What happens when a salaried YouTuber goes solo: the Daily Grace story

Posted in Law, Technology, Worldwide on April 6th, 2014 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

Grace Helbig

You might have heard of Daily Grace, or Grace Helbig. She’s a 28-year-old actress-comedian who uploads videos on YouTube Monday to Friday. DailyGrace has 2 million+ subscribers and 227 million video views, and Forbes listed Grace on their 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment list for 2014 along with Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Lawrence, Kelly Osbourne and Anna Kendrick saying “Helbig is one of the sharpest, funniest voices on YouTube”.

Daily Grace died on December 31 2013.

Not the person, it’s just DailyGrace isn’t Grace’s channel anymore and since the start of 2014 no new content has been uploaded. The videos being uploaded Monday to Friday on that channel are reruns (first reruns on YouTube?) and presumably Grace isn’t receiving any of the ad revenue from them. Until recently, Grace had a contract with a company called My Damn Channel, who are going through an identity crisis and rebranding as Omnivision Entertainment. She made videos on the YouTube channel DailyGrace and they paid her a salary and maybe a commission based on YouTube views.

“Grace leaving Daily Grace is kinda like a Pokemon evolving. You’re sad because you liked how cute it looked before, but you’re also excited because it can shoot lasers out of its eyes now.” -killmeeko

After five years, Grace and My Damn Channel have chosen to part ways which, as VideoInk says, is probably the hardest decision Grace has made in her career. My Damn Channel owns the content and intellectual property Grace created while in their employment, including the YouTube channel DailyGrace, 2 million+ subscribers, themed days (Sexy Friday etc.), catch phrases (you’ve been hazed, new viewser alert…), and Facebook page–her Tumblr and Twitter are still hers, presumably because they aren’t under the Daily Grace brand.

How do you deal with suddenly not being able to use any of the intellectual property you came up with? Compare a 2013 ‘commenting on your comments’ video with a 2014 one:

“Here’s the lesson: Many corporations think that by owning YouTube channels, they’ll have something valuable. But the value is not in the channel or in the number of subscribers. On YouTube, despite the corporatization of everything, the value is in people.” -Tim Helbig

The brand that My Damn Channel is asserting ownership over is effectively a person. People subscribed to DailyGrace for Grace, and have been steadily unsubscribing because of the new content drought and My Damn Channel/Grace drama. Grace is continuing to upload videos daily on her used-to-be-second-but-is-now-main channel ItsGrace, something she wasn’t allowed to talk about while she was still in charge of the DailyGrace accounts. Viewers were left with a cryptic goodbye on December 27 where Grace said she would be back making videos from January 6 after a break. She couldn’t say that these new videos wouldn’t be on the DailyGrace channel.

Is it fair enough that My Damn Channel is enforcing their rights under a mutually agreed contract which Grace would have either received legal advice over or had the opportunity to seek legal advice over? Probably. An arrangement that guaranteed an income for making YouTube videos would have looked pretty great five years ago, but as time goes on you’d start to realise that perhaps you could be earning more without the middleman taking a cut… and for doing what exactly? My Damn Channel is a business and they’ll want to get all the ad revenue they can from the old DailyGrace videos which they’re rerunning on YouTube. Grace is going independent, at least for the time being, and will have full ownership over the content she creates from now on. And at least 1.7 million subscribers have found their way to ItsGrace.

The sad thing is that some fans might never find Grace’s new channel (My Damn Channel hasn’t changed the about page for DailyGrace from “I vlog everyday! Five days a week!”, except for the removal of her social media links and stripping the themed days from the header image), Grace was faced with rebuilding her subscriber base from the 100,000 she had on her second channel, and that the day has come where My Damn Channel is exercising the control they have over a whole vault of content Grace made in an intimate setting–inside her home–by reuploading it in an attempt to keep up the appearance that Daily Grace is still alive.

But Grace still has herself, and maybe that’s all the matters.

“DailyGrace is Grace Helbig, which is me. DailyGrace [the channel] was a concept owned by My Damn Channel, but Grace Helbig is my personality, owned by myself…so that’s what I’m moving forward with and that’s what, to me, is priceless.” -Grace Helbig

Image credit: Grace Helbig

How to get residents to avoid submitting on proposed zoning changes Christchuch City Council style

Posted in Law, New Zealand on March 2nd, 2014 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

The Christchurch City Council is reviewing its district plan, and we live in/near an area that might be subject to rezoning. The Christchurch City Council, like they’re supposed to, is consulting with residents. They’ve sent out information about the proposed zoning changes to ratepayers who might be affected. All good so far.

Except it seems a bit more like an exercise in looking like they’ve consulted with the public. Let me explain.

1) Send 12 jargon-filled A4 pages which say a lot without saying much

I’d argue that a lot of people in Christchurch don’t want to voluntarily deal with more bureaucracy than they need to (think EQC and their insurance company). Because of that a balance needs to occur between sending sufficient information and that information being clear and concise (to avoid as many people as possible putting your mail in the ‘I don’t really care or have time for this’ pile). I’d tentatively argue that including the Draft Residential Chapter (pdf), Draft Commercial Chapter (pdf), and District Plan Review (pdf) information sheets in these mail outs resulted in information overload for many people who would have been better served by simply being sent the smaller (i.e. double-sided A4 sheet), easier to read and more relevant What’s Happening In Your Area sheet. When the actual draft chapters are hundred of pages clear and concise summary information sheets do need to be available, whether they’re mailed out or not.

Some of the information included seems like it’s been copy and pasted from internal material with a very different target audience. Three sentences into the main body of the information booklet Draft Residential Chapter the words “density” and “greenfield” are introduced, both without being defined. Other gems include “housing intensification”, “medium density housing” (defined on the very last page of the booklet), and “city-wide intensification mechanisms”. The “city-wide intensification mechanisms” enable “quick gains”. To the Council’s credit examples are given for what “quick gains” are. “Civic park”, “heritage park”, and “green corridor” are less egregious examples from another information sheet.

The Christchurch City Council weights room

The Christchurch City Council weights room

2) Schedule all of your public meetings for 5:30pm on a weekday

Include so little but so much information in step one that for anyone to properly understand it in order to make an informed submission they’d have to read a lot more information or attend a consultation meeting (or both). Schedule all but one of your public consultation meetings (pdf) for 5:30pm-7:30pm on weekdays. Ignore the fact that residents might still be struggling to navigate the road works on their way home from work at this time, or might be having dinner, or might be putting young children to bed. Get bonus points for sending letters out that are advertising some of these meetings eight days before those meetings are scheduled.

3) Make it hard to find things on your website

What’s your number? To have a look at the district plan review zone map you need to guess which section of a tiny map your house is in. It took me a few tries to find our house, but perhaps that’s my poor sense of direction. Or maybe the City Council could, you know, label areas with names, or let you search by street.

Tiny map? Check.

Tiny map? Check.

4) If huge, potentially controversial changes are being proposed, ensure the diagrams “explaining” them are really confusing

People like things being explained with pictures and diagrams. They might even skip reading altogether and just look at the diagrams. That makes the diagrams that are used pretty important.

In the area of Halswell (pdf) the City Council wants to introduce a commercial centre, quite possibly one of the most controversial things you can do in a suburban area.

“A draft option is to develop a commercial centre on Halswell Road. The area highlighted on the map indicates the area within which the commercial centre could be located. … It is anticipated that this centre would occupy up to 15 hectares of land when it is fully developed.”

15 hectares is about 15 rugby fields.

Let’s compare the map that’s on the back of Halswell’s What’s Happening In Your Area sheet with some other area maps: Barrington, Bishopdale, and Riccarton.

Christchurch City Council 2014 District Plan Review Barrington Map

Barrington. Landmarks are named. The commercial centre is named ‘commercial centre’. All is well.

Christchurch City Council 2014 District Plan Review Bishopdale Map

Bishopdale. Where are we? I can orientate myself because things with names are named. The commercial centre is keyed as a ‘commercial centre’. Awesome.

Christchurch City Council 2014 District Plan Review Riccarton Map

Riccarton. Where am I? Oh, I’m by Westfield Riccarton, which is named on the map. And it’s pink because it’s a commercial centre and that’s the colour for commercial centres. Cool.

Christchurch City Council 2014 District Plan Review Sparks Road Halswell Map

Sparks Road/Halswell

Halswell. Let’s play a game called ‘find my house’. Does that tiny road say Halswell Road along it? Isn’t there a subdivision in that blank gap in the top-left corner now? Why are proposed roads squiggly arrow lines? What is a blue and a green network? By ‘proposed key activity centre’ do they mean ‘commercial centre’? (Yes. Yes they do.) Who really knows? It sure looks like the City Council doesn’t want anyone to work out what’s going on.

It’s also interesting to note that Halswell’s public meeting was on February 27, but there’s no news coverage of it or the proposed changes in general. What’s confusing to the public is confusing to the media too.

Image credits: Health Gauge, Christchurch City Council

When an internet forum solves a crime before the police

Posted in Law, Worldwide on November 2nd, 2013 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

Hotel

“Seriously lacking hotel. Staff seems overwhelmed. Rooms are marginal at best. And then there’s the dead body in the water tower.” - Christopher Karwowski, Google Review

Elisa Lam went missing at the end of January 2013 and around February 19 was found in one of her hotel building’s water tanks, used by guests and residents for drinking and bathing. The hotel has a little history, like of serial killers staying there. To add to the weirdness her death was ruled an accident and the footage police released in an attempt to find her after she went missing was, well bizarre:

The police had searched the roof with dogs and either missed her body or it wasn’t there yet. A thread on Web Sleuth’s about the case makes eerie reading (look at the timestamps).

“Do you suppose LE physically checked every room (nook & cranny) in the hotel/hostel…??? or would they require a search warrant to do that…???”

tarabull at 02-09-2013, 03:56PM

“Ok, is there anywhere she may have gone into the water, or fallen off something?”

Wolf Dreamer at 02-14-2013, 04:29PM

“in my opinion i think it is very probable she got herself
stuck somewhere while hiding,
i really hope they have searched every mouse hole in that ***** hole”

Catchy kitty at 02-15-2013, 01:08AM

“Gotta ask the dumb question.

Do you think the police searched every room in the building?

Maybe she hasn’t left the building”

jetsetsam at 02-15-2013, 01:19 AM

“I have a hard time believing every nook and cranny has been searched – I feel like there’s a good chance she’s still in the building.”

tarabull at 02-16-2013, 12:01 PM

“There are other places in the hotel they could search without having to get a warrant, though… dumpsters, kitchen area, storage areas, the basement, to name a few. I’m sure the hotel managers would gladly allow it without a warrant.”

TxLady2 at 02-16-2013, 12:28 PM

“I really want to know if they have searched the WHOLE building. I think it is necessary.”

ahlang1226 at 02-16-2013, 03:50 PM

“Hoping that the roof and furnace room have been checked… Watched the video many times now and it really is freaky, wonder if Elisa’s friends can interpret any of her gestures?”

dotr at 02-17-2013, 01:14 AM

“Can the police just search the whole hotel please………Someone on facebook wrote this, bascically saying Elisa is still in the building:

‘I’m with Ken. She is still in the hotel. Either she was take to another hotel room, the roof, basement or… But I don’t believe she left. … I wish the police would check all the rooms and fire escapes and storage areas. I think she is still there.’”

ahlang1226 at 02-17-2013, 02:22 AM

Image credit: John Stavely

TEDxChristchurch: Curiouser and Curiouser

Posted in Life, New Zealand, Technology on October 19th, 2013 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

Hi. I was at TEDxChristchurch today. If you couldn’t make it, The Press was live streaming the day on their website, and videos will be up on TEDxChristchurch’s website soon. Coming to TEDx each year is like watching a child grow up because the quality of the event gets better every year – like design of the slides introducing speakers, audience participation methods, and the name tag/programme.

TEDx Christchurch 2013 lanyards USB music

Here’s why you need to watch the videos of the talks when they go online… (And also because I’ve missed bits, I’ve misinterpreted and I’ve probably misquoted a little.)

read more »

FIVE TIPS FOR GRINDR SUCCESS

Posted in Technology, Worldwide on April 28th, 2013 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

If you:

  • re-download the app to get around someone’s block
  • detail a sexual fantasy (involving that person) after they say “I just want to chat”
  • repeatedly ask to meet someone after they say “I just want to chat”
  • re-download the app to get around a block and repeatedly ask to meet someone after they’ve said “I just want to chat”
  • feel it’s appropriate to chat to someone once, wait months, then send a naked selfie

Please stopPlease stopPlease stopPlease stop

POLi, Air New Zealand, and Credit Card Surcharges

Posted in New Zealand, Technology on February 5th, 2013 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment
Air New Zealand plane on tarmac

Air New Zealand. Crazy about rugby… and surcharging customers

Air New Zealand is a quality brand. I like their in-flight snacks, don’t mind paying slightly more for their reputation of reliability compared to their domestic route competitor JetStar, and I appreciate their creative safety videos and the fact they are slightly more interesting to watch multiple times.

Then there is POLi. POLi sounds friendly.

If you can use POLi, it saves you from Air New Zealand’s excessive credit card surcharge fees by letting you use a bank transfer to pay for flights. You can’t use it if you’re in New Zealand and have a Mac. This rules me out. Apparently the Australian POLi now works with Macs fine.

ASB and BNZ </3 POLi

Last year banks started warning against using POLi because how it operates to verify you are actually paying Air New Zealand and friends is a bit suspicious.

Interestingly, Air New Zealand isn’t even listed in that Stuff article, even though they’re likely the biggest company using POLi in New Zealand, and are featured on POLi’s website.

Providing your log in details to a third party will be in violation of the internet banking terms and conditions you’ve agreed to, and potentially opens you up to being liable for losses.

There is the possibility of an additional motive going on here: banks sell credit and debit cards, and those cards make them money. POLi is quite an attractive alternative because it saves you something like $8 on a return domestic flight.

Air New Zealand’s Surcharging

This surcharging is extortive, misleading, and unlike airplanes that come on time, Peter Jackson spoofs, and free-but-not-really-free cookies, doesn’t endear Air New Zealand to me. Especially on domestic flights.

It’s presented as a transaction charge to recover costs (“Air New Zealand needs to recover this cost”), but it gets charged multiple times in the same card transaction. When I pointed this out to Air New Zealand they ignored me.

Air New Zealand pay something to accept credit cards, but that is not $4 per person flying, per direction they are flying. Instead of passing on the percentage they are actually charged, which Bernard Hickey’s industry experts say would be less than 1%, they charge a fixed fee multiple times in the same card transaction.

A group booking shows how ridiculous this gets. I once flew with a dozen or so people, and each person was charged $4 there, and $4 back, even though the flights were booked over just two transactions. To their credit Air New Zealand refunded close to $100 of fees after I called them.

Air New Zealand even issued a press release in 2008 chastising Pacific Blue for, among other things, their $4 per sector card surcharge because Pacific Blue offered no alternative payment. Kind of like what Air New Zealand does to Mac users. Or what they do to anyone following the advice of banks. (I’m ignoring Airpoints and Travelcard as payment methods because they aren’t accessible forms of payment for a lot of people.)

The ComCom have “investigated” the matter, concluding that the “card payment fee is used to recover all of the direct and indirect costs associated with credit cards payments.” The key word here being indirect, I think.

To be fair to Air New Zealand, JetStar charges $5 per flight for card transactions, but let’s be honest, JetStar are a hot mess, and Australian, and you shouldn’t be booking with them anyway.

Either way, it’s interesting to see these surcharges creep up over time, for cost recovery purposes, I’m sure. Are the airlines poor negotiators when it comes to their merchant agreements? I wouldn’t think so.

To quote ex-Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller: “research feedback shows customers are keen for… one easy to understand price with no added levies to the fare”.

Tomorrow: Ticketek, Ticketmaster and their fees (including the emailing-you-a-PDF surcharge). Maybe. Probably not.

Image credit: me

12th & Delaware: Every Day A Battle Is Born

Posted in Documentary, Free Speech, Law, New Zealand, Worldwide on October 26th, 2012 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

You might want to skip this post (about abortion). Need help? In New Zealand, you can call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or Youthline on 0800 37 66 33.

12th & Delaware documentary poster

Click here to watch the documentary. You can make the video full-screen to avoid the advert.

The two sides of the abortion debate in America literally face one another in this documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

In Fort Pierce, Florida, a women’s heath care center is located at the corner of 12th and Delaware. On the same corner, across the street, is another women’s heath care center.

However, the two centers are not in the same business; one provides abortions along with a variety of other health services, while the other primarily offers counseling to women considering abortion, urging them to keep their babies.

In 12th and Delaware, Ewing and Grady offer a look inside both offices, as pro-life counselors give women a mixture of concern and disinformation about terminating their pregnancies and the pro-choice medical staff struggles to work under the frequent threat of violence against them.

The film also examines the handful of protesters who stand outside the abortion clinic, confronting both patients and staff as they enter and exit. (via)

In Florida there are two street corners, both 12th & Delaware. An abortion clinic, run by a husband and wife, and an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy care center, run by Father Tom sit across the street from each other.

“We still get women coming in who think they’re going there [to the abortion clinic].”

Women aren’t sure which one they’re calling or visiting. The pregnancy care center does nothing to clarify that they don’t actually offer abortions. What they do offer is “counseling” to actively try to persuade women from choosing abortion, graphic photographs, free ultrasounds (with ‘HI DADDY!’ typed in the corner of the print out), models of fetuses, DVDs of anti-abortion propaganda playing in the waiting room, flip books of the abortion process, graphic DVDs of the procedure, and brochures stating that abortion causes breast cancer.

The abortion clinic claims the pregnancy care center gives incorrect information to women–among spreading myths about abortion and medical disinformation, they say the center tells women they are earlier in their pregnancy than they actually are, so if they think they have a few weeks to make a decision and then decide to have an abortion they either won’t be able to get an one or will have to travel to another state to get one.

Choice quotes from one of the crisis pregnancy center counselors

“She’s abortion-minded.”

“She had an abortion in December. She might do it again.”

[to ultrasound technician (likely the only person in the building with any sort of medical training)] “Maybe we can get a heartbeat.”

”Yus, yus, yus, two [“saved”] in one day.”

The efforts the pregnancy counselors go to push their agenda have no bounds

A woman comes in. She already has two kids. She says she wants what is best for herself and the children she already has. Her position is entirely understandable.

The counselor goes to her office and sends an email out to a prayer mailing list: “Please pray for Victoria, she is in our counseling room at this very moment, and her only option is abortion…”

She buys McDonald’s for the woman, thinking that if the woman leaves before having an ultrasound that she might “lose her”. They eat together.

She tells the woman that her verbally abusive partner might change if she has this baby.

“I’m gonna step outside and make a phone call.”

“[on phone] Man this bitch is getting on my fucking nerve.”

 

The crew follow-up with a 15-year-old who was convinced she should continue with her pregnancy by the care center. She tells the crew that she tried to end the pregnancy herself. She hopes that everything will turn out alright.

The protestors and the doctors

The same counselor from above makes her way across the street to talk to the protesters. They’re friends. She shares news from an anti-abortion website.

She comes out a second time after the police are called and defends the protesters’ use of graphic signs.

The doctors who perform abortions are picked up by the clinic owner, and, with a sheet covering their heads, are taken into the clinic’s closed garage to protect their identities.

“I’ve discovered, thanks through God that I know where the owner of the abortion clinic meets the abortionists.”

One of the protesters from outside the abortion clinic leads the documentary crew to a Wal-Mart parking lot. He’s found where the doctors and clinic owner meet and swap cars. He, as well as others try to find out names and addresses of the abortion doctors. They want to out the doctors, using methods like displaying their photo on billboards; and visiting their homes, churches, and workplaces, to deter them from performing abortions.

The abortion clinic

“I just wanna make sure that this is definitely what you need to do, not want to do, nobody ever wants to do this… It’s your decision only.”

In strong contrast with the pregnancy care center, the abortion clinic is truly about choice.

“Yeah… they got a replacement and that doctor was killed too.”

The main fear is that they will lose their doctors. Their abortionists are in their 50s and 60s. “Where is the next doctor coming from” if a doctor retires or is outed?

Watch an interview with the co-directors of the documentary, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

Here’s a new Tumblr sharing New Zealand women’s stories of abortion.

Click here to watch the documentary. You can make the video full-screen to avoid the advert.

LGBT discrimination in the Realm of New Zealand

Posted in Law, New Zealand, Worldwide on October 21st, 2012 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

Bert and Ernie

The anti-discrimination laws of New Zealand do not apply in the territories of Niue, Tokelau, or the Cook Islands, and male homosexual acts remain illegal in the Cook Islands.

In Niue and Tokelau laws against sodomy were repealed in 2007, however in the Cook Islands sodomy still remains a crime. Along with sodomy, “indecency between males” and “keeping place of resort for homosexual acts” are also against the law in the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing in free association with New Zealand, and so New Zealand’s Parliament are not empowered to pass legislation there. However, New Zealand acts on behalf of these places in matters of foreign affairs and defence.

Tokelau has less independence from New Zealand than the Cook Islands and Niue–it has been administered by New Zealand since 1926. However, New Zealand law does not apply to Tokelau either, unless expressly extended there (which in practice does not happen).

New Zealand needs to urge Niue, Tokelau, and the Cook Islands to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and the Cook Islands to legalize consensual homosexual acts between men.

New Zealand supports Niue and the Cook Islands with their defence and foreign affairs, and administers Tokelau–New Zealand must also support LGBT people in these places too and ensure they are not discriminated against.

Tell Jonathan Kings, Toke Tufukia Talagi, and Henry Puna that the people of the world expect their citizens to be afforded the basic right of not being discriminated against because of who they are.

Tell John Key and Murray McCully that the people of the world expect that the places New Zealand has ties with respect human rights.

Image credit: See-ming Lee

The Bystander Effect

Posted in Life, New Zealand, Technology on October 20th, 2012 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

Commuters

“Watch this.”

A friend slides her phone over to me.

I push play, and start watching a seven minute cellphone video of a parked car.

The car is not empty, though. There are three female occupants inside. And the car is surrounded by two dozen bystanders.

“Why don’t you say it to her face now?!”

This is a bullied schoolgirl’s father yelling through the windows.

A female voice is behind the camera. I guess the bullied girl’s mother.

“You’re not so tough now, huh?”

Someone gets the left passenger door open, and tries to drag the girl in the passenger seat out.

She kicks her legs free and locks the door.

“It would only take a few of us to tip them.”

There are cheers from the crowd.

“I wish you were my dad.”

This was a good promotion for ‘get your parents to intimidate your bullies.’

I wish it wasn’t.

I feel sorry for the girls in the car.

Image credit: Alan Cleaver

TEDxEQChCh 2012

Posted in New Zealand on September 1st, 2012 by Matt Taylor – Be the first to comment

 

TEDxEQChCh 2012 volunteers

 

TEDxEQChCh was streaming live all day here.

Exploration

Rakihia Tau – Mihi

Highly Flammable – Performers

Highly Flammable

Roger Sutton – Opening remarks

Tom Hooper - CEO, Canterbury Development Corporation

The Kiwi mantra of ‘give it a go’ is far more valuable than we give it credit. Christchurch might not be attractive to the risk-adverse at the moment, but that’s alright. The job right now is to attract and retain young people, and make sure that talented young people are going to want to come here.

Vibeke Linde-Strandby – Architect

“Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes and even strategy.” – Tim Brown

Arlanda Stad is a business park concept with a soul.

“This is the first time I’ve tried to explain architectural concepts without slides.”

 John Hunter – Recorded TED talk

Watch the talk here.

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4′x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can.

John was put in charge of a gifted education programme. His first question was “What do I do?” the response was “What do you want to do?”.

The answer was the World Peace Game that features the UN, arms dealers, saboteurs and weather goddesses.

John admits to his students “I don’t know the answers.”

The documentary film John talks about is showing at the Hollywood Cinema in Christchurch, details will be up on the TEDxEQChCh website.

Jamie Fitzgerald – Adventurer, presenter on First Crossings

“For 42 hours we did not move anywhere.”

“So we haven’t moved anywhere and we’re winning the race.”

Sometimes when you think you’re making the least progress you’re actually making the most.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” - Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland

Experiential learning.

They asked what are the insights from other people’s success that we can apply tomorrow?

Celebrating milestones

We only ever focussed on that next milestone and we celebrated it.

“Why do I push my boundaries? If I let an opportunity pass I might be letting myself down.”

Ryan Reynolds - Chief Evangelist, Life In Vacant Spaces

We live in a culture of permits.

Anything a bit out of the ordinary is forbidden unless we get special permission.

We internalize this and close ourselves off.

There is a brief time in adolescence where we act as if anything is allowed unless strictly specified as forbidden.

Approach any rule asking what does it allow?

The Book Exchange Fridge Gapfiller project: people asked “Who’s going to be locking the fridge every night?”

A permanent solution might have been too daunting.

If people will not try things without permission, you have to make it easy to get a permit, Life in Vacant Spaces deals with barriers.

It’s easy to try something when it’s temporary.

What if you could try out an idea for free for 30 days?

Festival of Transitional Architecture.

“We’re totally unresourced and in over our heads, but everyone should get in over their heads right now.”

The caption of one of the projects featured in Ryan’s slides: “Needs funding – let’s talk :)”

The opposite of a permit is an invitation.

We want to foster a creative culture of creators and doers.

Inspiration

Kiel Johnson – Artist

A good idea only comes when working on a bad idea.

Lots of slides with awesome projects Kiel has worked on.

Made a printing press: “I am the press, I have the power.”

Made a survival vest for an emergency “I’m living in Los Angeles so when we fall into the ocean…”

“Get started on whatever you do… and good things will happen.”

“I do outreach… which is basically making more people like me.”

Two words: robot party.

Jane Henley – CEO, World Building Council

Green in a generation.

What we’ve created now is a set of disconnects and it’s difficult to realize visions in this environment.

“I wonder how long their drive to work is everyday.” Jane on a photo of a suburban cul-de-sac.

Market uptake is increasing in speed with each new technology.

We use labels to understand the plethora of information available to us. Performance ratings – energy, water, fuel efficiency ratings on appliances and vehicles.

Growing vegetables, community involvement, walking, closeness to family – valuable things from the past that need to be brought back.

Consumption to co-sumption

Good ideas: walking school bus, AirBNB – renting a room in your house out, carpooling (10 weddings have happened because of connections made through carpooling.com).

Community collaboration
Say a neighbourhood wants green energy – these community collaborators think up a solution.

We can look at Skype and the NZ Insulation Programme and see values becoming easier to achieve and becoming more important – connecting with friends overseas, having a warm home…

“When I was at school working together was called cheating.”

Twitter @worldgbc.

Donald Sadoway – Recorded TED talk

Watch the talk here.

What’s the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun’s not out and the wind’s not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: “We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap.”

Making a liquid battery to solve the strain on power sources.

“If you want to make something dirt cheap, make it out of dirt.”

“One of the greatest benefits of being a professor? Coloured chalk.”

“David’s young, smart, and wants a PhD.”

Abbas Nazari – Student, Former Afghan Refugee

Don’t think I could do his talk justice. Watch the video when it’s posted.

Wil McLellan – Founder, EPIC

Disruptive collaboration, the journey of getting EPIC built.

“Not feeling super positive.” – Wil on the day after the earthquake.

“We we got no money, we got no land, we got no property development experience.” But that didn’t hold them back.

“You’re pretty good at art… cough Lord Of The Rings” Wil to one of the most creative businesses in New Zealand, WETA.

Challenge convention, think outside the box.

Activation

Jed, Hera with Happiness Stan – Music

Jade Temepara – Founder, Hand Over A Hundy

Think about food differently.

Food has changed through generations ending up with things with no nutritional value.

A few days after the February quake there was no food in a supermarket near Jade and there wasn’t going to be for a week. “What am I going to do to make sure I have enough to sustain my own family” if food wasn’t available anywhere for a period of time?

Start a food revolution.

Hand Over A Hundy gifts $100 to families to start a vegetable garden.

Handing down skills and knowledge through generations – most of the mentors assigned to families are older people.

Do you have your own food system? Are you passing down valuable skills to your kids?
Are you teaching your children where real food comes from?

Pam Warhurst – Recorded TED talk

Watch the talk here.

What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

Propaganda gardening.

“We did not write a report, we did not ask for permission.”

Food is a common language.

“And we’ve done it all without a flipping strategy document.”

“I’ve seen the power of small actions and it’s awesome.”

“And for some reason I can’t comprehend it’s surrounded by prickly plants.”

“And there’s some people who don’t know what a vegetable looks like if it’s not in plastic with a label.”

“If you eat, you’re in.”

Ernesto Sirolli – Founder, Sirolli Institute

“We paid them to come… and sometimes they showed up.”

“Instead of asking ‘why aren’t you growing anything?’ we just said ‘thank God we’re here’.”

“If people don’t want to be helped, leave them alone.” It’s about respect.

“Let me tell you a secret. There is a problem with community meetings. Entrepreneurs don’t come.”

“How do you do that?” “I do something very, very difficult. I shut up.”

Entrepreneurs want confidentiality, dedication and for you to realize that a successful business needs:

A fantastic product, marketing and financial management.

None of the successful companies started with one. Study Richard Branson’s book – the first two pages. He doesn’t mention I. He says We 32 times.

George Parker – Actor

George talked about a performance he was involved in about the Canterbury earthquakes.

“We were used to working in unconventional spaces.”

Joshua Iosefo – Poet

An amazing live performance on invisible borders and being brown.

Aspiration

Ian Taylor – Managing Director, Animation Research Ltd

Ian wowed everyone with his animations.

“While everything was turning to crap here, people of that calibre were thinking about you.” Ian on getting help from big companies for his earthquake auction.

“Don’t see why not” attitude gets his staff around the world.

“Something special happened in Christchurch, grasp it.”

Sam Johnson – Founder, Student Volunteer Army

When we’re young we’re taught to value money, time, skills. Contribution is more important.

“Do you have any skills?” – A business to Sam after he asked how he could help after the earthquake.

“Why humans exist is to interact with each other.”

“In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. Pick a general direction and implement like hell.”*

The Concert

The only way to get there is by doing four hours of volunteer work.

Bryan Stevenson – Recorded TED Talk

Watch the talk here.

In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

“There is power in identity.”

1/3 young black men in USA are in jail, prison, on probation or parole.

34% of black male population in Alabama have lost the right to vote permanently.

Rich and guilty are treated better than poor and innocent.

The death penalty question is really: “do we deserve to kill?”

1/9 on death row are innocent. In aviation we would never let an airline fly if one plane out of nine went down.

11 times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white opposed to black.

22 times more likely to get the death penalty if the defendant is black opposed to white.

Germany would never institute the death penalty – it would be impossible with their history to endorse the systematic killing of its citizens. But in the USA it’s fine to kill more black people than white on death row.

“That’s going to make you tired, tired, tired… that’s why you gotta be brave, brave, brave.” To Bryan on his justice initiatives.

The opposite of poverty is justice.

Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.

Alexandros Washburn – Urban Designer

“When you meet one kiwi, you meet 100.”

On seeing one of the towers on fire on 9/11: “And we were interested in this from a technical standpoint as architects because no one had died in a high-rise building that had sprinklers.” He thought that the plane close by was some sort of firefighting plane. It wasn’t.

9/11 was the first day of school for a lot of students (something I’d never heard before).

So many similarities to Christchurch: cellphones and most landlines weren’t working immediately afterwards, portable toilets, military stationed around the city, a no go zone, a mayoral election.

Improve the quality of public life by improving the quality of public space.

Urban planning

The smallest units matter.

If it’s worth remembering, it’s worth drawing.

How do you judge an effective public space? By the perspective of a pedestrian.

Alexandros drew an awesome diagram of a street with dimensions.

When you’re walking down the street, something should catch your attention every 10m.

Sewer catch basins can’t be moved when placed – it’s too expensive.

The fire department want specific things in specific places.

The Highline

“We had to think clearly, when there was high emotion.” After 9/11.

You have to hope for something greater tomorrow and you have to accept the fear that generates.

My hope for Christchurch video

Created by Becca MacGeorge.

Time’s up.

Fin.

Great day. Watch the talks when they get posted on the interwebs.