Monday, 29 April 2019

Steve Mallory & The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship

In the week that Natalie McGarry pleads guilty of embezzling £25,000 and Glasgow University talks about Govan becoming some kind of 'Silicon Valley' with nanotechnology (Wonder how many people from the deprived estates that one will generate jobs for?!).

This post looks at the realities of the RBS Sponsored #GoDo and 'Can Do Scotland' from my perspective, using the work of Ayn Rand and hero/anti-hero Howard Roark meeting fellow innovator, artist, disruptor, original thinker Steve Mallory.

I've written about Rand's work a great deal in my blog and a relevant extract to frame today's post is at the start of this post How I met Your Awesomeness - Pledgecents (March 2015)

One of the reasons this is relevant is because in 2013/4 I heard Nicole Yershon speak and said to myself:

"I'm going to collabrate with that formidable lady one day,"
and having just read her awesome book Rough Diamond, I'm convinced that this will happen and that it's not too far away either
Nicole highlights how tough being original and a disruptor in business can be, I have found this to be true in my case and have found that being a JAM in The SNP's Scottish Government's #GoDo Scotland to be a tough place to operate in EdTech... So much so that there was something of a breakdown recently.

While I'd prefer not to go into the details, I feel that I owe it to the people who are looking to collaborate with me on a project that's in the planning stages to know this has happened and feel that Roark meeting Mallory is a fitting example to highlight how this has come about (And to detail the impact that the second-handers and/or Takers/Fakers can have on innovators)
The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship highlights the cost of startups/innovation can be high.
If 'We the Living's Leo had been born in America, he would have become Francisco D'Anconia of Atlas Shrugged; that is, the measure of his heroic potential. In Russia however, he is crushed" Afterword of Ayn Rand's 'We the Living'

Here's the extract of when innovative Architect Howard Roark met sculptor Steve Mallory in The Fountainhead.

At the beginning of January, while the first steel columns rose from the excavations that were to become the Cord Building and the Aquitania Hotel, Roark worked on the drawings for the Temple.
When the first sketches were finished, he said to his secretary:
"Get me Steve Mallory."
"Mallory, Mr. Roark? Who ... Oh, yes, the shooting sculptor."
"The what?"
"He took a shot at Ellsworth Toohey, didn't he?"
"Did he? Yes, that's right."
"Is that the one you want, Mr. Roark?"
"That's the one."
For two days the secretary telephoned art dealers, galleries, architects, newspapers. No one could tell her what had become of Steven Mallory or where he could be found. On the third day she reported to Roark: "I've found an address, in the Village, which I'm told might be his. There's no telephone." Roark dictated a letter asking Mallory to telephone his office.
The letter was not returned, but a week passed without answer. Then Steven Mallory telephoned.
"Hello?" said Roark, when the secretary switched the call to him.
"Steven Mallory speaking," said a young, hard voice, in a way that left an impatient, belligerent silence after the words.
"I should like to see you, Mr. Mallory. Can we make an appointment for you to come to my office?"
"What do you want to see me about?"
"About a commission, of course. I want you to do some work for a building of mine." There was a long silence.
"All right," said Mallory; his voice sounded dead. He added: "Which building?"
"The Stoddard Temple. You may have heard ... "
"Yeah, I heard. You're doing it. Who hasn't heard? Will you pay me as much as you're paying your press agent?"
"I'm not paying the press agent. I'll pay you whatever you wish to ask."
"You know that can't be much."
"What time would it be convenient for you to come here?"
"Oh, hell, you name it. You know I'm not busy."
"Two o'clock tomorrow afternoon?"
"All right." He added: "I don't like your voice." Roark laughed. "I like yours. Cut it out and be here tomorrow at two."
"Okay." Mallory hung up.
Roark dropped the receiver, grinning. But the grin vanished suddenly, and he sat looking at the telephone, his face grave.
Mallory did not keep the appointment. Three days passed without a word from him. Then Roark went to find him in person.
The rooming house where Mallory lived was a dilapidated brownstone in an unlighted street that smelled of a fish market. There was a laundry and a cobbler on the ground floor, at either side of a narrow entrance. A slatternly landlady said: "Mallory? Fifth floor rear," and shuffled away indifferently. Roark climbed sagging wooden stairs lighted by bulbs stuck in a web of pipes. He knocked at a grimy door.
The door opened. A gaunt young man stood on the threshold; he had disheveled hair, a strong mouth with a square lower lip, and the most expressive eyes that Roark had ever seen. "What do you want?" he snapped. "Mr. Mallory?"
"I'm Howard Roark."
Mallory laughed, leaning against the doorjamb, one arm stretched across the opening, with no intention of stepping aside. He was obviously drunk. "Well, well!" he said. "In person."
"May I come in?"
"What for?"
Roark sat down on the stair banister. "Why didn't you keep your appointment?"
"Oh, the appointment? Oh, yes. Well, I'll tell you," Mallory said gravely. "It was like this: I really intended to keep it, I really did, and I started out for your office, but on my way there I passed a movie theater that was showing Two Heads on a Pillow, so I went in. I just had to see Two Heads on a Pillow." He grinned, sagging against his stretched arm. "You'd better let me come in," said Roark quietly. "Oh, what the hell, come in."
The room was a narrow hole. There was an unmade bed in a corner, a litter of newspapers and old clothes, a gas ring, a framed landscape from the five-and-ten, representing some sort of sick brown meadows with sheep; there were no drawings or figures, no hints of the occupant's profession.
Roark pushed some books and a skillet off the only chair, and sat down. Mallory stood before him, grinning, swaying a little.
"You're doing it all wrong," said Mallory. "That's not the way it's done. You must be pretty hard up to come running after a sculptor. The way it's done is like this: You make me come to your office, and the first time I come you mustn't be there. The second time you must keep me waiting for an hour and a half, then come out into the reception room and shake hands and ask me whether I know the Wilsons of Podunk and say how nice that we have mutual friends, but you're in an awful hurry today and you'll call me up for lunch soon and then we'll talk business. Then you keep this up for two months. Then you give me the commission. Then you tell me that I'm no good and wasn't any good in the first place, and you throw the thing into the ash can. Then you hire Valerian Bronson and he does the job. That's the way it's done. Only not this time."
But his eyes were studying Roark intently, and his eyes had the certainty of a professional. As he spoke, his voice kept losing its swaggering gaiety, and it slipped to a dead flatness on the last sentences.
"No," said Roark, "not this time."
The boy stood looking at him silently.
"You're Howard Roark?" he asked. "I like your buildings. That's why I didn't want to meet you. So I wouldn't have to be sick every time I looked at them. I wanted to go on thinking that they had to be done by somebody who matched them."
"What if I do?"
"That doesn't happen."
But he sat down on the edge of the crumpled bed and slumped forward, his glance like a sensitive scale weighing Roark's features, impertinent in its open action of appraisal.
"Listen," said Roark, speaking clearly and very carefully, "I want you to do a statue for the Stoddard Temple. Give me a piece of paper and I'll write you a contract right now, stating that I will owe you a million dollars damages if I hire another sculptor or if your work is not used."
"You can speak normal. I'm not drunk. Not all the way. I understand."
"Why did you pick me?"
"Because you're a good sculptor."
"That's not true."
"That you're good?"
"No. That it's your reason. Who asked you to hire me?"
"Some woman I laid?"
"I don't know any women you laid."
"Stuck on your building budget?"
"No. The budget's unlimited."
"Feel sorry for me?"
"No. Why should I?"
"Want to get publicity out of that shooting Toohey business?"
"Good God, no!"
"Well, what then?"
"Why did you fish for all that nonsense instead of the simplest reason?"
"That I like your work."
"Sure. That's what they all say. That's what we're all supposed to say and to believe. Imagine what would happen if somebody blew the lid off that one! So, all right, you like my work. What's the real reason?"
"I like your work."
Mallory spoke earnestly, his voice sober.
"You mean you saw the things I've done, and you like them — you — yourself — alone — without anyone telling you that you should like them or why you should like them — and you decided that you wanted me, for that reason — only for that reason — without knowing anything about me or giving a damn — only because of the things I've done and ... and what you saw in them — only because of that, you decided to hire me, and you went to the bother of finding me and coming here, and being insulted — only because you saw — and what you saw made me important to you, made you want me? Is that what you mean?"
"Just that," said Roark.
The things that pulled Mallory's eyes wide were frightening to see. Then he shook his head, and said very simply, in the tone of soothing himself:
He leaned forward. His voice sounded dead and pleading.
"Listen, Mr. Roark. I won't be mad at you. I just want to know. All right, I see that you're set on having me work for you, and you know you can get me, for anything you say, you don't have to sign any million-dollar contract, look at this room, you know you've got me, so why shouldn't you tell me the truth? It won't make any difference to you — and it's very important to me."
"What's very important to you?"
"Not to ... not to ... Look. I didn't think anybody'd ever want me again. But you do. All right. I'll go through it again. Only I don't want to think again that I'm working for somebody who ... who likes my work. That, I couldn't go through any more. I'll feel better if you tell me, I'll ... I'll feel calmer. Why should you put on an act for me? I'm nothing. I won't think less of you, if that's what you're afraid of. Don't you see? It's much more decent to tell me the truth. Then it will be simple and honest. I'll respect you more. Really, I will."
"What's the matter with you, kid? What have they done to you? Why do you want to say things like that?"
"Because ... " Mallory roared suddenly, and then his voice broke, and his head dropped, and he finished in a flat whisper: "because I've spent two years" — his hand circled limply indicating the room — "that's how I've spent them — trying to get used to the fact that what you're trying to tell me doesn't exist ... "
Roark walked over to him, lifted his chin, knocking it upward, and said:
"You're a God-damn fool. You have no right to care what I think of your work, what I am or why I'm here. You're too good for that. But if you want to know it — I think you're the best sculptor we've got. I think it, because your figures are not what men are, but what men could be — and should be. Because you've gone beyond the probable and made us see what is possible, but possible only through you. Because your figures are more devoid of contempt for humanity than any work I've ever seen. Because you have a magnificent respect for the human being. Because your figures are the heroic in man. And so I didn't come here to do you a favor or because I felt sorry for you or because you need a job pretty badly. I came for a simple, selfish reason — the same reason that makes a man choose the cleanest food he can find. It's a law of survival, isn't it? — to seek the best. I didn't come for your sake. I came for mine."
Mallory jerked himself away from him, and dropped face down on the bed, his two arms stretched out, one on each side of his head, hands closed into fists. The thin trembling of the shirt cloth on his back showed that he was sobbing; the shirt cloth and the fists that twisted slowly, digging into the pillow. Roark knew that he was looking at a man who had never cried before. He sat down on the side of the bed and could not take his eyes off the twisting wrists, even though the sight was hard to bear.
After a while Mallory sat up. He looked at Roark and saw the calmest, kindest face — a face without a hint of pity. It did not look like the countenance of men who watch the agony of another with a secret pleasure, uplifted by the sight of a beggar who needs their compassion; it did not bear the cast of the hungry soul that feeds upon another's humiliation. Roark's face seemed tired, drawn at the temples, as if he had just taken a beating. But his eyes were serene and they looked at Mallory quietly, a hard, clean glance of understanding — and respect.
"Lie down now," said Roar. "Lie still for a while."
"How did they ever let you survive?"
"Lie down. Rest. We'll talk afterward."
Mallory got up. Roark took him by the shoulders, forced him down, lifted his legs off the floor, lowered his head on the pillow. The boy did not resist.
Stepping back, Roark brushed against a table loaded with junk. Something clattered to the floor. Mallory jerked forward, trying to reach it first. Roark pushed his arm aside and picked up the object.
It was a small plaster plaque, the kind sold in cheap gift shops. It represented a baby sprawled on its stomach, dimpled rear forward, peeking coyly over its shoulder. A few lines, the structure of a few muscles showed a magnificent talent that could not be hidden, that broke fiercely through the rest; the rest was a deliberate attempt to be obvious, vulgar and trite, a clumsy effort, unconvincing and tortured. It was an object that belonged in a chamber of horrors.
Mallory saw Roark's hand begin to shake. Then Roark's arm went back and up, over his head, slowly, as if gathering the weight of air in the crook of his elbow; it was only a flash, but it seemed to last for minutes, the arm stood lifted and still — then it slashed forward, the plaque shot across the room and burst to pieces against the wall. It was the only time anyone had ever seen Roark murderously angry.
"Roark, I wish I'd met you before you had a job to give me." He spoke without expression, his head lying back on the pillow, his eyes closed. "So that there would be no other reason mixed in. Because, you see, I'm very grateful to you. Not for giving me a job. Not for coming here. Not for anything you'll ever do for me. Just for what you are."
Then he lay without moving, straight and limp, like a man long past the stage of suffering. Roark stood at the window, looking at the wrenched room and at the boy on the bed. He wondered why he felt as if he were waiting. He was waiting for an explosion over their heads. It seemed senseless. Then he understood. He thought, this is how men feel, trapped in a shell hole; this room is not an accident of poverty, it's the footprint of a war; it's the devastation torn by explosives more vicious than any stored in the arsenals of the world. A war ... against? ... The enemy had no name and no face. But this boy was a comrade-in-arms, hurt in battle, and Roark stood over him, feeling a strange new thing, a desire to lift him in his arms and carry him to safety ... Only the hell and the safety had no known designations ... He kept thinking of Kent Lansing, trying to remember something Kent Lansing had said ...
Then Mallory opened his eyes, and lifted himself up on one elbow. Roark pulled the chair over to the bed and sat down.
"Now," he said, "talk. Talk about the things you really want said. Don't tell me about your family, your childhood, your friends or your feelings. Tell me about the things you think."
Mallory looked at him incredulously and whispered:
"How did you know that?"
Roark smiled and said nothing.
"How did you know what's been killing me? Slowly, for years, driving me to hate people when I don't want to hate ... Have you felt it, too? Have you seen how your best friends love everything about you — except the things that count? And your most important is nothing to them, nothing, not even a sound they can recognize. You mean, you want to hear? You want to know what I do and why I do it, you want to know what I think! It's not boring to you? It's important?"
"Go ahead," said Roark.
Then he sat for hours, listening, while Mallory spoke of his work, of the thoughts behind his work, of the thoughts that shaped his life, spoke gluttonously, like a drowning man flung out to shore, getting drunk on huge, clean snatches of air.

Mallory came to Roark's office on the following morning, and Roark showed him the sketches of the Temple. When he stood at a drafting table, with a problem to consider, Mallory changed; there was no uncertainty in him, no remembrance of pain; the gesture of his hand taking the drawing was sharp and sure, like that of a soldier on duty. The gesture said that nothing ever done to him could alter the function of the thing within him that was now called into action. He had an unyielding, impersonal confidence; he faced Roark as an equal.
He studied the drawings for a long time, then raised his head. Everything about his face was controlled, except his eyes.
"Like it?" Roark asked.
"Don't use stupid words."
He held one of the drawings, walked to the window, stood looking down the sketch to the street to Roark's face and back again.
"It doesn't seem possible," he said. "Not this — and that." He waved the sketch at the street.
There was a poolroom on the corner of the street below; a rooming house with a Corinthian portico; a billboard advertising a Broadway musical; a line of pink-gray underwear fluttering on a roof.
"Not in the same city. Not on the same earth," said Mallory. "But you made it happen. It's possible ... I'll never be afraid again."
"Of what?"
Mallory put the sketch down on the table, cautiously. He answered:
"You said something yesterday about a first law. A law demanding that man seek the best ... It was funny ... The unrecognized genius — that's an old story. Have you ever thought of a much worse one — the genius recognized too well? ... That a great many men are poor fools who can't see the best — that's nothing. One can't get angry at that. But do you understand about the men who see it and don't want it?"
"No. You wouldn't. I spent all night thinking about you. I didn't sleep at all. Do you know what your secret is? It's your terrible innocence."
Roark laughed aloud, looking at the boyish face.
"No," said Mallory, "it's not funny. I know what I'm talking about — and you don't. You can't know. It's because of that absolute health of yours. You're so healthy that you can't conceive of disease. You know of it. But you don't really believe it. I do. I'm wiser than you are about some things, because I'm weaker. I understand — the other side. That's what did it to me ... what you saw yesterday."
"That's over."
"Probably. But not quite. I'm not afraid any more. But I know that the terror exists. I know the kind of terror it is. You can't conceive of that kind. Listen, what's the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me — it's being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drooling beast of prey or a maniac who's had some disease that's eaten his brain out. You'd have nothing then but your voice — your voice and your thought. You'd scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you'd have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you'd become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you'd see living eyes watching you and you'd know that the thing can't hear you, that it can't be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it's breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That's horror. Well, that's what's hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wanton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. I don't think I'm a coward, but I'm afraid of it. And that's all I know — only that it exists. I don't know its purpose, I don't know its nature."
"The principle behind the Dean," said Roark.
"It's something I wonder about once in a while ... Mallory, why did you try to shoot Ellsworth Toohey?" He saw the boy's eyes, and he added: "You don't have to tell me if you don't like to talk about it."
"I don't like to talk about it," said Mallory, his voice tight. "But it was the right question to ask."
"Sit down," said Roark. "We'll talk about your commission."
Then Mallory listened attentively while Roark spoke of the building and of what he wanted from the sculptor. He concluded:
"Just one figure. It will stand here." He pointed to a sketch. "The place is built around it. The statue of a naked woman. If you understand the building, you understand what the figure must be. The human spirit. The heroic in man. The aspiration and the fulfillment, both. Uplifted in its quest — and uplifting by its own essence. Seeking God — and finding itself. Showing that there is no higher reach beyond its own form ... You're the only one who can do it for me."
"You'll work as I work for my clients. You know what I want — the rest is up to you. Do it any way you wish. I'd like to suggest the model, but if she doesn't fit your purpose, choose anyone you prefer."

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

#YOYOW You Own Your Words... Or Do You?

The best way to Predict the Future is to Issue a Press Release... Seems to be what political types do.

This post details why I think that the Governments new #OnlineHarms is a lot of rubbish and questions

"Who is it that 'Owns Your Words' online?"
Is it you? 
Those you talk to and/or about? 
The Government?

A summary of my #DigCit Efforts
I am NOT a digital citizenship expert, but when looking to reskill from sales to Community Management, I have found myself getting involved with both politics (Yuck!) and Digital Citizenship initiatives (Can also be Yuck at times! That is if you're a Misfit like I am, and get ignored even in a small group).

2014 Scottish Independence Referendum
The cultural conditions for the Scottish Independence Referendum were special!

In that space and time if people like Jamie Hepburn wanted to implement the Fair Start Scotland initiative... it would NOT have taken £96 million and 3 years... could have happened within weeks, as I've said numerous times on this Ev Williams created space (Blogger) as well as the space he and Biz Stone created with Twitter:

'Jane Jacobs ideas could have spontaneously erupted all across the SNP's 'One Scotland'

I wrote extensively about what The SNP should do to keep the culture positive... and shared my Cmgr/OU Human Geography insights with them from as early as the night of the result at the end of September 2014. The insights have been continually accurate... and continually, studiously ignored.

(This post from #VoteYes to No Thanks includes some of the ways that I've offered to help the SNP and Mr Salmond's 'One Scotland').

I wonder if I've done more than his #Cybernats have done... or my SNP MPs for their constituents, STILL waiting for my reply to Margaret Ferrier in 2015. Found it yet?

GE2015 2015 Politicians and DigCit
In the run up to #GE2015 General Election ...I also watched in disbelief as MPs complained about online abuse AND threw their hands up and said

'But what can we do about it?'

(That's as well as predicting months earlier why SNP domination was inevitable as a result of the #IndyRef 'Network Effects' and 'Feedback Loops')

While they threw up their hands a few years ago... here's what I was writing about:

Online Abuse... I Blame the Politicians
#DigCit Vs the Trolls I'm a Student Friendly Social Media Educator

Last year I was to find out just how insightful my 2015 ideas were as I read about
Why Good People Turn Bad Online as well as New Power

Four years on and Sajid Javid has a shiny launch and

1) Does what these idiots do best (And is ALL they do! #Brexit!), blame someone else, and says
2) "Tech companies can no longer turn a blind eye"

Meanwhile his colleagues, if either the fake news and/or Steve Bannon are to be believed... are speaking to Bannon!

And the SNP are studiously ignoring how the Cybernats are wrecking some people's lives.

I fell for the whole 'Stand up give a speech with a call to action' in 2015 by getting involved when Chris van der Kuyl gave his Scottish Learning Festival keynote in 2015 where I curated some data and this lead to:

1) The then Education Secretary asking me to help with the Digital Learning Scotland Consultation

2) Sharing an article about Digital Citizenship and Twitter in Scottish Schools with one of the Digital Citizenship Twitter chat moderators.

3) Me organizing the first international Digital Citizenship Summit in January 2016 (Within 2 months and on a zero budget).

This event also saw lots of criticism from people (Some saying that getting US educators over here was a money grab,' but the same event in 2018 and it's a case of 'Let's do it!' the day after the #DigCitSummitIRL event).

Scottish educators seemed more than happy to connect with US educators at last years' #CEduAD event too.

Nor was there ANY help from people like

Chris-lets-make-Scotland-the-most-entrepreneurial-country-in-the-world van der Kuyl or

So the ideas that I have about this #OnlineHarms would, like the UK Govt's EdTechStrategy last week, be years ahead in some ways... but why should I give my ideas to such a hypocritical, nasty, self interested group of people who do anything BUT 'making a difference' to people's lives, regardless of what they think or why they got into a sector with £75,000 a year + expenses + second jobs etc and claim to be 'humble crofters'

They don't even help their own supporters who distributed thousands of leaflets for #Team56 when they are having a hard time by the 'cybernat' SNP/IndyRef supporters?

Or when Javid's colleagues - if they are talking to Bannon - are part of the problem but he blames the work of people like @Biz and @Ev who gave me a voice? A sold and steady argument? Erm #NoThanks!

GE2015 Declara & Ian Blackford
In 2015 I had a call with Ian Blackford and told him that he and his colleagues should create a collection of good news stories and have their advocates create 140 character 'insights' on Declara so they could be tweeted and drown out the Cybernats when 140 character politics arrived properly.

He didn't follow up on this... And yet what do we have today?

Well just look at how Trump bypasses the 'Fake News' today by using these same tactics with the Alt Right folks who have been on platforms like Reddit for years? Go figure!

Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates
If Tech Stories did Politics 

#YOYOW... Or Do You?
My #DigCitSummitUK Closing Remarks were around The Well's mantra of 'You Own Your Own Words'

After reading The Well in 2015, I felt that big social media would head in the same direction as some of the Well Beings, like Howard Rheingold, did...

Through a conversation on Twitter with Howard and the call to fight #ForTheWeb last month, it would appear that I wasn't wrong!

#FortheWeb? #FFS #DigCit #Cybernat Mission to Help Recruit Elle

#EdChatMod Google+ Forum... Thank You and See You at @GiveandTakeInc Givitas

The hope was that this #DigCitSummit community in 2016 would become a 'Swarm' that could help in exactly the way that US Counter Terrorism suggests with tacking Scottish School girl Asqa Mahmood (As detailed at the end of this post ACEing Made to Stick).

However, in 2015 I was not aware of Mahmood or of these 'swarms' or the book New Power.

I read New Power last April. Reading the book was not my idea, it came recommended by someone who suggested I read it... I'm glad I did. You know who you are... And the person who recommended it has been thanked. To use the cryptic language like the #CEduAD Cooking with Gas post and other messages.

Through New Power I saw that my ideas were sound... So I set about building upon the #DigCitSummitUK work by sending an email to see about a #DigCitSummitScot last February, as some DigCit experts where 'across the pond' for the #DigCitSummitIRL event in April 2018.

David Ryan Polgar moved on from the #DigCitSummit movement after a few years. And when the other co-founder and 'Life Long Family Friend' did not reply... I 'pivoted' to the idea of a Skype Edcamp.

There was so much interest from around the world that @TolleyA and I decided to plan for a physical Skype Edcamp on the same day as trying again with a #CMAD inspired 'Connected Educator Appreciation Day' idea (But had 24 hour EdChat-a-thon idea before I knew about CMAD in October 2013).

But the problem with this attempt at building a community of educators who might 'Swarm' with positive messages and an alternative narrative, and perhaps protect others like Shamina Begum was that

'We were the wrong kind of people, with the wrong kind of purpose... and/or @TolleyA and I were not able to keep up with the breakneck speed of the #CEduAD team'

"Words on a screen hurt people. Although online conversation might have the ephemeal and informal feeling of a telephone conversation, it has the reach and permanence of a publication" Howard Rhiengold

That extract is from The Heart of The Well Chapter of Virtual Communities regarding the suicide of The Well member Blair Newman.

The permanence of the written word is something that toxic Facebook is now realising too, 26 years after Howard and Marc Smiths observations from the Voices of The Well... Facebook is looking at having impermanent messages, according to an article that features in a recent CMX update.

I can confirm that those 'Wrong Kind of People' comments do indeed hurt!

Especially when they came from people you admired and looked up to, and/or come from those who you 'Empowered' (Apparently) by encouraging to make that all important first Skype call, and introducing them to people in your network #ConnectWithPurpose!

Quitting Twitter
"Get on social media it comes with the job today if you want to be in EdTech" was the advice I was given by a Microsoft exec in 2010... Something I was ready to quit on in September 2018.

Since looking to reskill from sales to community management since 2014... there hasn't been a great deal in terms of a steady income.

After my voice not being heard and being rejected from yet another group!
This time for an idea that was my own!

(Well, when I say my own idea - see below - I mean was generated from 'Slow Hunches' and making links to: #EdChatMods + a great source of #Cmgr PD for me + listening to Educators concerns about Crowdfunding and their districts PD).

But it was something I had worked on (off and on) over a 3 year period!

My personal life was a mess - moving house, terminally ill family member, kids playing up because of all the adjustments - and I was ready to hit delete on my Twitter account... So why am I still here?

Words on a Screen Hurt People... But A Kind Word Can Make ALL the Difference!
"I said something and the internet spoke back, no way!" @CordyM at ISTE 2016 Closing Keynote

Someone noticed.
Someone said they would miss me.
Sarah has also acknowledged my contribution with other projects over the years too.

"That's nice I thought"
"I said something and the internet spoke back, no way!" (To borrow from Michele's awesome keynote)

Delete... You Own Your Own Words... Or Do You?
The Well's Mantra was #YOYOW: You Own Your Own Words and was the subject of my 2016 DigCitSummitUK Closing Comments.

In 2019 with

1) The Government's #OnlineHarms White Paper
2) Twitter shutting down more accounts because of copyright and complaints
3) Online hatred now affecting people IRL
(Shamina Begum recruited by Asqa Mahmood, Molly's suicide, New Zealand mosque far right killings)

Whether it is anyone that you have paid a compliment to - or hurt badly - with your words, who is it that owns your words in the confusing spaces that is the online world in 2019?

Fake Friends and Lost Words
I have had a few 'Life Long Family Friends' not only block me and had people that I introduced them to make me out to be a horrible person... but also delete every kind thing they ever said about me.

I have people who told me that 'You have a voice' and that 'You Matter' but have blocked me... for the same reasons that I'm beyond sick and tired of hearing Ian Blackford for! His

"Scotland will not be ignored"

But never seems to hear this particular Scot.

That group didn't hear me... in a space with 4 'friends' to discuss an idea that I worked on for 3 years and they couldn't/wouldn't hear my voice. They took the ideas, my time and effort and didn't look back?!

So I can't reference some 4 years worth of kind words, conversations and the contribution I made to discussions. Who owns the

'It's William Jenkins that got me started on the Connected Educator journey?'

The person who said them? And has blocked me from accessing those kind words?

Me because they were about me? And the way that I impacted their personal and professional development, and could benefit my career in job interviews but can't use without the possibility of an awkward

'But they have blocked you' conversation?

Twitter because they own the platform? What about my time? 50,000 tweets at say 2 minutes per Tweet = 3 months of my time, not to mention the ideas I've shared and the connections that I've made that have proved productive (rasing money and helping new ideas take off) and/or anything I did to see the next DigCitSummit take place at Twitter HQ?

Or is it now the government? Which is a worry and so hypocritical it beggars belief... Old Etonian arrogance!

Whether the SNP who have continually ignored me when I've been NOTHING but supportive of their #SLF15 'Educators Need to Collaborate More' and empowering educators rhetoric.

Or the Conservatives with their 'Tech companies can't turn a blind eye"

But Steve Bannon can say that he's talking to Letter Box Boris and Lunatic Gove (What David Cameron called his former Education Secretary).

Don't be a Twitter Quitter
In 2015 the data that I curated directly after Chris van der Kuyl's keynote (After having met with 5 senior MPs on 5 different projects - one even included a visit to Downing Street with John McAlaney re Social Norms), my attitude was

'I know what to do here... and I'm not going to bother with the pointless politicians'

At a 2014 #UKFEChat meet up the question was posed

'What are we supposed to do William ignore the goverment?' 

YES! I said regarding FELTAG... Followed by the sounds of laughter and disagreement at the crazy misfit in the room.

Where is 'FELTAG Friday rocket boosters on' Matt Hancock today?
Where is his predecessor as FE Minister, Nick Boles, today?
Where the heck is the 100% of FE Course material online?
And if  FELTAG has NOT delivered... then where is all the money that went into it?
Where is Every Child Matters?
Where is the Attainment Gap at?
Where is David Cameron's Big Society?
Where is David Cameron?
Where are the consequences for Vince Cable and his 2007 banks are #TooBigToFail, to I should have let them fail?

Mr Cameron and Mr Cable, do you have ANY idea what scrapping ECM and bailing the bank had on me personally? Or more crucially for politicians across the spectrum... do you even care?

Mr Hancock and Mr Boles do you have any idea what ACTUALLY listening to me might have done for the FELTAG agenda in 2014 as well as with the original 'FELTAG Friday' 2020 goals?

But I am still here on Twitter today... and am so because

1) Of a kind word
2) I was confident that the lessons from The Well would be important
3) I felt that something like the fight for #TheWeb would need a Well reboot
(We're using #YOYOWJOI)

But I'm now going to do something really, really painful here... I'm going to disagree with someone I admire because he changed the world (twice), with regard to The Well Reboot #ForTheWeb

Mr Brand, I don't Own My Words!

And I'm glad I don't because otherwise I would have quit social media because of all the political types, the takers, the fakers and the hate that - with the exception of moaning - the politicians have done nothing about since 2015.

The words: the good, the bad and the ugly, were said by me... and I do indeed OWN what I say, but they are not just mine alone anymore.

These words are the result of the amazing space that Biz Stone and Ev Williams built (And are two people who's work have given me a voice... Thank You!! I'll be 'paying it forward' on the #SeaTurtlePirates adventure and it's going to be Bliss too!)

They are shared words!
I own my words but they are shared... they also belong to the people I spoke about, and it was my choice to speak about them on a platform for the world to hear what I had to say about them.

To take those words from them by deleting my account? That would have been wrong of me!

@Sfm36 @TolleyA @BeYonder @MichaelJGaston and the 23 people who helped with my desperate 2018 crowd funder (As well as those who provided moral support too)... you were and are

'Love in Action'

The start of the #SeaTurtlePirates adventure began with a 7 year old boy turning pirate by breaking a little rule with a bunch of Donkeys (Their contribution at the end of the adventure will be acknowledged!)

... But the @BeMorePirate adventure will be continuing through whatever #NewPower storms that Twitter and collaborating with people with different views, personalities, career aims, personal challenges in a loose informal context brings.

Go into any house with kids where David Cameron's 'Young Aspirational Families' are now Theresa May's 'JAMs' and see if you can find parents who love their kids dearly but DON'T let their frustration of life in a country of the bailed out banks get the better of them and shout at their kids... It's probably a regular occurrence.

Go into any school, workplace, coffee shop or neighborhood and you'll find people falling out.

Just look at the bickering at Mr Javid's place of work and the 'Hallowed Halls with it's no clapping traditions' and 'Right Honorable People' that are his colleagues: Theresa May is hardly getting on with her team, and the person responsible for 'ORDER! ORDER! speaker has faced accusations of bullying?

So what if you are in the same space and collaborating with passionate people who have opposing views? For example:
'Yoons' + IndyRef supporters?
Corbyn supporters + people affected by Northern Ireland's 'Troubles?'
People who support Colin Kaepernick's Black Lives Matter + people who see this disrespectful to the US military?
Vegans + people who earn a living through the farming industry?

You could EASILY be one wrong conversation and/or misunderstanding away from a falling out and maybe even seeing the group/community falling apart!! There are also introvert Vs extrovert mis-communications, and making sure that takers/fakers and/or assholes don't poison the well being of the group.

Getting the right people with a shared purpose is one thing... finding the right core values and community guidelines is another thing entirely #YOYOWJOI!

But whatever happens, it's an adventure that would not be happening for me if it was not for the kindness a few people showed me online in 2018.

Mr Blackford go compare that to the 6 Cybernats that are making some people's lives a misery online and IRL. 'Scotland's Voice Will Not Be Ignored!' The same kind of Westminster dramatics as Mr Javid yesterday with his #OnlineHarms noisy launch?

Here's to a kinder 2019... Here's to a #YOYOW 2.0 reboot that brings JOI... and here's to The Misfits!!

What If... They are not your Ideas? What if the Idea Picks You?
Last August at the end of my first ever meeting with Chrissy MacKay at Be Yonder (Who I connected with because of a #ECGlobal conversation with @FillTheGapLearn) and she recommended a crazy book which had also been recommended about 10 years ago... but looked a little too crazy for me a decade ago! But I read it this time.

After reading it I asked James Stanbridge and Ayelet Baron (Who hosted the awesome 2016 CMAD  Building Relationships to Ignite Movements session) if they had read it, they had... this led to Ayelet recommending another (Which hurts my head!) and this concept jumped out at me.

The idea of a Skype Edcamp developed as a result of Ian's Tweet above and the Post BETT 'Capes and Kilts' Microsoft visit to Sarah Clark and Malcolm Wilson's schools.

If it is the case that 'The idea picks you' and that 'New Power' is like a current and 'Crowd Leaders' are interested in empowering others... and if empowering Scottish Educators is something Mr Swinney want's to encourage then...

There is A LOT more to this story! @GibsonI encouraged me to submit a Tedx Glasgow presentation and helped to improve the application, but the talk was rejected + the story would be left unfinished if I had deleted my Twitter account if it wasn't for @Sfm36.

So if anyone wants to see the content of the presentation, which includes ideas around #OnlineHarms and potential aims and outcomes of the #SeaTurtlePirates... give them a shout.

We need digital leaders to connect with educators and schools locally and globally. Help Ellie (And Elle!)

Something our politicians appear to have caught up with the idea of! Perhaps in 12 months time people like Business and Skill Minister Jamie Hepburn will be agreeing with this objective.

“Our business objective, if you will, in hosting these 24 hours of panels is to reach as many people as possible to educate them on the community industry" Sherrie via CMAD 2016 Reflections of a Newbie.

In the mean time, hey @Sfm36 & @GibsonI  There really should be a #CEduAD panelist on as many 2020 #CMAD hangouts as possible to further the CMAD business objective… Just a thought and a random idea.

I'll leave the last word on Twitter in 2019 with the person who gave me these insights:

Twitter Literacy Knowing How to Use it is Key by Howard Rheingold.

Friday, 5 April 2019

#EdTechStrategy Vs #GoDo #ScotlandCan & Fair Start Scotland?

12th April 2019 Update
Well! I 'get' what commentators say when they observe that
'A week is a long time in politics!'

This time last week I was being extremely angry and exasperated on here about the Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn (@JamieHepburn). 

It would appear that I was not only wrong but, perhaps also in the wrong too! Unfortunately, I've also been here before (and that's AFTER telling someone just yesterday boasting that I don't make the same mistakes twice as well!)

The last time I was here I changed an #IndyRef post that had the title 'Declaration of War' to 'Make Love Not War' after #CmgrHangout/#CMAD Founder and #CEduAD organiser Tim McDonald had a quiet 'Love in Action' kind of word.

The relevance to the content of that post both for me personally after the week I've had AND online in general with the UK Government's White Paper #OnlineHarms... Is a just bit spooky!

"Trust the Currents" Indeed!

...As he and Ayelet Baron (@Ayeletb) might say.

So what changed in a week?

After some private email exchanges with Mr Hepburn, his staff and Routes to Work South... I went along to my first Job Club meeting and did so with a willingness to hear all the ways that they might be able to help. No barriers! 

No 'Because I had a bad early experience.' chip on my shoulder
No 'Politicans are all idiots' because I was less enthusiastic about a political view I was once supportive of.
No Anti-authoritarian 'Bankers this...' and 'Vince cable that'
(But IMHO The Vince Cable view IS justified!...but was absent from the conversation, all the same).

Just "I need a bit of help!... I'm a little bit stuck... Can you help me to 'lower the barrier' and 'flatten the path'"

I don't know how long the Job Club normally runs for but not only was I there for hours! But I had a number of staff who dropped everything and supported me... and with some bespoke solutions too.

Man! Did we get a lot done! I highlight that it feels like 

'Some of the ideas I have can sometimes feel like they are ahead of their time... and this can be frustrating as I feel mis-understood when trying to help'

'There is no EdTech industry here in Scotland, but the UK Government have just published an #EdTechStrategy' 

Add to this that I am also aware that I am what @ThisIsNewPower calls a 'Crowd Leader' according to Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans' books' quiz (Which Tim McDonald is involved with).

When I read New Power I recognised what Kony2012 CEO Jason Russell did with the grassroots movement for Invisible Children (@Invisible) by visiting schools to raise awareness of Kony's use of child soldiers (Dexter Dias highlights how the practice of forcing children to fight creates formidable killing machies).

Siara's dad told her book loving daughter that 'Anything is possible' but, living in CAR and faced between staying where she was and turning to violence, a perilous desert crossing like The Alchemist's Santiago, or a migrant boat... It's a lot harder to do anything you set your mind to when those are your choices... It feels like as dangerous a message as whatever tactics Scottish School Girl Asqa Mahmood used to encourage Shamina Begum and others to lose her UK Citizenship. 

@Invisible's Kony2012 strategy is what I thought Marialice Curran (@Mbfxc) and David Ryan Polgar's (@TechEthicist) #DigCitSummit movement was going to do but... as I discovered it's freaking hard - in fact near impossible! - to get right!! 

Jason Russell got SOOO MUCH right! He got SOOO MUCH done! But then disaster struck!

Jason suffered a nervous breakdown: What Jason Russell Remembers about His Breakdown
Image result for What Jason Russell Remembers About His Breakdown

New Power highlights how tough being a 'Crowd Leader' can be! 

Equally Ayn Rand highlights how hard it can be to try to bring new and original ideas to life, check out tough Howard Roark, Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, John Galt and Kira Argounova (Most definitely WON'T be spoiling the end of what happens to the heroine in We the Living!) 

...I'll be including the extract of when Roark met Stephen Mallory in my next post.

Can you imagine my surprise when I saw a quote from The Fountainhead on one of the notepads of one of the people who was helping me yesterday?! 

I've got no idea if that was a quote they wrote, one of their mental health partners who can provide a life link to people who are having a hard time...or one of their clients who's ideas are also a little bit new and crazy.

So, perhaps a little bit like a former collaborator, and the person who gave me my first paid experience in Community Management, Ramona Pierson... I found in Routes to Work (South!) Job Club yesterday, an Unexpected Place of Healing.

BUT (obviously!) I hasten to add NO WHERE near as painful as her experiences... Both physically or of with the kind of makeovers she had to endure.

But MAN! does the idea of cuss (swear) scrabble sound fun! I wonder if *SIGH-Grrr-Argh!* counts as a swear word in cuss scrabble. I would go along to a Routes to Work swear scrabble club!!

Image result for ramona pierson an unexpected place of healing
Check my Community Management Resources Collection
on Declara: Extreme Radical Collaboration... & Wisdom

"Words on a screen hurt people" Howard Rhiengold (@Hreingold) in Virtual Communities after Blair Newman committed suicide just before scribbling (deleting) all his posts on the early online community, The Well 26 years ago.

Howard highlights how this event affected the 'Well Beings' 

"There was the real-life funeral, where we brought our physical bodies and embraced each other and Blair's family. We were learning how fond we had grown of Blair, and how his death put a milestone in cyberspace. Marriages had happened and others had unraveled. Businesses had started and failed. We had parties and picnics. But death seems somehow more real, even if your only participation is in the virtual funeral"

26 years later, weeks after Tim Berners-Lee's call for people to fight #ForTheWeb followed a few days later by the New Zealand killings where online hate spilled into the real world and Molly Russell's suicide is a new milestone in Cyberspace... People are telling us before they hurt themselves or others and we are not noticing... we are not replying... We are not offering people the same virtual hugs that EDL member Ivan Humble (@NewDayStarts) got IRL. 

My last post details how I almost quit Twitter and why I didn't! Because I had learned the lessons of The Well and the importance of #YOYOW.

The value that a kind word can have never ceases to amaze me... 

Whether the words that launch people on a journey, as mine started with James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge) via Sarah Thomas and her #DigiDiversity #SXSWEdu session, as well as Education Scotland's Ian Stuart (@IanStuart66) and Bob Baldie (@BobBaldie) taking the time to listen to my ideas at the Developing the Youth Workforce launch at the 2015 Scottish Learning Festival in 2015.

...Or Sarah Clark (@Sfm36) telling me that I would be missed if I quit Twitter #YOYOW-> Or people like Bev Cripps (@BCripps078) & Ritu Sehji (@Rsehji) noticing when I wasn't around -> Or Ian Gibson (@GibsonI) encouraging me to submit my own Tedx Presentation -> Or my dear friend Andrea Tolley (@TolleyA) for EVERYTHING! Eleven times over!!

And Chrissy and David for trying to help me @BeYonderLtd since we met last August as a result of an Edchange Global (#ECGlobal) conversation with Michael Sinclair (@FillthegapLearn)... I've tried to be a Courageous Follower, but being courageous sometimes means you get it wrong too.

...Or Routes to Work (@Routes2Work) yesterday to being there when a weary traveler needed a rest!

But Sairah (Pronounced Sigh-ra, I believe), if you do refer me to any services to try to thow me a life line, please don't do to me what The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho's parents did when he was following his dream to be a writer... and put him in a mental institution.

...At least not without a good internet connection and a decent library!
I promise not to do a 'Julian Assange' to get my internet access revoked!
There's a guy that needs some help!

(Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!! Something for anyone who is going through a rough time and gets taken in by a 'fake friend' and decides to flee Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, The United Kingdom, Great Britain - or however you identify your nationality - only to moan a few years later when your Citizenship is revoked!)

Why would I need an internet connection if anyone thought I was nuts?

Because as @BeMorePirate highlights in their Tedx Talk... there are a lot of problems out there to be changing! And... as the Think Differently advert goes:

"Sometimes the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do"

Here's to the Misfits (And their creative power) helping other rebels at @Routes2Work to find their own route to work.

Happy Birthday #FairStartScotland for #FSS Sake.

Apologies to Mr Hepburn and Ms Haughey and all staff doing good work on this new initiative.

It's tough out their folks! So Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle!

...Oh yeah and 'Check your premises' too!

6th April 2019 Update
The post below was written yesterday in line with Jay Baer's comments from the 'Hug Your Haters' #Cmgrhangout regarding how:

"Haters are not your problem... Ignoring them is" 

I had raised a number of concerns offline and heard nothing back, so took my complaint, grievance and frustrations online.

As Jay highlights, if people have tried calling, emailing etc and got no response they already have 'one foot out the door' as a customer, so the content of response and speed of response are key!

To his credit, Mr Hepburn, came back to me immediately after I posted the content below... and with a satisfactory response, which was (and is) appreciated!

With the EdTech Strategy being launched earlier in the week + hearing about others in Scotland in the EdTech scene who are struggling (Doing innovative work... but are looking to leave), I created a moment of conflict in order to make sure I was heard.

I leave the post unedited and raw (Although will tone down a little), so that others can see how I am exploring and dealing with #NewPower storms and Be More Pirate 'Tell Tall Tales'

...And what I hope will be the #SeaTurtlePirates compass if/when encountering any @BeMorePirate #NewPower Storms = The #YOYOWJOI compass.

I don't like being in snarky mode, but if it helps in any way for those who are Lost in the Ghetto, I will!

But kudos to Mr Hepburn for addressing this the way that he did, and my apologies for any and all snark below...Including to the service providers who are doing good work

(But a little more joined up thinking and collaboration though, Yes? No? Maybe?)

5th April 2019 The Original Angry Post! (But edited and toned down a little)
This post details my experiences as an unfortunate victim of Jamie Hepburn's flagship skills program 'Fair Start Scotland' (I've already suggested an alternative name for the initiative).

It is written in the hope of either

1) Warning others of the dangers of trying to innovate in a backward looking place and/or
2) The challenges that can come from your ideas being ahead of their time.

If you like the sound of the latter do yourself a favour and read about Henry Cameron's experiences in The Fountainhead... It sure ain't easy!!

Not the Tories Fault... Not this time ScotGov/TheSNP
If there are two things that will wind the Scottish Government up it will be to either say:

1) That things are no different after 17 years of SNP being part of the Scottish Government than under Margaret Thatchers Tory Government

And yet, with parents struggling to make ends meet because of banks, mortgages and decisions made by the Bank of England, the economy tanking and educator moral being pretty low, what's really changed?

Only politicians could go from 'celeb rock star status' to 'Meh! no different to Thatcher years' within 4 years!

2) That the current Conservative Government are NOT to blame for at least one area of the economy and/or Scotland's issues.

Not when the EdTech industry is both thriving south of the border AND is getting support by the Education Secretary and the UK Department of Education with the launch of the EdTech Strategy document this week.

There is not much of an EdTech sector in Scotland and, in my experience - and the experiences of a few others - there isn't anything by way of support.

I have been fortunate enough to be connected with people where I've seen very clearly where the future of work is headed.

This is not always a benefit when you don't have a voice, when you share your ideas with the wrong kind of people and/or when you're trying to pay the bills.

A few years ago the UK Government Education Departments would tell you

"We can't be seen to be recommending any particular company or product... even those doing good work"

Compare this with the ideas I had in 2014 and with their shiny new EdTech Strategy (Which, just like Gazelle and FELTAG did, has some key flaws)... and the differences in the kind of response the suggestions got.

9th January 2014 Vs April 2019
Email to EdTech Suppliers
"I am writing to you today to see if you thought it would be useful if there was a regular Twitter Chat where suppliers to the education sector could share ideas, collaborate and network with each other. A PLN for Edu suppliers. Please find more details on this idea in this blog post;

StartUpEduChat -"

Example reply from suppliers
Thanks for your thoughts - it's an interesting idea, and very worthy.

I can forsee a few issues:
  • It feels overly utopian. Most successful edtech suppliers may feel a conflict of interests sharing their hard won formulae.
  • Twitter is poorly used and understood (IMHO) by most Educational suppliers, and not monitored regularly enough by those that do to develop any meaningful conversation

  • Company twitter accounts are often staffed by marketing advisors, juniors, or similar who may not have the product/business experience to contribute in a way that delivers value to the stream

  • When would the conversation happen? Can't be in the day as people are working, and wouldn't work in the evening as that's when (most) have clocked off for the night.

  • If staff are going to spend time on Twitter I suspect most companies would prefer they were talking to customers, or supporting the brand.

  • Many followers of edu suppliers Twitter accounts will not be overly interested in seeing tweets of this nature and short of blocking the hashtag, won't be able to avoid them

  • Hashtag spam, dull promotional tweets, commercial agenda driven tweets
Those are mainly probs with using edu suppliers branded twitters. If it's down to individuals, then the problems are less. But most still apply.

Startups are naturally more open and willing to share, by definition. But those they seek to learn from (those that have made it) may ironically fall into the issues above.

I promise I am not trying to be negative (BrainPOP is one of the most open and socially savvy edutech brands out there) but it might simply be that trying to achieve the aim of sharing best practice on Twitter might be the wrong tool to choose.

Of course, this should not stop you from trying, I could be completely wrong.

Then either compare with a few months later when I ceded the idea to Katya Hoyt and Steve Isaacs and supported them with their #SXSWEdu #EdTechBridge idea... OR (more crucially) with the #EdTechStrategy that pretty much is doing what I suggested that #FELTAG should be doing (See The Problem with FELTAG)

My Fair Start Scotland Journey
Only having the good and the great connecting with you when your ideas are ready for them to make a name for themselves has two consequences

1) It has a negative impact on those who are truly collaborative... The edu data informs me that social media is FULL of these kind of relationships (And that those who are truly collaborative are adjusting for this!)

2) Helping others in their career and with their personal brand doesn't pay the bills very well.

And trying to reskill to an EdTech Community Manager in a land with no EdTech industry and who have no clue what Community Management is... That has been an error of judgement on my part, who knew geography mattered so much today.

Indeed, the UK EdTech Strategy really should be called the London EdTech Strategy.

As I will state a number of times in this post, there is absolutely ZERO criticism of the people I am in contact with - especially those at Rutherglen Job Centre and Routes to Work Cambuslang.

Conversely, there's nothing but scorn for the pointless politicians that have done such an abysmal job that they have seen a former advocate become so disillusioned by the sheer level of their incompetence in a few short years... Is nothing short of astounding!!

It beggars belief and is a marvel to behold (Go check my Rah! Rah! Rah! IndyRef/SNP posts... they're all still there! #IfIKnewThenWhatWeKnowNow!)

1st November 2018
Coming to the end of one of the worst years I've had in a very long time (If not ever!) With my job search going nowhere and me being desperate to find anything at all... my work coach suggested Fair Start Scotland and Routes to Work. 

The aim of going onto this program being so I can ‘dumb down’ my CV as there is no EdTech industry here and no #Cmgr roles.

I met a Routes to Work rep at the Job Centre and agreed to get referred to this voluntary program.

I had a letter and initial meeting scheduled with Laura Sloan, this then changed to Fiona Davidson between the appointment being made and the actual meeting. At the end of the interview Fiona recommended Routes to Work and I spoke to Maureen (Who was absolutely freaking AWESOME!)

A letter came through for Remploy. I thought that I was with Routes to Work? Must have been referred on to them? That's a shame! I liked Maureen. Oh well fine! They know best (Yeah right!)

An induction set up for the 12
th November.

12th November 2018
Totally Unimpressed with the induction!

It felt like I was a name and a number - after seeing the £96 million over 3 years I can now see why this was the case - The induction was held with Craig in the main reception (All the meeting rooms had been taken, apparently).

This was a day after my mother-in-laws funeral and I left feeling underwhelmed when I got the hard sell to fill the form out there and then... 

'Don't let any of these walking £6,000 mugs leave without signing up'
You can almost hear in the weekly team meetings from the 'Just fill it in... No you can't take it with you'

16th November 2018 
Tell my Job Centre Work Coach how underwhelming the whole thing was and a ‘What have you got to lose’ convo with her sees me agree... "Yeah you're right. I'm pretty desperate"

17th November 2018 

Remploy’s apprentice followed up with a call asking if I’d like to arrange a meeting following the induction, a meeting was arranged.

W/C 19th November 2018 I went back and filled out the application with Chris AFTER I asked 

"Will me signing up to this exclude me from any other initiatives"
And made a point of referencing the challenges with being on Working Links and New Enterprise Allowance

Was the reply... This turned out to be a lot of shit!! Thanks Chris!! Hope you got your commission or whatever you get for signing me up!

28th November 2018 
On my second appointment with Chris where we were going to go through my CV after complementing me on my CV and saying how he thinks he can help, he logs on and gives it: 

"William you’re not on our system... We went through all the paperwork last time didn't we?"

Went away and came back and said 

"You're supposed to be with Routes to Work"

"Right OK! Well if I’m not impressed with Routes to Work, can I come back to you?"

"No!" was the reply 

"Here we go again" thinks I!

 28th November 2018... Later that Day
I stopped off at Cambuslang after this meeting and asked to speak to Maureen who said 

“William where have you been? I wondered why you’d been taken off the system. You’re supposed to be with me and with Routes to Work” 

Helen at Rutherglen Job Centre confirmed this.

 I had two meetings with Maureen when she did tonnes to try to help, including meeting with the guys at Be Yonder to assess how they both might be able to find funding for a role they were exploring and looking into Community Jobs Scotland.

Progress was made as I would be eligible for Community Jobs Scotland... but the age had changed from anyone of any age is eligible, to under 29. #FFS #FSS!!

20th February 2019 
Maureen had been off so I was referred to one of her colleagues, who has also been super friendly, supportive and helpful.

They've also been extremely patient and understanding as they've had the shitty end of the stick as I've been in

"I'm getting fucked about by this Fair Start Scotland shit" mode (Not a pretty picture, I can tell you!). 

I have met with this advisor once or twice and have dropped in for updates a few times.

21st February 2019
I asked Helen at Rutherglen job centre if I was eligible to go back onto New Enterprise Allowance as Fair Start Scotland had, in spite of any good intentions and some really helpful people, not actually much has been done since Nov 2018 

The reply was that I was eligible for NEA but NOT if I was on Fair Start Scotland (#FSS? Most def should be changed to #FFSS For Fuck's Sake Scotland!!)

So if I was
NOT on Fair Start Scotland I would have been referred to NEA* 6 weeks ago.

*Not that NEA is much better, ask about VC funding and you get laughed at! Their slide and advice on credit rating = "If you have a bad credit rating... Do something about it." No shit sherlock! We are not all NRAM and RBS with Vince Cable on speed dial and billion pound bail outs within 24 hours mate.

[*Waves*] To Vince '#TooBigtoFail' Cable... 

How are your buddies at NRAM and RBS getting on there? 
9 Consecutive years of losses and numerous fines... and their business is what's that? Money? Interesting!
Are the execs enjoying their bonuses while they close all the branches? 
Or are they still sending 'Give 'em rope' memos? Still shafting their customers?

 21st March 2019
Go to Fair Start Scotland/Routes to work to ask a Question) "Am I eligible for NEA?" Answer)
"Yes but you’d need to come off Fair Start Scotland"

Stop in on a critical friend to have a complete RANT!

Rutherglen Job Centre
Evidence is based around EdTech business plan

"But you’re not on that yet… and Helen tried to call you (Phone and internet had been cut off) to let you know that Fair Start Scotland has something similar"

Back to critical friends place to rant some more... Poor souls!

Back to Fair Start Scotland/Routes to work

"Yes we do have something similar but NEA would be better for you"

God love these people for treating me like a human being and thinking of my best interests over their

"Get them signed up these guys are worth £6k to us"

1st April 2019
Routes to Work are not taking me off Fair Start Scotland until they know that I have been referred to NEA as if I leave I can't go back to them, again thinking of me as a human being more than anything else. TY!

Called Rutherglen Job Centre to see if anything had been progressed and there was nothing on the system (My work coach has been off).

Called People’s Plus to see if I could go back onto NEA and he said the only way to get referred onto this is via the Job Centre

If I was NOT on Fair Start Scotland I would have been referred to NEA some 6 weeks ago and my business plan would not be being scrutinized as part of my claimant agreement.

That’s 8 people across two organizations where the majority of the scheduled meetings has been me saying in triplicate what my work aims are and at NO POINT has anyone sat down to do what I had originally signed up to this program for… to ‘dumb down’ my CV to get any old job as well as get assistance to get through interviews for whatever mundane jobs might be out there.

In a week that sees the EdTech ecosystem down in London getting more support and my being aware of others in Scotland involved in EdTech who are also having a rough time? #GoDo #ScotlandCan... Fuck Off!!

My ‘Fair Start Scotland’ experience has not been a good one!

I detail this in the hope, however slim the chances, that others don’t have to go through any of this.

Ian Blackford "Scotland Will Not be Ignored" <- What a lot of shit!
Nicola Stugeon "Scotland is open for Europe and their talent to come here" <- That comment is right up there with Chris van der Kyul's "Scotland lacks talent" shit

Perhaps stop with all the Tory bashing and Brexit obsession and fix the Attainment Gap and/or unslum the many deprived areas and believe in the workforce with a £100 million upskill package like the Tories are doing instead of a substandard Fair Start Scotland offering

...Or perhaps simply get Andrew Mawson's book to see how what he and Jane Jacobs did that has worked.

"The customer is not a moron. She's your wife" David Ogilvy.

Would you send your kids to some of the services that you run - whether the schools, housing or services like this? Or is it Eton for Boris, Gove, Cameron etc and sod the JAMs?

17 years and the 'It's the Tories fault' is wearing a little thin... What's the point of Holyrood if you're this ineffective?! Just go back to having one Parliament that does nothing but bicker rather than two.

And btw my business plan could kick the Tories EdTech Strategy ass! Their ideas are 4 years behind my plans! All you need to do is look at my blog posts from 4 years ago. Here's just one (of many!) examples

EdTech is Tough... Welcome to Scotland
(Taxi for one to California... Perhaps one day!)