Week 20: Conference hacking

A triumphant week. Finally. As one would hope. At this stage. Five months in.

  • I’ve been interviewed for Radio 5 about my Hackers! newspaper.
  • I’m going to be speaking at the really really great looking Ignite conference in Feb. Ignite is sponsored by O’Reilly, and I’m genuinely looking forward to this loads. Next stop, TED.
  • Had two article pitches picked up for a couple of ideas I had. They’re not going to be easy, but I’m definitely going to learn a lot.
  • Had some great ideas and pieces submitted for issue 2 of the newspaper.
  • Been working up an idea for my talk at tomorrow’s Culture Hack Day at Wieden & Kennedy.
  • Submitted a lot of comedy stuff. Still a lot more to do.
  • AND I got a filling. AND I had some stitches out. I am Iron Man.
  • The one thing I haven’t done for a couple of weeks is anything on the podcast. This is the first time we’ve gone so long without, and it’s because Roo and I weren’t able to get together over Christmas/NY, and have been too otherwise occupied to get back into it again yet. We normally have stuff in the can, but suffered from unforeseen circumstances over Xmas plus a few guest cancellations… and rather than book people we’re not obsessed with for the sake of it, we’ll just wait till everything’s lined up again in the most exciting imaginable way. The other thing to say is that it takes 10-20 hours out of our week, and ultimately, paid work must take precedence. Perhaps we’ll get round to some kind of SRS Live day soon!

Here are your meditations for this week.

1. Be a breath of fresh air

I’ve been thinking about conferences a lot lately – chiefly, how do you make them worth the trouble. And I’ve realised the talk that makes the most exciting contribution is the one that feels like it doesn’t fit in at all. The person who genuinely, authentically, doesn’t get how to conform to the conventions of speaking, or doesn’t exist in that community at all – but has earned a spot in that group purely because they have a cool idea about something. Maybe this is me saying “get out of your clique” again, but I do think it’s important. When you go to an event, or party, or meeting, or wedding, or whatever – don’t worry about being or seeming comfortable, just keep your eyes fresh to it all. Be open to the whole experience, rather than focussed on yourself. Be the person who seems to have been parachuted in from another planet, people will remember you. We are desperate for outsiders.

2. Be bothered

Most ideas never come into being because most people really just can’t be bothered. Frustrating when you’re relying on a facilitator, like an agent or publisher, to be even more bothered than you are about your idea. But great news when you realise that all you need to outlast your competitors is superior stamina. Just be arsed to make good on it, and you already have the edge over 90% of the other people with similar ideas. The ability to be bothered is hugely under-rated, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find it wherever you find success. Making things fast increases your chances of making things at all, and that’s what we’re aiming for, in the end.

Happy making!

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