Bruce Sterling at Reboot11 (some belated quotes)


Earlier this summer I went to Reboot11 (and loved it). Sadly, I never really got around to write down all the stuff we talked about there. But here’s a few quotes from the particularly great Bruce Sterling talk.

The quotes are actually not from the talk itself but from David Weinberger’s live blogging summary:

Sterling on geeks and favela chic in the context of different “quadrants of the future”:

The other side of Reboot in power is low-end: Favela chic. You’ve lost everything but you’re wired to the gill and still big on Facebook. Everything you believe as geeks is Favela thinking. This venue is itself a stuffed animal. The unsustainable is the only frontier you are. You’re old in old-new structure, a steam punk appropriation.

What can I say? He’s spot on. I’m writing this from our coworking space Studio70, a lofty, industrial-style Berlin backyard office, where we all sit on table differently arranged every day, working from our laptops, shoving data and information back and forth. We’re sharing desks and meeting room, improvising with every new gadget and feature we build in here, in the room next door a makerbot is being assembled. In other words: it’s a steam punk appropriation.

And on sustainable lifestyle in a geek context:

You’re going to be dead much longer than you’re alive. So you need to do stuff that you can do better than your dead great grandfather. How can you do this, he asks. A geek-friendly approach to consumption. For people of your generation, objects are print-outs. They’re frozen social relationships. Think of objects in terms of hours of time and volumes of space. It’s a good design approach. Because if you’re picking these things up — washing it, storing it, curating it — these possessions are really embodied social relationships: made by peole, designed by people, sold by people, etc. Relationships that happen to have material form. You might argue that you ought to buy cheap things or organic. That’s not the way forward. Economizing is not social. If you economize, you’re starving someone else. You need to reassess the objects in your space and time.

Also, here’s the whole talk, and so worth watching:

Writing email that gets answered


Chris Brogan summarizes how to write email so that it’s easy to process further:

Key points:

  • One Decision Per Email (so it’s easy to process)
  • Don’t Ever Say “Quick Question.” (Because it’s usually not. If it is, there’s no need to announce it.)
  • Your Signature File (it should contain your contact details, but be brief and concise)
  • Following Up (is important, but keep it brief)

Thanks, thanks, and thanks! Read the rest at Chris’ blog.

“How to become a freelance web strategist?”


my moo card…asked my reader Chris in an email:

To impose a question, is it financially lucrative to be a freelance web strategist? I am considering such a path for myself, and if you have a chance to explain your successes and failures to me…

Well, Chris, thanks for the question – a good one, too! So let’s dig right into this.

One, to get that out of the way: Yes, I feel very fortunate to make a good living from this line of work. (If you had told me this a few years ago, I would have thought you were crazy. Today, for me this is reality, and I can hardly believe how lucky I am to be paid for doing the stuff I love to do!) So the financial aspects shouldn’t stop you. (As money can move into, and out of, an industry quickly, though, this shouldn’t be your driving motivation – do what you feel passionate about, the rest will follow.)

That said, what I do is freelance work, so there’s no regular, reliable paycheck. There is always a certain amount of uncertainty about the future, even while business is good. If this is something you don’t feel comfortable with, freelancing is not for you. (Not a shame either, but it is something you should think about first.)

Two, apart from that, it’s pretty much intuitive: Do good work, be creative, and: blog, blog, blog. You will be consulting with your clients on topics like web communication, social media and blogging, so you need to know your tools & feel comfortable with them. From my experience, this is not only very rewarding because you meet so many cool folks, it’s also you best way of advertising your services. Do leave your traces online, be it via your blog address, via Twitter or any other means you feel comfortable with. Personally, I’m convinced that this kind of word of mouth is ultimately more important than all business cards, flashy websites and conferences combined. (Although attending the industry get-togethers certainly doesn’t hurt. But again, I go less for the networking than for meeting interesting folks to learn from.)

Three: Ask, ask, ask. As the old Twitter saying goes, it’s not who’s listening to you, but who you listen to. For example, you should listen very well to Jeremiah Owyang and Chris Brogan, both of whose blogs I read religiously, because they’re always insightful and inspiring. There’s plenty of others to discover, of course!

That’s just a brief rundown. Other than that, experiment & find your niche. How about connecting via Twitter to begin with? All the best, Chris, for your endeavors!

Your Brand Is: Their Gut Feeling

First, a brand is not a logo. Second, a brand is not an identity. Finally, a brand is not a product. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. (…) It’s not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.

Good stuff. And straight to the point. Without further commenting, I’d like to share this presentation by Neutron‘s Marty Neumeuer:

(via Simon Dalferth)