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Why did I stop blogging?

Why did I stop blogging?

I’d been sustaining a blog post daily for about 2 months. Then suddenly I stopped blogging. Why? Well, I’d become ill (a chesty lingering cough and cold) and missed a day. At the same time I’d been frantically trying to workout where I was going with what I was writing.

The daily practice of writing has been beneficial, I find it much easier to write about things now, I’m aware I also need to get a little better at editing and presenting my ideas succinctly. I often find other peoples blogs fairly hard to read because of the writing style. I would want my blog to be considered easy to read and informative.

I’d been having a bit of a crisis of conscience around my Hackerspace writing also. This was partially sparked by my recent reading of Factfulness by Hans Rosling

(which in truth I listened to on Audio book, you can get a free copy of the audio book if you’re NOT already an audible customer or if you are, it’s well worth the 1 token a month)

The book had a profound effect on me. I decided to get it after hearing Carry Poppy on Oh No Ross & Carry podcast mention it a few times. It was about 5 minutes in, I realised that it’s an audio book by this guy…

who at the end of his TED talk, with the excellent bubble graph races, rips his shirt off and swallows a sword.

Anyway, the talk is about ignorance and not looking at the facts on world data. It shows us that rather than the old view of a developed and a developing world, there is really more of a world on 4 levels. It shows us that the world is getting better objectively, factually, more or less everywhere through innovation and improvements. It challenges our dramatic world view in a constructive way by encouraging us to look at factual data and not simply rely on our fears and prejudices.

What does that have to do with Hackerspaces? One of the key issues I wanted to avoid, and have been unsure about from the start, is my grumpiness about Hackerspaces. In truth, until fairly recently, when I entered my own local Hackerspace and many others around the world, they’d make me angry. Instead of seeing all the progress and good stuff that has been done, with baby but determined steps over a long period of time, I’d simply see all that had NOT been achieved and all of the bad things. I’ve slowly over the course of writing started to change my “world” view on the state of Hackerspaces, and see that, whilst, YES I still have a message and ideas to bring to the table, they need more refinement. I need to spend more time looking at hackerspace in operation and finding out what works. I’ve been, to some extent creating a drama and casting myself as a hero, coming in to “save” hackerspace. But the nature of spaces is that to some extent they must be places of co-operation. Can they be run better? Yes! Do I have all the answers? No.

I’ve often said that it matters little to have an ideas, it matter only what you can land. What that means is, that if I don’t take the time to understand what hackerspaces are doing already, understand and respect that the people who are doing that DO know what problems they face, perhaps even better than I do, then I would only be bringing them something hard to swallow and possibly not that useful in real terms.

I’m going to end this post, by sharing a post from one of my long time influences, Seth Godin. He posted this as a blog post yesterday and I like it as a little manifesto.

Do things get better?


Improvability is a choice.

You can build a society, an organization or a family with improvement in mind. Either things are static or we’re putting effort into making them better. Here are some of the elements:

Assertions are welcome

Information flows in all directions

Falsifiable assertions are tested, and the successful ones are embraced

There’s forward economic motion

Authority is used to get things done, not to simply end discussion

Proven assertions from the past are accepted until more effective new assertions replace them

The new is shipped on a regular basis

Individuals are encouraged to engage with strange ideas and the strangers who create them

Alternative methods are not seen as disloyal

There are common goals

No graft, no bribery, no external hidden agendas

People show their work and don’t fear insight on their methods

Mistakes are embraced when they lead to forward progress or simply encourage assertion making

It’s not okay to blame the ref for results you don’t like

Most of all, there’s a consistent process in place. A process that doesn’t change even as the work does. That process doesn’t get pushed aside every time a leader feels threatened.

There are one or two of these elements that need expanding:

Assertions are educated guesses about what might work better. They are coherent theories of how a problem can be solved or explanations of how a system works. It’s impossible to be sure of your assertion, but that doesn’t mean you should never make one.

A falsifiable assertion is one that can be proven to be wrong. If it’s not falsifiable, it’s not a useful assertion. Saying that a giant green leprechaun determines the winning lottery numbers isn’t helpful, since we can’t prove that it’s not true.

And forward economic motion: It’s easier to turn a boat that’s already moving. Forward motion means more incoming, more decisions, more deal flow. All of which lead to more ways to learn and more ways to improve.

So I’m going to start blogging, but probably not daily, but more led by an idea I have to share. I don’t seriously expect people to read them, but if you do, thank you. I appreciate it.

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Hackerspace Ghent Blueprint

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