This is what disruption of online dating looks like?

202. Girl
Be on the lookout, distruption could be around the corner

Elisa of queekd.com recently challenging me about my thoughts on online dating, especially after watching my TedXManchester talk about the same subject.
I concluded that the dating industry needed a serious kick up the backside and the only way this is going to happen is if you change the model. I then mentioned what P2P protocols did to media sharing. Instead of centralisation, you can have a more decentralised and even a distributed approach to online dating.

Easily said, but what do I mean?

I was trying to find examples of what I meant but it’s very difficult googling for them as they get lost in a sea of other stuff, some of it very weird.

There was a period when a whole bunch of sites with domain names like…

youshoulddatejo.com, smartandhandsomeian.com and samwantstodateyou.com etc… (not real sites of course) Were the rage for a short while, they would pop up now and then. These people without knowing it could have changed the dating field. They all seemed to contain similar elements and it wouldn’t take long for someone or myself to modify microformat hresume into a hDating microformat (I’m not going to talk about Microdata or RDF/A as its outside the scope of this post, but yes to both). semantically rich data published on the web as way to bring a distribution model to online dating.

Steven Pemberton @ TWAB2010
Why you should have a website

I am always reminded of Steven Pemberton‘s XTech 2008 talk, Why you should have a Web Site.

The nice man from the BBC filmed it and put it online. “Provocative and contentious” said one reviewer, who later said “I should never have doubted Steven Pemberton” and “Steven Pemberton was right”. Another said “The crowd completely disagreed. In hindsight he could not have been more correct.” and “grows more relevant with each passing year”. Text of the talk here.

Steven was talking about the advantages of machine-readable Web Pages and his point knocks right at door of the walled gardens of the social networks. Swap social networks of facebook, instagram, etc for Match.com, EHarmony, OkCupid, etc’s walled gardens… and you got the same problem and same solutions?

Online dating has taken all its bad habits from social networks and to be fair most of the social networks have learned from online dating in the same way. I once talked about dataportability in online dating and to be fair everybody laughed.

But imagine if profiles were part of the public internet? When I mean public, I mean not hidden away behind a walled garden (hidden/private web). Because really what are you paying for, if you are paying at all?

I can hear you panic or even laugh… Here’s questions which might be crossing your mind

Friend of a Friend project (FOAF)
Think FoaF for dating
  • I don’t want my profile to be public!
    This is fine, I understand some rather not be so open about their status. It doesn’t have to be connected with the rest of your online profiles by the way (this is down to you)
    It doesn’t necessarily need your name or even a public photo of you (there are many ways to verify someone without such information, think about what PGP, GPGP Escrow services, Ebay, Airbnb, etc do). Also like FoaF you can even hash or encrypt parts to avoid spam, catfishers, stalkers, etc. Maybe hide parts of your dating identity till its required. Theres endless possibilities, which I haven’t even explored.
  • How do I message or email someone, and what happens if things go south?
    South meaning, things start breaking up or you want to stop them messaging you. This is a partly solved problem. There no need to have you’re real email address. Services can step in and provide emails or instant messaging solutions which expire or forward on transparency. It could also be done with a standard protocol and encrypted for further privacy. Off the Record already does this, for goodness sake lets not build new protocols (badly or jokey) to do already solved stuff! (Yes this is what most dating sites are doing now)
  • How do I trust what I am seeing or reading?
    The same is true of most dating sites now, how do you know the picture isn’t a catfish, they really are the body shape they say or show? How do you know the picture isn’t 10 years ago? All the dating site/service is really offering you is access to single people (not that is always true of course)
    This is where the idea of a blockchain for online dating could come in quite useful, to verify with reputation, but if you don’t trust the technology. You can opt for something else… or even build your own! You only have to look at the people who have hacked OkCupid (Amy Webb and Chris McKinlay’s). Imagine what they could do if not restricted to the wall garden and the systems they could write for the rest of us.
  • But its easier to pay the money and sit safely within the closed garden?
    Safely…? Total illusions. But yes its easier, but you are limited by how much you are willing to pay. The open way you can have access to many more profiles, better ways to filter them and theoretically better solutions which you can share with friends.
    This way also puts more emphasis on you to do work, but I can imagine systems and services like wordpress, medium, squarespace, etc doing the heavy lifting for you.
  • How would I search?
    You don’t think some startup will jump into this arena? If not one of the big search giants?! The beauty is if you feel one is better than the other, you can easily switch. No rubbish claims, which can’t be verified. Just imagine when gocompare/money supermarket get involved to show you the best sites to find what you seek. Or imagine crowd sourcing this all.
  • But dating site x’s algorithm is great
    Don’t worry there will be multiple services jumping over each other for your money, data or other things to prove they are the one you should use. Some will be highly manual, some will be heavily automated. Currently there is no urgency to fix, innovate or try something different. Its not all bad news for dating services, they can run their magic algorithms on the public data set.
  • But my dating service offers X, Y and Z.
    Thats nice but have you thought how effective X, Y and Z actually are? Are they a distraction or actually making dating life better? Regardless… there is the perfect opportunity to have a ecosystems of services blossom and offer unique services on top of the open, machine readable profile network.
Future of Fabrication
Distributed models are sustainable?

Think about the way search engines innovated on the structured data and offered better matches as a result. The important part is, if you don’t like what a certain service is doing  or how they treat you, you can just move elsewhere without the fear of loosing access to that person still.

Interestingly OkCupid allows you to make your profile public (very few do), so you could see it without logging in. For example, https://www2.okcupid.com/profile/beach-s?cf=regular. I have considered making my profile public before but theres not quite enough benefit to me currently. OkCupid use it as a marketing tool and there’s little you can do once you view it. Its clear OkCupid was setup to break some of the legacy behind online dating but when they sold to the Match group, that drive to change things changed focus.

Me with Canvas
Ownership?

What I’m suggesting is similar but on your terms. There are other advantages such as having access to the biggest market of daters, personalised choice, better tools than one dating site can/want to create, bespoke advice and guidance from people who really give crap. This could issue in a new era in the art of match making!

But it doesn’t stop there, oh I’ve just scratched the surface. I feel a lot of the endemic corruption in online dating is due the centralised model.

Imagine if you could aggregate that profile into the legacy dating services. Almost a IFTTT recipe or Atomkeep? to update parts of your legacy profile on a schedule or manual push.

You could allow tinder to use one photo, OkCupid to upload 4-6 photos and a deeper description, Match.com only my photos marked professional and the deeper description.

What I’m talking about is Vender relationship management applied directly on to online dating, putting the users in control.

All is possible if you rethink the current setup. unfortunately the controlling companies (MATCH group currently own 27% plus of the online dating market and they own, OkCupid, POF, Tinder and many more) have zero interest in changing much. On top of that daters seem quite lazy and less interested in working for dates?

As you can imagine, there isn’t much in this area but I did find fermat. Its a p2p matching platform. I have yet to really look and see if its doing things how I would imagine

My beautiful broken brain

I first heard about the documentary my beautiful broken brain via mindhacks. I then tracked it down and finally watched it. Lotje was 34 when she had the same kind of brain injury as myself. I ended up calling it #mybrushwithdeath.

Watching the documentary was unreal not only because there was so much I could relate directly to. The process of what she remembered and what she doesn’t really got me. I was in tears. There is absolutely no doubt I was incredibly lucky. The mix of reality and non-reality was frustrating to say the least, but I certainly didn’t have the big problem Lotje had with reading.

Some people will say why film it? Maybe the same people who asked why I would get on stage and do a TEDx talk about my experience? You only have to read the reviews to start to understand why, telling such a personal story is so important.

As a survivor of multiple strokes including a major hemorrhagic stroke in 1999 just 13 days after my 37th Birthday and a massive hemorrhagic stroke 2011 just before Christmas I can relate to the lady in this film, I went through and I am still going through a lot of what she had experienced from her stroke. I found this movie very good at explaining what we as stroke survivors are going through. I would highly recommend this movie to people who are interested stroke experiences and want to understand what we are going through because it is truly hard for us to explain to others what it is like to live life with our beautiful broken brains.

If I was to sum up the documantary, it would be the line from Lotje herself…

I’ve learned I’m strong, accepted my vurnability and focus on what matters…

Beautifully said…!

6 Words to describe different types of Love

Macchiato love

I had always thought and stood by the idea that love is wider than the romantic love we are sold growing up in a western society. It wasn’t till I went to Laura Gordon‘s Dream Builders #4: Love Actually event, that I learned about the 6 words the greek use to describe love.

From what people at the event were saying,  it was bounded around on twitter on valentine day but I guess I was too busy at TedxManchester to see it.

So the 6 words are…

  • Eros, or sexual passion
  • Philia, or deep friendship
  • Ludus, or playful love
  • Agape, or love for everyone
  • Pragma, or long-standing love
  • Philautia, or love of the self

There was discussion about the need for all 6 in different ways and of course how we are sold the idea that love is Eros; especially in western society. I had never really heard the terms and it reflects on my own thoughts and what certain people say to me about my own love life.

People have commented that maybe the reason why I don’t need/can afford to be so picky, is because I  fill my time with the company of other friends. For some reason the percentage of female friends is higher than most men I know too. Don’t ask me why, but I have thoughts (for another blog post maybe)

This isn’t that blog post but in reflection on the 6 types of love, theres a whole lot of Philia and Agape in my life. This is also why I don’t necessarily feel like I’m missing something in my life.

Treasure those conversations with friends

I’m carving out something unique by spreading some love around by sharing my reality with friends and family, you only have to look at the amount of parties, BBQs, etc I do and have done. My hope is I’ll share it with someone who understands and loves the way I view the  world.

 

TedXManchester4 does Manchester proud

TEDxManchester 2016

Ok I’m bias here because I took part in TedXManchester4 as a speaker but honestly the line up was vast, diverse and had plenty of great talking points through-out. I said a similar thing about TedxLiverpool last year. But I have to admit Sir Ken Roberson did push it just past the dizzy heights of this excellent well conceived and very well executed TedX.

TedxManchester

The TedXManchester team did a great job and it was well worth the extra year we had to wait for HomeMCR to be built and for TedxManchester to move with it.

Here’s all the talks and my brief thoughts… I did write notes in a mindmap, which can be seen here.

Tom Cheesewright at TEDxManchester 2016

Tom Cheesewright

Tom gave much thought about our tradition notions of what a cyborg is and made some good arguments why we all are cyborgs now. Main point being we have all augmented  our minds already and we need to get over it. Really nice start to TedxManchester.

Rob Procter at TEDxManchester 2016

Rob Procter

His study of digital wild fire as Rob called it was certainly cause for concern. It was a study of the viral spread of provocative or false information over social media.

I did have a slide in my old deck talking about how intimacy happens at internet speed. And in Robs case, a clear sign of how internet speed can really spread false information at a incomprehensible speed. I later spoke to Rob and made the point that a study of the awful ways relationship break ups happen at online would be most insightful.

TedxManchester

Aala El-Khani

From bombs to bread was a breathtaking talk with plenty of passion and some incredible humanity on the things forgotten in a war. The effect of war is horrific but on those trying to carry on with family life in the middle of it can be devastating well past the end of the war.

Her project to focus on them  was fantastic to hear and see.

TedxManchester

Ruth Daniel

Ruth summed up one of my thoughts I had when I first moved to Manchester. They do things differently here. Yes besides the gravy sucking through a straw, there was something which spoke volumes to me.

Challenging the status quo, being inspired by those under pressure and if it wasn’t for Hip-Hop I would be dead. All spoke volumes to me. Great talk, shame we didn’t get a chance to talk Ruth.

TedxManchester

Sam Aaron

I first saw Sam at Thinking Digital 2015 in Gateshead/Newcastle. Back then, I said to myself I would give SonicPi a try but kind of forgot about it in the swirl of other things that year.

Since then, I’ve seen more and more live coding and started wondering if this could be a element the future of djing? I’ve already shared my ideas slides with Sam and Dan (who I work with in R&D) previously.

So I finally tried it with a little help from Sam…

Currently got a problem with JackAudio and PulseAudio, which I need to sort out.

TedxManchester

Jeff Coghlan

It was funny having Jeff just before my own talk. Jeff was making a lot of good points about games and play. Then there was me criticising game techniques in dating apps/systems/sites.

Interestingly I didn’t know Jeff’s company are involved in the VR upgrade of Alton Towers Air rollercoaster ride. I have already got in touch about what I wrote previously about Perceptive Media in a theme park. Who knows… could be interesting, just as interesting as his talk.

Ian Forrester at TEDxManchester 2016

Myself

I feel like such a idiot,  but its worth saying I was pretty good too but expect a full break down of my slides coming soon.

TedxManchester

Hayley Parkes

When I first heard Hayley play back in Thinking Digital 2014 in Gateshead/Newcastle., I was touched and frankly stunned. Shes incredibly talented and to hear the personal story which surrounds her playing Clair de lune, was heart touching to say the very least. I look forward to the next time I hear her play again. Such talent and just starting out in her adult life.

TedxManchester

Jan Blake

Jan was great, she told a old tale with such passion and such vigor you couldn’t help but be swept up in the story. She was right in the green room, these stories are as powerful today as they were then. I’ll be checking her out in the future…

TedxManchester

Danielle George

It was great to hear how Radio waves are having such a effect on much more than we think. Danielle was a really great talker and communicator of her passion for the science radio waves. This also extended well into inspiring the next generation of women into engineering fields. Look forward to hearing more and seeing where she goes next.

TedxManchester

Ed Carter

Looking at architecture as music is fascinating to think about and it actually makes a lot of sense, especially  when framed as immersive experience. Quite a unique way of looking and evaluating the landscape around us. I especially like the quote Architecture is frozen music.

TedxManchester

Lemn Sissay

Lemn’s poetry is incredible to hear again after Thinking Digital Manchester 2015. Epic and edgy as always.

Once again his trainers were of interest for the camera, maybe I should have wore my spring blades.

TedxManchester

Yandass Ndlovu

There is little I can say about Yandass without really seeing her dance. I mentioned to Yandass afterwards that she summed up the exact reason why I love freestyle dancing and tend to reject couple/organised dancing. Yandass, just danced, mixing styles and building up her own take on everyone of them.

It was amazing to see dancing, so free of movement and contemporary. Nice tie up with Ruth Daniel’s If it wasn’t for Hip-Hop I would be dead.

TedxManchester

As a touching end to the whole event, Herb and his daughter said thank you to everybody for coming along with the core team of the Isabelle, the Emmas and many other helpers. It deserved to be sold out and people stayed right up to the very end.

Thanks to Herb and the team, I enjoyed every moment. Heck I even got a valentine dinner date after my call out on stage… with Herb in pizza express… ha! Not exactly what I expected  but heck it was a great end to the day.

My Tedxmcr talk: Dating against humanity

…a game in which nice single people are roped into a horrible game with others, resulting in cognitive overload, shocking manners, narcissism, algorithmic prejudice, financial loss and decisions based purely on appearances.

Would you date this man?
Would you date a 36 year old divorcee who is a left-leaning feminist and self confessed geek?

…a game in which nice single people are roped into a horrible game with others, resulting in cognitive overload, shocking manners, narcissism, algorithmic prejudice, financial loss and decisions based purely on appearances.

I’m just back from TedxManchester which was at homemcr, where I gave a presentation about onlne dating and some of the things I’ve observed about it. I believe I’m the first person to publicilly ask for a date from a Tedx stage.

It went well but I did have to speed up at the end, which did mean loosing some of my connecting points.

Maybe I’ll do a full breakdown of my thoughts but for now here’s some of the higher level ones.

  • Online dating sites and services are fundimentally in conflict with the goals of its customers.
  • There is too much evidence suggesting that online dating sites are unlikely to do what they say they do.
  • Online dating services are using gamification to prolong attention to collect even more data and make the service addictive
  • I believe the birthday paradox is a good reason why regardless of what dating sites do, there will be people who will pair off
  • Meetup, brisklr and other niche services which bring people together should have equal amount of successful connections as the likes of the big dating sites. They just don’t shout about it like the rest.
  • You shouldn’t let the tools dictate how you conduct yourself online.

Great TedX once again by Herb Kim and the thinking digital crew.

It was so apt, giving such a talk on valentines day…

I’ll write a review of the other great talks in a few days time, but I wanted to post up the slides as so many people have asked me about them.

Love and romance predicted for TEDx Manchester 2016

First date night in ages with @frankhamilton79. Dinner and a movie at @homemcr. Saw a brill German movie called West. Very happy girl :) #datenight #lbloggers #bloggers #lbloggersuk #manchester #cinema #homemcr #westmovie #movies #pictures #cinemanight

February 14th is always known for valentines day, well this year get yourself down to Homemcr. How can you get more romantic? Don’t worry I’ll make sure there is enough love for everybody…

TEDxManchester is back, and it would be fair to say I’m involved after talking at TedxManchester2 and arranging TEDxManchester originally with a bunch of great collaborators in 2009!

TEDx events were created in the spirit of  the TED conferences’ mission: ‘ideas worth spreading’. They are  designed to give communities, organisations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at a local level. TEDx events are a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of events popping up from San Francisco to Sydney. Following on from the first TEDxManchester in 2009 at the BBC, and subsequent editions at Cornerhouse and University of Manchester Student Union, we’re excited to have the first HOME edition of TEDxManchester in 2016!

Tickets go live on the 14th January

When Tinder met Vanity, we all got popcorn and watched

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe: Berlin 2013 (Day 2)
…at the helm of the company that’s changing society in ways they can’t stop, or even fathom because they’re right in the middle of it. Scary.

Tinder (which I have written about and am now somewhat convinced will be seen as a bad bad joke in many years time) was recently written about in Vanity Fair and… Oh dear, tinder took to twitter to complain!

The best deconstruction of the whole thing comes from David Evans over at onlinedating insider.

I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the VF article. Story after story about relationship-challenged New Yorkers. Men in New York treat women terribly and brag about it in Vanity Fair. Wow, you don’t say?

The VF article is a retread of a topic that’s been beaten to death by the media and dating bloggers for almost two years, but VF decided to hang out with a bunch of New Yorkers who rack up Tinder sex-mates like there’s no tomorrow and talk to them like they are adults or something. The writer clearly emerged from a cave last week and the first thing they did was go on a Tinder date and now she’s scarred for life.

Tinder is simply a throw back to old skool dating (when it was al about looks and not the personality), but it doesn’t stop a whole host of articles, posts and shows being written about it… even in mid 2015! Tinder has become the symbol of our misogynist culture much like how the game was a few years ago?

“It’s an eye-opener and validation of a woman’s worst fear. The guys are swiping right to hook up and it’s all just a game.” Give me a break. The women who enable men to behave this way are just as complicit in the degradation of modern courtship as Tinder is. And Tinder is at the bottom of the pile, along with Ashley Madison.

Add gamification and repeat

The gamification of online/social dating can be scary stuff which I’ll cover in my TedX Talk early next year… Don’t miss it, its going to be pretty wild…! Ironiclly it will be on Valentine day, so expect a blood path of broken hearts and trashed dreams

Its so clear there is a problem, as many people including Sherry Turkle and even comedian Aziz Ansari’s modern romance, identifies. They wonder about current social impact of not just its users but on the mating process as a whole!

David really gets into to the metric problem of the throw away action of a swipe.

What is the equivalent of a right-swipe on a dating service? Replied to emails? If I email you and you email me back, that’s a match. Sam Yagan at Match told me that years ago. Back when he was the Co-founder of OkCupid, and they always said Match wasn’t worth the money and nobody should have to pay for a dating site

…Tinder’s definition of a match as two people physically moving their fingers about a quarter of an inch to the right compared with writing and responding to emails. Comparing swipes to responded-to emails is ridiculous; they’re not even comparable. But we’re talking about Tinder here, so anything goes.

How about this. Whenever two people like or favorite each other’s photos on a dating service, they are a match. Is that comparable to Tinder mutual swipes? I don’t know and I really don’t care anymore. And neither does anyone else, because all I read about in the media are stories about people on Tinder hooking up three times a week and 25 million matches a day.

He’s right, no body is really thinking about what the metrics mean when  writing about Tinder. It might as well be 25 millions acorns! There is so much more David writes in the post but I love the ending line, and I’m really starting to agree (even though I know a few friends who have successfully had serious relationships via tinder)…

Tinder is the worst thing to ever happen to the online dating industry. End of story.

That’s much better TedXSalford

TedXSalford

Although I was pretty critical of TedXSalford last year, I did go back this year. To be honest I wasn’t planning to but friends convinced me and I decided well after the great work at TedXLiverpool and TedXManchester, I should give it another go.

This time I was nicely surprised by the line up and speakers. Gone were the massive names but in their place good names which few people had heard before (or at least I had not heard of them before). One of the big names Caprice didn’t show for what ever reason and to be fair I thought it was maybe better without her. Not because its her but because it didn’t need a big name.

One of the things I like about TedX’s is they bring people who you never heard of before. TedXSalford did a good job highlighting people I had not really heard before next to people who you heard about but not really seen before. Here’s some of my highlights

TedXSalford
Brooke Magnanti (Belle De Jour)

Myself and many others are aware of Brooke from the famous blog she wrote about her experiences as a call girl. I was fully aware of her but never seen her in real life. Although she was hounded by the press also, it was Girl with a one track mind (Zoe Margolis) who was more interesting to me as she was not a escort but a women who dared speak her mind. Good to hear her talk regardless, even thought its quite a while ago now.

TedXSalford
Jack Sim (Mr Toilet)

Jack Sim’s talk was all about the essential hygiene which the toilet brings to us all. I say us all but what I really mean is most of the developed world. Jack highlighted how important it was to have a toilet and his life mission to give everybody in the world access to a basic toilet. The killer part of the talk was highlighting how he took on the title Mr toilet and the opportunities he took to get the word out.  I can’t even begin to express how important his mission is. Jack rightly received a standing ovation from the audience for his fantastic work.

TedXSalford
Bruce Hood

Always great to hear a talk about why people believe and the crazy things we do believe. Nicely put together and really interesting talk about one of those things I’ve always wondered about.

TedXSalford

Juliet Mitchell

I won’t lie, I didn’t really know who she was but what she was saying really struck a cord with me as a feminist. Smart slow talk with plenty to think about. A nice directional change from the high energy of some of the other talks previously.

TedXSalford

Robin Ince

Talking about high energy…. Well Robin had it in bags upon bags. He seemed to bounce around the stage talking about how remarkable  and complex the human brain is. Interestingly the points which made the human brain remarkable were…

  1. The fact we recognise ourselves in the mirror (he made the point animals don’t recognise themselves, and think its another animal by the way they react)
  2. We stopping ourself from doing the wrong thing at the wrong time (we think bad thoughts but stop ourselves recognising it would be a bad idea)
  3. We leave our thoughts and dreams behind for generations beyond our time (legacy)

Robin’s speech spoke volumes to me having had my own experience understanding how powerful the brain can be. Great talk… Another standing ovation.

TedXSalford

Jamie Edwards

You got to hand it to Jamie and to be fair Jack Andraka was also good on the night. And its great to see young people inspiring other young people. Favorite quote from the event… “I tried to buy the parts for a Fusion reactor on ebay…

It really shows how transformational knowledge can be

TedXSalford

Sophia Wallace

Almost one of my favourite talks of TedXSalford was Sophia’s talk about the Clit. Yes the Clitoris, something she calls Cliteracy. Yes we’re talking about the female sex organ. Usually not spoken about and few people know much about. Sophia  rolled out a ton of facts including…

Vagina actually mean sword holder (how crazy is that?), the clit has its own blood supply hence why organisms can happen again and again and again in very quick succession. The misunderstanding (or is it a conspiracy) by many that it was just a like tiny female penis and this was a taught fact up till about 15 years ago.

I am totally on board, with sex education. I use to think I had bad sex education, but after talking to others. I would say Whitefield school didn’t do so bad. However I have to admit the amount of female focused pleasure was lacking? And the clit never came up as a big deal (no pun intended).

TedXSalford

Sophia’s talk about the advocacy originally was interesting, for example replacing song lyrics but she kept on which kind of dragged on a bit which spoiled it a bit. I mean it was important of course but the clit shaped glasses? Really?

Wrapping up, TedXSalford was much better but still has some ground to go to make it as good as TedXLiverpool, TedXManchester and TedXBradford. It was a very long day (9am – 8pm) and even with the breakout sessions it was a commitment. I will be interested to see where it goes next year, because it could be easy to go back to the tried and test formula of big names instead of taking the risk with local talent.

Talking of which, I retweeted Kevin’s tweet about the local speakers following a break out session. It seemed to be a quote, which I later found out to be untrue (nobody else in the session heard this quote).  I asked Kevin and Mishal for a details but only Mishal (director and originator of TedXSalford) got back to me with details. Kevin had equal chance to get back to me but didn’t. Its a shame somebody would make up lies like this and spread them, no idea what he gains from doing so? If he has a problem, write it down (like I did) and don’t pretend to quote somebody.

Well done TedxSalford and everybody who made it all come together this year.

Return of the jfdi…

During TedXManchester3 while Pam Warhurst’s talked, I was blown away once again by the simple story and all the things she did. Just like when I heard her at thinking digital 2012. Seriously I was going to stand up and start a standing ovation.

She kept referring back to that elegant of terms…

JFDI (Just Fucking Do It!) Something we can all stand behind…

I started to think about all the other people who Just Fucking Did It.

Alan O’Donohoe the Computing Teacher who JFDI and spoofed us all at BarCampMediaCity. Which turned into a momentous ride to the Raspberry Jam via Hack To The Future. Worth pointing out that the title came from Alan’s suggestion on twitter.

James Headifen who runs the Ancoats Canal Cleanup project. Decided he loved to live by water and wanted to help do something to make it beautiful and worth living next to. Now once a month he and a bunch of people JFDI. I’ve not had a chance to join them in a while because of Volleyball practice but its great stuff they do.

These guys are the tip of the iceberg… There’s many people I could mention…

My highlights of TedXManchester3

I wish I brought my Nikon D40, because the pictures I have are pretty bad with the dark light of the room.

A while ago I talked about TedxSalford and said some slightly negative things about the overall event. No disrespect to the organisers, I just felt it lacked a soul.

I just think I prefer TedxManchester personally. There is something about genuine and authenticity which seems to be missing. I felt like we went from here’s a massive speaker to here’s another big speaker to yes you guessed it another massive speaker…

Later, I talk about the programming of the speaker line up. For many people this might not matter too much, but to me it makes all the difference.

TedXManchester/TedXUniversityofManchester had a line up of not many big name. To be honest you would be hard pushed to spot anyone as such famous. But that didn’t matter at all, actually it added to its overall charm.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all smiles. Still there were issues which made a very good event not an excellent event.

Manchester Academy is a venue for concerts, raves and performances. Because of that the venue was extremely cold. I actually went home at lunch and got my jumper and another coat. There was also no public wifi. However there was Eduroam, and I guess because 40% of the people in the room were students, they were catered for. But the rest of us were struggling without. Luckily getting a solid 3G signal wasn’t too bad.

On the plus side having banquet tables made the whole thing feel much more relaxed. Which is quite amazing for a dark rave hall. But enough about the event logistics, lets talk the line up.

The line up was diverse and vast… but I would say everyone was good even Alessio Rastani who drive me nuts with his call outs and general love of the ugly side of capitalism. However here is the ones which really got me writing notes.

Anthony Lishak
Your voice on paper can be impressive was the rallying call from Anthony. He hammer home the point that when your young people encourage you to do creative writing but as you get older the creativity is lost in favor of structure. This really hit home for me because when I started my blog, lots of people said it was a total mess (maybe still is) 10 years later, I’m still writing and I largely ignored the spelling and grammar pokes from people.

I loved the example he used around Adjectives + Verbs + Connectives = ? I assume the higher the number the better? What is a Connective? (please don’t answer because I don’t really care)

I grabbed some time with him in the break and talked about the fact writing shouldn’t be my natural outlet. Great talk and really makes me wonder how pushing a structure on writing is another way to restrict people from free thinking?

Hannah Mosley
Started her talk about tattoos and body modifications. I personally never really cared too much about tattoos and not really a fan of them, so kinda switched off at the start. But Hannah’s point wasn’t about the tattoos, instead it was about the manipulation of mainstream media. Something I certainly can get behind with my experiences in TV and TV people. Hannah had ended up with her online profile damaged by the mirror in this entry.

I feel for Hannah but never got a chance to talk to her. Over dinner later with friends I talked about some of my experiences and seeing snog marry avoid being filmed in the northern quarter. Shocking stuff, I asserted. Something we shouldn’t stand for…

It was a stroke of great programming to have Jon Sopel from BBC News follow her… He turned it around by focusing on very worth while subject of journalism at the edges.

Carrie Green
You all know how much of a suck I am for peoples shifts or change in perspectives. It all stems back to my brush with death and I’ve been wondering ever since, what it may take to wake up other people? So when I heard Carrie talk, it really hit home with me.

Carrie started her talk with a simple request. She asked for someone to join her on stage. As I was sitting at the front, I put my hand up but in the dark depths of the Manchester Academy, my hand then arm waving was lost. Another request and still no one, so I stood up and shouted yes I’ll do it. Finally she heard me and called me up on stage. As you can imagine, the stage at the Manchester Academy who only a week ago played host to Prince/Symbol/whatever. Isn’t really made for the audience to get up on. So I had to climb on a chair, pull myself up and then walk across the stage. Luckily I had dumped my motorcycle coat by that point. In my head I was convinced she was going to perform some hypnosis on me. But I was driven by what I’ve read and experienced in the past including the richness of life and how to be interesting?

Health and Safety would have had kittens but I walked across the stage at Carrie. In my mind I thought she might pull a Derren Brown grabbing my hand arm in the shoulder and saying calmly “Sleep…” I was nervous but also excited, what did she have in store for me? I reached her and she moved like she was going to shake my hand? She did and asked my name. To be honest by that point I was quickly analysing her and she seemed as nervous as I did. She reached in her left pocket and instantly thought, uh oh… She pulled out a twenty pound note and handed it to me.

I so wasn’t expected this and it took a while to sink in. I’m sure my posture must have looked a little goofy. Carrie, announced to the audience that if they had come forward, they would be walking away with £20 too. I think I said wow thanks, and shook her hand again before exiting the stage. On the way off the stage the scope of the whole thing came to me and I did a little throw of the hands in the air with the money (slightly crass but I’m sure Alessio Rastani would be proud).

She talked a lot about visualising where she wanted to be and that helping her through. Once again something I can relate to, as the hypontheraphy I had for my fear of needles (Trypanophobia) is all about visualising. Its what I use a lot of when stuck in a ruck.

I was able to grab Carrie afterwards and on twitter. So much I wanted to say to her and find out from her. It was a excellent talk and reinforced the idea that you don’t need to experience near death to refocus your life. The world can be what you want it to be, you just need to think it.

Caleb Meakins
This guy totally stole the show. On a similar theme to Carrie Green and Doug Ward, Caleb asked the audience, “What would do if you couldn’t fail?” (seems the best talks start with a question?)

Caleb’s talk was all about the fear of rejection and getting out of your comfort zone. He setup my40days.co.uk.

Suggest a challenge on Facebook or Twitter. By taking on these challenges that are deemed entirely unachievable and socially awkward, I will learn to come out of my comfort zone, think outside the box, and take risks as I attempt to successfully achieve each day’s challenge.

As you follow me on this journey, I hope to inspire you to chase your dreams and not let the fear of failure stop you from reaching and exceeding your potential.

We then had fun watching some of the videos from the youtube channel. Then talked about the serious side of what he’s doing. He talked about social stereotypes,  stepping out side your comfort zone and life beginning at the edge of the comfort zone. Sounds very clique but it came across well along with fear is the sign your alive and without failure there is no success. I’ve been known to say something similar taken from Vanilla Sky.

Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour

I expect Caleb will be seen again soon…

Other notice ables were Pam Warhurst (almost given a standing ovation, but don’t worry there will be more about her soon) was amazing as usual. Doug Ward was great of course but I’ve heard his story quite a few times, Waleed Lakhani left some interesting thoughts, Laune Penny was great and ever so passionate but her work for the SKA project was slightly lost in her accent.

I have to say the event was very good and I’m glad TedXManchester was able to balance going big with cleverly theming and fascinating speakers. Good job done and I’m very glad to have gone and spent my Sunday at TedXMancheter… Looking forward to the next one…

TedxSalford biggest in the UK, don’t you know?

TEDxSalford

A few Sundays ago (10th November 2013), I had the somewhat pleasure of going to TedxSalford.

I say somewhat because although I enjoyed most of the talks, I felt strange about it. Specially after doing the first TedXManchester at the old BBC in Oxford Road. And then speaking at the second one in the cornerhouse.

The whole event is slick and a well polished affair. And thats my problem with it.

TedxSalford as someone said on stage, is bigger than most Ted Conferences! According to wikipedia the Lowry theatre holds 1730.  There were a lot of people maybe at a push 1400  as the lowry theatre wasn’t quite full but the ground floor and circle were packed solid. I got a seat in the private boxes which was lovely. Cheers iMartyn, Simon and Shane.

How did it get so big? I assume its the support from the University of Salford which helps make it possible. Thats not to take anything away from the staff and people involved in the whole operation. But I’m use to Tedx’s showcasing new and local talent rather than collectively getting people flown in from across the world. And with a line up including astronauts again its easy to see why its so popular.

TEDxSalford

Ok hands up I’m bias because having run the first TedxManchester1 with Herb Kim in the BBC Oxford Road, I do feel like we tried to do a number of things including highlight local talent and local concerns. TedxManchester2 was the same, but of course I would say that having the chance to tell my story on stage. I can’t imagine TedxSalford would let me anywhere near the stage. Yes they had a Manchester Utd player but to be fair he was pretty good for being nervous. You can’t help but feel they over stepped the local by having an international foodball player.

Please don’t get me wrong, its nice both TedxManchester and TedxSalford have each found there niche and they don’t overlap. I just think I prefer TedxManchester personally. There is something about genuine and authenticity which seems to be missing. I felt like we went from here’s a massive speaker to here’s another big speaker to yes you guessed it another massive speaker. Thinking Digital has big speakers but Herb balances them with themes to make proceedings a lot less choppy. I’d also look at what Imran does with TedxLeeds and TedxBradford. Well thought out lineup, with a narrative running from one to the other.

Saying all that… The whole event was very well produced except the sheer amount of people made getting lunch and the break out sessions a total nightmare. There were some fantastic speakers…the one which got me was once again Graham Hughes who talked about being the only man to travel to travel into every county by land only.

Other noticeable talks came from Lucy Siegle who talked about the fashion and the incredible waste it generates (one for my sister). Google Glass technical lead Thad Sturner for a great break out session i was able to squeeze into. Poet Lemn Sissay for some great slam poetry on stage. George Smooh for making my brain overload a little. Hetain Patel for his amazing art work and art direction.

Something I mentioned a lot in previous blog posts. Recorded from TedxSanjoseca, Steve Mazan’s look at life and death. Not to be missed…

So as a whole TedxSalford is well worth going to if you want the TED experience (I assume it might be like that, although I’ve never actually been). Just don’t expect anything local like the other regional tedx’s. That can be a good and bad thing depending on what you want or expect. This is a case of bigger isn’t always better…

When Paul Rogers sucked the air out of the room

Been wondering what happened to the video of Paul Rogers at TedXBradford.

Well no need to wonder any more, Imran just posted it on the site and listening to it again its pretty sobering but theres a light at the end.

I originally said this

This talk was like no other. Most of the talks were pretty neutral about the web. However Paul literally sucked the air out of the room with his talk about the political mess and security woes the internet has accelerated. Afterwards there was a level of what just happened in the cinema.

Now you can hear/watch and judge for yourselves… but bear in mind this was the last talk after a number of very positive talks about life online

Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. He worked originally in the biological and environmental sciences, including lecturing at Imperial College, London, but has worked for the past 30 years on international security. He is a consultant to Oxford Research Group, an independent UK think tank, and also writes a weekly analysis of international security issues for www.opendemocracy.net

Perceptive Media at TedXBristol

This is my high level talk I gave for TedXBristol.

The powerpoint is a little screwy on the presentation but generally you get the gist. Its also the ones where I decided to mock up a clip of the introduction of Flashforward to give a instant view of what Perceptive Media could do.

I’m waiting to see how long it is till the video clip is taken down off Youtube for possible copyright violations (which I feel is totally wrong and it fits under transformative works). I used the same videos at Oreilly Tools of Change to amazing effect, although I do feel with more time I should have found some text to change slightly. Maybe I’ll do this for the writer workshops at the end of the month?

I could swear I wrote up my feelings about TedXBristol somewhere already, but can’t seem to find it right now.

Either way, I’m very happy to see it online and look forward to the feedback from people interested in Perceptive Media. I thank the team for inviting me and I look forward to spending more time in Bristol in the near future and good to see Bristol growing its digital community…

TedXBristol live – Saturday 15th Sept

I have the pleasure of talking at TedXBristol next weekend. This follows another excellent talk at Canvas Conference on Friday in Birmingham.

The whole of TedXBristol will be streamed live, so you can get a idea of the richness of the talks yourself.

In the meanwhile there’s a cheeky little interview with me on the TedXBristol blog.

If your one of my lovely friends from around Bristol, I’ll be going for drinks and a meal on Saturday night. So get in touch if you want to join us…