Tag Archives: PEI

Live on PEI? Wondering about how to find your work future? Join the QSC

This is the new world of work – where you have the social life you need but none of the office bullshit

Live on PEI? Freelancing, an Artisan, Need Work? Why the Queen Street Commons can help you

LinkednetworkforrobIf I am right and we are moving to an economy that depends on our networks, then it is essential that we learn what each of our networks means and what we can do to make them healthier. So, with that in mind, let’s look at mine and I will share some lessons with you.

Here is my social network as created by the Mapping tool on Linkedin. It’s not the 100% true picture but it looks like 90% to me. You can use their mapping tool by going here.

Next week, I will post a podcast that I recorded yesterday with the Master of Networks, Valdis Krebs. Anything I know is because of him. He will go much deeper than I – so this is an introduction. (Edit – Here is the link to Valdis’s Podcast)

Diversity - In nature diversity is a good thing – so it is with our social networks. You can see that I am connected to a series of worlds. PEI , Public Media, Network Thinkers, Family and I have 2 outside nets of New Military Thinkers and my legacy Corporate connections.

I think that this does not look too bad – I have good links into many fields. How does your world look?

Our networks are like gardens, we can always make them better. We can always add and remove. We can always pay attention.

We can always strengthen these links. This does not mean that you randomly try and make friends. This mapping tool shows you where to be most effective. For you don’t not have to work everywhere – only where it adds the most value.

Key Connectors

Peinet

Lets look at inside PEI. Karen Murchison, John Morris and Cynthia King – all members of the Queen Street Commons have massive connections on PEI to artisans and freelancers. They are themselves clustered in the centre like a sun in a planetary system. The QSC is in reality a hub of the freelance and artisanal life on PEI. If you want to be a successful freelancer on PEI, the QSC is a good place to start.

There is a hierarchy in networks. The ones who are most connected and the ones who connect across networks are the most important. Where do you fit with these key people? Maybe you are one of them. Look at Will Pate in the Green on the top right. Will is an Islander who lives away and is a connector between PEI and the Network Thinkers. Will is important for PEI.

The people who connect one system to another are VERY important people.

Your key networks will share this kind of hierarchy. Important to know how it works and where you stand.

Timebypubmedia
Tim Eby is such a system connector. He is not only well connected inside pub media – he was the Chair of NPR – but is well connected people who can help such as Doc Searls – who is in turn the connector into Network Thinkers. Having the Trust of people like Tim and Doc is therefore important. It is not easily gained either.

This is not a cocktail party – but your life. How you behave is key.

Jevonnetworktwin

There are ultra close connectors – as in my case Jevon MacDonald who is like a twin to me. I don’t want to piss Jevon off as he can influence most of my network. You too will have your Jevons. Pay attention to them. They are better than family.

I said that this was just an introduction, so we will stop here. Much more to come with Valdis and later with others.

So when you map your world, check these issues:

  • Are you happy with how diverse it is? If it is not diverse you will find it hard to use crowd sourcing etc and you will be too deep in your own echo chamber
  • Do you know who your key connectors are and do you care enough about them? For they give you the best access to the sub networks?
  • Do you know who counts the most in each network? Again this is all about leverage.

For in the real network world it is not the number of “Friends” you have but the quality of your inner circle.

Is there a better way to see your network? I think that there is. My advice, and Valdis’s advice is to map out your best connections and then see how this works. Here is how you can do this using thePermaflower and Magic Numbers (Dunbar’s Social Gradients). Using your Linkedin map then fill out this more personal map.

Permaflowernetdesignideal.001

Put your 3 most important people in the centre. Then the 8. Then the 80. See how they overlap or don’t. Then you can start to see where you need to pay attention.

You can then use this map to see what you need to do to fit what you need your network to be about. don’t worry the work is not about sucking up.

In the podcast with Valdis we will talk a lot about “Weak Ties” and explode the myth that these are merely casual aquaintances. We will see that trust is the key. Old but good friends are very valuable to us. You don’t need to talk or see them a lot but you have to maintain the trust.

Later we will explore what you have to BE rather than what you have to DO.

More on all of this in my book - You Don’t Need a Job and even more in the book to come in November – You Don’t Need a Banker. For when it comes to the new credit system – which is of course the OLD credit system – your reputation and your network are everything.

It’s all about the kind of person you are.

The LinkedIn Tool is very easy to use and allows you to do all sorts of tests and analysis – I cannot recomend it enough. Happy exploring.  You future depends on knowing more about your network.

Why I think Networked Artisanal StartUps are so important to PEI

We on PEI have to have thousands of new young immigrants living here in the next 10 years. So what will pull them here?

There are few jobs. 65% of GDP is government and even that is shrinking. They will only come here if there is a vibrant StartUp economy that is based on Entrepreneurs.

So what do those terms StartUp and Entrepreneur mean for PEI?

When I heard the word “entrepreneur” or “startup”, I used to think of Hi Tech Pioneers. But this never made sense for PEI. For if you want to do that, it is best if you are connected to the Tech Village in the Valley.  We are not close enough to where the real action is in Tech for a Facebook to emerge here.

I also used to think that every Entrepreneur worth her salt would want to grow the business to be very large. Then I thought of who has done this in Atlantic Canada. Sobeys, McCains and Irving. Not exactly a huge field and so not a useful ambition. We are not close enough to the financial centre. And if you make something we are too far away from the markets.

But all of our development is based on these assumptions. So what then will work?

An immigration/development strategy based on supporting the small artisan networking their way to dominance locally and then globally.

Sounds mad? Well here are the underpinning trends that will make this work – for it is working now on a small scale.

  • A New Market Based on Trust that can only be satisfied by the small in a network. More and more people do not trust the products and services of the Big. What is in my food? What is in my shampoo? What is in my drug? Why does my washing machine fail after 2 years? Why can I never get service? What is on my toy … The response to this is a movement towards what can be trusted. Meat raised in small herds where animals live the life they were designed to live by people we know and meet in the street. Soap made by people we know who use real ingredients in small batches. Tech service people who we know. Toys made in a person’s home. Clothes made by someone you know.
  • The Network Provides Scale and Ease of Access These artisans have always existed and have eked out a marginal living. But the new web based network is changing the game. Now we can buy direct and it is easy. Many pasture meat producers in a network = a lot of meat. Many small soap makers in a network = a lot of soap. Small and artisan no longer condemns you to the sidelines.
  • This model has access to the Network Effect and so offers better margins and financing than the traditional. As we have seen for Raymond Loo, Patrick Ledwell and Tim Chaisson, now the community of your customers will finance you. CSA is becoming how the new artisanal farmer gets her working capital. Community Equity, as with Justus Coffee, is how larger sums can be raised from your customers! Customers who now work for you. Customers who market for you and who sell for you.  The network effect also works at the scale of the node. Jen and Derek plant a wide range of plants and sell a basket, so if the tomatoes fail, as they did last year, they are OK. On a pasture farm, the cows help the pigs who help the chickens and vice versa.

This market for Trust is small in total but huge for PEI. It can only be accessed by the small. The large corporates will be shut out of it. It is growing as people wake up and see the risks that they take in buying mass market goods and services. These customers want their suppliers to succeed and will support them in all sorts of ways. It’s a common movement.

Talented people are also waking up to the fact that they cannot trust their future to a job in the old system and in the big cities. We are seeing a trickle now of talented people leaving the old life and coming to Atlantic Canada where they can make a living and where the key cost of a home is in reach.

Just as many Atlantic Canadians go west in search of a well paying job, life is very precarious in the big cities now. A one bedroom condo is about $350,000 in Toronto and more in Vancouver. The young are underemployed and locked out. Or if a couple both have jobs and a home, the loss of one job renders them homeless. The Toronto couple will not come here to get a well paying job, they want to come here and make a decent living. They want to make things themselves and not work for wages.

They want to make things and make a living doing something that is truly them. This is what the new networked artisanal economy offers both sides. This is why customers invest in their suppliers. All want meaning and to be part of getting independence from the corporate grip.

These are people who will set up deep roots here on PEI and like the Back to the Landers make a contribution. They are not here to get a passport but to have  a life and to make a living.

So how to support this?

Stop the vain focus on the big - they will never come and they will never grow here. They never have so why think they will now. But a focus on big misses the real opportunity to network the small into a big network.

Stop the vain focus on Jobs. A smart new company will not employ a lot of people full time. It may never offer a “Job” but it will offer work.  Jobs are not the thing – paid work is the thing. Only a fool will fix their overhead. Most organizations will be family based. If they want marketing, they will reach into the network and find a trusted supplier. If they want book keeping, they will do the same.

Stop the focus on Hi Tech. The real new artisans use a lot of high tech, but they use it to make things not as an end in themselves. The film makers at the Film Factory use it to make big films. The Great Canadian Soap Company use it to sell their products.

Instead help support the networks - support groups that get together – help them make it easy for people to buy local food and anything. Make it easy for people from away to buy artisanal good and services from us.

Instead help families who want to do this come here. Reach out to them.

In the Week of May 7, my pals from Start Up Canada will be here to help us get behind this and to help connect us to the Canadian and the Global Network. At the Queen St Commons on May 7 we will have a get together to talk about how all the artisanal sectors can help each other.

Join Us Please May 8 6pm Queen St Commons 224 Queen – $10 to cover food and drinks costs.

Our ambition to help PEI become as self sufficient and resilient as it was in 1900. Where 80% of what we need is supplied locally.

What would it be like if making a living was the new normal? Our Quest at QSC

I read this in the Globe today.

But for a solo freelancer, it can be even more challenging to build your career when you don’t have an organization behind you. You’re responsible for your own networking and creating your own opportunities.

Freelance videographer Rosa Park misses having people to bounce ideas around with, so relies heavily on her social media for interaction.

“It’s kind of lonely not having co-workers,” says Ms. Park, who works out of a tiny downtown office. “I live on Facebook and Twitter. I try to cut it down, but I can’t. It’s the only way for me to be social.”

One of the benefits of Co-Working in a palce like the Queen Street Commons is that you get back into the tribal conditions that we all crave as humans but without the office politics!

Co-Working is exploding around the world as more and more of us work as freelancers and need to be socially connected.

Here is just North America

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Here is the link to the world – there is even co working in Saudi Arabia!

At the Commons, as with other co working spaces, we offer a place where you can have a professional environment – meeting rooms etc – AND interact with others who may be in very different fields than you. It is a place to get help and fellowship as well as a good place to work and to meet outsiders.

But next month we are expanding this idea of a place only to a network that extends beyond the walls.

Fellowship

Fellowship does not mean that we are always in the same place. It can often be the launch pad for a great quest. So what might be our great quest? Might it be to make to make the little meangingful? For who saved the world in LOR? It was a hobbit.

Smallbuspei
This is who we really are. 70% of business on PEI has less than 5 employees. What if we had a quest to make this powerful? What if we could make this the core of the economy? What if being small meant that you could make a great living? Who might then stay? Your kids? Who might then come? The kind of people who would fit PEI?

So this then is what we at the Queen Street Commons seek to do. We seek to be a catalyst for this kind of Fellowship. We will do our best to help you help yourself and those you care about make it possible to have your own “Living”.

We want to make “making a living” the best way to live on PEI.

As with all quests, they start humbly with the kind of people that the Dark Lords laugh at. As with all quests, the power of the Dark Lords is real and immense. Tolkien wrote LOR as a response to the industrialization of the world. That is what we are up against.

But rather than rail against the system, why not build a new one? The Industrial system was strong in Tolkien’s day – but it is so weak now. This is surely the time?

Every quest starts with a few people and has to start with a few steps. In the next month, I will tell you about what few steps we intend to take. I hope that you might like to join us.