Secrets of a Creative Action Man


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Slides from a presentation delivered to ICL at City University 06/02/2013.

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  • So yes – thank you for allowing me to indulge a little! Drumming – is one secret out of the bag!!
  • I am an Action Man. I’m not a hitman – contrary to what the title of my talk might actually infer, I don’t have a secret weapon, I’m not a spy with a paintbrush. I will talk a bit about quirky job titles at the end …. But I am Tim Wilson with about nine different hats …. Happy band of people known as ….. Freelancers, I will talk
  • After a year mainly working associate gigs for consultants like Tom Fleming, I started Creative Knowledge in 2010 .... Under the idea of working with arts and creative industries businesses to unleash their creativity and help them be more successful.
  • I offer a number of services ….
  • A Colourful Crowd …. New Art Gallery Dead Day New Art Gallery …. Helping them with various marketing gigs.
  • Kind of Digital to run onlincolnshire …. ERDF programme.
  • Coffee Birmingham …. 2012 …. Promote all that’s great about indie coffee and independents in Birmingham July 2012 – Declaration of Independents; showcase the coffee shops. Indies across the city to put the Declaration up …. September 29 th – Coffee birmingham event … BBC.
  • IndieLove
  • I started learning drums at the age of 13/14. I’m still learning. Band person, musician, singer and dude making a lot of noise. Occasionally It pays too! 
  • Jam … I promote a company called Mike’s Homemade Get to go to independent shops, farm shops and places in the countryside and sell jams, promote Promoting independent business Arranging tasters Being in cool places. Takes me to another place, different perspectives …
  • Personal blog… film reviews, music stuff, irreverent stuff, promotional materials … all sorts of stuff.
  • Let’s go back to 2009 – I left the public sector as a round of cuts made me make the decision to do what I should have done a lot sooner …. Which was become a freelancer
  • Four years ago, I become freelance and it was the best move I ever did. I was in a new world of opportunity but “ home working ” was distracting really didn ’ t do it for me … oh dear! I needed to an alternative to being a “ home worker ”
  • And added to that … the idea of working in an office was equally unappealing having worked in the some of the most stale, kenco smelling, and uncreative office environments ever. Also at the time of going freelance, I didn ’ t have a great deal of money. Thus I craved for a genuine alternative which gave me both flexibility and movement: a place to meet new people, to feel a sense of creative buzz and atmosphere …
  • I ’ m a caffeine addict. It is far to say coffee changed my life. I am very attached to the stuff really – the bean, the cup, the smell, the grind, the toys and machines – I ’ m into to pretty much all of it.
  • Here ’ s me enjoying afternoon tea at the Hotel La Tour in Birmingham … and yes that ’ s coffee, not tea! 
  • And indeed to quote Star Trek: Voyager, “ Coffee is the finest organic suspension ever devised ” . Caffeine isn ’ t a drug, it ’ s a vitamin! It is an elixir. David Letterman has been quoted as saying he drinks way too much coffee. But if it weren ’ t for the coffee, he ’ d have no identifiable personality whatsoever. 
  • I concur. Coffee is fabulous stuff yet many people still argue that coffee is bad for health. Naturally if you rock a cafetiere or six every day, you are not doing yourself any favours. Yet, rest assured, when coffee is consumed with due moderation and joy and not excess, it is actually beneficial to health. 
  • Much said about impact of this coffee on health - I am myself surprised at the medical benefits of coffee as this handy infographic demonstrates: Some of the highlights - Coffee makes us less likely to forget, reduces the chances of prostate cancer, having a stroke, protects the liver from cirrhosis, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Quite some claims.
  • So yes, have no doubt my friends, the coffee bean rocks. And coffee is sustainable - coffee grounds for example – have brilliant creative uses - great as compost? As Insect repellant (Sprinkle old grounds around places you don ’ t want ants;) Furniture scratch cover-up; By steeping grounds in hot water, you can make brown dye for fabric, paper and Easter eggs.
  • London coffee scene …. Independent scene thriving Quite often my trips down here become mini coffee crawls Independent Coffee Book by Vespertine Press; The London Coffee Guide 2012 by Allega; London Coffee app.
  • I didn ’ t see the appeal of moving to a drab and dreary desk in the same office every day. For the price of a few coffees etc, I now have that ability to work where I want. Every day my “ work space changes ” in and it has changed my perspective on how to work flexibly and simply ” . Try it sometime when you ’ re in a rut. You can always move back to your old spot.
  • Into my life came the coffee shop. There ’ s an American site called The Coffee whose mantra is “ They call it ‘ going for coffee ’ ; We call it ‘ going to work ’ . And my office was basically very simple … a nice table with a laptop, a cup of coffee and a pair of good headphones in which to feed the soundtrack to my life.
  • Oh … and silence is uncomfortable. I ’ m ‘ that ’ guy who always fills silence with noise! Usually I ’ m drumming … tapping tables and what not. But another benefit of coffee shops is that there is stuff happening in them. And if you don ’ t like the music or atmosphere then you can bring your own headphones and you can listen to your own. Surely a good thing!!! 
  • Types of public space – Eight types of public space …. This is one of them. Exchange spaces: places where people exchange ideas, information and goods Don’t ask me to recite other seven!  Dr. Tom Fleming often talks about those places where interactions take place – the coffee shop is one of those places.
  • Oldenburg calls one's "first place" the home and those that one lives with. The "second place" is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. ------ Third places, then, are "anchors" of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests the following hallmarks of a true "third place": Free or inexpensive Food and drink, while not essential, are important Highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance) Involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there Welcoming and comfortable Both new friends and old should be found there. It’s interesting that a lot of what I do occupies that third place! Indeed the third place is my second place (work space!) quite often. Indeed the world of twitter, facebook and online communities are something of a third place too for many people. Coffeeshops to restaurants, gym – Oldenburg’s barbershop to a prison
  • Coffee Shop culture – nothing new. 17 th Century Coffee Shop culture Jürgen Habermas argues that the age of Enlightenment had seen the creation of a bourgeois public sphere for the discussion and transformations of opinions.[44] According to Habermas, this 'public realm' "is a space where men could escape from their roles as subjects, and gain autonomy in the exercise and exchange of their own opinions and ideas."
  • We Humbly Pray, That you our Trusty Patrons would improve your Interest, that henceforth the Drinking COFFEE may on severe penalties be forbidden to all Persons under the Age of Threescore; and that instead thereof, Lusty nappy Beer, Cock-Ale, Cordial Canaries, Restoring Malago's, and Back-recruiting Chochole be Recommended to General Use, throughout the Utopian Territories.
  • Networking!!! One of the key things about being a Freelancer is not how to network on how to build your networks!
  • Dale Carnegie …. How to Win Friends and Influence People … “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
  • I relate working in a coffee shop to Charles Leadbetter ’ s idea of the art of “ with ” , “ co ” . I believe in the idea of “ open space ” , of real “ human scale conversation ” – coffee shops allow you to do this. And in many respects, it removes the forced physical barriers that board rooms or meetings rooms create in my opinion …
  • As a freelancer, I find another benefit of working in indie coffee shops is that there are a number of us doing the same thing. It is great to benefit from the talents of others – to share, collaborate and cowork … this is where the unexpected new opportunities and ideas for work can come about or you can find the solution that you have been looking for.
  • I jointly co-ordinate the monthly Likemind event which takes place at Saint Caffe in St. Paul ’ s Square this Friday from 8am. Likemind is a social coffee morning event … various from Likemind to Likemind but it tends often to involve Creative Professions. The one down in Brighton is very much a Creative Industries meetup!
  • London – likemind …. Tapped and Packed, Tottenham Court Road
  • Social Media Cafes ……
  • Meetup groups ….. ; WordPress users, marketing specialists, web developers, Ruby users and numerous language,s not to mention the gatherings for paranormal, sci-fi and tarot fans.
  • get on the mailing list so you know when someone starts one, or start one yourself. There is a cost implication of a few pounds per month for this but as an organiser it means you are fully in control for what type of gatherings you want to go plan and, indeed, what type of people you want to mingle with. the big plus of running your own group is you’ll have new contacts and more importantly, more enriched relationships with the people you get to know.
  • Coworking space …. If not coffee shops ….then paid co-working spaces – membership structures allowing for coworking shared desk envrionments, access to meeting rooms facilities. Members
  • Social Media …. I could do a whole session of the powerful weapon of blogging, social media, digital tools etc, etc, etc …. Content is KING!!
  • Identities ….. CONTRIBUTE
  • Keeping on top of everything - software that puts a skin over your social media presence and makes it more manageable, schedule tweets, analyse success … all of that.
  • Phrase often used by my girlfriend to describe the power of social media …. It wins you work.
  • Making an impression – consider who you are and what things say about you. Mark Shaw: When u meet people in the 'real world' & ask what they do, they don't, guru, warrior, samuri.. So why do it in real life! Crucially, if you are your own boss ….
  • And all of this comes back to the power of coffee and coffee shops to bring people together in different ways. I ’ ll end with another quote – “ Everybody should believe in something.  I believe I ’ ll have another coffee now. ” So thank you very much for your time and I welcome any question or discussion points.
  • Secrets of a Creative Action Man

    1. 1. Secrets of a Creative Action Man Tim Wilson tw. @timmy666e. #creativesecrets
    2. 2. @timmy666
    3. 3. Business support Marketing/Comms Digital Marketing/Social MediaResearch/Consultancy Workshops/FacilitationCreative/Leftfield thinking
    4. 4. @acolourfulcrowd #deadday
    5. 5.
    6. 6. @coffeebrum
    7. 7.
    8. 8.
    9. 9. Places to workFree, reliable WiFiPlace to plug inGood chairs and tablesIs it an independent? #indieloveGood coffeeProper FoodCustomer ServiceLocation (exterior … as well as interior)Parking? (ok, not so important in London)Music – too loud? Bring your ownSpaceWho’s around? Do you know them?ConversationOpen environment?
    10. 10. NetworkingHow to build your networks !!!
    11. 11. Coworking
    12. 12. #jelly
    13. 13. @thebrewcowork @kindredhq
    14. 14.
    15. 15.
    16. 16. Co-working spaces HubKX Tech Hub at Google Campus The hub Islington The Cube TechHub London PurplePatch Kindred HQ
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Digital allows usto work thisway…•Small is the new big•Join the open-source, gift economy•Middlemen are doomed•Free is a business model•Life is a beta•New attitudes: listen, learn,• Ask questions•Transparent, Collaborate!
    19. 19. Twitter LinkedIn Your Google +Website YouTube Facebook
    20. 20. @acolourfulcrowd@timmy666@coffeebrum@rise_live@newartgallery@loveindies
    21. 21. Online business communities #watercoolermoment #techtuesday*11am – every weekday (*every Tuesday).
    22. 22. Using the internet to get people off the internet
    23. 23. Interesting job titles …. But are they you?! Be genuine!
    24. 24.