if you go to my flickr account, you'll find the last few days of me on the road and my first week or so being back in nyc.
here's the big news that all y'all have been waiting on... i'm now going into my second round of funding. since i'm broke, like super broke, and i'm tired of asking the internet for money - i have decided that i need to do two things here in nyc...
1. make money
2. continue my journey in new york city.
i've decided to become a new york city cab driver. while it won't bring me mad loot directly into my pocket, it gives me an opportunity to document, see and navigate the beauty of NYC. too boot, i'm also going to help out an industry that most artists overlook. there are many things left to be figured out, but as you followed this journey - here is another one for you to enjoy. check out http://taxiNYC.tv and i'll be back in a few days with some updates (aka jelly Brooklyn / NYC - BarCamp NYC 4 & my master plan to turn this into a full length documentary).
whoa! if there were two cities that i would call a couple, it would be paris and new york. it absolutely astonishes me to look up and see a crystal clear blue sky, with a subway rubbling the ground beneath my feet and amazingly the most polite people on earth... well except for one short little man who must have separated ways with his identical twin brother... and while one terrorizes the politeness of new york, the other fines his vain in paris.
it's my last full day in paris. it's a monday. the sky is blue and the air a bit crisp. my friend lucia and her roommate are somewhere between barcelona and paris and i have two appointments and one unscheduled stop.
first i run to art-and-you.com to interview mary-noelle - beyond the crazy story that she and i share a mutual friend in nyc and discover that we share a mutual friend of a friend in geneva. mary-noelle and i talk (ie she talks and i record) about how art-and-you.com has yet to "officially" launch but is already becoming a well heeled video staple in the Parisian art community. using the fine video skills of friends, art-and-you offers a unpretentious view of art, the galleries, the styles and all the jazz one would normally spend four or five years studying. too boot, they have an online space for artists to upload images of their work to be critiqued from the global community of nobodies like you and me BUT also notable curators, artists, and people who are blessed with societies' knowledge of art.
now here's the best part and why it ties into the whole coworking tiff. art-and-you just doesn't work online, but they have the necessity for their OWN ART gallery. yeah that's right, they need a physical space for work to be displayed, events to be held, and a location to lasso their community... in my mind, it's not too far from the average plight of a normal startup or independent worker.
btw, they also have a partnership where parisian bars and pubs select from art-and-you's catalogue to add ambiance. if you like what you see online, well just run down the street and see if it suits your fancy. it's amazing that this is this a whole network to educated people in art, where to find art, and also how to collect art! currently, if you go to art-and-you's gallery, you'll find a young collector's pieces and a workshop on how to become an art collector. RAD? yah, i think so. btw, next year they're bringing this program to brooklyn!!
around 12h45, i met with mary-noelle's husband, ludoovic dardenay. sidenote, ludo's business partner in World Zhulu Corporation is in china and with my drupal buddies jacob redding and robert scales, the three will talk about drupal in china at drupalcon 08 in boston... but back to ludo's problem, first here's an excellent example of a modern technogenious. the man is bucking the french trend and working hard to start businesses. yes, that plural. apparently (i only use this word because i no longer have access to the economist report on france's markets and how they prevent startups) france has a major problem in startups. most of this has to do with labor law and taxes and the fact that people are guaranteed employment, healthcare, pensions, etc... you know, all the good things that americans so despearatly want but corperations and governments use the french example to thwart.
so ludo's got three business in the oven - the geek consultancy (aka a drupal development shop), a film production company and a restaurant - oh and he's working on a vineyard (yeah, did i mention he's french?) so ludo's problem is multifold (and i'm not talking about the two cell phones that he carries). ludo needs an insprational center where he can be connected with a community of communities and find other young startups or independents that need complementary services... the reason why he needs this "concierge" service is convoluted and maybe as an american i can just say that it is a french way of doing things. needless to say, the nature of an individual who's as a awesome as ludo no longer needs to toy with some henchmen nor a social networking shite. ludo now has a location in central paris where he can go and suss out problems or clients. the solution - la cantine - it is parisian for coworking.
after our conversation, i ran back to the subway and ran into mary-noelle (she was on her way to a meeting at ludo's office; i'm telling you this couple is mad busy. i was happy to have the few hours i had with them :* ). as my last day in paris, i had to track down the latest development of paris ideal of coworking. two weeks ago, i got a little email reminder that la cantine is open for business.
heading back to the same general direction i came from, i found myself at the same metro stop i exited to meet mary-noelle. nussled down the street from the grand boulevards metro stop, i discovered one of the thousand little side alleys of commerce. wrapped in the dusklating sunlight, i entered under a scaffolding to the ideal of many independent / freelance workers.
behind the store front glass stood none other than christophe. he appeared to be an introductory meeting of some sorts. now christophe is another one of those crazy french guys. it had been seven months since christophe and i last met. then it was a hot summer day and i was running into town and he was running to mediate some labor dispute. over multiple shots of coffee we discussed the future of coworking and his ideals of a location in paris. (see the video)
as i stood in front of the door, i hesitated to enter. i knew once i entered this threshold, i would spend a minimum of a few hours talking to people, asking questions and figuring out what does coworking mean to them. for a second, i thought i could just come back in a few mins... but my heart was racing, beads of sweat were growing. if i didn't know better, i would think this was love at first sight.
it could have been a small mirror that bounced off an upper floor window and onto a plate glass which illuminated the inside... but to me it seemed as if god sneezed light. as i walked through the front door, the cafe erupted in color. orange, green, white and black... (btw, in france black is a god given color.) while my photos provide no justice... the place is a palace
wrapped in projectors, outlets, wifi, and ample desk-space. the 11 day old facility has become a hive of parisian geek culture. according to marie noeline (i kid you not, it's another NOEL!) the space is used every night by geeks wanting to come by, hang out and hive. from drupal to wordpress, from php to ruby, from barcamp mashup to impromptu troubleshooting sessions. la cantine is the place to see and be seen.
as the training wheels are adjusted, cost of the space is variable. since the palace is managed by silicon sentier, a concierge for parisian startups, and there are partnerships with the likes of upgrade, dorkbot, orange labs, fing, city of paris, cap digital - so they are looking to cast their net far and wide. if you have a chance, drop by.
and casting the net far and wide is just what two users of the space are working on... karen and vincent are working on a traveling book series. this is not just about travelers and their stories, but the travels their stories take. if you hop on over to http://traverses-lelivre.com you'll be able to track down copies of a book that feature their own serial number and feature a series of french stories from around the world... sometime this summer, karen and vincent are going to purchase two mules and walk from portugal to the netherlands. too boot, over the summer karen is going to release a series of books she's written and a DVD of her trip where she walked from paris to istanbul and then rode a bike to Jerusalem. awesome, i think so!
with the day waning on, marie noeline found a few more mins for me and we started making lists of what she needs and what resources i knew. we talked about the coworking email list - "work at jelly" - collaborative art conferences - conflux - unconferences and the like... in the end, she kept on saying "what do you want this place to be?" if you're in paris don't pass up this opportunity, you have a free space filled with all the resources the city has to offer.
by the time the sun was below the horizon, my friend lucia came to pick me up. seriously, i felt like a kid at playschool not wanting to leave my new friends... and as lu and i were walking the front door out a group of artists were setting up an interactive floor display. this floor is installed every night for development while the artists hammer on the software... seriously, i almost did turn to my friend and said, "can we stay longer?" but alas, i just made another resolve to find a mechanic to fix my motorboat so i can come back and forth as i please.
Recoded: 20 July 2007
Locations: Angel, London; Brighton, England
Tags: erider, tactical technology collective, luck of seven, documentary, citizen journalism, hacktivism, non-profits, open source
Music: random band at moo.com party
About: on the worst possible day to travel, i decided it would be a smart idea to travel from london to brighton. with the tube flooded, freeway and surface trains submerged, i arrived in brighton a few hours later than expected. despite nature's attempt to thwart my meeting, dirk slater and i spent the afternoon talking about technology, hacktivism and non-profits.
Tactical Technology Collective
GRO Case Study
Circuit Rider - the global eRider community
Tech Rider Email list - http://npogroups.org/lists/info/riders-tech
Recoded: 17 July 2007
Locations: Berlin, Germany
Tags: coworking, travel, berlin, twittervision, dave troy, travis todd, popvox, growvotes
Music: a little boy playing the accordion, background music within coffee shop
About: while on my global hunt, i popped over to visit my friends will and sue. for two months, they are honeymooning and taking in the sites, sounds and joyful company of friends.
while i was in their company, i scheduled a few interviews. this particular interview was from travis j. todd (growvotes) and dave troy (twittervision, popvox) where we discussed everything under the sun. a thinthasied version of my thoughts can be found here.
check out more information on locations for freelancers, independents, and free thinkers, check out http://wiki.coworking.info
This is a 21st century journey to the intersection of digital and organic communities. Communicating through a digital medium that has no borders, I want to share with you how this new world interacts.
Free culture. After a half-century of broadcast communications dictating the common perspective, people are now reconnecting—one-on-one, peer-to-peer, node-to-node—and proving that traditional copyright and patent restrictions need to be reformed to promote creativity.
Free and open-source software. Software should be a tool, like a shovel. With zero distribution cost, global, boundless open-source communities are competing in a world of co-opetition.
Couchsurfers and bloggers. People—from those who blog their souls to those who reserve their couch for strangers—are using technology to augment real-world relationships and bring modernism back to our post-modern world.
Barcamps, unconferences, meetups, and coworking. The online digi-world uses physical ad-hoc meetings to socialize, share, and advance ideas.
Agents of progressive social change. Inventors and concept peddlers—though not always leaders—change the way we think about the world through technology.
The environment. When we outsource jobs, we outsource pollution, waste, and other negative impacts of consumerism; we need to continue to use technology to educate the public on the true footprint of the products we use and lifestyles we choose.
Happenstance. Receiving a random e-mail, discovering a flickr profile, stumble-surfing across a facebook page, connecting in a café—the world grows smaller with every person we meet, and there is an art to discovering their stories.”
photo by charles hope
Recorded: 17 June 2007
Locations: Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City
Music: David Byrne - My Fair Lady - http://creativecommons.org/wired
Tags: McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Handmade Nation Documentary, renegade craft fair, etsy, clothing of the american mind, progressive fashions, my car spotter, knit-head, pretty in punk, alyce benevides, souldier, show your soul, caitlin phillips, rebound designs, indie craft documentary, handmade nation
some where between 90 degrees fahrenheit to 100 kelvin, i stepped out of my house and hopped down the street to see what wears the renegade craft fair had on display. with no money in my pocket, i scoured the vendors looking for the one desirable item i could not part. after about the third hour, i found it! nuzzled away in the far back, sat souldier. after a long discussion, i selected my materials and found a decorative strap for my camera. for the rest of the day, i bounced from booth to booth, in an attempt to fight off a dreary hangover and a the god of hades.
through the heat, i discovered that there is a documentary of the D.I.Y. craft community. while i originally intended this piece to wax poetic about how craft and free culture are intertwined... what i wanted to say has already been said. instead, i'm going to point you to Handmade Nation. (youtube clip, etsy page)
"the renegade craft fair is a unique diy event organized by sue blatt + kathleen habbley. when this event began in 2003, there was nothing else like it. we took up crafts as a hobby after college and decided to try selling our stuff in local fairs. to our surprise, no events were catering to the burgeoning diy craft community or even prohibited crafts all together. so we thought of organizing a fair of our own that tapped into this movement and provided a laid back, fresh venue for artists and shoppers alike." from the renegade craft fair website.
We've had a long relationship since December 2004. I love your ethical hosting! I love your humor, countless blog posts and newsletters that make milk shoot out of my nose. I love how you match donations raised through your site. I love the countless hours laying in the park and reading your wiki. Most enjoyably, I love our quality time walking up and down the endless site's of the month. I love our one-way relationship so much, I want to take it to the next level. I want Dreamhost to accompany me on my seven month journey around the world. Together, I want to explore open-source communities, open-source technology, social entrepreneurs and global change.
I'm sure you get countless offers overwhelming your inbox with nigerian get rich quick scams. i mean "offers." I bet because of your generosity you are also slammed with non-profits asking you to rig the site of the month campaign. Without a doubt, I'm sure your good-looks and fine grammar has been met with countless marriage proposals. Well, in short, I'm not here to do the same. I am a simple man with a straight forward project who is looking to get hitched to the one hosting provider he dearly loves. Within this relationship, I'm just looking for one simple thing - Stability...
I know this can be a beautiful relationship. I know that our love is rooted in the same soil. I know that our partnership will produce a many of offspring who will grow into the heavens and make many dreams come true. I know that together we can host an infinite number of thoughts and change this place for the better.
So, now I bow on one knee and ask, "Dreamhost will you partner me?"
PS - You can respond via email or preferably via a comment at http://luckofseven.com/dreamhost_will_you_marry_me
Recoded: 10 May 2007
Locations: Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Manhattan, Columbus Circle, Williamsburg, Subway, NYC
Tags: Coworking, Jelly NYC, Photojojo, Monkey Business Labs, Insanely Great Tees, Amit Gupta, Joshua Keay, Anna Grossman, Dave, Sahadeva Hammari, Ian Van Ness, Dave Keay, Ben
Music: " wonder what i'll do today" by oldDog, featuring narva9
on thursday, 10 may 2007, i loaded up my laptop and a borrowed a Sony HVR-A1U and headed over to House 2.0 for a bit of Jelly NYC. after leaving my house in greenpoint and stopping to smell some flowers, I found myself on a motionless 7 train, wondering what joy and excitement would befall the day. little did i know, how much i would learn in such few hours. while the day was filled with standard enjoyment and pleasant conversations. it wasn't until the afternoon when i started filming did i really discover the important lessons.
here are some tips on being a better videographer in nyc...
lesson 1 - people will stare at you and think you are a tourist. just remind them god created sky for everyone to enjoy. then, like a good new yorker, take off your cap, curtsey, and say have a good day.
lesson 2 - people will ask you what you are doing. just say, "I'm looking for something to report" and then politely remind them of the subway ads saying, "see something, say something."
lesson 3 - listen to what you have to say before saying it, but then again don't do it over and over. eventually you will get it. don't worry, after you're comfortable being in front of the bloody camera, things will flow.
lesson 4 - give your subjects a count down after hitting record. i found my self working with really tight record times. simply padding 5 - 7 seconds before and after interview statements would have allowed for better transition.
on the technical end...
lesson 1 - HD is HUGE!!! while i'm not sure of the exact conversion, it's roughly a GIG a min. oh, and if you think that your laptop's hard drive can handle that type of data manipulation... think again. right now, i'm using my 60 gig 4th gen iPod as my scratch disk, thank goodness it's the last model that had firewire!
lesson 2 - map things out. not only are tapes expensive, storage is a premium and so is your processor power. make a mental map of scenes, and do a bit of story boarding.
lesson 3 - it takes forever to convert data from HD to the web. make sure before outputting that you're ready, and then once your ready review Zadi Diaz's rules for making internet video compatible with appleTV.
lesson 4 - create an account on a content sharing site like blip or revver where you ultimately own the intellectual property.
hey look it's march 7th! just four more months... do i feel a bit of pressure, hellsyeah!
this past sunday, i depart wicked early to attend Harvard Business School's annual Social Entrepreneur Conference. hungover from being out too late with a bunch of political bloggers, i ferried my self into the lovely arms of jetblue and pondered an action plan... as a huge fan of the number seven, i decided to meet seven new people and ask them to tag themselves with seven words. VOLA!
yes, at times i'm quite timid. i didn't even get to the first person unitll after lunch. in need of a cigarage, i found one, ankill chopra, a fellow new yorker who was more than willing to bare the freezing tempature to wattle through my bumbling attempt to describe my project. gracefully, he indulged my request and we chatted about nyc's technical community. as we went into the grand hall to hear dan doctorf, ankill introduced me to his lovely partner and soon tobe HBS student, camille. also from new york, she quickly agreed and with in 5 minutes i had scored two interview.
as doctorf's statements turned into a self masturbatory harvard/make money first/nyc & rapid development good speech, i moaned and groaned... locked in by three people to my left, i decided to listen and fill my mind with disgust. then at the end, i was awarded by the introduction to theresa chinte, a fellow brooklynite who lives in the Atlantic Yards area. after we chided the Atlantic Yards project; she granted a interview.
then in the hallway, i ran into ajit. his statements in an earlier session, made me wanna say thank you... in the "arts as social change session" he noted definitive metrics for all programs, and then gave me the best line ever! "be still, bliss will come to you." in the afternoon session, i came across meridith who happens to know charlie o'donnell. it's weird how being hyper-connected can make the world feel much smaller. then afterward, we walked to the career fair where i stubbled upon my last two subjects jana and misha.
what can i say? GREAT SUCCESS!!! below is a transcript of what people are saying.
music by Dimitri Artemenko, thank you for using creative commons!
ankill chopra, aserno; "my family, camille, smashing pumpkins, guitar, figuring it all out, happiness"
camillie, lehman brothers; "akill, delane family, columbia (university and Missouri), democratic party"
theresa chinte, grad student at NYU Wagner & works part time at Be Cause Global Consulting; "innovation, motivation, entrepreneurship, change, energy, passion, fun"
ajit jhangiani, HBS MBA '70 ; "be still, bliss will come to you"
meridith petrin, second year harvard law student; "india, idea, web, simultaneous, question, sunrise, intensity"
jana reed - common good carers; "happy, loquacious, sad, (i need four more)... sorry, what??"
misha simmonds - education; "all students can achieve at high levels"
armed with my seven tools (macbook, moleskin, montblanc, ipod, tea, camelpak, and red pants), i'm heading back to harvard. after last week's social entrepreneur seminar at nyu, i was made aware of an annual gathering of harvard business school's social entrepreneur club. this will be the third time that cheryl dorsey, president of echoing green, and i will cross paths. also in attendance will be victoria hale, founder and ceo of institute for one world health, and daniel doctoff, deputy mayor of "my fair city" of new york.
to be honest, the only reason why i submitted my $40 dollars was in an attempt to win $2000 in their pitch for change, one of the club's lustrous prizes. now in the wind that fast company killed their profile on Lo7, i go in earnest not to win (since harvard also rejected me), but to see other social entrepreneurs and find fellow projects that will change the world.
while i might not have the opportunity to live blog the event, i've made the goal of documenting the trip and making the best of the number seven. from my seven items, i will hand out seven business cards asking people to tag them self with seven words...
as i sit here waiting for my plane, i do wonder about the adventure in front of me... it's been several years since i last visited boston. back then, i was foolishly in love with a girl. now, some may say that i'm foolishly in love with a project, that just like that relationship, has a purpose but no end goal... oh, wait may be i shouldn't say that. while this project may not have end goal other than elevating the conversation. in the grand scheme of things this is an nevering quest to change people's perception on the tiny planet we call home.