Week 32: A social network

I never get ill, but I’ve been ill for weeks, now. Some sort of bug, really annoying – and on top of another mysterious illness I have yet to shake. What a moan. Anyway, here’s the story:

  • Issue 2 of the newspaper – launched last week – is doing nicely, and I’ve posted out most orders so far. No time or energy for any kind of promotion for it, yet, but plenty of repeat customers.
  • Tom and I spent the weekend ‘wired in’, as they say on The Social Network, working hard to get the Secret Comedy Website ready to launch. My friend Tim and I have been writing it in scraps of spare time over the past month, as you’ll recall, then Tom made the gorgeous site, and on Monday it went live! Check out Extreme Acts of Kindness, and most certainly add some of your own. Another crack at a Making Things Fast project that sort of proves it’s possible, just as long as I can avoid obsessing over its fate, now…
  • Oh and there’s a bit about why Tim and I did it, and how social media made it all possible, over on Imperica.
  • I had a lovely meeting at a new creative agency, first thing on Monday. I was ill and sounded like Mariella Frostrup, but they were amazing, so much fun. They’re also rather significant, so for all the reasons I am hoping something will come up, there.
  • Submitted an article to WIRED.
  • Connected with someone who asked me to talk at their thing.
  • Invited to attend the sold-out Gadget Show Live next week with those amazing guys from the best retrogame expo in the world, REPLAY. Hoping to go.
  • Two thirds through writing a talk about Star Trek for Helen’s (Yuri’s night) “Spacetackular” comedy event in Camden, next Tuesday night. That’s like a comedy gig. Really enjoying watching TNG again from my sickbed *as research* – and noticing new things. Picard is such a git in those early episodes.
  • The brilliant James Adam and team have embraced my Making Things Fast ethic wholeheartedly, and have just launched this excellent new thing hot on the heels of this. (Look at all the other great stuff they do.)
  • Still to do: finish talk, organise HackCircus thing for Interesting ’11;  tax return, write second article for WIRED, get well soon.

The general thoughts, I’m afraid they’re all about me/my work this time.

  1. Fun vs pay. General coffee meetings are fun, and important for work opportunities in the long-term, but in practice I need to pick up a lot more pitches, very quickly. I might have to cut back on the meetings and the talks because of the wolves and the doors.
  2. What do you do? I can be a confusing prospect for people, I know that. I get: “What do you actually do? You seem to do loads,” or, recently – “I can’t gauge what level you’re at.” The difficulty is that I’m sort of asking people to pay for me, as a person – and there’s no reason anyone should feel comfortable with that. But I’m not the only one. Do we specialise, and suppress or distort aspects to fit the brief? Or do we keep holding out for superfan clients to sponsor our careers? It’s curious how there are some industries where paying for people is OK, and some where you pay for skills. Performance is a self-sell, journalism is not. Direction is, production isn’t. Comedy is, craft isn’t. If you shuttle between two, there’s a lot of grinding and changing of gears. In a way, why shouldn’t employers hire individual people for who they are? You’re already taking their time and skills – do you really need them to hand over their personality, too?
  3. London is motivational. I don’t like London and I don’t live there, but I have to go in for things a few times a week. There is a whole world out there, but London has no idea. The illusion is so pervasive that when you’re ‘in town’ it takes considerable effort to remember that anywhere else even exists. And it seems a terrible waste of the rest of the world to spent summer in the middle of this stressful place. I don’t think it holds the keys of promise. I don’t think it’s charming. When the sun is glorious and the flowers are opening, central London is a punishment. It’s incredibly motivational though, because if I change nothing, then London is exactly where I’ll be going for meetings and work for at least the next 30 years.

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