Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities


Sat, 01/03/2015 - 15:05 -- rprice

This blog post is part of a series I am titling Free Time, to help me organize my thoughts around a talk I will be giving in a few weeks.

I am a person who gets really crazy-nerdy-passionate about certain things. Once I discover said thing, I tend to want to learn as much about it as I can all at once. Then my brain invents 10 things I could do with my new knowledge, and sometimes I even start a project, make some notes, and ask someone to collaborate with me to make one of those 10 ideas come true.

In trying to prepare a talk this month, I am trying to codify the way I want collaboration to happen, and why I am such a big fan.

In the process, I discovered there is a theme: listening.

In order to be successful in Improv, you have to listen and be listened to. The same is true for many of my hobbies: music, open source software, coworking, community organizing, podcasting, and so on. Listening and sharing are my two favorite things to do - about what and with whom just depends on your passion.

You might think this means I think I am a good listener - I'm not so sure. I feel like I often come across as self-centered and like I'm not paying 100% attention to you if we are having a conversation. I do try, I just don't know how often I succeed.

I also tried to come up with a term that describes the thing that is created while you are brainstorming, improvising, code sprinting, mentoring, podcasting, discussing on a forum.

I decided on Virtuous Circle. I am looking for feedback here. Is that the right word?

On top of that, there are times when you move beyond the win-win of a Virtuous Circle and you get something even better. An example of this is when you create the Harold in Improv. These three individual sets of scenes all add their mojo together to make something even more amazing.

Keeping with the Circle as an idea, I decided to call this a Flywheel Effect. If you look up the meaning, I don't think it's a stretch, I just don't know that it's the best word I can use here. Again, I'm looking for feedback.

Finally, I said I am naming the talk Free Time - Community, Code and Creativity, but let's say I'm going to do this talk again. I'm not sure that it communicates what I am trying to.

The point of the talk is that collective action is more powerful, and that the best way to succeed is by creating a healthy feedback loop between contributors an users.

If you read Clay Shirky's Cognitive Surplus, he points out that these kinds of collective actions are now happening during the time we used to drink gin and watch TV.

I guess if you look at the title of Cognitive Surplus, he points out the resource that our free time exposes. Maybe that is a good thing to focus on.

Any thoughts?


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