Archive for Story

Death Cafes

I've been hearing about Death Cafés for a while. People gathering for conversations about death in each other's homes, or literally in cafes, starting out as strangers in many cases but quickly finding intimacy in the all-too-human stories that emerge from engaging this powerful subject.

Knowing of my interest, my love monkey Steve just sent me a link to a story about them in one of his favorite blogs, The Dish by Andrew Sullivan, but I cut through to the original story Sullivan was blogging about, a story about a Death Cafe at the top of Beachy Head, a famous suicide cliff in Sussex's South Downs where I used to live. It's a fabulous story, so I'll share the link here… it's by Claire Davies, published in Aeon Magazine.

I'd love to hear if anyone has experienced a Death Cafe…


The Shape of Design

I get a lot of email communications, and most of them are fairly easy to delete, but one I almost always pay attention to is Very Short List, because it's full of really cool things and it's delivered in a concise and nicely laid out format.

Design-bookThe lastest issue of vsl featured this beautiful book by Frank Chimero. I'm probably the ideal target audience for an hook like this and I followed the link to find an elegant little website dedicated to the book, with a wonderful design sensibility, fancifully illustrated chapter headings, and a great story at its core.

Chimero raised the money to write the book through a campaign on Kickstarter. The disarmingly simple video he created to sell his idea to potential funders (who gave him a total of $112,159 towards the project) talks about the book being not only for designers, but for everyone who makes things. He says that's all of us, and that "The Future is Something You Make".

There's a video of him presenting at the 2011 Build Conference in Belfast, which is not short but what I watched of it was compelling and if the topic thrills you like it does me, it's probably well worth watching.

Of course I ordered the book (which is offered in both print and digital format), so I'll let you know if it's as great as his promotions for it are. I know I'm excited to find out!

Super Moon

Full-moon-risingWhere were you during the fabulous "super moon" display last month?

I was with my love-money Steve and pest-son Lee down by the bay photographing it, of course! (Lee is a logophile like his father and I – and his "other mother" Liz – and he chose this cheeky anagrammatical name for our relationship many years ago)

This first shot was taken after the moon was already high in the sky and it was beginning to get dark out, so there's greater contrast than in most of the earlier shots you can see in the gallery sequence below.


Lee"Developing" the shoot at home the next day, I was struck by this photo of Lee photgraphing an earlier view of the moon through his iPhone… in particular I was intrigued by the way the light of his screen seemed to mirror the luminescence of the moon. It was almost like he had a little moon in his hands!

I learned something new from him about iPhone photography that night when he turned me on to an app called Photosynth, which lets you take seamless panoramic shots on your iPhone in one go. I'm more and more intrigued by the possibilties offered by this easy-to-access medium since reading Al Smith's eyePhone in David du Chemin's excellent Craft & Vision e-book series.


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Innovation and Participation

I'm inspired and encouraged by an article in Fast Company called "The Creator Of TED Aims To Reinvent Conferences Once Again". The author, Warren Berger, describes a creative turn-around for TED founder Richard Saul Wurman, who is designing a new kind of conference that will be “like a dinner party with a hundred of the world’s greatest minds having a conversation, two at a time.”

It sounds amazing, and I'm excited to see new creative thinking emerge about the ways we can gather online. Here's what Wurman's website says about the conference:

WWW.WWW will be a gathering of the greatest, most interesting & curious minds in the world engaged in immersive & improvised conversation. It will celebrate the 21st century while drawing attention to the new patterns & convergences affecting our health & that of our planet.

This attention to pattern and convergence sounds like it's right up our alley at the World Café, and perhaps what's most interesting to me is the app they are developing to "harvest" the event:

"The app will be a new modality, perhaps equal to the pivotal changes that have emerged in how we interact with information and each other. It will not merely archive presentations, as is currently the practice, but will offer a unique way to navigate, learn and understand information based on ones own personal journey and vast online resources."

Now all they need is interaction with their "audience"… That to me is the real revolution and innovation happening in the world of conferences. Imagine the possibilities if there was a way for people to really participate in the conversation at this event! Give me a call at weDialogue, Mr Wurman, and we'll set something up.

By the way, the Shift Network is getting wise to the value of audience participation and is bringing me in to host a World Cafe for their online Enlightened Business Summit with Chip Conley, on November 10th. This is actually a fabulous week-long series of free online sessions featuring people like Daniel Goleman, Daniel Pink and … me! 🙂 Come join us!