it felt slightly strange picking up Polly and taking her out for the night.
The idea of the evening was to get the sixth formers used to the world of work. At the end of the night, we had an inspirational talk from a pathologist. Another quirk at the end of a long day!
Anwyay, it was great. Dr Suzy Lishman was not just any old pathologist – she can be found on Twitter @ilovepathology. She was an inspiring role model for the youngsters in the room. Again, she told a tale of perseverance – this time in pursuit of saving lives and understanding the cause of disease. One part struck home with me – and provided a link for the day’s experiences.
She talked about her long medical training – and then the selection of pathology as her speciality. She’d chosen to give pathology a chance after her boyfriend of the time said it was interesting. She then undertook intensive training for a 12 month period on the subject. She explained that the first 6 months were awful – and she wanted to give up and chose another discipline. She described the course being dominated by looking through a microscope at slides of human tissue being moved around (which made her feel queasy) and with the only colours being red and blue (the dies used to differentiate cells). She didn’t “get it” – and felt dizzy with spots in front of her eyes.
However, it suddenly came together for her after 6 months – and she got what pathology was all about. She understood “the game” and realised she was like a detective investigating. She was looking for clues – the needle in the haystack. As her skills developed, she unlocked levels, doors opened and she could make a real difference to people’s lives by finding the causes of an illness and suggesting medical solutions.
So, what have all these got in common? I think the message of perseverance is clear. It’s pushing through those times of failure, feeling that you’ll never get your head around a topic or you’ll never reach the next level.
I’ve written before about the power of gamification – the ideas put forward by people like Jane McGonigal, Daniel Pink and Clay Shirkey that there is a “cognitive surplus” being used in games that could be used for a greater good. What Dr. Lishman spoke about with such enthusiasm was how pathology became her addiction, her passion, her love.
Interestingly, Dr. Lishman described her 6 month experience training as a pathologist in the way my wife tells me about getting frustrated getting through a difficult level in Angry Birds. Lots of multi coloured dots moving around – and not being able to make sense of them. Dr Lishman talked about how she role plays as a “detective” – and that’s what makes pathology exciting for her. That sounds like game play too.
In our education for future work, we can (and should) learn a lot from how game makers enthuse through levels, role play, achievement and invoking passion. It brings out the persevering side of us – and that’s a skill we need in order to power through those failures (Yosi’s F### ups) and achieve success.
[My thanks go to Chris “Bookmeister” Book for organising such an excellent conference; Chris Day and Mark Power for their images with pencil and camera of the conference; Yosi Taguri for such a brilliant presentation; Dr Suzy Lishman for enthusing me about Pathology (want to come along to one of her Virtual Autopsies) – and, of course, my “date” – Polly, you were great company
P.S. Just for clarification – there is absolutely no way my better half would be impressed by a novelty bra! I’ll be getting her something much nicer for Christmas]
This week I went to a networking evening in Bristol called South West Founders. I’ve been meaning to go for ages – since moving to Bath earlier in the year. I finally got around to it because I’d planned to meet with a friend, John Lynch, for a few beers – and we decided a trip to Bristol might work.
If you have read the blog before – you have probably seen my post “I HATE Networking”. That reports on a networking event in Bath that I attended – and hated. Interestingly enough, two guys spoke at that event who I have now become friends with (Mike Ellis and Dave Kelly).
I thought that tagging along with a pal might help with my dislike of networking events – and it did. John was great company – and filled in nicely during those initial “wallflower” minutes.
I’m known for being a little too flippant – it’s the “scouser” blood in me. When we arrived, we were given a couple of stickers to write our names on – and with a box to simply say why you are attending. In a rush, I decided my best/wittiest response was “I’m Driving John Home”.
This allowed me to make some anecdotal observations on the “networkers” at the event:-
BADGE SCANNERS – there were many people who would walk slowly around the room and scan badges. I watched a few of these – and when they read why I was there – promptly moved on without chatting (they assumed I was John’s chauffeur and just bumming a free drink).
WHAT DO YOU DO TYPES – there were some who engaged in conversation, but ignored me when they read the badge and focussed on chatting with John. Again, did say hello – but assumed I was not worth chatting to as I was just John’s driver
I’LL SPEAK TO ANYONE – there were many fun, open people too. They chatted about a variety of subjects, took an interest – and ignored the badge. If I’d had green hair – they would have been the same. My sort of people.
I did some preparation for the event. It was arranged via the MeetUp site – and all the attendees had a profile and contact details. There was no-one who specifically sprung out as a “must see” contact – but I did follow a few people on Twitter.
Interestingly, one of the guys who I followed on Twitter I didn’t get the chance to meet. However, we’ve since followed up/met on-line and are getting together early next week for a bite to eat and swap ideas.
… for me … don’t be too flippant, it might put off people talking to you
… for others … never judge a book by its cover (or a guy by his name badge)
… and finally … off-line networking and on-line networking mix. The people who attend the same event probably have something in common. Don’t work the room, it’s a long term game – and you might be as likely to make that connection on-line. Do prep – and read the attendees list.
As for “Driving John Home”. I got badly lost in Bristol, couldn’t properly partake in the free drinks (kindly sponsored by the nice guys at local VC Eden Ventures) and then lost my car park ticket (had to pay an extortionate amount for a full day!). We’ll be taking the train next time – and I will be more sensible with what I write on my badge.
I’ve been following the news about the various anti-capitalist protests around the world. We’ve even had one sprout up in the middle of Queen Square in Bath!
It got me thinking – that maybe we should be careful about how to use the terms capital, capitalism and capitalist. Capital isn’t just money! As you will know if you’ve read my blog before, I believe that your most valuable asset is your Personal Network. It’s much more valuable than money in the bank – conventional “financial” capital.
These days, our social media presence and our network of contacts is referred to as our “social capital”. It’s a good term – and gets us to think of this network as an asset (much like our savings, pensions, etc). I think it’s important that we continue the analogy – and learn from the “financial” capitalists to protect, nurture and grow our social assets.
All my reading leads me to the conclusion that there is a significant power change going on in the world. My feeling is that the disasters in the world economy shields one of the biggest changes – and that is the empowerment of the individual. The growth of our social network, the change in the dynamics of the workplace and our dissatisfaction with the old system of work/get paid/consume is leading us on a new path.
We now have the tools as individuals to create and grow significant Social Capital. In time, this will mean that we will chose where we want to work – and how we want to work. We will be courted by businesses who can meet OUR requirements – and we will need to be convinced that a business matches OUR personal needs. The shoe is moving to the other foot.
I did a google search for the term “social capitalist”. There are a wide range of definitions. For example, Wikipedia says that it’s an economic theory around macro-economics and philosophy (not what I am proposing).
Fast Company appeared to give awards to Social Capitalists up until recently. Their Social Capitalists are “Social Entrepreneurs who are changing the world”. I like those too – but it’s not what I am talking about.
My idea of Social Capitalists is you and me. People who believe in their network, want to make connections, give value to those around them and cherish relationships as their most important asset.
We need to be careful with our Social Capital. I’ve written before about my concern about social networks – especially Facebook. They act in effect as our bankers, places where our social capital is held side by side with that of others. We need to learn from the banking crisis that we should be very careful where we put our trust – and check if our social capital is safe.
Every financial adviser will tell you that it is most important to protect your capital. We should do the same with our Social Capital. We should not allow our relationships to erode. We need to nurture and keep our currency.
My idea of Social Capitalism offers a middle ground between our current financially driven world – and the bartering of the past. This combined with our craft and skills will help us make our way in the world – finding work that excites us and the people who give us energy. Becoming Social Capitalists is at the core of this opportunity to leverage and grow.
Power to the people – and viva Social Capitalists!
There is too much emphasis on the idea that the way to get on in life is having great qualifications – and in particular a degree. I think it’s a dangerous fallacy. It’s education along with opportunity that matters – and that doesn’t necessarily involved schooling or universities.
I sat at lunch with a friend the other week. She was hosting a dinner with a chief executive of a major multi-national company – and she started to make apologies for the fact that she had dropped out of further education. I pulled her up on this, and reminded her that many of the greatest achievers dropped out or left school early. It was the week that Steve Jobs had died – so there was one example for starters! Finishing a course and getting a degree is not the route to success.
I regularly listen in to Desert Island Discs – an excellent biographical programme linked in with favourite music of high achievers. I am always surprised at how many subjects of the programme have dropped out. A recent Desert Island Discer was the broadcaster Danny Baker – he left school at 14.
In the article, Michael goes through a “credits list” of dropouts that have made such a difference to the world of technology.
Steve Jobs of Apple
Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft
Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone of Twitter
Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Sean Parker of Facebook
He also talks how 20% of jobs are fulfilled by a formal process that involved a CV, qualifications, etc – but 80% depends on the personal network you create and the story you can tell. Don’t get hung up on the CV and degrees – people want to know the real you, not a set of stats.
I agree with Michael that the route to some careers will require formal qualifications. The professions such as lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc. However, the economies of the world will be driven by business creation – and that’s what we should help many of our school leavers towards. I would like to see equal support given to young people in creating new business as in applying for universities to get degrees. I would also like to see the willingness of governments (and banks) to give the same funding support for new startup ventures that they would to running up debt on studies.
Also this morning, Sachin Rekhi (founder of Connected – which has just sold to LinkedIn) shared with me a story in Fast Company magazine. The story “Silicon Valley’s new hiring strategy” – told the story of an innovative programme in the US to find coders away from the conventional trawl of CVs. It also had a great graphic showing some successful dropouts, entitled “we don’t need no education” (I’m a sucker for a Pink Floyd lyric!)
So you can add Richard Branson, Frank Lloyd-Wright, Lady Gaga and Walt Disney to that list!
I liked a quote from my twitter friend, Sarah Doody, yesterday:
“How do you balance a start up and having a life? You DON’T. If all your chips are in, it IS your life.”
Let’s get people creating start ups, having a focus – and not killing time in a 3 year trip to University. Let’s drive those University applications down. Create something, learn out in the real world – and choose life!
Lynda peppers the book with quotes about the challenge to balance narcissism with reputation building and personal branding”:
“These are also the people who will tread the fine line between out-and-out narcism and a more nuanced presentation and branding of self.”
“Walking the line between personal branding and making a mark, and out-and-out narcism, will be increasingly important.”
“I don’t want to confuse narcissism with this reputational building. It’s not narcissistic to want to build a trusted personal brand – it’s vital.”
It’s encouraging – but doesn’t give you much of a safety net. Being a pioneer – can mean you fall flat on your face and your personal branding just makes you appear a pushy, self-promoting, narcissist!
Also, while the website building process has been going on – I seem to have been bombarded by headlines such as:-
In the end, I bit the bullet and did all the things that I needed to do. Some were easier than others.
I had some great help from the team at local Bath agency, Storm. Dave Kelly (the “award-winning” young boss) took the brief, Andrew pulled together a simple – but striking – design and Liam wired it all up so that it worked. It’s been quite a big build as I decided that the “Projects & Tales” area were going to be the best way to build confidence with visitors. The site is aimed at business founders who might want help – and like minded individuals who want to make contact. Lynda’s book was again useful on this:
“Attractors pull others towards them because they are seen as open, so others feel less anxious about approaching them, and they are seen as good at reciprocating, so their friends are keen to introduce their friends to them. But perhaps the most important pull of attraction is that they are seen as interesting and exciting, and create clear pathways along which others feel they can approach them.”
It would have been cheaper to just have a DIY site from About.me or Flavors.me – but I felt the “storytelling” was important. Would be interested to hear your thoughts if you get chance to compare the three sites.
Having my picture taken was pretty cringey. Despite being a professional photographer for nearly 15 years – I’d never been the “victim” of a studio photographer before. Neill Menneer from Bath studio Spirit Contemporary Photography, put me at ease. I’m pleased with the results. It was originally suggested that I could just have a “snap” done – but the professional photography makes such a difference. I think if I was running on a tighter budget I would have had the pro photo session done – and just gone with About.me or Flavors.me. I would then have worked harder on a basic WordPress.com blog to back up those sites.
Writing the project and tales was a cathartic and enjoyable experience. It was definitely self-indulgent, but an important opportunity to reflect on what I have done that I’ve enjoyed and have managed to make a difference with. Getting the tone right was important – and here I drafted in the services of my “big sister”, Sandra. She’s an experienced newspaper sub-editor. As well as knocking the writing, spelling and grammar in to shape, Sandra was able to give me an honest answer to my questions like “does this make me sound too much of a twat!” I hope she’s been honest!!!
Finally, I knew that there was one page that needed to be a bit more “sales”/pushy. That was the About Me page. I decided to outsource the writing of this. Lea Woodward offers a great service to do this. I sent her the draft of my site – and a brief on who I was trying to reach. I think she’s got the tone right – and along the way she reinforced that I should use “you” in my writing much more than “I”. Training the narcissist out of me!
Well, the site is now up and running. I’ve still not shown my wife or given her the link. I still find the idea of talking about myself and showing personal pictures in such a public way skin crawling!
I did read an article last week that did give me faith that if I come across as a narcissist, it’s not that bad.
“Steve Jobs is a text-book example of a brilliant productive narcissist, a change-the-world personality who evolved into a great leader by developing his strategic intelligence: foresight, partnering, visioning and motivating.”
One of our family’s treats each year is to attend concerts at the Montreux Jazz Festival. We have been doing this for the last 4 festivals – seeing acts ranging from Adele to Status Quo to Mumford & Sons to Mark Ronson to Alicia Keys. Our children started doing this when they were 9 & 10 – and we always buy tickets to stand to get to the front and enjoy the music.
This year, our treat was to watch Sting at the Stravinski Auditorium. Standing tickets were behind about 12 rows of seats – and getting there early to queue was important. We took some friends and their children – and commenced our queuing at 5:30 – with doors opening at 7pm. We got 4th place in the queue! When the barriers came down, we rushed up the stairs to find the auditorium doors closed – and 35 minutes later we were finally let in to bag our place. We found a nice space up against the barrier and next to a TV camera stand with a clear view for the youngsters in the party (ranging from 12-16 years).
What intrigued me is the dynamic of trying to keep your “personal space” in these situations. It’s fun standing up and being able to move around (I can’t call it dancing!!). However, there is a tension about keeping your space and not letting people push in or get too close. We spotted a couple of young girls about 4 layers back (they were 8 & 9 years old attending their first concert). Their view was totally blocked by our party – so we negotiated with those around us to budge up and their mum and dad were able to send them to the front to enjoy! That was the nice bit… The girls headed off to bed at the interval – and then the spaces changed … and suddenly there was an issue! My friend, Sally, got “monstered” from behind by a couple. Firstly, the man got too close to Sally – then the lady insisted on pushing her handbag into her back (and that of a Swiss lady next to her). Eventually, a highly vocal row broke out (as Sting was performing one of his quiet numbers). It was all very tense and uncomfortable. As a solution, I swapped places with Sally … and the lady got bored with poking me in the back with her handbag after another couple of numbers.
I’m just reading a book called “Tales from Facebook” by Daniel Miller. It was recommended to my by my Twitter friend @SadGrimm – and is proving to be a cracking read with a “short story” style helping to present the research. The Facebook focussed research is very relevant to the real-life scenario above. Here is a brief excerpt:-
“You simply can’t have both closeness and privacy. You cant have support without claustrophobia. You can’t have this degree of friendship without the risk of explosive quarreling. Either everything is more socially intense or none of it is.”
As we build our Personal Networks in real life – or online with social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and “new kid on the block” Google+ – we will continue to juggle (and make compromises on) closeness and privacy.
This week I went to a networking evening in Bristol called South West Founders. I’ve been meaning to go for ages – since moving to Bath earlier in the year. I finally got around to it because I’d planned to meet with a friend, John Lynch, for a few beers – and we decided a […]
Apologies for this very British post! Hopefully, the international audience of the blog will find it relevant and interesting too. The BBC broadcast a thought provoking programme this week – “Posh & Posher” presented by Andrew Neil (former editor of the Sunday Times). Although the programme focussed on the British Education system – and the […]
There’s a great post on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation today entitled “The Next Big Think On-Line could well be Anonymity”. It got me thinking about (and researching a little) the idea that you are “Judged by the Company You Keep”. WikiAnswers tells me that “This comment is known as early as 1541 in […]
As I research the subject of Personal Networks further. I am finding many more resources on the subject – and my Amazon account is taking some hammering! It’s interesting that it’s often the older books & research (from 1970s through to early 2000s) that seem to be hitting the mark for me. I think some […]
Sorry for the unusually long gap in blog posts. I have two excuses – firstly, I’ve become a bit of an obsessive twitter user … and secondly, I had a bad dose of “Man Flu”! During my convalescence, I did manage to catch a really good Sky Arts documentary on Pink Floyd’s creation of Dark […]