Bitcoin 101: How does the alternative currency stack up?

This Q&A was originally published in DK’s weekly eZine, S. P. A. C. E.

RECENTLY ON TWITTER I ASKED about options for transferring funds online. That’s how I got introduced to cryptofinance expert Raffaele Mauro.

In an email Q&A, he helped me understand how Bitcoin stacks up.

Here is how our conversation went:

Easy Bitcoin
Easy Bitcoin

‘SMALL AND GEEKY.’ Learning about Bitcoin from cryptofinance expert Raffaele Mauro (@Rafr). Here is a Q&A, in which he helped us understand in simple terms why Bitcoin is misunderstood, and the vastness of its potential.

AS: What is the ONE thing you wish everyone could grok about Bitcoin, something that most people simply don’t see/know right now?

RM: The most important thing that most people don’t see is that Bitcoin is not just another form of money or digital currency. Potentially, it is the ‘economic layer of the internet,’ a new protocol with huge potential impact like SMTP was for email/messaging. Beyond that, the blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, opened a gigantic space of exploration for a new wave of decentralized applications.

AS: What hurdle is keeping us laymen from grasping the potential of Bitcoin?

RM: Four reasons: 1) Bitcoin is not the most convenient solution for most day to day, traditional transactions in developed countries; 2) The design of most Bitcoin applications is poor and not user friendly, complex operations are accessible only to techies; 3) Cool applications and platforms are still in their embryonic form and there are no standards; 4) The Bitcoin community is still small and geeky.

AS: I’ve been reading about blocks. What would you say is the drive for Bitcoin miners to do the work they’re doing? Will they stand to make a ton of Bitcoin? Curious what’s the incentive for people who are doing the work to lay the infrastructure for this. And is it big enough, I wonder, to build something truly interesting?

RM: Yes, today miners and mining farms are mostly motivated by the economic incentive. There is still a small number of miners who are motivated by the intellectual excitement (understanding software & hardware challenges) but generally speaking, small scale mining is not sustainable. On the other hand, there is an entire space of developers and contributors to the community where the intellectual challenge could be the main motivator with potential economic gains as a side effect (generating skills useful for Bitcoin companies).

AS: This next one is really open-ended. If you could change anything at all (sky’s the limit here) about the way people buy and sell and trade in any currency, what would that one thing be? Why?

RM: Currency operations should be like email: fast, easy and accessible to anyone.

AS: Sounds idyllic. Any drawbacks?

RM: Bitcoin has several drawbacks

  • Rigid monetary supply (on the same time a benefit and a drawback) and therefore high volatility
  • Technical vulnerabilities (examples: 51% attack, block size problems)
  • Transaction speed
  • Despite its decentralizations, there are strong network effects and “third parties” are still re-created
  • Inequality
  • More recently: flame wars among developers

AS: What can we expect to see next?

RM: I see 4 potential scenarios:

  • BASIC. Cryptofinance as sub-industry of Fintech innovation
  • OPTIMISTIC. Blockchain as the new payment layer of the Internet, like SMTP for email Internet of Things powered by blockchain technologies
  • PESSIMISTIC. Bubble & crash in cryptoasset (second mega-bubble) Bubble & crash in VC in vestments in Bitcoin startups
  • UTOPIAN/DYSTOPIAN. Decentralized technology radically disrupts governments, organizations and financial institutions


To learn more, check out at Raffaele Mauro’s Slideshare presentations >

Other thoughts?

What do YOU think? What else is out there, what’s on the horizon?

And if you are using Bitcoin, how is it working? Lessons learned? —AS

This Q&A was originally published in DK’s weekly eZine, S. P. A. C. E.

A letter to JB in London

Photo by DK 2015SOMETHING I FORGOT to ask you.

Photo by DK 2015
Photo by DK 2015

Published in S. P. A. C. E.
Get new confessions every week in DK’s eZine S. P. A. C .E.

Dear J.,

Hello there!

Um. What is your email address?

This is what happened. I got your message. Thank you for reading all those pages, and for writing to me about ‘N’.

Everything was great except—I noticed I couldn’t just hit ‘reply.’

Somehow, when I created that form, the field for ‘Email address?’ got lost (maybe forgot, ’cause I’d thought it was cool to put ‘Your city?’ since you know, ‘N’ is moving around and stuff. Except it’s really not moving around that much. It’s moving a little.) Surely it would have been FAR more important for me to ask you for your email address instead.

So yeah. Would you mind resending? The form now has that field. I fixed it. And yes!, I am listening, I noted your note, and I would love to respond by email, can you email through that form once again?

Thank you!!!

I hope you see this!

Much appreciated. 🙂

DK
PS Last time I wrote an open letter like this, it was to my father—who had a birthday; we are sort of estranged, so it felt odd writing into the aether the way I’m doing here. But somehow, the endpoints connected up. Maybe it’s normal to be looking for connections; we are, after all, human. The more I think and talk to people about ‘N’, the more I realize that it’s a project designed specifically to help us connect in real life, human to human, because we are fragile and beautiful in our vulnerability… Something like this, I think, I think. To be continued.

Published in S. P. A. C. E.

Get new confessions every week in DK’s eZine S. P. A. C .E.

Mini afterparty for guests of ‘N’ Bangkok

THE COOL THING ABOUT ‘N’ BANGKOK was that, up until right before, and even after the start, I wasn’t sure if everyone would be there. That’s partly because a few of the guests I had just met, and one of them, earlier that day. It was a sort of a hunch: for true spontaneous invitation, for the real and authentic practice of our theme for BKK, which was NOW, I’d need to simply go to the city and discover the last four guests in person, in real time, on the spot, and even on the day of. Why not? Thank goodness for CM, who came in to do that short, lovely improvisational piece that wasn’t what, I think, he had intended, but whom, I think, enjoyed the playfulness of ‘N’ BKK: NOW. I, for sure, did.

Since we had a short series, and since ‘N’ is designed that way and can’t quite happen in the same configuration (exactly 16 people, exactly once per city) again, I thought, why not invite a few who want to keep talking to an afterparty? A free one. It was, it so happened, to be this place that I’d been thinking about using as a venue for ‘N’, but which was small, too small for our intentions, when I’d gone there in person to suss it out. So I thought, since I’d been there, and liked it, and it had that vibe for being fun, it might be cool to do a small get-together with whomever would like to be part of Part 2, which was informal and collage and bricolage live session, with me and a few others making pieces together and taping them up on the window. At jazZ happens! It’s such a nice spot, and if you’re in Bangkok, I recommend a visit. If you’re into this kind of thing. Local, low-key, off the touristic scene, and very youthful, really, what with the college right next to it.

That was fun.

There was a Part 3, too, that was a few of us peeling off from this spot, finding a spot to talk some more not far from there, where it was easier to sit and hear each other and keep the conversations flowing since there wasn’t a lot of noise. So that was, unexpectedly, a highlight of the event, which really wasn’t the event itself, which of course was also bright and had its own sparkle, because ‘N’ is made for that, it’s designed for the magic moment to happen within and it happened there, and people wanted to go to another one, in another city, but no. ‘N’ is just once for the people it’s for. And in the whole world, there will be 16N in 16 cities. And that means, just 256. A finite number. I’m working my way towards inviting them, slowly slowly slowly. It may take a decade before I get to the last one, ‘N’ New York. But I know what the theme will be.

NARCISSISM.

And why New York? That is where I started.

T. S. Eliot: ‘The end of all our journeying will be to arrive at the place where we began, and to know it for the first time.’

Art school.

And incomplete.

I left.

Because…

Because why.

Apart from RM‘s shop, I didn’t see any art. More about timelessness, when I start to make the invitations for ‘N’ NY.

To be continued! To the journeys! To ‘N, N, N!’

What is NOW? by ‘N’ Bangkok

FB_IMG_1444538773539‘NOW’ IS AS EPHEMERAL AS EVER. Am I doing what is important to me, making the most it? Can I at least help someone else to answer ‘yes’ to that question? And would it be okay to just relish in not being exhausted for a moment, now?

Editor’s note: This is a joint essay by guests who had attended ‘N’ in Bangkok in October, 2015. Images and words came from them, in response to our theme, ‘What is NOW?’

BUDDHISM AND CONSUMERISM are both trendy right now, if you really stop and think about it. But they also go against the idea of the ‘now.’ Some say one’s cool and the other’s nuts. But now can you be both, at the same time?

NOW: the idealist keyword for change and peace, but what is NOW for the capitalist? ‘How do we benefit now?’  The soldier asks: ‘how do I survive now?’ And if a meteor hits earth, NOW is gone. Poof, just like that. So what is now is simply none other than a belief in which one places weight, and  considers, earnestly, to be truthful. Or?

NOW: accepting ‘that in which it is,’ and doing one’s best to balance the equilibrium.

There are so many kinds of weights pulling and shifting, in flux, constantly—but what is alive and felt, and perceived in the moment, what is heard—like that thing about the tree that falls in a wood without people around to hear, would it make a sound? Like that. What is going on, just immediately, in this NOW?

 

*

 

I THINK TIME is like a big rain cloud with infinite drops. The nowness is when it rains

the drops of time and we are aware of it. If we’re not aware that the time is falling, it is

impossible to catch up with time, and then there’ll be no concept of ‘now’ at all.

Everything will end up on the ground, in the past. All we’ll have then are documents, like snaps. Speaking of which, what is a photograph? Is it really a piece of frozen time? A preserved form of ‘here and now’? Or just the past haunting us? Coded, strange.

banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana jackfruit banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana banana

 

*

 

WHAT IF ‘NOW’ equals ‘happiness.’ Paying attention to your life, the creaks and groans of your own body, the taste of passionfruit, the sound of your son watching YouTube in the bedroom. A deep breath. You are alive. And this moment is all we have. Let it wash over you.

Is arriving at that awareness a kind of, what do they call it… enlightenment? Perhaps that’s too esoteric. But, is that it? The noticing of NOW, the framing of the urgency of the moment, is that what we’re here to achieve? I confess I’m not sure.

[Gosh, it’s cold in here with the aircon on full blast. Very annoyingly, some keys on my laptop have been broken by our kids, so sorry I went over the word limit. Maybe it’s because I am a bit hung over. Can’t think. :)… ]

 

*

 

STRIKES ME THAT ‘Now’ is the realm of feelings, where ‘Past’ is the realm of the facts, and ‘Future,’ of imaginations. No wonder I have a hard time living the now—being distracted by the future and the past can be an addictive, escapist habit.

Wait, what was the question? Constraining to 50 words is a good thinking exercise. I did a few of them. I guess I’ll go with the ‘abstract and asking existential questions’ one:

‘Now’ is as ephemeral as ever.

Am I doing what is important to me, making the most it?

Can I at least help someone else to answer ‘yes’ to that question?

And would it be okay to just relish in not being exhausted for a moment, now?

Questions, questions.

But also, a poem. Untitled, as of yet, but I might call it ‘is-ness.’

Now I am
Now I know, now I sense and feel
Yesterday I was
And yesterday is over for now
Tomorrow I will be
Tomorrow I don’t know
So I hold onto this moment of today
Opening myself up to the experiences of this day
To the awakening of my senses
And to the energies… of today
Of now … just as it is
Breathing in and out this is-ness

Know what? On my 30th birthday, I gave myself the below lessons:

  • live with consciousness
  • live for yourself and worry less
  • help others as much as you can
  • avoid what hurts you
  • live to work, not work to live
  • don’t waste too much time on negative people
  • ‘no’ is a complete sentence
  • life is too short to wait, if you want to do anything, do it ‘now’.

THAT’S THE REPORT I’ve got for you. For now.

Next stop, London. Or Copenhagen. Or Hanoi. Depending on the people, and the dates that the guests of each will choose together. Let’s see what happens?

—N

 

An evening of jazz and conversation this Friday in Bangkok

This Friday, DK and jazZ happens! present 'The Book of Blue'THIS FRIDAY, Design Kompany and jazZ happens! present ‘The Book of Blue,’ a once-off evening of jazz, collage, and conversation

JAZZ, COLLAGE AND CONVERSATION have something in common. You experiment, you play, and when you ‘hit’ the right idea, you go with it. When things go well, there’s high-quality communication. Flow.

This Friday, Design Kompany and jazZ happens! present ‘The Book of Blue,’ a once-off evening of jazz, collage, and conversation inspired by the color blue.

THE BOOK OF BLUE
Friday, October 16
jazZ happens!
7-9PM

Related: Facebook event page >

Tea and sunset

SO AND I HAVE the same language, and even the same cultural references, being compatriots (in a benign way), so it was easier to get a little more deep into the texture and complexity of things that one who is a stranger might say to another one who is also a stranger.

POETRY IS ARRIVING. Pictures of Bangkok. Stories in short, short blurbs. I’ve asked guests of ‘N’ Bangkok to send me something ahead of time, so we can create a joint composition.

Something cool is happening—people are writing, thinking, sharing, and in a sort of intriguing way, we are already starting our conversation installation ‘N’. Our theme for ‘N’ Bangkok, which is imminent, is NOW.

Diary of a Bangkok conversation-seeking traveler

YESTERDAY WAS a really different sort of day than the one I told you about with the BTS sign language and tarot stuff. Yesterday was slow and reflective.

3N by DK
3N by DK

The highlight was a little tea place that seemed like exactly the sort of spot to cozy up and become slow and reflective. It’s called Peace Cafe, the Japanese symbol 和. Cool little touches like having a decal on one glass wall on the staircase that makes a shadow. All Tadao Ando-ey but without the concrete. Second floor is a reading room, and that’s where I bumped into SO.

Earlier in the day I’d met someone over breakfast at my business-traveler-friendly hotel, just briefly, a 60-year old Japanese salaryman who confessed he’s dreading the day of his teinentaishoku, or forced retirement, which is imminent. We got chatting away about this and how he feels and he asked me what was I doing. I said, ‘意味のあるものを探しています。’ And he said, with zenzen no judgement, ‘深いね。’ And there was a long, long Japanese sort of pause in which each person retreats into their innermost reflective spaces. So going to another place, after, that’s a Japanese sort of pause-forming space made perfect sense. (I will skip my bad experience at the Aussie-run overly hipster cafe that has a Scandinavian interior, a Japanese name that has nothing to do with anything, and music that makes you want to run into the woods and wail to the moon, because design is sort of sacred, and you really really wanted to like this place because someone had a good eye, but!, but—conceptually it was all over the place. The equivalent of ‘fashion road kill.’)

SO and I have the same language, and even the same cultural references, being compatriots (in a benign way), so it was easier to get a little more deep into the texture and complexity of things that one who is a stranger might say to another one who is also a stranger. I think this conversation that took me through a lot of trails and discoveries and ‘a-ha’ moments that someone who is more evolved than I am in terms of learning how to listen and be compassionate and stuff. I couldn’t have been more lucky to run into just this person in this space at this moment. After our talks—which I still need to process some more, because they entered that ethereal and ephemeral and philosophical space that leads you to things, though only Rilke would be able to describe it beautifully and soundly in some sort of language, and one would only wish one could get a sense of a tenth of that sort of sentience.  We talked so much I forgot to order tea. So today, I’m at a little mall-ified version of the one spot I discovered yesterday. (I’m at Siam Square looking consumerism on full-square—plush and decorative buy-me stuff that is Society of the Spectacle stuff, a lie that material makes you cool, that chases us apart, manipulates, and shuns the better thing: which is free (high-quality time, together). But, no. It’s: ‘Smile for the selfie!’)

Before this gets too long-winded, and I share about the hotel employee at this rooftoppy place whom I kinda asked too many personal questions of, and what happened, or the young people I met at a ‘bar’ that is a plastic table and plastic chairs and knowing people who will give you bottles of beer and spicy Thai dishes, I will say that the after-teahouse hours were mostly simply just enjoying sunset, assuring the staff ‘yes’ I could handle a two-for-one of the hard stuff, wondering if interestingness and conversation space could happen again by sheer random chance.

It would and did, but I’ll tell you about that after finishing this pot of tea. While trying not to notice the clicking of digital pictures of other tables’ pots of tea, cakes, cookies, and waffley-tarty things.

Deep breath.

‘N’ is on. Very soon.

I’m grateful for this project, which lets me bump into sheer randomness, cool people, and intriguing connections by some engineering and mostly intuition and of course, pure chance. Let’s see where and how we can make more sparkling conversation happen? It’s never a given. Walking into the uncertain, though, is exactly what ‘N’ commands. —AS

 

Tarot on the roof and signing Sheffield

HONORING DIVERGENT VIEWPOINTS. Unpopular, in modern Western thought. Here’s why it shouldn’t be.

YESTERDAY I GOT A LESSON IN TAROT.

Beautiful, interesting game. Cards are lovely, they have all these intriguing hierarchies, so it’s like playing spades, but in a foreign language. Actually it was a foreign language. This was in French. I don’t know what’s happening when things are in French. Depictions of royalty, maybe?

The tarot cards reminded me of Mucha. I love Mucha.
The tarot cards reminded me of Mucha. I love Mucha.

And a lot of other things, some of them made sense, because I’m a big fan of spades and cards in general and wanted to learn this, but much of it was over my head, so I had to excuse myself as the sole beginner and head for the exit before people got annoyed. Then, I got on the train again.

The first time I’d been on the train that evening I’d met a Jehovah’s witness who works with deaf people and knows sign language, which he told me is different, a little, in every country. And then we got to talking about how to ‘say’ the names of cities in sign language. Bangkok is this, he said. London is this. ‘What’s Sheffield?’ I immediately wanted to know, owing to a twenty-year fascination with that city. He crossed his index fingers and started sawing. ‘Knives. Sheffield is famous for knives and metalworks, so, this.’

Intrigued, I asked what New York is. I totally didn’t get that sign. He didn’t either, it’s just what it was. You get to meet people and you learn how to sign their cities. It’s like a separate code, and we talked about code and languages of programming, and then it was my stop and I had to go to this card game. Which I’d thought, mistakenly!, would be a fortune-telling thing. So I just blurted out, ‘You’re gonna tell me I’m gonna DIE!’ And they all were like, ‘Um. Did you read the blurb?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ And: ‘The first line is that you know, it’s not a fortune telling thing.’ ‘So you’re gonna tell me I’m gonna LIVE!’ And we were off into smalltalk and the land of inconsequential gettingtoknowyous which obviously have to happen before you can talk, oh, particle physics and the latest nobel prizery for neutrino oscillation.

But!

Before this particular day, on the way to the next place, before that, on the way to this one, there were other conversations. I mean, there was that guy from Sweden who talked to me good-naturedly in that accent that reminds me in every way of a close friend from that country. ‘Oh, my shoes are from Sweden!’ I said. They are, actually, that’s a true story. I needed some good sturdy shoes because I walk a lot, so I got these clogs. Anyway, I also met a pole dancing freelance writer who shared her lunch table with me at a mall, and then, we got to talking about relationships! (always comes up, not quite sure why). I also talked to someone whom I bumped into the next day, and that was interesting but not really, because you know, some people really want to meet in a regular, networking-festival sort of way.

They want to talk over some hoity-toity buffet, and wear their ties and act cool and have business cards. Which now reminds me of what a guest of a recent event in Phnom Penh said about those kinds of events, which we go to but you know, we all know nothing interesting happens after that. I feel like I spent way, way too much time in these sorts of settings when, in fact, I really rather would have just bumped into someone on the street. Like, back in the 1990s, that one lad from Sheffield. I’ve been talking about Sheffield a lot because I still remember that conversation we had. It was really, really good. It was the kind of conversation that even if you’re completely different from someone, you can still talk together and even enjoy the variation. Which, I think, I have a hunch, is part of what ‘N’ is wanting to make space for.

'N' Bangkok tickets. Just 16.
‘N’ Bangkok tickets. Just 16.

Celebrate the differentnesses

HONORING DIVERGENT VIEWPOINTS. Unpopular, in modern Western thought. But today I got a challenge to do more of this. This is what my morning conversation was with another person, a lovely person, whom I’ve met here in Bangkok, this time much less randomly, because you know, I have been talking like hell online with people in BKK ahead of ‘N’ which is coming up soon, which is about gathering people who never would have met in ONE moment of conversation, and so, some people won’t be in town but were interested enough to ask me the kinds of questions that made me want to meet them and talk more, in real life, offline, you know? Really great to do that.

They say when you do a kickstarter—and I kind of picture ‘N’ like a mini-kickstarter, in a way—they say when you do it, you find out very quickly who your true people are. True in the sense of, like, this person’s solid. This person gets me. So many times we are distracted by people who don’t—and we’re distracted by something that’s our own preconceptions of who they are, based on say, looks, or their job, or their impression they left at you at that networking-festival, you with your wine glass that’s too expensive for the taste, and you’re like, ‘Um.’

Maybe I can say all this because I’ve just had some vegetables. Yesterday started out okay, I had the complimentary breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast, coffee. But the rest of the day was just more coffee, chocolate, an almond tart, a shot of whiskey, and a soda water.

Nourishment. Clarity.

Better to run into people and connect with people who maybe get it that openness and readiness to try things is more like it. You know what else? I’m trying to do that, myself. I’m trying to get into the space of going where I’m not comfortable, and that started with the rooftop game of tarot. Thanks, Bangkok and randomness and internet, for helping me start this party. —AS

Sixteen people in Bangkok are gathering soon for ‘N’

the best isyetto come.IT IS SET.

IT IS SET.

Tickets booked. Transportation sorted. Even a place to stay.

This is way, way different from other things I’ve been doing.

HOW IT WORKS. Guests for ‘N’ Bangkok all had to commit to a ticket BEFORE we picked a date. Then, we chose together. This process took a little bit of time. Of course it did. But you know what? It wasn’t about the actual event itself, or the ‘what am I gonna get out of it’ thinking that will block us all from exploration, and lateral thinking, and going outside the lines—the very stuff that systems thinkers say you HAVE to do if you want to find new ways to approach (and even, let’s be big picture about it, REDEFINE) the problems and difficulties and hardships that exist. If there’s a knot in something, you don’t have to just untangle that knot. You can look for places where the real stressors are, and then you can—

But wait.

Before I turn this into a shout-out for the benefits of doing things you’d never do SO THAT you can DISCOVER new approaches, perspectives, people, and ideation methods, I will just say this.

OMW Bangkok, I can’t wait to meet you again. I’m so looking forward to the conversation about ‘NOW.’ It’s been really fun meeting so many people online ahead of ‘N’. I’ve learned so much about the way it’s very, very different from real life. I’m much better in real life, so it was hard! But I didn’t want ‘N’ to be about ‘packing it up,’ as much as about Open Space, in which ‘whoever comes is the right people’ is a major tenet. Did they WANT to come? This is something you have to pre-commit to, so that means, no deciding at the last minute, and for me, as host, no entertaining the kinds of people who just want to use everything as a networking/date-finding opportunity, or who are bored and come along at the last minute as a ‘favor’ to you. Blech. That’s not ‘N’ at all. ‘N’ is much much more than that. It’s why it’s so special to me, personally, and why it made magic, in my opinion!, on April 26, 2015 in Phnom Penh. No giant corporate sponsor, no beer company, no obligation to buy buy buy something from someone. Just conversation. Pure. It’s like inviting you to my house, but of course, I don’t have a house in Bangkok. But because I’ve laid quite a few ground rules and talked extensively with the venue, everyone knows that for the time frame I’ve booked for ‘N’, it IS kind of like my house. And I will welcome my guests as though they are my real houseguests. Remember when we used to have people over, and talk, and just enjoy the art of conversations? It’ll be like that, if you are old enough to recall a time when we didn’t leave things open without RSVP’ing ‘no,’ and we didn’t cancel on the fly. In my growing-up time, these things were considered ‘rude.’ Because it’s so normal now, and because I can’t stand that, I made ‘N’ to push back on the culture of maybe.

SEE YOU SOON, BKK ‘N’ GUESTS! Maybe we were talking online, for a while, or maybe we met once, or maybe we were there for a small moment of shared space. ‘N’ is designed space. ‘N’ is just for you. Thank you, to the 16 people who have trusted me to hold the space.

See you soon. Agenda to follow. I’ll email, of course, with that. —AS

Social innovation with my Cambodian teammates

TODAY, A GUEST POST from Phnom Penh-based innovation consultant Akira Morita. Akira is a founding member of Design Kompany’s creative collective.

Today a guest post from Phnom Penh-based innovation consultant Akira Morita. Akira is a founding member of Design Kompany’s creative collective.

IT WAS DURING my third Startup Weekend that I was a coach at, in Siem Reap, when I realized I had no idea what it was like to actually participate in this world of quickly assembling ideas and forging them into a clear, well-formed business pitch.

Then I thought: ‘that’s not right. I need to change this.’

Which is how I wound up entering an ‘idea competition’ with a group of Cambodian youths this summer.

THE INKLING. I had watched, coached or spoken at these [startup event and pitching session] things before (I don’t know why—because I was a ‘design thinker’ and a ‘consultant,’ maybe? Is this why people ask you to sign up for things like this?) Whatever the reason, I was always happy to be asked and said ‘yes’. But like I said, I had never personally participated in something that gets people together to quickly come up with an idea for a thing that’s cool (and is needed. And works).

The ASEAN Impact Challenge was a chance.

Deciding to ‘do it’

First a little bit about the contest we are still awaiting word about this week. (Fingers crossed!)

THE CHALLENGE. ASEAN Impact Challenge is an idea competition that gathers people from ten countries in Asia, to compete in coming up with an idea and pitching it. It has to be a social innovation that exists, or gets thunk up on the spot.

It’s organized by SCOPE Group, an ‘international impact consultancy,’ and it’s also supported by Malaysian Governmental agencies, too. It partners with other private companies and organizations (More: AseanImpactChallenge.org/About.php).

The teams of 5 people each have to go through an application process (dead simple and virtually everyone gets accepted), then undergo a full-day workshop on human centered design.

Our ideas get made into 3-minute pitch videos that explain the big idea, then those are submitted to the judges in Malaysia. (This is our status presently, awaiting word on our entry—this week.) Eventually, two teams from each country will be selected to compete live in Kuala Lumpur in November. Coaching. Incubation. (I think. The details of this event is best conjectured at, since the organizers are not necessarily forthcoming with exact details, probably because it’s their first time organizing it.)

Why did I do this? Same reason I do everything. Practice. Trying new things.

To practice ideating for real—with a team. I wanted to do more than side-line coaching with the youths here, to see if I can work with them and help them experience something that results in real growth.

How I found my Cambodian teammates

I ATTENDED AN ORIENTATION session in July, and asked around in a wildly open-format way for teammates. ‘If you are still not sure about what you’ll pitch, I’m looking for team mates.’

Creativity
Ideating in Phnom Penh

Two people came up to me afterwards: one ended up forming her own team, but the other turned out to be a perfect match for me. A recent graduate with a business degree, TT had experience with his family tailoring business that made him eager to help garment sector workers (his sister was one once, before she started her tailoring business.)

We brought in our mutual friends SL and ST, who had professional experiences in media and marketing, to help us.

We found the last member, another ST, later in our video making process.

‘CHAOTIC.’ The process turned out to be more chaotic than I’d imagined. I’d thought, ‘We have a whole month, surely it will be quite simple,’ but I didn’t account for just how busy these young people were. We could only meet in the evenings and on weekends, and two of them in particular had to travel all the time for their jobs.

We had to meet in parts to refine our idea, write and plan the video, then shoot footage and edit in a three-day sprint. Luckily, the video guy, SL, and marketing gal ST had participated in Startup Weekend before, so they were used to the pace, and could deliver on what we needed, which is a video that’s ‘good enough.’

IDEATION IN PRACTICE. Coming up with ideas in a group was the trickiest part for me. I had three idea generating sessions, twice in three and once with just TT, and by the time we came to the final idea it was almost mid-August.

I had wanted the process to be driven by the other team members as much as we could afford to, given the time constraints. I wanted to respect and nurture their creativity. But in the end, I was the one giving more ideas out, and encouraging the others to pitch their ideas in, and think beyond their initial idea was tough. In the end, I had to synthesize the various input I gained from the members into an idea that addressed the needs put forward by TT of creating livelihood for the rural youth, which everyone is happy about.

Once the idea in place, going through a CANVAS process and making sure the idea holds up, and storyboarding the video and planning the shoot, were pretty straightforward, if not necessarily the most FUN part of the process for everyone. I led these efforts and the team participated as they could. We all worked hard to meet the deadline, and I’m very much pleased with the result:

Related: Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w5QCcbhofY

Lots to say about this. But for now, I’m thinking about how my growth was in learning just how complicated a group collaboration could be, and at the same time, how much fun it is. I was lucky to have such open and friendly team mates and for me the biggest challenge was to forget my default role as a leader, and enjoy the experience fully! —AM

There is no perfect

The Achievement Conversation I HAD NO IDEA these conversation salons were so large in quantity and varied in theme. Stayed up a little too late drawing lines on a large piece of paper, making highlighter marks in yellowgreenblueorange, connecting some boxes, trying to categorize, see where the threads are. Looking at a lot of data, you could say. Thinking about the story. The arc, that is. And in some weird and intriguing sort of way, ‘a-ha!’, it popped right out. And I found it.

The thread of the conversation series, which so very many people in the last ten years have asked me all about in various phrasings (‘What is it? Sounds interesting, but I don’t get it’ or ‘WTF?’ or ‘What is the point of it, though?’ or ‘What do I get from this?’) have made me search deeply to find an answer to, I think it comes down to one thing.

The Achievement Conversation
The Achievement Conversation. Curious? Ask >
TOTTING THE SERIES OF THINGS DK HAS DONE SINCE 2005 when we started in Seattle, I discovered a whole slew of conversation salons.

Yes, conversation parties. People stop checking their phones, and no one buys drinks because they’re too busy talking. (Venues don’t like me much). Sort of a mix of workshop and cocktail hour, or sometimes more focused with real worksheets and things. Just in 2014-15, we have hosted a series of conversations (Origin, Beauty, Math+Jazz, N, Value, Hello August, and most recently, Ennui). A recurring theme is ‘achievement.’ What are we doing in Phnom Penh: what brings us, what keeps us here, where are we going with our careers?

Really? Salons? Achievement? What gives? I thought we were a design studio? Something has shifted, dramatically, in the last 10 years. We’re no longer talking about our past work in brand identity design.

On growth and the process of shift

I HAD NO IDEA these conversation salons were so large in quantity and varied in theme. Stayed up a little too late drawing lines on a large piece of paper, making highlighter marks in yellowgreenblueorange, connecting some boxes, trying to categorize, see where the threads are. Looking at a lot of data, you could say. Thinking about the story. The arc, that is. And in some weird and intriguing sort of way, ‘a-ha!’, it popped right out. And I found it.

The thread of the conversation series, which so very many people in the last ten years have asked me all about in various phrasings (‘What is it? Sounds interesting, but I don’t get it’ or ‘WTF?’ or ‘What is the point of it, though?’ or ‘What do I get from this?’) have made me search deeply to find an answer to, I think it comes down to one thing.

There is no perfect

GROWTH.

That is, personal growth.

That is, development.

I used to think ‘development’ and ‘growth’ and even the overmany syllable word ‘innovation’ were just too used. They’ve become cliches. Truth is, most of me still thinks so. I’ve avoided this in my diction for the sheer reason that training in news journalism makes you want to delete all jargon, and fast, and hard. So you don’t see me talking about ‘growth’ out loud here on the blog. You see ‘N+1,’ of course, because what’s the problem with using mathematics? Nothing. But that’s my way of saying ‘growth.’ There’s a lot more to say about that, but I’ll leave ‘N+1’ for another post (or series).

Development is another thing. You see people who really, really want to do something. Creatively, I mean. They think taking a weekend painting course (have you heard the expression, ‘Sunday painter?’) is going to be a good creative outlet. They think that if they had a whole week off from some day job somewhere, they would do their thing that they’ve always wanted to do. Maybe it’s picking up an instrument. Maybe it’s a poetry workshop, a mountain, or installation of a chandelier.) What doesn’t happen in our world of creativity and innovation and growth and development is that honest and true thing that one simply must—MUST—find one’s way to, either by some link, or just the fact of having done a lot of things that don’t work and having to come to terms with where one is, and how it will work, and what it will become. What I’m talking about of course is the creative process. Which starts with the blank page and opens up to all possibilities and then, as luck would have it, begins to make itself into a pattern that the person who is making begins to see. Observing clearly is the work of all science, and all art is making meaning of it.

The journey is all there is

AND WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? It means the creative process in and of itself is the personal growth work. It means that starting to start is the beginning step (I call this concept of intention setting, and the nudge, ‘N + 1/infinity’). It means that nothing is going to happen unless you commit to diving in, and going deep, and staying a while, with the process. Our old blog used to have a category, ‘Trust the Process.’ I had no idea that this was the whole crux of Design Kompany. Making meaning is up to each of the people who join us for a time, do a gig with us. I don’t mean interns or employees—I mean clients. Clients come into the ‘sandbox’ and play for a while with us. It’s a jam. It really, truly is. When we discover our way to the pattern someone will note it. It’s best when it comes from a place that’s honest, true (and I was going to say brave and Hemingwaylike, but none of those elephant shootings and arm wrestlings are necessary). What IS important is trusting the process. A lot of people want to skip all the hard work of the journey from N to N+1, and just go ahead and publish, or print a CD, or make a t-shirt, or whatever else. But usually the first thing that comes out is complete rot. You have probably noticed when you are writing, and then you go back and edit, that the entire first paragraph of a first draft is probably dispensable. [I’ve just deleted the first paragraph of this story.]

What happens then? You have to do the work.

You have to get into it.

This can take a very, very long time.

It can hurt. It can twist and shove the ego back to wherever the ego comes from. It can agitate, delight, sing, dance, and puncture. You are wounded when the flow doesn’t come up to your standard of liking. Then you might change your mind altogether about what it is you like anyway. Maybe you hate Jane Austen and you can say that out loud, all that era’s chauvinism and silliness, or you can admit to never having read The Naked Lunch, sorry, no, and you can get to a point where you decide esoteric theater really isn’t your thing. You know you’re supposed to like things that you spend a lot of money on for tickets, but you’re still okay with getting up at halftime and walking out the door. Life gets you thinking, experiences teach, and you adjust into a person your younger self would look at and go, ‘Huh. That’s me in 20 years??’

You know what the real work of achievement is? Knowing that the person you are now (N) and the person you are becoming (N+1) will both be cool with the learning that has to happen between one point and the next. It’s the achievement of the journey itself, not the ‘winning’ that might come from an external validation source. That source might be dead by the time you get to N+1. And then who’s gonna pat you on the back?

You know it’s really like that. Starting to start is the big work. But how?

That’s the question each of us has to answer for ourselves. But maybe it’s not so much the answers that matter, but the starting to start thinking in this vein that is the trick. How do you know what interesting is? You feel it in your bones. When a thing is good, when a work is right, when the creativity and the process become a joy and not a slog, that is when you will discover your own thread, your own pattern, your own distinct momentous ‘a-ha.’

Best of luck, and yeah, we’re all on that vector, and so, as you venture, may the force be with you. —DK

Get more like this

MEET ME in S. P. A. C. E. >

On artfulness and growth

IN THE SECOND INSTANCE, you think it’s good but you don’t know. You email your ex-girlfriend, you forget to attach it. You re-send, and you attach it. This is important, but she isn’t answering. You take pictures of it, and you don’t know which one is in the best light, so you put all five images up on instagram. You hope she sees it. Please hit that little heart.

IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, it feels quite good. Like, ‘Yeah. This is good.’ And you stop and say, ‘I’m done.’ You walk away. You let it be. You move on to the next thing. Maybe it’s a project. Maybe it’s a piece. Something you’ve been trying to get to but you weren’t sure how you would—except, having just completed this thing that feels quite good—whatever it is, having just finished it up, and let it happen, and seeing it looking at you like a thing just born, that’s when you know. You’re ready. ‘Gimme,’ your hands and heart cry. They sort of intuit it. N+1. The next thing, the next place, the next stop on the journey.

IN THE SECOND INSTANCE, you think it’s good but you don’t know. You email your ex-girlfriend, you forget to attach it. You re-send, and you attach it. This is important, but she isn’t answering. You take pictures of it, and you don’t know which one is in the best light, so you put all five images up on instagram. You hope she sees it. Please hit that little heart. You wait. You wonder. You wait some more. This is the place where you start to think, ‘Hm. Maybe it didn’t feel so good.’ Whatever it was. A composition, the way you made it. You start having doubts like crazy, and you want to remove the pictures. You remove about four of them. One left. One big maybe. Days become weeks, become months. Years. And you have only been at N.

Two instances, two outcomes. N. And N+1. Where are you now? Where are you going? —DK

Ira Glass on ‘fighting through’

‘NOBODY TELLS THIS to people who are beginners,’ says Ira Glass. ‘I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

‘A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.’ ― Ira Glass Watch/Read it here

Swiss hills and unlikely friendships

Switzlerland stuff.TODAY IS SATURDAY, it’s late, and the fan is so strong it is disrupting the signal. Which signal? There are so many kinds, and the one that I want to talk about right now, right here, is the signal that is connecting right now through the real-world aether to one particular geographical locale. In Switzerland.

Switzlerland stuff.
Switzlerland stuff.

TODAY IS SATURDAY, it’s late, and the fan is so strong it is disrupting the signal. Which signal? There are so many kinds, and the one that I want to talk about right now, right here, is the signal that is connecting right now through the real-world aether to one particular geographical locale. In Switzerland.

Lots of things to say about Switzerland. The Alps. All those different languages and international-feeling-ness. But I have to admit I never really got too knowledgable about that country. Aside from one giant and daytime train trip from Milan through Basel, exchange there, to the next place, there wasn’t much to report from that foray. My father told me I’d already been there, when I called him up to talk about trains and snowsides so pretty you’d think you were on the cover of that Simply Red album. But Dad said, ‘Switzerland? Big deal. You’ve been there.’

This one.
This one.

Had I? ‘Yeah. You were 2.’ Going around the world was never a big deal. Going to Europe, going to Asia, wherever, whenever, it was about the sweep. Motion, as it works, is about velocities and the spectrum of conversations that scoop up and flow windward—those. Those are the things we remember—at least the one with AZ, can’t remember the line-by-line, but the gist is always with me. Coffee. Switzerland, somewhere in the middle. Conversation. A sort of poem. A sort of breeze. But today, none of that.

Today: a new friend. Switzerland via [DELETED], somewhere along the way, writing. A lot. Together. More now than in the past, somehow, perhaps it’s because these are the times (the times of transition) that we feel the pen has the best way with us.

The_Henry_Miller_ReaderThe pen!

Oh, the power of the pen, that dumb idea I’d had about the nobility of the word to crush out sexism, racism, and all the other ‘isms’ (except maybe xenophobia-ism, ’cause most of the world thinks English is somehow more worth learning than, say, Khmer, but why? Why shouldn’t we all speak at least three languages, like those folks in some particular cluster of Switzerland? Aye.)

Folly of the idealist.

Writing?

Oh, no. Don’t try to make ‘art.’ Just look at the penniless, brilliant New York writer, Henry Miller.

Seeing a promise through

THE PERSON THIS NOTE is for most surely knows I’m writing exactly to him. I’ll not put his initials here, lest he become embarrassed. Though we’ve not met, and I hope that’s not an absolute, I am respectful of this person’s style, and his newfound love of writing. I have to thank him for the work that we did together in probably Design Kompany’s best-ever project. I have to say, with real gratitude, I wouldn’t have been able to come this far in the space of making S. P. A. C. E. without his input, and mostly, participation. Ambient and intermittent, email exchange can be a strange and fascinating kind of ‘room’ for dialogue. But when it’s going well, it’s about the connection. Even if we’re far, we can be near, and even if we’re near, it can be from a place of mutual respect and a warmth of friendship that’s hard to come by once we exceed the age of 16. So I am positive. Writing. In Switzerland somewhere hazy—I don’t know my hillscapes—somewhere he must be doing that. Yes. He is writing, I’m sure. In a state of quiet poise, in a moment of reflection. Pools, perhaps the color of Lake Geneva, and didn’t the Swiss boy in college say something to me once, about that lake, about the Evian bottle design, and not know that one day, later, way later, in life, design and the integrity of design would become hugely important to me, and then, we’d talk about that? Meaning-making, conversation. These are the best journeys, you know.

Unquittingly

IT’S NOT THAT every time you say you should do something you have to, I don’t believe in giving up the shinier opportunity just because you’ve committed your word to a thing. I understand about sunk costs, and I see the value in uprooting and moving quickly to the next place. (Some of you, my oldest friends, already know this about me.) But I have learned from [DELETED] that staying the course can be a beautiful kind of thing, too. You can discover the value of patience, of living through the ups and downs (didn’t Ricky Gervais talk about peaks and troughs, in that last session of The Office?). And you can grow. One of the highest qualities of space becomes, then, this. Progression. A commitment to do something you’ve said you would do can lead to a whole other kind of breakthrough from those I’m used to here at DK (the off-the-cuff, out of the blue, ‘a-ha’ kind is my usual speed, and then, a long void of nothing). But! Long-term. This is nice. This can lead to a kind of comfortable familiarity, the same blossoming of deep friendship that is built with a lasting friend, a comrade in life, a kindred spirit, and a close friend. So tonight, a toast. To friendship. And… to be continued. —DK

November 17: FLOW. Hit your peak productivity with this workshop in Malmö, Sweden

MOST IMPORTANTLY, what we care about most now is co-designing space with people in locales around the world. But not just any people. People who are interested in connecting in real life, connecting with one another, eye to eye so that we can have some good old fashioned human style conversation. It really is awesome when it happens. We get into it. There is a sparkle.

imageThis week in Malmö, Sweden, we are hosting our first-ever workshop on productivity. It’s called FLOW.

GREETINGS FROM SCANDINAVIA, ladies and gentlemen. DK is ambling about here for a spell, bumping into people and places so as to make space for real life. Workshops and conversation salons, that is, for people we are meeting in Malmö and Copenhagen.

(It seems pretty wacky to be writing that, but then again, it seemed weird to be hosting tweetups in Hanoi and esoteric salons asking, ‘Is the medium still the message?’, like we did with Aether, in New York’s Bryant Park, and other stuff. So much to share about past stuff, and how we are changing towards more conversation-space design in 2016, but the present moment is pressing upon us and so let me not get carried away reminiscing or projecting.) For now, it’s really about happening upon an insight: what we care about most now is co-designing space with people in locales around the world. But not just any people. People who are interested in connecting in real life, connecting with one another, eye to eye so that we can have some good old fashioned human style conversation. It really is awesome when it happens. We get into it. There is a sparkle.

ON FRIDAY, DK GOT TO MEET SS, a photographer lately taking images of airplanes. They’re supersaturated pics, because they’re printed on metallic paper, I learned. He told me this and a lot of other things, things I was enjoying more than what the previous art reception (larger, boxier), had to say about anything. Oh, and how did I get to SS’s show? I followed some people out of the other place, a fancy gallery, one of those that I once thought were really cool but now see as institutions. This person I struck up conversation with invited me to hop into the giant bucket attached sturdily to the front of his bicycle. Why not?, and there I was, climbing in just like a kid might. Room to spare in this. Viking country.

So nested, I asked, ‘Um. So, where are we going?’

‘I’m not sure yet.’

I like this kind of party, already.

But we are going to meet SS, I find out.

Who will talk about planes and photoshoots with musicians everywhere in the world, but in a light, nonpretentious way that makes me feel glad that I came to Denmark. Then we will go on to philosophize, of course, about how to find the flow and make work that is truly interesting. Creativity, productivity, flow. Call it what you like. Portraiture comes up. Selfies. Chuck Close. ‘I like that Chuck Close quote,’ says S, ‘about working on things.’

I think he meant this one:

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. —Chuck Close

THIS SENTIMENT, interestingly, is also going to feature in our workshop this TUESDAY in Sweden. Who’s around? Stop by, say hi. 🙂 —DK

Flow Workshop
Foo Cafe, at the Media Evolution City building
17:30-19:00
Malmö, Sweden
‘Flow Workshop’ event page on Facebook > | Foo Cafe’s Flow Workshop registration page >


image

Resistance. Flaming. Will ‘N’ Bangkok work?

Click to learn more about 'N' Bangkok >SO THAT’S WHAT I’m finding out, in the responses coming back, some of them heavy-handed (‘There’s no way I’m paying you’), and some of them just weird (‘How do I tell my boyfriend? How do I know you’re not going to kidnap me?’) Uhhh…. What?

EMAIL. What a fantastic, weird space.

‘N’ is giving me a crazy unique perspective on how much things have changed since I last used email to get in touch with people I didn’t (yet) know. Those days, I was writing for a newspaper, so I often reached out to random people for quotes, for references, for corroboration, for more expert opinion, and for photographs or samples or other things that I could use to illustrate a particular story. Quotes, yes, I said that, huh. Good quotes, enlightening and to point, were gold.

The world as I knew it from my standard-issue reporter’s desk was an open book; Internet was a way to find the people I needed to connect with to discover, step by step, what a story ‘wanted to be.’ Much like painting, you made a foray into the unknown territory, then through hunches and gut-feel, and sometimes messing up, and sometimes hitting on ‘the happy accident,’ ie a thing you didn’t expect but somehow gave you a new inspiration, writing a story was about discovering the gem.

‘N’ is the biggest (uncommissioned) story I’ve taken on to write, and I’ve only just begun preliminary note-taking, observation on my hunch. I’ll tell you that in a second. ‘N’ Phnom Penh was the first round of searching, of seeking, something that I had a gut feeling about. Here it is. The hunch: Space is disappearing for people to be heard. I mean truly heard.

Let me say that again.

Space is missing. To connect, for real. That means, to feel you are being heard.

I think we need more than ever a way that’s low-committment and low-key and just light.

To be heard. To connect.  Quickly. So ‘N’ is short. And just once.

Creativity is inborn, everywhere

ASIA GETS A HARD REPUTATION for being ‘uncreative.’ But that’s not true. People just don’t value creativity, so they don’t practice. And they get stunted. That’s why you have Singapore (boring and plastic and dull) or fear of risk (ergo, boring and plastic and dull).

The creative in each of us is looking for new input, so as to put at bay some ennui. Because that which we are consuming online is far too skewed towards the bizarre (girl rolls down window to get picture of lion on a safari; is eaten), gross (video clip on autoplay about a guy who maims people and tapes it), or just plain dumb. I mean, really dumb. What about our brains? What about our hearts and hands?

As a person who has largely made a life and a living from creative work, I can’t stand by and watch this. I can’t deal with the way we are frittering and squandering the best of our potential; distracted by the likes of apps such as Invisible Girlfriend or games designed to manipulate and bend us to their will, a la Farmville.

So what to do.

Well, make ‘N’. Or, at least try.

‘It’s not for everyone’

Click to learn more about 'N' Bangkok >
Click to learn more about ‘N’ Bangkok >

A BIT OF LEARNING. Not everyone is into the idea of getting out of the box. So that’s what I’m finding out, in the responses coming back, some of them heavy-handed (‘There’s no way I’m paying you’), and some of them just weird (‘How do I tell my boyfriend? How do I know you’re not going to kidnap me?’) Uhhh…. What?

Rather than go into the long story about the oddness of internet exchanges (will do that in a private post—I feel like I’m finally able to relate to my friends who tell their horror stories about online dating), or expound on the exasperating feelings of the lack of quality on the internet, I will just share with you one quick response I gave to a person who said, very honestly, (and something that I welcomed was that honesty), ‘What is N? Seems abstract.’ Here is my answer:

As I get to talking to a lot of people about what it is (and try to go into why it matters), I realize quickly that something this unusual is definitely not in the mainstream consciousness. But it’s about mixing things up, meeting people you otherwise wouldn’t, and getting out of the silo of an industry/group. In America I hosted a lot of events that were far less designed like [DELETED] and [DELETED], in which I invited editors and bloggers and photographers in my hometown to get together and talk about what’s going on. They were surprised to find out how much they could learn in a very short time just by sharing their own take on a thing like ‘media, change, new media’. I like the efficiency of making a space where so much exchange can happen in a very compressed time. Who has time anymore?? That’s why there’s ‘N’.

Status of ‘N’ Bangkok

‘N’ CANNOT HAPPEN unless exactly 16 people join. We have 11.

Between now and the actual date, I’ll reconfirm with people. Tap a waitlist, most likely.

Or cancel.

If Bangkok is less open to this than I had imagined (and it is way, way less open than I had imagined!), I’m not opposed to cancelling ‘N’, if we can’t get to 16. I am totally fine with changing ‘Bangkok’ to another city.

Maybe it’s just not the right time, or the right place, or the right people.

Except: 11 people think it is. Can I discover the next 5? Can I make it happen for all of them? I’m going to try.

As always, I will do my best. Let’s see.

Next ‘N’ events: London, Copenhagen

ARE YOU IN LONDON OR COPENHAGEN? Request an invite at the bottom of this page >

November 27: Drift & the Nomad conversation salon

ARE YOU THINKING of moving abroad? Meet others who also want to try out life on the road, or at a distance, with a couple of belongings and good wifi connections.

imageARE YOU THINKING of moving abroad? Meet others who also want to try out life on the road, or at a distance, with a couple of belongings and good wifi connections.

Hosted by Dipika Kohli, who is visiting Copenhagen (and presently based in Phnom Penh via Seattle, Tokyo and Cork).

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Details

DRIFT & THE NOMAD
Friday, November 27
14.00-16.00
Cafe Paludan
Fiolstræde 10, 1171 København K, Denmark
DKK 90pp // EUR 12pp (Excludes food and drink)

Map.
Map.

What to expect

AN OPEN FORMAT conversation salon that will draw from the experiences and move in the direction that makes the most of who we meet together, on the day. We will enjoy getting to know about one another’s questions, interests, experiences, and understandings about the reality of living ‘on the road,’ and some of the myths, plus points, as well as sacrifices that this style of living and working necessarily entails. A low-key conversation that won’t require any special experience or background; it’s for those who want to come along and join, in the ‘Open Space’ style of hosting that says: 1) Whoever comes is the right people, 2) Whatever happens is the right thing to have happened. And some other things. Enjoy, connect, and let’s see what happens. When conversations are in flow, it is a lot of fun. Here’s a pic from a past conversation salon:

DK hosted Designers' Korner in Seattle on the first Monday of each month for two years.
DK hosted Designers’ Korner in Seattle on the first Monday of each month for two years.

Agenda

DRIFT & THE NOMAD
14.00 Introductions
14.10 Q&A
15.00 The Best Part
15.15 Values + 20Q*
15.30 Wrap

*To give you something to sink your teeth into, we will also distribute a simple questionnaire, ’20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Commit to Nomadic Existence’. To be shared on the day with those who join in.

How to register

Fee is DKK 90pp. You can register in one of two ways:

  • Secure your spot by registering in advance through this online ticketing link >
  • Send an email to designkompany [at] gmail [dot] com.

Is it on Facebook?

Yes, but we’re not big on FB, so it’s not going to seem like the giant awesome conversation salon that it will, in actual fact, be. 🙂

DRIFT & THE NOMAD on FB >