Anniversary missed

Monday 4th September was the 6th anniversary of the day I went into hospital. Each year since I have marked the occasion with a message thanking my other half for his support at the time and since. This year I only realised that it had passed because one of those ‘Your memories on Facebook’ posts appeared from 11th September 2014 (clearly showing that I should not have been left in charge of a mobile phone at the time). I think that it is a good thing that I didn’t remember it. Here are some sobering statistics of 5 year survival rates of ischemic stroke. Take care of each other.

Thinking Digital 2017

Last week I attended my third Thinking Digital Conference at the Sage in Gateshead. To quote someone else it is like a holiday for your brain. I never look at the programme before I go, I trust that Herb and the team will have gathered a really interesting group of speakers and that my brain will find some relevance. The talks which I got the most out of this time around were Dr Anita Sengupta and Adrian Westaway’s. Anita’s enthusiasm and thirst for learning and trying new things made her talk really engaging. Adrian shared the great insight of looking for where the experience usually drops and focus on making that magical (plus a story about a man with a chicken tied to his back).

I met great people, some for the third time, some for the second time and some for the very first time. Every visit I make an effort to connect with new people as well as speaking to people I already know. I missed the last session of the afternoon as I took the opportunity of having an interesting conversation in the Sage cafe (not for the first time). That for me is the real draw of the event, all of the fascinating conversations around the fascinating speakers.

What did I learn?
Lots from Christian Payne‘s Livestreaming Video 101 Workshop (watch this space). Darren Jobling’s talk gripped me from the start with his storytelling style and was a great reminder about getting your message across. I also really liked his plan, people and culture section. Mark Mullen reminding us all that it’s better to have a vacant post than a disruptive influence in our businesses, although those were not the words he used :) Check out the videos.

As I crossed the Tyne on my pre-booked train home I pledged to book an extra night’s accommodation and plan some fridge events next time. See you at TDC18?

Learning together – being apart

What would a great virtual learning community look like?

I love being in the room with people but I also like being at home.  After working for over three years* delivering sessions to people in London, Cardiff, Belfast, Newcastle and places in between I would like to spend a little less time in hotels and on trains. Recently I have found it impossible to get a good night’s sleep for the majority of my visits due to noisy roads, noisy customers in the hotel, noisy lift gear and on one notable occasion being in a hotel next door to the apartment of a band practising Seven Nation Army until 1 am. I have also struggled in through illness and would have been much more comfortable (and less contagious) in my own space and am more and more irritated by things that are outside of my control such as travel disruption and bad weather.

I get the same feedback from the people who attend the programmes I run. They miss being at home with their families, begrudge the time spent travelling and are concerned about the cost to their department and the environmental impact. There is value in them being away from the office, with people from diverse workplaces and to meet a wide range of knowledgeable speakers but do the benefits outweigh the downsides and is there a viable alternative?

I would like to test this. I am looking for people who are interested in a virtual learning community. I don’t know exactly what it will look like yet because it will depend on the needs of the people who are part of it.

If you would be interested in helping me to test my hypothesis please get in touch.

Email: hello [at]

Twitter: @pixlz

*Three years in this role but a total of six years in the previous ten requiring work away from home.