Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Please Help!


As I highlight in my #CEduAD Post in September 'Startups are messy... EdTech is tough... and social media is an interesting place at the moment.

Biz Stone's book was a real inspiration to me and came at a time when I REALLY needed it! Professionally things were going well for Biz when he was hired by Google but, personally, he'd taken a few risks to get noticed by Ev Williams and Google who had just acquired Blogger, and was in debt.

He bet on his 'future self' who was going to find a way to pay for everything. When he worked at Google, he lived in a bare flat as he and his partner could not afford furniture... His colleagues rallied round.

Like all my other books it's in storage and, unfortunately, are at risk.

I have written this post in the hope of securing the amount needed to get our possessions out of storage in the next few weeks. Please feel free to contribute to this Go FundMe Page... any and all assistance gratefully received during this challenging time  

If high profile people like Alex Salmond can raise £100,000 in 24 hours and/or a Potato Salad Kickstarter can get $55,000... I hope that I might have built up enough goodwill with people in my PLN to be able to raise £700 needed within the next couple of weeks.

Over the last few years I have tried to see ‘where the puck is going to land’ in relation to EdTech sales.

When I mentioned in 2015 that cold calling was dead, MSPs told me that this was not the case as people loved the Scottish Accent. The MSP for Dumfermline highlighting that there were lots of opportunities with Sky at his constituency.

Fast forward to 2017 at a Scottish Community Manager meetup where people from Sky are presenting and if you were to ask

"Are you playing about with chatbots?" Don't be surprised to find that the answer is

"Yes, we have 8 chat bots running at the moment"

Fast forward again and Adapt or Die: How to Cope when Bots Take your Job highlights how 100,000 AT&T jobs could all go at once.

In Scotland there are some 4% of the Scottish workforce involved with contact centres, are many of those people and their families about to experience what we've gone through? I sure hope not! I would not wish our experience on anyone!!

In 2012 I saw that cold calling was on the way out and looked at what innovative companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Pokemon Go did to get traction in education.

They didn’t appear to be making the same sales calls as other education based companies… but did seem to put a lot of time and effort into establishing relationships with educators and putting ‘social proof’ to good use.

In 2014 I realised that the UK FE sector was not the best place to explore ideas that I’d been working on as I’d managed to get more done in 4 weeks with US educators when supporting the #SaveEdShelf campaign than I did in 12 months in FE.

(This was in spite of working with 50% of FE colleges and 100% repeat business over a 3 year period with some pre-austerity Every Child Matters and Healthy Colleges projects).

I’ve worked in a paid and unpaid capacity on projects that I have felt had value (and the right core values) since 2014.

A common topic of conversation is that the ideas that I get (usually as a result of ‘social listening’ and curating various data sets) from friends and people in my PLN is that the ideas are ahead of their time.
I’ve found the statement

“Being too early is as bad as being wrong”

To be very true! Except I’d have said that being too early is actually worse than being wrong!

 I’m currently working on a follow up to:

1)      The Developing Relationships & DeliveringValue Report that was written in collaboration with OCR (Which the TechnologyAdoption Cycle Section of the ISTE PLN Pokemon Go in Education report also touches on) 

2)      The Scottish Schools on Twitter Zeemaps that I curated in 2015 and updated in 2017


It is through research like this that has formed the basis for my involvement with the #DigCitSummit movement, anything I've done to get educators involved with the Skypeathon and Connected Educator Appreciation Day (#CEduAD).

I would like nothing more to finish this work and see it reach it’s full potential, which would be 100% in line with what I felt was possible in my very first blog post 


These ideas also happen to be in line with what Chris Van Der Kuyl advocated for in his #SLF15 keynote, as well as the way the Scottish Government say they want to empower educators.

However, like many find in the #EdTech space (Which most definitely does NOT need to be the case… In spite of austerity and all the school budget cuts), I’ve struggled a good deal. 

In the last 12 months have been on the wrong end of a losing battle that I don’t think would be out of place in an Ayn Rand novel.

In August, due in part to non-payment of work that I carried out – as well as a good helping of 'optimism bias' and a dash of naivety – the only home my boys have known was repossessed and we joined many of the other UK families who are experiencing some pretty hard times.

I’m not sure what my three boys will make of watching this struggle as it has unfolded before their eyes but, at the time of writing with my wife organising her mothers funeral and only a couple of weeks to raise the amount needed (£700) to save our possessions that are in storage, a little support would be extremely welcome.

A crowd funder worked for Alex Salmond within a short period of time… and I wondered if the same might be the case with this appeal.

As someone who has successfully helped others with their crowdfund efforts (#SaveEdShelf and #Get2ISTE) and have tried to create a Black-Friday-meets-giving-Tuesday as a way for supplier to thank educators for all the ways they give – whether with the £7 billion in unpaid overtime or the hundreds of dollars they spend on school supplies out of their own pocket – I never for a moment thought I’d be putting a campaign together for £700 to try to help secure belongings (Along with a whole bunch of other changes we've experienced).

As you can see from my HustleWhile You Wait post, I estimate that I’ve delivered value of £90,000 over the last few years to various organizations/movements.

I know that no one asked me to pitch in and assist with these and/or no mention of payment was made with many of these projects... I worked on them in an attempt to reskill from sales (Which educators highlighted in Twitter chats like #EdTechChat, #EdTechBridge and #UKFEChat were annoying) to community management, and because I felt my involvement with these projects would play a role in helping various people, groups and organizations to connect with purpose.

Obviously, I would welcome anyone to contribute to the GoFund Me campaign, but would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who has benefited from any of these projects in the past:


I would also be interested to hear from any EdTech suppliers who are looking to engage with UK Educators as I have some data that may be of interest to them. 

Ask me about this map, the data that each entry will include and how I feel this could help with lead generation as well as helping your product/service get traction using 'social proof' in the way that I have explored in the reports and projects mentioned above.


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Spy Quest Mission Part IV – Family Matters

Related image


This post includes a couple of special Spy Quest Missions that young Agent Isaac has been on with his Dad… and how they have been important to the entire family.

Last month Agent Jones had an event in sunny East Kilbride, Agent Isaac went along to say ‘hello’ and ended up speeding around Scotland in a Super Car with one of Agent Jones’ colleagues as Franco had been sighted in Stirling and Spy Quest Agents were on the case.

As usual Isaac was on cloud 9 after being involved with another mission with Agent Jones.

Immediately after this event we found ourselves on two solo missions.

Death in the Family
Agent Isaac’s granny has been battling with cancer since the start of the year. Last weekend she passed away.

When she was hospitalized a couple of weeks before she passed away we sat the boys down and said that she had lost the power of speech and was on a lot of drugs, we then asked them if they wanted to see her to say goodbye, or if they’d prefer to remember her as she was.

The consensus was that all 3 boys preferred to remember how as she was.

Then a parental executive decision was made and we changed this saying

“You know what, let’s just go see her… I’m sure you’ll still remember her as she was!” 

With Agent Isaac being a good deal younger than our other two teenage boys, I gave him a special Spy Quest Mission which included:

1)      To have his courage, be brave and not be in any way shocked or scared about how his Granny looked

2)      To give her lots of kisses and cuddles and to make her smile

We visited the hospital with the boys - Isaac with his new Agent T-shirt on - any time that Granny was awake and not in too much pain.

As usual, Isaac passed his mission with flying colours

(He also told his Granny that he was a real life spy guy, I’m sure Agent Jones won’t mind a young Agent blowing his cover on this particular occasion!)

On one of these visits an amazing friend of the family dropped by and sat the boys down on the floor next to Granny’s bed and told some stories about the outrageous adventures that they had together.

There was a great deal of life and laughter during a difficult time for the entire family… Thank you Agent Jones for creating books where the characters come to life so much that they give your young agents the courage to face difficult times and help make everyone around them smile… especially when it’s for one last time!

The School Trip
The day the boys returned from seeing their Gran we were running a little late and the normal mundane trip to school became a bit of a mission too.

We were running late and then Agent Isaac says

“It’s my school trip today” 

They were going to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit and the permission slips needed to be in when he was away seeing his Granny.

A quick call to the school and it’s OK for him to go, there’s still space… but we need to be at School in the next 15 mins as the bus will be leaving then.

We live 20 mins away from the school and had just missed the bus that might have got us there in time... And it will be a 15 minute wait for a taxi.

We grab some money and run out the door… there’s a conversation about fail to prepare and prepare to fail and then it’s a case of 
“OK how can we get there on time?”

We just start walking fast and come up with some plans regarding if things go well, but also manage expectations if things don’t work out… and discuss things that could have been done differently that meant we would not be rushing about like this (While acknowledging it's a stressful time for us all).

Inspired by Agent Jones' real life training (See the section below), I wonder about just flagging a car down, we walk and talk and plan… Then a taxi drives by and we flag it down.

We ask to get to the school as quickly as possible and the driver must have been a Spy Quest agent as he gave us a lesson in both economics and the ‘consequences of consequences.’

The driver told us about the times he has sped along to help customers out – one story being a lady who was running late and would get fired if she was late again – the driver got her there on time, but broke the speed limit in helping the lady save her job, but the driver got a £100 fine... for a £5 fare?!!

A great lesson in kindness being a valuable attribute… but self care is also very important.

We get to school and thank the driver… but then DISASTER!

The bus has left already, but we’re welcome to make our own way to the cinema to meet the class.

We have 30 minutes to get there. We head to the local taxi rank and see how much we have left.

How much to go to the Vue Cinema? I’ve got £10 could you do it for that?

Sure. Says the driver.

Again this driver must be a Spy Quest Agent as the fare comes closer to £15 and Isaac gets another lesson in kindness and maths... as we figure out we paid a third less than the fare should have been.

We make 5 minutes before the film starts and Isaac meets up with his friends and enjoys a school trip to the cinema… and has a journey to school that he won’t forget in a hurry and was a little different to the usual humdrum school run

(If you’ve read Dr Seuss' “And To Think I saw it on Mulberry Street", you’ll get the idea… the stress of running late turned into an exciting Spy Quest Mission and a lesson in ‘I Think I Can! I Think I Can!’)

Image result for and to think i saw it on mulberry street

Introverts & Spy Quest
On the eve of the very first Spy Quest Mission that Agent Isaac  accompanied Agent Jones I told him how nervous we both were... and that we might not be able to make it.

Agent Jones told me how great it was to see quiet P7s visiting the High School they were going to be attending and getting them to encourage their new teachers to do the Hokey Kokey, a form of torture for any introvert! 

But I saw what persevering with drama classes with Isaac's older brother did for him when he was younger (And an extremely shy little boy), so I could see the merit in this form of cruel torture ;).

It's conversations like these that help both bring the Spy Quest books and missions to life... and give me the courage to go outside my comfort zone and encourage Isaac to do likewise! When I say to him 

"I'm as nervous about this as you are" or

"I'd rather give it a miss too" 

Those comments are very real! 

Agent Jones also says that he wants kids to have the same butterflies in their stomach as real life grown up Agents do in the field… The events detailed in this post where I have accompanies Isaac have not just helped my son, they have helped me too.

Neither Isaac or myself wanted to go on that first mission last November... But we're delighted that we did!

Regarding the Mission to see if we could catch up with his classmates last week, it would have been easier to say 

“You’ve missed your trip… we’ll just get you to school”

Instead we were both able to say 

‘I Think I Can! I Think I Can!’ 

Image result for the little engine that could I think I can I think I can

In a week where the UN highlights the level of poverty in the UK today (But we have billions for RBS, NRAM, DUP and Brexit when it suits?!) it's worth highlighting my advice from my 2013 Lessons in Adversity post what I feel we should be teaching our kids in terms of resilience.

For kids like Isaac Agent Jones and his Spy Quest Missions are the closest thing that fit the bill that I have seen!

...But I've also found that Spy Quest is not just for kids!

Inspired by Real Life Missions
When I met Agent Jones at East Kilbride last month he told me of the training exercise where officers were told

“Our target has been seen in Aberdeen… You’ve got til 5pm to be back here, or you fail the exercise”

This was followed by questions from the officers about to embark on this training exercise “But we have no money” and/or “we have no transport” along with other concerns… But the Agents needed to find a way.

This was the inspiration behind the 'Shall we give it a miss' Vs 'Let's see if we can make it' school trip mission.

As a result of Spy Quest my 8 year old son is gaining in confidence, bravery and developing an ability to laugh off challenges with fortitude on each mission… something that his Dad is learning from too.


…Which is just as well because Isaac’s Dad has a real mission on his hands in the next 2 weeks. Here’s hoping that an Attitude of Gratitude and the Hustle While You Wait might pay off with all the projects I've pitched in with.

Please stay tuned for the next post and/or get in touch if anyone in my PLN would be interested in helping out with this challenge

Saturday, 22 September 2018

What If... You Don't Have a Voice? Keep Telling Your Story (Part 2)


(NB A LOT can change in 12 months... Some relationships may have changed)


Startups are messy... Iterating your way to Product Market Fit means that you'll hit a lot of dead ends and may need to 'pivot' and head in another direction.

"Even only one in ten venture-backed startups succeeds, and venture capitalists turn down some 99% of the business plans they see" Dave Feinleib, Why Startups Fail

"EdTech is tough! We advise our students not to go into Edtech becuase it's a tough space to become a market leader" MITs Bill Aulet in a conversation I had with him in 2010

"Get on Social Media... It comes with the job if you want to be in EdTech today"
Was the advice from a Microsoft executive when I spoke to them in 2010.

However, as "Why Good People Turn Bad Online" highlights social media is still only 20 years old and,

"We've had thousands of years to hone our person-to-person interactions... we have facial cues and body language, but online we only have text... as our online behaviour develops we may discover digital equivalents of facial cues to help smooth online discussions"

Furthermore, as New Power (@ThisIsNewPower) highlights with things like the Reddit Revolt and Reddit Place, people and spaces online can and does have it's childish and adolescent phases... just take a look at the world of politics if you want examples of grown ups behaving like petulant children and stroppy teenagers! With their constant "He said, she said" and "Our shiny badge is a better colour than your shiny badge"

So being part of messy startups in EdTech on social media sure is an interesting place!

Love it or loathe the campaign and the reasons for it, but Colin Kaepernick did lose his livelihood for standing for something he believed in and the Nike campaign

"Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything" 

Resonates with me as the goals I was working towards were what Jim Collins called "Big Hairy Audacious Goals," I knew the risks and the chances of success... But gave it a go anyway, dumb 'Optimism Bias!'

I ended up sacrificing a great deal and am calling it a day... But not before (Finally) getting a chance to tell the story I wanted to tell.

What did I believe in?
  • I believed in educators. 
  • I believed that my skill set in sales was becoming redundant... and that people in similar jobs and places like call centres were about to be replaced by bots. (See Skype for Good's Ross Smith and The Potential of Tech to Scale Global Education)
  • I believed that policy makers were clueless about the changes needed and incapable of implementing them... but inaction would lead to lots of long term redundancy for many in the workforce
  • Through reading books like Tribal Leadership (@Tribaleadership) I believed in my experiences that culture and core values come before EVERYTHING else
"Identify your core values and then align them with a noble cause" Dave Logan Tribal Leadership
  • Through researching the world of tech, stratups through experts like Bill Aulet, Geoffrey Moore, Dave Feinlib and Doug Edwards books, I believed that Silicon Valley starts ups and/or major tech companies saw the value culture and core values and were able to maintain these as they scaled.See Bill Aulet's Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast & Theils "Don't F**k Up the Culture"
  • I believed that my kids could do anything they set their mind to.
  • I believe in not just telling people - especially my kids - advice... but try to show and/or model it, so I tried to SHOW them they could do anything they set their mind to!
In 2010 I set my mind to either working at a hot shot Silicon Valley Startup or one of the "Big Three" (Microsoft, Goolge or Apple).

Thanks to James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge), who I met as a result of Sarah Thomas' (@sarahdateechur) SXSW Digital Diversity Minority Women in EdTech session, I achieved that goal by working with Declara for a few months.

As for the big 3? Came pretty close! In 2010 I managed to have a conversation with a Microsoft exec and his advice to me was

"Get on social media if you want to work in edtech... It comes with the job today" 

The email I sent to this exec can be found in the following post, writing from 8 years ago is cringeworthy, but I share here to show how close it seemed to be (Those who know me should also see some consistency too)
In August our home got repossessed and we had to present ourselves as homeless. When what you've sacrificed gets to that stage... you most definitely need to call it time and set some new goals!

So for the last few weeks I've been wrapping up a few projects and this includes pitching in with one more attempt to establish a "#CMAD for Edu" event.

After being told to "Get on social media if you want to be in EdTech" I attended an entrepreneurial marketing workshop with Bill Aulet in 2011, I read 8 out of the 10 books on his recommended reading list - Crossing the Chasm, Made to Stick, Inbound Marketing - among others.

My first ever tweet led to me collaborating with Barry Leibert, author of Social Nation, and Twitter in Further Education was first attempt at research/content marketing.

This report was written in my own time and people were telling me that my phone calls and emails through the day were unwelcome... but please keep sending the stuff that I shared in the evening.

Although I read Crossing the Chasm and Inbound Marketing etc, something was missing from my vocabulary... then during BETT in 2014, I found out what it was.


Over the course of the next few years I would join and learn SO MUCH! from CMAD and #Cmgrhangout.

Whether a good, bad or indifferent week... Friday at 7pm was just THE BEST way to end the week. The amount of learning that took place! And the fun too!

When you speak to connected educators and ask them how they get on with encouraging more educators to get connected the answer is always the same... that a little more hustle is needed!

I've felt for a long time that a "#CMAD for edu" could really help with this. I made a couple of attempts with this over the last few years

#CEduAD 2015
In 2015 I thought that, again following the lead of Tim McDonald with No Kid Hungry, suppliers could put a twist on Black Friday and #GivingTuesday by offering discounts and goodies on this day to their advocates to thank them for all they do.

This could be free tech, contributing to their #Get2ISTE funds, discount codes to people in their PLN etc.

We had a few people sending out messages of appreciation to people in there PLN and Edchat Moderator and Edcamp Kansas organiser Tim Vesco (@mrvesco) also dedicated his chat to this topic too.

#CEduAD 2016
One of the things that I've been a huge advocate in the last few years is for greater collaboration between all education stakeholders (And the topic of my first blog post).

I came up with the idea of #StartupEduChat and supported #EdTechBridge when I heard about their #SXSWEdu session. I still very much believe in the idea of the Greenwich Village of EdTech

In 2016 I was trying to get more Scottish Educators to make that all important first Skype call.

With time being tight the idea in 2016 was to encourage Educators and EdTech companies to connect with one another... have a Skype call and talk about their "Why"

Why they teach...
Why they found their company... how the idea came about
Why they work at the tech company they work at.

Just connect! Get to know one another... No sales, no agenda, just have a Human-to-Human conversation

A couple of people did this, including Michael Sinclair who worked at Sumdog at the time. Yesterday he mentioned this Skype call during his first #PassthePeriscopeEdu video.


#CEduAD 2018
As I am moving on from education I have been handing anything that I have felt was of interest/worth exploring further with others... and has included seeing if a proper CMAD/Cmgrhangout inspired "Connected Educator Appreciation Day" event could be established.

Next month, thanks to Andrea Tolley, (@TolleyA), Michael Sinclair (@Fillthegaplearn) and a few other educators there will be #CEduAD modeled along the lines of #CMAD... With Master Community Builder Tim McDonald (@tamcdonald) providing his #Cmgr awesomeness.

I highlight at the start of this post... startups are messy. EdTech is tough. And social media is still quite new. ...Throw them all together and ideas like this will take time and evolve.

I know that a few true innovators in education who are struggling a little, so thought it might be highlighting a couple of messy startup things that may not be obvious regarding trying to make new ideas and projects happen.

The seed of the idea, for me as far as #CEduAD 2018 is concerned started off when I "Did a 5min favour" by reaching out to some people because a group I was connected with was organising an event in April but, as can be the case... things didn't work out as intended, hoped or planned.

So we 'Pivoted' and explored how we could use the energy and enthusiasm of those that were interested in creating something.

We looked at doing what Edcamp Kansas does... They have Edcamps on the same day, so we considered hosting a US Edcamp on the same day as a UK one - using Skype to connect and collaborate, but this ran into a few challenges as well.

I've been working on the same ideas since 2010. The things that I've felt are needed have remained unchanged since 2015. (See EdTech is Tough... Welcome to Scotland)

In November 2017, after watching a webinar with Tim McDonald I wrote a post based on the question I asked

"What if you don't have a voice?"

The answer?

"Keep Telling your Story"

At the Scottish Education Festival this week the same sound bites as every year floated around the room

Empowerment. Collaboration. Leadership. Take Ownership of your PD etc etc.

Mr Swinney's keynote seemed no different from Mr van der Kuyl's but how much has REALLY changed with these things?

If Mr Swinney is interested in three kids experiences of how much of an epic fail the #AttainmentGap initiatives are going from 2015-2018, please do let me know... I would be happy to hook you up with them!

Equally, want to know how tough is EdTech?

Just ask the Education Secretary how easy implementing Primary 1 assessments are!

How easy would it be if education stakeholders came together, connected with purpose, collaborated and learnt from one another? I think people would be surprised!

If they wanted to find out they could ask Michael Sinclair and then find out on the 20th Oct.

I've done my best to tell my story, I said it in as many different tones and to as many groups as I possibly could. I've sacrificed a good deal in trying to tell it.

I'm EVER SO GRATEFUL to everyone who I've met on my messy EdTech, startup social media travels for all their time... and I will NEVER forget the kindness of those who provided rest for a weary traveler.

I hope the people that I've connected with will support the Connected Educator Appreciation Day organisers prior to the event and will join the movement to help get the unconnected plugged in while celebrating the value of being a connected educator.

Connected Educator Appreciation Day is on the 20th October.




Friday, 7 September 2018

An Open Letter to Ian Blackford... And Delcara

In this post I hope to demonstrate how digital transformation has both changed the world of politics and how pace of the political landscape and the nature of campaigning has changed... Perhaps in Scotland more than anywhere.

Through looking at the rear view mirror - unfortunately for all concerned - I highlight what I feel "Could be" for the SNP, the Scottish Government and Declara, instead of "What is" at the moment.

The good news? Instead of trying to be heard I've already modeled what I would do if I was involved in politics... or education and had any influence.

I wonder if Ian Blackford and Declara wished they'd taken the time to listen to me a couple of years ago if/when they read this?

The Wild West in Social Media
It's a week when Facebook, Twitter and Google were summoned to the US Senate Intelligence Committee with threats to expect new laws to "End the era of the Wild West in Social Media"

Meanwhile back in Scotland politicians and policy makers were told to get their act together because of Scotland's 'stagnant economy'

As I wrap up all thing EdTech Stories it might be worth the "Good and the Great" taking a look at my latest article looking at "The Wild West of Social Media" through the eyes of the Toy Story characters: Tech Story 2: The Wild West of the Internet

Scotland's economic geniuses might also be interested to know that the reason I hit 'publish' on my first ever blog post in 2012 was with the suggestion that more collaboration is needed to today's big problems like the economy and education.

This post is an attempt to show "What is... What Could've been... and what Could be," unfortunately I agree with Ian Blackford

"Scotland's Voice has not been heard"

That does not just apply to my attempts to be heard... It was written all over the 2014 #IndyRef movement... and the SNP only heard what they wanted to.

9-18th Sept 2014
On the 9th Sept I detailed how, where and why my blog was going to get political about education, it was because of the CULTURAL conditions of the 2014 #IndyRef campaign... Where things that would not otherwise be easily achieved could be: ie 'Unslumming' deprived areas with the SNP's shiny new 100,000 members and activists.

The atmosphere of the public rallies were extremely special... however, the political types that I'd chatted to on social media suggested I go to a Yes Alliance IndyRef/SNP meeting.

I went to one - mainly to try to tell someone about the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" that I'd recognised with my exploration of how ideas get traction and what I noticed with #IndyRef

This was the first sign of the arrogance that I saw for the next few years. Anyone I spoke to didn't listen and I lasted 10 minutes before leaving.

The meeting was what I imagine the tribal (Not in a good way) atmosphere is like at an England V Scotland, Celtic V Rangers match (Never been to either)... or what the neurenburg rallies were like.

It was militant! It's our way of thinking and ideas... or else! This is the culture that prevailed from 2014-present...but didn't need to be the case!

19th Sept 2014
On the 19th September the school run was the same as any day of the week in Scotland in 2018... It was super depressing.

But for 3 weeks before 19th Sept 2014 Glasgow was what I imagine the late 1990s must have been like in Silicon Valley... Everyone talking about tech, shares and startups and all the bright hopes for the future.

The only difference was that instead of tech, shares and startups... people were talking about politics and Scotland's future as an Independent Nation.

There was not a place in the land that you could escape the chat... buses, coffee shops, workplaces, the media.

The morning of the 19th Sept 2014 was depressing. The majority got what they wanted but there was the same kind of depressing silence that would go on to dominate 2017 and 2018 on the buses, coffee shops and (probably) workplaces... the air of depressing defeat.

On the morning of this day I wrote this Yes Scotland - How Can We Help post asking

"Is the best yet to come?" 

I wasn't wrong!

#NewPower Storm
In this post I will use terminology that, until a few months ago, was not a part of my vocabulary.

I knew my insights were accurate at the time, but didn't have the words or case studies to detail what I was talking about.

Obviously people continued to chat about #IndyRef after the vote throughout the day.... Then in the evening a #NewPower storm was brewing and a 'swarm' was created where the 'connected connectors' where trying to guide the #IndyRef #VoteYes narrative... JUST LIKE New Power highlights that US counter terrorism is now doing with Schools and Church leaders.

As the #IndyRef #VoteYes camp started to condemn the #NoThanks voters when the BNP came to town to 'celebrate' the result by having a riot... There were a few of us trying to co-ordinate things via Twitter DMs by saying

"Let's try to keep the message positive and upbeat..." 
(when they go low, we go high and all that jazz)

20th-22nd Sept 2014
This crisis from the #NoThanks camp was a real opportunity for the SNP/Yes Alliance and created the post-VoteYes movement, the 45% of the people who voted for Scottish Independence known as #The45 then #The45Plus.

This weekend... This weekend RIGHT THERE... The 20-22nd Sept is IMHO the source of A LOT of the SNP's problems at today.

I tried to speak to anyone and everyone I could at the SNP to let them know this at the time.The message?

That the 70+ "YesScotland" Twitter accounts send a message saying "This is who the post #VoteYes movement is and this is how we will share our 'One Scotland' and/or 'Hope over fear' message"

During the campaign the SNP had taken their online support and brought it offline into rallies and the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" were BUZZING!

The #VoteYes humour was fantastic, personally I must have spent AT LEAST 2 hours a day at this national water cooler... Not because of Politics. Not because of #IndyRef... but because it was FUN!

Everyone was aligned with what Tribal Leadership calls a 'Nobel Cause' - Independence - and good humour and good deeds was among the unwritten 'core values.'

During the 20-22nd the SNP/Yes Alliance needed to set the post vote tone by coming out and saying "This is who we are now... One Scotland is XYZ" they could have taken this further and set an example by saying

"We've set up a crowd fund for good causes and encourage out 100,000 members to contribute to this and keep the chat on social media productive"

This was missing.

So, like the Alt Right etc has done in the US on Reddit... where there is a void some random former Socialist MSP saw an opportunity and took it.

"Hope over fear" let's boycott this brand and boycott that newspaper etc etc. Here's one of the posts on this topic written at the time: The45+ Where Did it All Go Wrong

If you want to see how people fall into social norms once the culture is set... go see how #GE2015 #Team56 MPs reacted to the Daily Record when they got to Westminster... they fanned the 'Boycott flames' instead of leading the fire fighting when they should have.


28th Sept 2014 Sept
HOWEVER... As I highlight in another post at the time Achieving the Impossible these Network Effects and Feedback Loops are seriously powerful

"This post includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable

[Other parties] task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off at Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too"

6th May 2015

In my 
Freakonimic Politics post I reiterated the message above and provided a summary of everything I'd seen during the 2014 IndyRef and how, why and where it made SNP Domination Inevitable

8th May 2015
In Sept 2014 I saw the result of GE2015.

But two days after this record result, I spotted something VERY concerning... Stage 1 of Decline hubris... That same hubris that would go on to affect the SNP during #GE2017

Who'd have thought that a photo under the Forth Rail Bridge and changing #The45Plus to #Team56 (AKA It's now all about us and not them... the people who helped us get here, and continued all the way to Alex Salmond's Crowdfunder) could tell so much?

Weekend after GE2017: Never mind the 1.6 million who got us here, we're #Team56 Now
The first party to make it genuinely all about "Them" AKA Us,"The Little People" will do rather well.

Tribal Leadership, Hug Your Haters, Zombie Loyalists, The Well, New Power... all books that will help, all books that I've highlighted in the past... Perhaps I should put a spin on the First Minister's Reading Challenge... SNP MPs: READ THOSE BOOKS. Lol

Here's the post I wrote after the local elections on 10th June 2017 suggesting that #Team56 might face some problems... Including data that suggested that Mr Salmond could lose his seat.




Stage 1: Hubris 2015
Stage 2: The Undisciplined Pursuit for More (The announcement of #IndyRef2/#ScotRef in March 2017)
Stage 3: Denial of Risk (The local election results on the 4th May 2017 and dismissing the result by other parties)

Not totally sure if Alex Salmond's crowd funder would count as stage 4... But I sure can tell you that mishandling Sept 2018 may well see Stage 5 and #IndyRef2 decimated for a generation during #GE2022 - Written before Scotland's 'Stagnant Economy,' Gambling capital and a host of other bad news was in the press...Man! It's all SO depressing!!
2015... A Good Year! What Could've Been?
2015 was a good year for me! Progress was being made!
  • Silicon Valley Hot Shot Startup Lady Ramona Peirson and Former Microsoft Vice President James Stanbridge see the value in my ideas
  • Chris van der Kuyl says that "Education Lacks Leadership" and "Educators need to collaborate more at the Scottish Learning Festival"
  • The then Education Secretary asks me to reach out to my PLN to help with some of her work
  • As a result of these projects I connect with the Digital Citizenship Summit Founders
  • I discuss how and why Declara could help the SNP with the next phase of social media through a conversation with Ian Blackford
All sounds great! Most of these orgs had their "Core Values" on their websites - one of the first things I looked for before collaborating with anyone - but most turned out to be cat posters (but that's another story entirely!)

Only one of the people above, in my experience and opinion, had any integrity at all and ACTUALLY took the time to listen... their loss, as well as mine I guess. 

What Is... What Could Be...
"You have the power to change the world... you really do! With an idea" Nancy Duarte


I don't talk or write great... The communications gets garbled somehow, so I have to detail what "Could Be" if I had been listened to.

This is all fine. I've learnt to deal with it. I worked at one org for 10 years... Excelled in every role. I observed and raised the alarm 12 months before hand to my Managing Director

"Your heading the wrong way with your decisions... you're slipping down Jim Collins "5 Stages of Decline" 

I was ignored and a year later? Major downsizing and redundancies... Just like the SNP in 2017, and their downsizing may not be finished yet. 

So I've since learned that it's easier to just go ahead and show people what I mean... it's quicker, easier and less frustrating than trying to tell people. #BeTheDigitalChange and all that #DigCitSummit Bull shit!

But you do have to stop and wonder if you'd be heard if you were the son of a politician, banker or been one of their old school buddies in their fancy ass schools. 

What Could Be: SNP
So in 2015, after reading Kate Hefner's book "The Well" I spotted where Social Media was headed and had a conversation with Ian Blackford and set up a Declara Collection for him with all the 'Good News' stories I could find about him (The collection I created has since been deleted).

What was my suggestion about this collection and space?

That he and other MPs use the Declara "Team" space as a place for him to spit ball ideas with his campaign volunteers.

That they highlight their fav 140 character 'Insights' from articles in the collections... and that other MP/MSPs do likewise.

The reason? I saw the 140 character politics coming a mile off... something Trump uses to good effect.

"The future belongs to the best editors" Jason Fried The Class I'd Like to Teach

If you want an idea of what this might have looked like... 

Imagine my Community Management Resources Declara Collection was your good news stories and my highlighted, easily tweeted 'insights' were from you support base... you should get the idea. 

What would be the purpose of this? Well if/when any bad news like... just for arguments sake, a sexual harassment scandal with a prominent member of the party was to break, then the SNP supporters could 'swarm' social media with all the good news stories.

Empowering the 15-30 core members in a private space for the #The45/#IndyRef2 fans to further amplify, could have had an impact.

"The art of turning someone else's crisis into your opportunity is far from new, but the new skill is doing it in an age when the opportunity to mobilize a crowd comes and goes in minutes. The American cookie brand Oreo understood this when a power outage in the stadium caused lights to go out for more than 30 mins during the 2013 Superbowl. Oreo struck quickly, tweeting a picture of a lonely well lit Oreo and the caption 

"You can still dunk in the dark"


The tweet went viral, 'won the superbowl,' and became the stuff of legends in marketing circles. Often left out of the story is the fact that Oreo had a 15 person team at the ready during the game for exactly this kind of rapid response. 

We don't all have Oreo's resources, but its handiwork reminds us that storm chasing requires infrastructure to do well. Anyone building a crowd should be on the look out for storms that might galvanize their base, and be prepared to act on them within minutes or hours, when the need is greatest and people's emotional response is at its peak. Many old organisations take days just to cobble together a press release. But organisations now need to be set up to move faster, to soak up the energy in the moment and turn that into new supporters. Byzantine bureaucracies requiring multiple sign offs aren't the right tools for storm chasing.New Power

And where are the experts saying that social media is heading today? 

Small 'Communities of Practice' with 15 people - Just like Buurtzorg is doing? 

What Could Be: Declara
"I just wish we had 15 people who were fans of Declara like you are" Declara Exec when I was an uber fan in 2015

Well in 2015, the SNP had the network effects and feedback loops that could have populated the site.

One mistake that I made here was, as a Peter Theil Silicon Valley startup with $50million in investment, I thought this hot shot startup would know everything I knew about startups and community building that I, a random sales person from Glasgow, did.

However, this was not the case.

If they had listened? Given the way that social media is heading the same way today that the early online communities did... Like The SNP, they could have been ahead of the curve here too.

"We need your help with the 2017 US elections" Declara's CEO to me in 2016/7, if they'd listened to my ideas about what I knew about community building and where things were headed... they might be in a better position today.

What Could Be: Scottish Education
This is a little too sore to discuss. I feel for the SNP and #IndyRef movement, I really do! 

Like the "Invisible Children" case study it's easy to criticize about what went wrong... but, as this stuff if new and mistakes will be made, you can learn a lot from what went right and ask:

Where are we now? 
How will Social Media evolve?
How can we get ahead of the curve?

Something that could have been done and dusted in 2-4 months I've wasted 4 years on a fools errand. 

I listened to all voices to find the challenges and potential solutions... Planed meticulously, but I don't have influence and struggle to be heard at the organisation that I work at and have a good track record.

So this Scot's voice being heard is not the Forte of one of the many JAMs living in Ian Blackford's Scotland I'm afraid.

The reason I started this blog was because I felt I had a story to tell. The post itself is garbled but the conclusion is the same as this one (And is in line with the report about Scotland's Economy for all parties to get their act together).

I have not deviated from this task in the last 5 years since joining social media. But I have not been heard by the good and the great and am out of time. 

Earlier this week I passed the details onto people who I hope can take this forward. 

Re my own mistakes... Among the biggest include:

1) Working with people who said one thing about core values and their mission, but them being full of shit

2) Not having a voice. Not being an 'Influencer' who could stand up at the Scottish Learning Festival and simply say "Collaborate More" and leave it at that... Don't put any hustle in... just sit and watch anyone who tries.

John Swinney has made suggestions that I think were correct... Including the P1 tests, Empowering Educators and Heads having more autonomy... Shame he didn't have the community building skills to pull it all off. Perhaps a bit like the SNP and #GE2022? ;)

What Could Be: #DigCitSummit
The two points above can be seen nowhere better that with the DigCitSummit. 
The early days of social media is full of takers and fakers, but as Why Good People Turn Bad Online highlights social media 2.0 will find them out, eject them from projects and more collaboration... so that less takers will be involved to take advantage.

I've found that people who advocate on social media for "Safe. Savvy. Ethical" Digital Citizenship and calls for people to "Be the same person you are online as you are offline" but don't practice what they preach.

The impact of all this? As Adam Grant highlights these takers make it less likely for the truly collaborative people to have any interest in collaborating in the future.

Is this the reason that adoption of social media with educators has stalled a little? The data suggests there's something in the argument.

But whether politics, education or social media the #RedditRevolt Vs Reddit Place shows us that these spaces evolve and grow up... leaving the petulant children behind to spew their bile and spit their dummy out in someone else's space... with No Asshole (And I'd add no Drama Alice) rules.


Politics, like the High Street, like the stupid cold calling telesales roles and door to door sales jobs that the DWP website promotes for minimum wage (Or commission only) for the JAMs in Scotland's many deprived areas - will be gone.

In 2022 I wonder how many people will have "No Cold Callers/Canvassers - Except for the SNP" signs in the window? Or will the writing be on the wall? 

And the reason? All because of the events in Sept 2018... All because 


Scotland's Voice Has Not Been Heard 

...By the SNP. Blaming others for 11+ Years elections does not win.

The Future of Politics?
When passing this information onto others this week... I have not told people what they could be doing. I've modeled it!
  • I've highlighted that High Impact/Low Cost ideas can make a difference... I've seen what a Skype with Tech executives and educators elsewhere can make with our young, and old, people alike!
  • I've demonstrated that smaller communities of practice is where it's at
  • I've actually put some hustle into the fine speeches that people gave at Edu & FELTAG events
  • I've continued to reach out to people in my PLN and encouraged eductors to collaborate more
  • Through #IndyRef I feel I've done a better job in demonstrating it's New Power Vs the pundits
  • I've shown the extent that - even the jobless, now homeless - have something to contribute
  • I've shown what can happen if politicians just start giving a shit
The day after the record #GE2015 #Team56 result I sat down and wrote "Ideas for 2016/19 Candidates," today I see that not only were the insights accurate but, through New Power, can name how, where and why they were accurate.

The winners of #GE2022? They'll be the ones that go out and campaign today and start making a difference to their constituents.

The consequences of failing to do this? Go ask Margaret Ferrier... a drop in the number of votes of 2%... but 10% increase for Ged Killen, a return to old voting habits... until something better comes along

Need a National example? Just ask the 2008 #TooBigToFail but 2017 "Should've let them fail Bank Bailing Vince Cable... His party won't recover from that one. The solution for the 2010 king makers and the Conservative coalition? "Hey Labour... Let's be friends, come and join our toxic brand"

Compare that with Nike's ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick. Yep you heard me correct... Just watch what happens there with that one from a political perspective... If it all works out, it will be inspired!!

Back in the UK #IndyRef, UKIP, Brexit, Corbyn's socialism... It's nothing to do with these issues, it's about people wanting to see change... for the better, not just the elites in politics and banking.

I know three politicians who have given a shit to some degree or another... I already know how I'll be voting in GE2022.

I wonder if the MSP/MPs who feel they know the "Scottish People" and their constituents can say the same?

I wonder if their constituents will feel the same as they do on the day?

Don't be surprised if there's a shock or two in store for those who rely on traditional campaigning and the traditional polls in the run up to the next election. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

An Open Letter to Jamie Hepburn... The Jamie Hepburn Challenge

I think that Open Letters is what the good and the great in Hynland and Morningside write and have their buddies publish in The Times and The Herald when they have too much time on their hands and want to complain about some irritating first world, elite problem... So I thought I'd give it a try with Scotland's "stagnant economy"

Anyone else want to just scream Bill Clinton's election soundbite at the Scottish Government:

It's the Economy Stupid.

Jobs, satisfaction levels in public services, mental health in kids (And their parents), high levels of deprivation etc

This post details how the Scottish workforce is rapidly becoming an easily replacable commodity, selling tired old products, using tired old approaches like telesales reading from a script for minimum wage... couriers, warehouse 'pickers' and door to door sales (commission only).

Why are companies doing this? Because they can!! Because that's all the opportunities that are available!!

So the Scottish economy is 'stagnant' and where is the Peter Jones Academies and Gazelle in FE? What about the RBS supported Edge competition and #GoDo Espark or Scale Up Scotland and Entrepreneurial Scotland?

I think that Andrew Mitchell is onto something when he highlights people have been at the Kool Aid a little too much! And where is Espark when all this is going on? Scaling across England... hope they have more success scaling than the SNP and IndyRef has done.

There are two reasons I wrote my "Politicians Wish They Ate Their Own Dog Food" post:

1) It's snarky because I've found that it's only people who are open minded enough to say

"Yeah, we could be doing better"

Type people who are capable of listening

2) Because it's genuinely the way that I feel about politicians today - This is about the only way I'd have any time for any of them in the future. They might also learn a thing or two as well!!

Whether it's through the
  • #GoDo entrepreneurial and enterprise initiatives above (Espark, Gazelle etc), or through data like
  • The number of jobs that have a 4-5 star rating on Glassdoor with companies who have a head office in Scotland
  • Kind of jobs advertised on job boards (Including, and perhaps especially on the Governments own DWP site)
  • Walking through Glasgow's shopping areas... 
Scotland's stagnant economy is staring everyone - except the most deluded and blinkered - in the face.

Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and other MPs all did the Ice Bucket Challenge... here's my proposal for The Jamie Hepburn Challenge

The Jamie Hepburn Challenge

Mr Hepburn I challenge you to take a look at the kind of jobs that are available on job boards in Scotland... Better still, go through the User Experience of a DWP customer and see how you fare.

I asked my work coach "Have you ever been through the DWP process yourself?"
"No I don't thin anyone in here has" was the reply... are you kidding me?

My own Belbin Report includes the following summary.

Your operating style is closest to that of strategic leadership, which is usually available only at senior positions. However, before such an opportunity could present itself, you are likely to need credibility at the operational level. That might pose problems in your case... The good news is that the longer you survive, the more likely you are to become a valued contribution and to gain the greatest sense of personal fulfilment.

It's taken a while but, thanks to those who did take a chance and believed in me, I now accept the 'Strategic Leadership' comment... the bad news is (despite previous successes) I am not 'surviving,' and there is zero personal fulfilment... despite the ideas being sound.

As Mr Swinney's office and @DWPDigital @DWPJobs highlighted when I asked, they were not aware of many EdTech or Cmgr positions in Scotland.

In addition to this, my DWP Work Coach told me that the EdTech multi-billion pound industry and role that many Silicon Valley Tech companies include as one of their first hires (Community Manager) is

"Too Niche," and that
"Perhaps it's time to give up on your dream job"

So, after the NEA being ditched due to my credit rating (Thanks Vince and NRAM... appreciate it!), I've applied for anything and everything that I could in the last few weeks and "Yay!" I secured an interview for a telesales position.

"Make sure you dress accordingly... no trainers" is the only information of any note along with the interview time.

I turn up and I wish I had video'd the experience... It was something else!

Myself and a student studying Neuroscience are led into a meeting room and asked to fill a form out - this is the longest part of the process.

Name
Age
Telephone Number
Any Call Centre Experience

The reason the age was asked for, it turned out, was so they could work out what the minimum wage was for your age... you're self employed, so cover your own tax etc.

The 'Interviewer' did not dress the role up in any way... or make any bones about how shit it all was.

"Basically you'll be reading from a script and be on an autodiler selling home imporvements to people in shifts 10am-2pm or 2pm-7pm... if someone is interested then a 'confirmer' will make an appointment and, if this leads to a sale you'll get commission of £20"

"The next stage is Ron will give you a call and you come in hear some of our sales people go through the script and then you'll run through it... This isn't for everyone, so no problem if you decide not to do it"

She may as well have added... "We'll find another slab of meat who can read and talk, who's this desperate to make minimum wage in this way" that is until the bots replace them.

And Mr Hepburn, the worst of this isn't how far things have taken a tumble for me - think SNP 2014/15 with SNP 2018/22 and you'll get the idea - or what might be available if I lived elsewhere... It's that this isn't the worst of the jobs or the pay that is out there.

If people buy into Michael Wu's observation that where there is nothing unique and no differentuation with a product or service, it becomes a commodity and people will just make decisions based on price... then huge sections of the Scottish workforce are now disposable commodities.

My experience with Amazon for warehouse staff was something else as well.

And it's not just me either. The Amazon job included people like a maths graduate who never had a job and left uni 6 months ago... can you imagine that being the case in some of the tech hubs out there?

When I visited a classroom and asked "Who want's to make computer games for companies like Xbox or Apple when they are older" Last November, the majority of hands went up.

At what point between 5 years old to adulthood do these aspirations turn into "Working at a call centre for minimum wage?" and/or as my 17 year old son found, where are the work experience opportunities to learn to create new tech... not just consume it.

How many of these call centre staff go home at night and get onto social media or their games consoles? Where is Scottish equivalent of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter etc etc

£17 million in electronic charging points? So we can consume more imported tech innovations... Only to criticize Elon Musk and Telsa for not paying tax and for the loss of jobs as the garages for "Old cars" become obsolete and the skills are not here for the digital transformation?

SNPCivilWar... And a Monty Python Solution
The Cybernats used Monty Python's Life of Brian to highlight how hilarious the idea of the SNP being divided was.

I agreed with one newspaper that, based on the current trajectory, that the SNP and IndyRef resemble something out of a Monty Python sketch involving a pet shop and a parrot.

But a slightly less hilarious example for the SNP to follow, as well as a way to make the point of how ridiculous the current economy is and/or how simple the changes needed are (Note: Simple! Didn't say easy!) would be to look at a real life example of Monty Python's "Spare a Sheckle for an old ex-leper"

To give just one example of how simple Vs ridiculous this stuff is... £250 million for edu mental health Vs the kind of opportunities and self esteem that Livity has provided (As detailed in Be More Pirate) young people, some of whom call it "My YMCA/youth centre"

Regarding the extracts below I wonder if you were to change Leper to Neds, Neets, Scroungers, benefit cheats... and anyone that it's lucky enough to be part of the middle classes, if you'd get an idea of what being Lost in the Ghetto might be like for some people who have talent, but lack the opportunities.

"Baba came to believe that rich people were callous and willfully unaware of the desolation around them, whereas poor people, of necessity, were able to see.  

"Baba realised that, even though dapsone could cure most leprosy patients medically, it couldn't change their lives. A leprosy patient taking medicine was soon no longer contagious, but whatever awful damage had already been done - fingers and toes disfigured, eyebrows gone, collapsed nose, strange patches on the skin - marked him forever. Fear of leprosy was so great, and the signs of the disease so unmistakable, that even cured lepers were rejected by their families. Relatives of lepers were ostracized and unmarriagable, so to keep a leprosy patient at home was to sacrifice normal life for everyone else. In many villages, lepers were burned alive.. Even a cured leprosy patient faced a ruined existence: he couldn't work, he couldn't live with his family or even in his village, he had no choice but to beg. Thus, even after a cure for leprosy had been found, leper colonies were still necessary."

...If a person had lost 7 fingers, after all, he had 3 left, and there was a lot you could do with 3 fingers. A man could live without fingers, but not without self respect.

Baba applied to the state of Madhya Pradesh for land, and in 1951 was given 50 acres of wilderness - rocky scrub, with no water. He and his wife went to live there with their two tiny sons, six lepers, a cow, four dogs to protect them from wild animals, and foutreen rupees - nearly nothing. They built two shelters - four wooden sticks and a grass roof, no walls - one for Baba and his family, one for the lepers.

There were deadly snakes and scorpions and rats everywhere; when it rained, the rats and snakes came into the houses. Lepers would wake to discover the rats had eaten their insensate flesh while they slept. There were leopards and tigers and wild boars nearby in the forest. Tigers came in at night and snatched the dogs from the huts, one by one, but they did not take the two human babies... The first thing to do was dig a well. This took 6 weeks, digging every day. It was May, and 115 degrees out - hotter in the sun.

It was a measure of how terrible life outside was for lepers that they flocked to this hellish place - more than 50 came in the next 2 years. They dug more wells and cleared the land and grew crops for sale in the market. Most were desolate when they arrived, having been thrown out by their families and rejected by their friends, but work revived them. But the villagers nearby were afraid of catching leprosy and wouldn't buy them.

A few months into the colony being established international volunteers came from Sevagram, Gandhi's nearby ashram, to help construct a clinic and other buildings. The sight of dozens of Europeans living among the lepers in strikingly hygenic conditions persuaded the villagers that the vegetables were safe to eat. The acceptance of their vegtables transformed their economy: Now they could generate an income. Baba started a dairy, a spinning factory, and other workshops. He was determined that Anandwan should become self sufficient, and after 2 years, apart from sugar, oil, and salt, it was.

As soon as Anandwan was no longer desperately poor, Baba became restless. His ambition for 
Anandwan extended beyond industry: it was not enough for lepers to be physically cured but economically self sufficient, he thought; they must also be culturally stimulated. Anandwan was to become a model community, not a workhouse. He started a yearly cultural festival, to which he invited musicians, artist, philosophers, politicians and intellectuals. He built a theater and staged plays that went on until four in the morning. It was important that the place be beautiful - he believed that beauty was essential to human happiness. He built a garden and planted flowers everywhere.

And it was not enough that 
Anandwan do without charity: it would dispense charity. A school for the blind was needed in the area; Baba started one, a boarding school so that children could come from far away. Later, he started a school for the deaf... they built an orphanage. They built a home for the aged... They built a college.

Eventually, Anandwan sold so many goods that the government began imposing taxes. Baba "Felt very proud that the leprosy patients had become the object of tax!" Strangers Drowning P122-136

This is not an isolated example... Jane Jacobs and Andrew Mawson highlight similar examples of 'Unslumming' deprived areas.

IndyRef and If Tech Stories Did Politics
In my "Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates document, written the day after #GE2015, I detailed on the first page where my interests lay in these special conditions that were created.

Through Baba's leprosy case study in Drowning Strangers I got evidence that this could have been possible as his friend Bhave

"walked across India, calling on landowners to give land to the poor - a mad idea that he pursued for several years with astonishing success, thanks partly to post-independence patriotism..."

Obviously the conditions for what I suggest on page 1 are now LONG gone and that trust needs to be rebuilt and a bit of hustle needed... and it will be needed if Mr Hepburn and his colleagues hope to keep their own jobs!!

The keys to Number 10 might depend on it... just as I highlight at the end of my SNP: From Proponent to Detractor post*

*Kids don't read that post!! Just scroll to the end... It's the kind of post that FE Ministers will lose their jobs because of... But that Cybernats use inappropriate job career damaging language all the time on social media? ...what does that tell you about The SNP and helping their own support base with their career prospects? #Team56 all the way baby! Fuck #The45 #The45Plus 100,000 members and those swearing about #IndyRef2 #ScotRef.

That's the impression you're giving off... the reason (As I see it?) one weekend in Sept 2014... The subject of my next post.