I have often played this out as an imaginary scenario in my head, wondering if I really would be any different if I lived anywhere else in the world. But Rachel has pretty convincingly demonstrated that, nope, it would still be me.. ah well.
I just got back from vacation in NYC last week and it was the longest I went without turning on my laptop, or replying to email in years. Sure, I came back to a ton of emails, and it’s taken about a week to catch up. But I had a few days to think about bigger picture stuff (cofounders, startups,…
Over the last few years I have toyed with the idea of doing, and not doing, an MBA. In one of my ‘not doing’ phases last year, I bought a book called ‘The Personal MBA’ by Josh Kaufman. At the time I probably made the mistake of trying to read it like a novel, chapter by chapter, and only got a quarter of the way in before getting distracted, and leaving behind a lot of the gold embedded in the later chapters.
This week I happened to pick it up again because I’m back in an MBA phase, but thought it couldn’t hurt to fast track some of the concepts I am wanting to learn more about. This time I went straight to the section of the book that was most relevant to me right now, and suddenly I stumbled upon the real value of the book. It is amazingly cross-referenced so you can find yourself jumping back and forth to read about different concepts and how they relate to each other, and how it’s relevant to you right now. I’m now convinced this is the only way to truly get the benefit out of a fantastic book like this - it was written to be a practical alternative to formal study and therefore must be used in practice.
Drilling further into the book sent me back to the Personal MBA website, where the author has compiled a list of 99 of the best business books across every category imaginable from sales to creativity and innovation to leadership. Just reading the titles made me feel smarter and I got that little heart thump of possibility that comes from the excitement of new learning. So I’ve decided to tackle the list and work my way through the titles in no particular order other than the way they become available to me. The first one I found was Tribes, by Seth Godin, Josh’s copy which now sits on the pallet bookshelf at Home/work. I thought to really get the most out of this reading, I should write a quick post summarizing what I got out of each book. So here goes:
While I have been aware of Godin’s work and thinking for a while, this is actually the first book of his I have read (other than dabbling in Linchpin a little while ago). I typically like something a bit more meaty and thought his books were a bit light on, so have never gone any further.
Having said that, Tribes has come to me at the perfect time, especially in relation to my current work with Collaborative Consumption and the power of this tribe to grow the movement. The central idea is around the power of individuals to break away from traditional ideas of what work is and to create something meaningful that connects to our passions. I feel lucky enough to already be on a path that’s not traditional, and avoiding the notion of ‘sheepwalking’ and following the status quo, but even still it’s important to be reminded as often as possible that this is a choice, and that it needs fostering and nurturing lest even this choice become stale.
There were some nice little takeaways in the book that got me thinking, specifically around leadership and making a commitment to be different. The notion that the art of leadership being an understanding of what you can’t compromise on - as good a start as any when figuring out where you want to make a difference. Also remembering that an organization or idea that requires success before commitment will generally get neither. Finally, something that resonated with me was the difference between reacting, responding and initiating - while responding is generally good and more challenging than just reacting without thinking strategically, initiating action is really what sets leaders apart.
The book also contains some good bullet point lists that create a sort of model for building a movement - on pages 23-24 and 88 - which could easily be read on their own as a quick reference guide. The rest of the book is really a series of little vignettes and examples that support Godin’s thesis, but the name dropping is a little frustrating where there is an assumption that the example is well-known and needs no further explanation and come across more like something that’s written about friends than a well-researched anecdote - but I gather that is Godin’s style and it certainly makes for a quick, easy read which is probably the appeal.
Looking forward to the next book on the list - perhaps finishing the Lean Startup by Eric Ries!
Nice thoughts from my boy on the evolution of a coworking space (and perhaps proof that some of my nagging is useful…?).
Home/work is a great place to work, not least because of Josh’s energy and the people he drew to it as foundational members - I for one am broken from the spell of ‘working’ from ‘home’ - and this place is starting to feel more cosy than my living room. Please stop by some time for a ‘cuppa’ :)
Last night I went to yoga for the first time in a while. I needed it in more ways than one, but primarily to remember there are many different parts of my life that need value and priority placed on them. Over the last few months I have kind of forgotten this.
The last few days have not been good. I am feeling a lot of things right now. And last night in going to yoga I was reminded of why I do what I do.
'If you're not feeling anything, then nothing is happening.'
I have chosen a path that is always going to be less stable than other options might be. I’m experiencing things both good and bad that I might not otherwise get to. But as long as I’m feeling them I know ‘something is happening’ and I am extending myself constantly, not stagnating in safety. It’s a choice. And right now it’s the right one for me.
So much great insight to be gleaned from this post on building great teams based on a balance of the most important qualities, rather than extreme talent in any given area.
The team diagram showing strengths from 1 to 10 across Technical Ability, Charisma, Work Ethic, Honesty/Sincerity, Grit/Determination, Hustle Ability and Teaching Ability is a fantastic litmus test for a well-performing team, as well as identifying strength gaps.
I’m not some enlightened philosopher or ‘visionary thought-leader’. I’m just a guy who likes to think about things, simply. I think a lot about why people work. Mostly about why I work. But it’s my job, I’m a Recruiter. I waste a lot of time on Twitter, something I justify as ‘doing my job’ - but…
A little while ago I read an article about starting the day as a 'producer', not a 'consumer'. The argument was that we often wake up and shift into default consumption mode, whether that is watching the news, reading our emails or other information sites, and before we know it we have set the pattern for our entire day as one of reactionary thinking and back-foot activity in response to things incoming.
At the time I tried to change this for myself a bit, realising how hard it is to stay away from incoming information from the moment you wake up. Even as I write this post, I am resisting the urge to go back and read the original article so I can reference it properly…instead relying on what I in fact got out of it, my own interpretation, whether that was the author’s intention or not.
Just over 3 weeks ago, we spent our last day in LA before heading to Austin for SXSW. That afternoon we rode from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier and back again, along the amazing pathway that snakes along the beach the whole way. Santa Monica was a wintry ghost town when we were there, a shadow of its Summery-tourist-haven self, but there was something special about this relative fairground perched above a wild and cold sea below.
Today, arriving back in Sydney after 4 weeks away, that day couldn’t feel further away. It always amazes me how easily we shift from one physical place to the next, ferried in the middle of the night through the sky to land as though you never left. But things do change, if only mentally, spiritually, and we’re never quite the same as we were before. To keep on moving or to stay still? There are merits to both, and different people have different desires.
Me, I look forward to having that next ticket in hand.
I wrote this on my iPad Tuesday morning, but didn’t get to post to Tumblr…cheating with the back-date.
This morning I was one of those people on the subway. Traveling uptown from Brooklyn on a very chilly Spring morning at 7am. Sitting sandwiched between people wearing down jackets akin to sleeping bags for their warmth and comfort, me in a Marc’s jacket from Australia that was never meant to see this temperature. Desperately scavenging a seat a few stops in to pretend for just a moment longer that I am actually in bed and can close my eyes a little longer. Looking across at people who might actually be asleep, having travelled a lot further than me from the suburbs - even perhaps as far as Coney Island.
The rhythm of the workday has a romanticism, sure. But it’s not hard to get drawn into the fatigue and feeling of having little control over your work and your life, because work is in fact the invisible hand that drags you on to the subway each morning, even if you’d rather be in bed, in the park, anywhere else.
Lucky I’m not really one of these people. And for the most part, perhaps everyone in the carriage actually loves their job and there is no place they would rather be (than on a subway carriage at 7am on a very cold morning…hmm). Every now and then I guess it’s good to realize that while the path you choose may be more challenging or even less enjoyable at times, we make choices about how we want to live our life. And having the freedom to follow your passion, meet people who inspire you and work alongside people who help you achieve your goals is one of the greatest freedoms there is.
Where were you at 7am this morning? I hope you were loving it.
Feel the fear...and have a drink with friends #b03
Late last night, after a quiet night in alone, I started having a mini fear attack about things that are going on for me right now, and feeling a little out of my depth, or beyond my capability. Josh said to me this afternoon, you don’t not run a race because you think you’re going to lose, but I realized that is probably the pervasive belief I have carried with me for most of my life. I tend to stay away from things that I don’t have a natural ability for, and gravitate towards those things I can do with little effort.
No doubt it’s a safe place, and you don’t get called out too often (in fact you probably spend more time pointing the finger at those whose efforts are less than perfect), but I have long realized that it’s much more satisfying to take a big leap of faith. Doesn’t make it any less scary or confronting to do so.
Last night I began to stress about all the potential mistakes I could make or wrong turns I could pursue. It started to feel bigger than me and I got into a bit of a slump by this afternoon. But then I found the secret recipe that allows people to keep forging ahead with their dreams - friends.
Tonight a wonderful and varied group of people got together for an afternoon beer. I have met every one of these people under different circumstances and for the most part they had never met each other. But each one is pursuing their own fantastic path and testing their own bravery, meaning suddenly I didn’t feel so isolated, and their support and encouragement and excitement made be remember that at the very least I have to take that leap because nothing bad can come of it.
Sometimes I can be a bit of a solitary person, underestimating the impact of the people around me. But I’m sure that the only way to get out of a pit of fear or stress or panic is to have someone take you by the hand and help you climb out. Just like the Wonder Years theme song :)
Plus Projects is the name I’ve chosen as the ‘handle’ for what I’m up to these days. I’m always curious to know what people are thinking when they choose a company or initiative name, so here are a few thoughts and reasons behind this one.
It finally happened. A day passed by in March where despite my best intentions, I could not blog. My habit of doing it just before I go to bed came back to bite me when I got home too late. And I just needed to sleep.
But I’m back on it. Despite this being a nice little challenge between friends, I have come to look forward to the little brain dump each day that lets me go to bed with a relatively clear head. Look forward to keeping the routine alive (though perhaps a little less consistently…) in the months beyond March and into the next year. It’s a way of expressing excitement and gratitude, articulating fear and issues of confidence and generally just marking each day with a bit more acknowledgement than normal. And that feels good.
Planes are great for thinking - staring out over what becomes fairly nondescript cloudscape at altitude, it’s easy to relive past or manifest positive future scenarios, with the invincibility that comes with being higher up in the universe permitting you to believe that everything is possible.
Planes are great for listening to music, giving the imagination a rest and tapping into a different sense to allow you to go deeper with your contemplations.
Planes can be good for writing, a little unconnected screen time allowing you to produce rather than create.
Planes are good for resting (ultimate comfortability aside) mentally and physically, if you can give in to the lack of other stimulation and just allow yourself to suspend and switch off for a while.
For all these reasons, I sometimes wish they would keep the sky Internet-free (and flying Sun Country guarantees that…) because I can always usually get online, but I rarely really take the time to do any of the above.
Well past midnight, a bag to pack and a plane to catch in less than 12 hours… is it really ever possible to do it any other way?
Our visit to SF has come to an end all to quickly again, as we get ready to head to NYC tomorrow morning on a carrier that no one has ever heard of before…at least they probably won’t have in-flight wireless. It has been a fantastic trip and I am just reeling at all the amazing experiences and connections that have been made in the last week.
There is something so powerful about the feeling that you have in moments of pure clarity, where anything seems possible and you feel like you know the right way forward. These periods of time can be momentary; they can also last for weeks as you shuttle from one experience to the next.
Right now I like to say I’m in a phase known as ‘running with it’ - a condition that can occur in these phases of relative invincibility simply because you don’t have the time to sit back and think about what you’re doing. Because if you did it would scare you silly and you might just think you can’t do it.
I think its amazing that very few people would know the definition of a gerund, yet these kinds of words actively feature in our vocabulary.
Whenever I am in America I am even more acutely aware of the verbosity with which I write emails compared to the brevity of an American colleague’s. They get to the point, they don’t mince words, they don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings in every single line. I on the other hand take three or four lines to actively describe and justify each sentence. But at least no one gets offended right?
I think attacking the use of gerunds is one way to reverse email overkill. When things are taken from the present possibility to the present actually happening, we shift gears in terms of what is actually possible.
Love this article in Inc magazine exposing the role of the gerund in the English language, and I will be endeavouring to remove them from at least written correspondence from now on!
Over the past couple of years, society has undergone a massive cultural and economic shift – one focused on a reinvention in not just what but how we consume. We call this shift Collaborative Consumption. Marketplaces in this space enable strangers to connect online to trade, exchange, rent,…
“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.”—Great quote via swiss-miss! (via skillshare)
Sometimes you have to step back and marvel at the connections and opportunities enabled by social media.
Tonight we had the pleasure of catching up with a friend from Australia who happens to be in San Francisco at the same time as us. It was an awesome night full of conversations about new ideas, mutual friends and future possibilities. But what was really amazing was the fact that we’ve never really met face to face before.
I first ‘met’ Kate Kendall, innovator, entrepreneur and founder of The Fetch, to name a few things, two years ago over Skype in the lead up to the Melbourne launch of Rachel’s book. We did meet briefly the night of the launch but it seems like in two years we’ve never had the chance to connect in the same city. Except tonight. In San Francisco. We have touched base occasionally over this time, staying ambiently aware of each other’s lives and crossing digital paths every now and then.
But the power of social media means that, when meeting up for the first time tonight, it’s amazing to feel like we have known each other for so long. And yet while our social media profiles do share a lot about this, it’s amazing to enter a relationship by building on such a strong foundation. It’s also so interesting that in all this data, there are so many wonderful traits, interests, values that can’t be captured by social media in all their depth and richness. So while there is always a time for new friends, there is a big difference when you connect with a true friend.
I’m often struck by the way we often go through life for long periods of time embarking down a particular route, yet perhaps with a growing sense that it might not be the right thing to do, but no apparent clues as to what the alternative might be.
It also surprises me the way it can take a single experience, or a change in scenery, to unlock the floodgates of all the strategic creative thought processes you need to apply to the situation and essentially jerk it back onto the right path, or know how to move away from it altogether and take the next big leap.
I’m not sure there’s much more than I can say right now to surpass my title. Yes I know that planes in the States have had wifi on their domestic routes for a while now, but it’s the first time I’ve actually decided to log on. And it’s still damn amazing.
I’m kind of anti working on planes because I think that with the crazy effect these super shuttles have on our bodies, the least we can do is take a bit of time to rest our brains and avoid stimulus from our various technological devices (and catch up on the movies we’ve missed or the books we never find time for). But sometimes there is just that much to do, and thank goodness 5 1/2 hours spent in transit isn’t devoid of the opportunity to knock things off the list.
I know this is the usual wisdom associated with synchronicity of interactions, but one of the biggest myths surrounding SXSW is that this energy/opportunity/kismet abounds, and that at any given moment you might meet your co-founder/investor/next employer.
While I do not doubt that the odds are much higher, and there must be hundreds of these amazing stories from the last few years of the interactive stream, I couldn’t help but feel that in the thousands of people around me, it would be impossible to meet the ‘right’ ones.
But in the last 24 hours I had two really memorable moments that I guess sum up what can happen in a place like this - the first at a bus stop at 9.30pm and the second after the end of the last day of Interactive, as I met up with two friends at the Whole Foods Truck outside the Marriott.
Not glamorous, not strategic, not expected - the way synchronicity is supposed to happen! And it reminds me that you can’t pursue these things but simply be open and ready to connect with the people you meet - even at the bus stop!
Today I was fortunate enough to hear legendary Ray Kurzweil speak about a topic which is also the subject of this post.
For many decades, Kurzweil has been focused on ‘accelerating intelligence’ both in technology and biology and famously Talks about a time of singularity - when machine and human merge (a very simplistic explanation for a complex topic!). While I don’t know about his work in enough depth, I think it’s safe to say this is the direction we’re heading in, not because machines are going to take over the world but rather because the devices we own and use make our world infinitely better, expanding our own capacity for intelligence rather than giving over to technology and relinquishing our individual knowledge and skill.
This is possibly never more obvious than when in a foreign country, crippled by a lack of 3G access or sporadic wifi. Your ability to know, see and access all is cut off and making the simplest of decisions becomes more difficult. Right or left? Google maps would be able to tell you via GZpS whether you were walking toward or away from your destination, rather than having to walk up and down the block. A hunt for shoes is all the more difficult when you don’t even know what shops exist and where they are. A work day without constant access to email becomes one in which the inbox grows and the outbox is a wasteland.
With technology I am a citizen of the world, who can make any city my home by tapping into the collective digital footprint of its residents. Without it, I am the hillbilly clutching at instructions on paper and eyeing buildings for names and numbers with a little too much intent.
Then again, in a world without tech I tap into my innate biological apps - an ability to ask questions, a gut instinct and visual clues on which direction to walk, and an opportunity to focus on the things that are important in real time rather than being dictated by digital ‘urgencies’.
I am definitely pro tech as an extension and augmenter of ‘me’, but a holiday from it certainly allows you to reboot and recalibrate the rest of the system.
To be honest, it’s 2am over here and I really need to get to bed but I can’t bear to think that today is the first day in March that I won’t have posted a blog. So I’m going to do it anyway, despite the hour and despite having a few margaritas under my belt from the Shareable dinner with some amazing Collaborative Consumption founders.
Today - Day 3 of SXSW - my thoughts were around how I could possibly figure out the ‘return on investment’ (for want of a less wanky term) for my being here at SXSW. Is it the amount of value gleaned from talks? The number of business cards gathered? The quality of relationships developed? The talent recruited?
While I don’t yet know the value of each of these things, and with two days to go don’t feel like the race has been won, I definitely feel like it’s best to focus on one of these things or experience the old Fear Of Missing Out… but honestly I feel like starting with the relationships you develop can only be a good thing and will be the most memorable part of SXSW in the months and years to come. So thanks to those who have shared their valuable time with me so far. It has made my experience so far!
I know that it’s the single most popular piece of advice given to SXSW first-timers - be agile, don’t go to everything you RSVP for (in fact RSVP for everything and make your choice later), you can’t see everything you want to see.
Regardless, the start of my second day at SXSW was a bit of an epic fail, as I procrastinated so long about which session i wanted to go to first that I ended up arriving on the hour, to discover there was a room lockout and I had no chance. What?! It was a breeze yesterday! Then I realised that my second choice panel was in a venue about 15 minutes down the road! Regardless, I set out to look for the shuttle before realising it may actually be quicker to walk there. Josh and I had gone our separate ways earlier, but ended up meeting almost at random on the same street corner heading in the same direction because of the same time management problem…. hmmm….
Day 1 - #sxsw Rethinking Civilisation with Don Tapscott (#SXrethinkciv @dtapscott) #b03
"The future is not something to be predicted, it’s something to be achieved". - Don Tapscott, SXSW Interactive Day 1
With ballet shoes drunk with rain puddles within half an hour of getting into the city, I was slightly concerned about my ability to get through my first day ever at South By South West. With freezing feet and an umbrella of debatable quality (but oh so pretty) I traipsed away from a meeting on 6th to head to the Convention Centre and settle in for my first session - highly respected author Don Tapscott speaking on Rethinking Civilisation in the Social Age.
I turned 28 two weekends ago. It was a nice day; full of good company, special treats and general taking it easy. I have always loved having a birthday, and make sure that as many people know about it as possible! Not because I want birthday wishes or presents, but because each year on my birthday I celebrate another year of life and I want to share my happiness about that fact with others.
This year, I observed the way how you feel about your birthday changes each year. And it struck me this year more than ever how glad I am that birthdays are now less about fuss and presents than they used to be back when you were a kid. In fact, this year was the first time I really noticed a desire to just be present and absorb every moment of that day, for what it stands for to me. And that is the mark of another year of experiences, achievements, challenges, relationships - one that was hopefully better than the previous, but that could have nothing on what the future holds.
Too often, we are disappointed on our birthdays because we make it about other people and what they do or don’t do. Who remembered, who called, who had something organised, who got what they wanted. This year more than ever, I realised it’s not about this at all.
Maybe 28 years is a few too many to only just be learning this. But I don’t think I’m alone. So from now on every birthday, I am going to make a special effort to reflect, to relax and to generally be with myself - to really take stock of the year that’s passed and pour good energy in the one to come.
Tonight Josh and I got smoked chicken burgers with bbq sauce from a boat/trailer/food truck in the car park outside an Austin dive bar called Crow Bar. We took these burgers, wrapped in foil, into the bar and ordered two cans of Lone Star at $3 a pop. We pulled up a chair each, ate our dinner and listened to a live rockabilly band called Charlie Hurtin and the Hecklers.
Welcome to ‘Merica - I think SXSW is going to be a blast.
An interesting article in today’s Wall St Journal looking at the history of our financial systems, and particularly the way debt has been managed throughout human history. What is clear, and what we have been observing through the Collaborative Consumption movement over the last few years is that our current way of working is perhaps worse than the way we used to operate even in more recent history.
The thing that struck me as interesting about the article is that the author comments that credit has actually been the modus operandi for thousands of years, and the idea of trading in cash is actually the exception.
The author comments that these systems were able to be upheld by two key principles - the first was overarching systems that ensured credit exchange didn’t go heywire, and ones that were focused on protecting the debtors first and foremost over the creditors - very different to today’s society.
The second was the recognition that those managing money were actually guided by higher values like credit, honor and decency. To be found lacking in any of these areas would surely result in a legitimate bad credit rating. If only those in power now were held to account in the same way and were governed by these values.
It strikes me that, while still imperfect, the emergence of Collaborative Consumption marketplaces is taking us one step closer to a world less caught up by direct cash payments, and more focused on the values of individuals and the true value of the transaction. These marketplaces are taking the role of the overarching governing system that ensures things don’t get out of control, and that is ultimately there to make sure things operate as they should. And individuals are actually returning to recognise the power of their own social capital and how they can use this to collaborate and exchange with people in their community. If your conduct in these systems deems you credit-worthy, you can have access to nearly anything you want or need in exchange; a transaction based less on money and more the good will of people.
San Francisco/Bay Area: We have a rockingTech & Collaborative Consumption Semestercoming your way - and couldn’t be more excited. Check out the amazing classes we’ve got lined up for you this March at Citizen Space & Hub Soma!
Are you an early-stage P2P startup? Want to learn more about the collaborative consumption space? Join David Lee, founding partner of SV Angel, on Tuesday March 20th at Citizen Space in Soma as he discusses the past, present and future of this one-hundred billion dollar space.
In her debut class, Jamie Wong, present CEO of Vayable and long-time writer, provides students with a toolkit of storytelling techniques like no other. Come ready to learn the ways in which narration can drive product, community, and brand and leave with workable knowledge on how you can shape your story in the growing peer-to-peer space.
In his latest class, Avery Lewis, a long-time Skillshare teacher and the Head of Product at Getaround, will cover all the things you need to know when it comes to fortifying a marketplace built on sharing - detailing both the technical and nontechnical measures you can take to ensure your business and brand remain reputable.
In her first-ever Skillshare class, Jamie Viggiano, the Director of Marketing at TaskRabbit, shares her experience with implementing Eric Ries’s lean start-up tactics at TaskRabbit - providing valuable insights into why it is important to stay on your toes (and iterate quickly) in any field.
Jason Shen, co-founder of RideJoy and content-junkie whose blog The Art of Ass-Kicking was named a “Top 10 Must Read Blogs” for entrepreneurs, is taking his writing know-how on the road. In his first class on Skillshare, Jason will be teaching blogging beginners how to create compelling web content, find their voice, perfect their marketing strategy, and more.
From the creation of compelling gameplay loops to tips on making great mockups and wireframes to the development of awesomely rewarding reward systems, Creative Director of DIY Dave Werner will outline the mechanics behind making successful games in one of Skillshare’s first ever game design classes.
Today we took a ride on the freeway. Josh and I successfully drove from Venice to Downtown LA. Without a crash, without a fight, without a wrong turn. It was rather exhilarating.
Stepping outside the quaint little world of Venice Beach today I started to get a sense of the many sides that make up LA. Sure, every city has a characterisation that isn’t always accurate, but my understanding of LA as a bit cultureless, oversized, polluted and image-conscious has been challenged in a good way, with me wanting to explore more.
Venice Beach has a cute seaside village feel, with a sinister undercurrent of danger just bubbling below the surface that reminds you not to put your guard down. As our buddy and host Stefan says, the Abbot Kinney strip goes from ‘gnarly Venice’ to a more scene-y Venice then back to gnarly again, with the middle bit filled with impressive cafes, restaurants and retail stores you want to get lost in. People are riding their bikes, chilling out working in cafes and generally enjoying the beautiful warm winter days they’re having.
Our trip Downtown showed us a completely different side as we whipped along the highway, glimpsing the ‘Hollywood’ sign in the far distance (through the smog…), a side of gentrification, of cool warehouse office spaces, art and retail precincts. I visited the offices of a great Collaborative Consumption start up called Neighborgoods, which is based in an awesome brick converted warehouse building. The area is edgy and grungy, a bit like the back of Surry Hills, and it seems that it will continue to grow over the next few years. It would be amazing to see an injection of residential in the area - the one thing that hasn’t surprised me about LA is that everyone drives, and I think that’s partly because they don’t often live and work in the same vicinity.
The one thing linking Venice and Downtown is Wurstkuche - purveyor of exotic grilled sausage and imported biers, and the place where we ate a delicious dinner. I chose the spicy Austin Blue, covered with sauerkraut and onions while Josh took his chances on the rattlesnake and rabbit sausage! In his opinion - delicious.
There are so many parts of LA and I am starting to see that each one could be very different from the next because people seem to stick to their parts, creating a rich diversity that you don’t really see from the glamour versions of LA that we know. Looking forward to digging in deeper one day.
Thanks to my buddy Stefan, One of the more interesting business + fashion models I’ve come across is Apolis.
With a slogan like Global Citizen, you know you’re going to be looking at something that weaves the concepts of travel with culture, but these guys have gone a step, or three further.
I stayed in their LA store today for a good hour, slowly absorbing and figuring out why their approach is unique.
A summary: They act as Designer/Collaborator with 2 other partners. One is in the form of third world source of skilled labour, farmers or manufacturers. The other is with a first world brand or manufacturer. It took me a while to figure out why this was cool, as surely other companies source labour and cotton for example from Uganda. But perhaps either;
a) Some companies don’t disclose where they’re cotton/wool is sourced from; and b) Perhaps most are just made in China with no story - or atleast no positive uplifting story (or monetary benefit) - attached to the business relationship.
Through functional fashion, Apolis cleverly steers the development of a product or garment with its partners, which ultimately produces a very fine piece of clothing that makes them look good, as equally it helps patron the third world business, as equally it makes you feel good for both in turn helping them, and for looking good.
The film which had me captivated, only happened to be launched at 12pm when I walked in at 1:15pm, and caught it on loop. It’s called Kony 2012 and you should watch it and help share it. It’s brilliant. (if the link doesn’t work, google Invisible Children and you’ll get there)
I ended up buying a new jacket, and felt that interesting emotion that comes from spending alot of money on a nice piece of clothing after just watching a film that makes you reevaluate what you value…
I’m sitting here fighting off jetlag after powering through my whole first day here in LA, knowing that I want to post a blog before I finally give in to the heavy lids, but not sure my brain has much left in it to come up with my own inspiration for a post topic. Lo and behold when I check my email one last time I see my inspiration sitting there in my inbox.
My dear friend Em has written me a note to let me know about the campaign to ‘Give the Ladies Some Love' on International Women's Day, coming up this Wednesday 8th of March. This is a topic that I feel very strongly about. Not necessarily because of the barriers we as women face in society, though I know there is a fair bit of improvement needed. But more because of what we too often do to ourselves, and do more often than we should to others.
Sometimes I think that rather than facing external limiting pressures from society, we women create big limitations for ourselves by not having enough believe in what’s possible and what we’re capable of. And from school to the dating scene to mums in the school yard, we are far too prepared to tear each other down along the way, in order to make ourselves feel more capable, more successful, more appropriate… How can we expect to truly break free if we can’t support each other in earnest through the process. I’m pretty sure the guys don’t stand around talking about someone’s badly died roots or mismatched wardrobe, someone’s lack of work ethic/excessive career focus/kid’s unhealthy packd lunch. They generally just give each other a break.
Now I’m not saying that guys won’t cut in on their mate’s love interest, or play dirty at work to get ahead. But it seems like this is the equivalent of a light roughing up in the playground, compared to women going straight for where it hurts the most, our achilles heel, when really - we should know better. When we’re all collectively trying to leave a mark on the world, we should be doing it with the love and compassion that is true to our nature.
So this International Women’s Day, give a lady in your life some love to celebrate all that she desires, achieves and delivers, in honour of those women who have had to struggle for rights in the past, for those women who are still forging ahead to break down barriers, and for the women around the world who are still living in oppression, despite the fact that they ‘hold up half the sky’. Check out Lane Change’s blog post on five things you can do to show your support this coming Wednesday.
Sure there are a lot of things to hate about airports - queues, ridiculous food prices, long waits - but for some reason all my life I have found them exciting.
We’re sitting in the departure area at Sydney International as we wait to leave for our big adventure Stateside, and (earlier stresses aside) I am like a kid in a candy store. So many gates leading to so many places. So many people traveling for so many purposes. So many staff shuffling us through what is pretty much a transit funnel, pushing us off as we make decisions like a choose your own adventure to eventually end up at the right gate (to duty free or to not duty free?)
No kidding, I even like the plane time and would never take sleeping tablets.
There is a formula and a process and if you get these basics right (maybe like GC in ‘Up In The Air’ but a bit less business…), a good travel experience is an art.
Definitely not there yet as I fumble for my liquids through security, but I’ll get there. :)