Going Solo Leeds Registration Open [en]

[fr] Il est désormais possible de réserver sa place pour Going Solo Leeds, qui aura lieu le 12 septembre.

As announced a few days ago on the [Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net), [registration for the Leeds conference on September 12th is now open](http://going-solo.net/2008/07/04/going-solo-leeds-registration-is-open/):

Hop along to our partner Expectnation‘s site to sign up right away.

Here’s the deal:

  • Early Bird (first 25 tickets — hurry up some have already been sold!): £150
  • Normal: £220
  • Late Bird (will kick in approx. 10 days before the conference date): £300
  • On-site (if you really want to play it ‘last minute’): £350

A comment or two:

  • for the Lausanne event, the first 25 tickets were sold in under a week
  • there will be advanced seminars (3h workshops) on the Saturday morning — more about them shortly, but know already that if you have already registered for the main conference when they are announced, you will get a special discount on them (they will be open only to conference participants)
  • Jet2.com is a low-cost company that flies to Leeds-Bradford International airport
  • Leeds is 2.5h from London by train (book early, and you could pay as little as £22.50 return)
  • the programme for the main conference is going to be very similar to the Lausanne one (don’t change a winning team) — videos are online for you to have a preview if you wish
  • the Going Solo team is pretty excited about all this!

Of course, let me remind you that [Going Solo Lausanne was a nice success](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/17/going-solo-lausanne-was-a-hit/), and that you can now [check out the videos of the talks](http://dailymotion.com/GoingSolo) online.

[Who is Going Solo for?](http://going-solo.net/2008/03/30/who-is-going-solo-for/)

Going Solo is a one-day event for freelancers and small business owners working in somewhere in the internet industry (designers, consultants, journalists, social media people, developers…) — or even outside of it (we actually think the topics we’ll cover are relevant for all freelancers).

Looking forward to seeing you in Leeds, and thanks for spreading the news around you!

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Just because something is easy to measure doesn't mean it's important (Seth Godin) [en]

[fr] Citation du jour de Seth Godin, dont je suis en train de devenir fan: "Ce n'est pas parce qu'une chose est facile à mesurer qu'elle est importante." (Contexte: nombre de visiteurs d'un blog/site.)

After having abandoned Google Reader during the crunch weeks preceeding [Going Solo Lausanne](http://lausanne08.going-solo.net), I heard about [Feedly](http://feedly.com/), installed it, and started to love it. (I’ll blog about it in more detail in a few weeks, but it’s a Firefox extension which piggybacks upon Google Reader.)

With Feedly, I’ve started reading blogs again — and also blogs that I didn’t read regularly. More and more, I end up reading posts by [Seth Godin](http://sethgodin.typepad.com/), and I’m becoming a fan. A few weeks ago, [How to Organize the Room](http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/06/how-to-organize.html) but in clear writing something I’d noticed before (atmosphere and interaction are better if people are a bit cramped). [Saying thanks in a conference presentation](http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/06/saying-thanks-i.html) gave me inspiration for how to do things properly next time around. And today, in [Who vs. how many](http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/07/who-vs-how-many.html), he picks up on [Robert Scoble’s post against the rush to audience](http://scobleizer.com/2008/06/30/is-getting-more-traffic-your-real-goal/) and provides us with this “quote of the day” gem:

> Just because something is easy to measure doesn’t mean it’s important.

Seth Godin

This reminds me of what I was trying to say in [Twitter Metrics: Let’s Remain Scientific, Please!](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/27/twitter-metrics-lets-remain-scientific-please/), when I got annoyed by numbers thrown about under the assumption that they meant anything. (The post is mainly [a video](http://www.seesmic.com/video/zizwTlKZR5) because I couldn’t type at the time, but I’ve been told it was well worth watching.)

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Working For Fame Or For Cash [en]

[fr] En organisant la journée de conférences Going Solo, je me trouve directement aux prises avec mes difficultés face à l'économie du peer. J'organise un événement qui dégagera je l'espère assez de bénéfice pour que je puisse me payer, ainsi que mes partenaires. En même temps, j'espère trouver des personnes prêtes à donner de leur temps en échange de la visibilité que leur apportera leur association avec Going Solo. Mais je ne sais pas trop comment m'y prendre. Je trouve difficile de rendre les choses claires.

I’d like to introduce this reflection by quoting [Tara Hunt](http://horsepigcow.com/), who writes the following in a post titled [Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/12/21/please-stop-crowdsourcing-me/):

> I came and I thought, hey, this is kind of neat-o and it empowered me at first. I thought, “Awesome! They want my opinion! They listen!” and I offered it and the feedback was, “Great idea!” and I watched as you implemented it, then benefitted from it and I felt good. I was great at first, but then after a while, I started to feel a little dirty…a little used…a little like cheap labor, replacing people you probably laid off or decided to save money on not hiring because you were getting so much great value out of my time. Maybe it was because it seemed that you believed you could ‘tap’ my well of ideas or ‘pick my brain’ endlessly? Maybe it was because my generosity goes so far and you overstepped your bounds? Maybe it was because you had a chance to reward my efforts, but dropped me like a wet rag as soon as I asked?

Tara Hunt, Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me

I just came upon her article a few minutes ago as I was aimlessly clicking around in my newsreader. It’s funny, because I’ve been thinking of this post I wanted to write for a few days now, and it’s right on the same topic.

I’ve already [felt uneasy about the “Peer Economy”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/09/donnant-donnant/) (if I may call it like that before). About the fact that certain businesses actually get a lot of stuff for free from their enthusiastic users — stuff they would have to pay for, otherwise. The point I understood about a year ago is that the fact that people contribute voluntarily to help improve services like WordPress, GMail, Twitter, and countless others is what allows us (the community) to benefit from great tools like these free of cost or way cheaper than what they’re worth. I’m comfortable with that.

However, I agree with Tara, there is a fine line to tread. As a company, you don’t want people to feel used. And like Tara, I’ve had more of my share of people/companies who want me to “take a look” at their stuff and “tell them what I think” — picking my brain for free. And I don’t like it. If I’m [passionate](http://headrush.typepad.com/) about your product, then yes — I’ll give you feedback. You probably won’t even have to ask me. I’ll blog about it. If you’re smart, you’ll point out what I wrote, give me credit and link-love, thank me publicly. But I didn’t do it for that. I did it because I liked your product, or because talking about your product fulfilled one of my agenda, in a way. I’ve given products/companies like [WordPress](http://wordpress.org), [Dopplr](http://dopplr.com), [Twitter](http://twitter.com), [coComment](http://cocomment.com), [Seesmic](http://seesmic.com) and a bunch of others valuable feedback *because I wanted to*, because I loved their stuff.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll do it for any product or service that crosses my path. If you’re one of the lucky ones, well, good for you. If you’re not, you’ll have to pay cash ([experiential marketing](http://climbtothestars.org/focus/experiential-marketing/) is one of the ways a company can use cash to make up for lack of immediate passion on the part of this particular human being). Just like I’ll help my friends out for free and open blogs for them just because I love them, some companies out there benefit from “free intelligence”. Others need to pay for a similar service.

You get the idea, I think.

Now, here’s what I really wanted to bring up with this post.

As you know, I’m putting together an event for the month of May, [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net). (If you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, you should plan to come, by the way ;-).) This is my first event. I’m not going to be doing it alone. Thing is, I realised I’m a bit shy about asking my friends to help me out, because on the one hand, I want to keep the event expenses to a minimum, and on the other hand, I don’t want people to get the impression I’m trying to “crowdsource them” — as Tara expresses above.

This is made worse (and way more uncomfortable for me) by the fact that this is not a non-profit venture. I’m going to be investing quite a lot of time in this adventure, and I hope to be able to pay myself enough to have made it worthwhile. Ditto for my sales and logistics partners. So, yes, we’re hoping the event will make a profit (against all odds, it seems — everybody tells me that if you’re first event breaks even, you’re very lucky).

So, I know that part of the difficulty I’m facing here is my own inner workings. Despite what some people on IRC may think 😉 I’m somebody who doesn’t find it easy to ask for help/stuff. I always feel I owe people (except when I feel I’m owed, in a kind of weird back-swing dynamic).

There are certain things that I need for the conference, where I’m hoping I’ll manage to find somebody who is willing to “work for fame”. Taking care of the website is one. Design is another. Similarly, I’m hoping to strike up a partnership for the WiFi and bandwidth we need for the event.

In fact, there is some similarity between “working for fame” and being a sponsor/partner. You provide stuff for free (or almost), and in return you get visibility. So maybe I need to switch mindsets. Instead of looking for “people to help me”, I’m looking for “individual partners” for the event.

I feel like this is a thought in progress. I’m not exactly sure what I think, or what to do, or what is “right”. I’m particularly embarrassed when I start talking with friends or contacts about this or that they could do for the event, because it’s not clear from the start if we’re talking about a partnership (work for fame) or Real Work (work for cash).

Any insights appreciated. I feel like I need to step out of my mind a bit to find a way out, and you can help me out with that by sharing your thoughts.

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Dealing With Procrastination [en]

In her post about [going freelance](http://www.disambiguity.com/did-i-mention-im-freelancing-or-coping-strategies-from-the-dining-room-desk/), [Leisa Reichelt](http://www.disambiguity.com/) tells us of her favorite method for fighting procrastination:

> My number one favourite technique is called ‘[structured procrastination](http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/)‘ and here’s how it works. You’ve got a to do list. It’s reasonably long. Make sure it’s got ALL the things you should be doing or should have done on it. Then, attempt to tackle the task you think you *should* be doing. You may have some success, but if you are like me, this is a task that you’re probably doing ahead of time and the lack of adrenaline makes it less compelling than it could be. Rather than just surfing the internet or doing something even less constructive – go to your list and pick something else on the list to do.

Leisa Reichelt, Did I mention I’m freelancing? (or, coping strategies from the dining room desk)

Well, it’s not really foolproof, but one thing I often do is just decide I’ll work 30 minutes on something. 30 minutes is an OK time to spend on something, even if you don’t want to do it. Then I’m free to do what I want.

Sometimes, once I’m “in” it, I run over the 30 minutes and finish the task. If it’s very long, however, I force myself to take a break from it after 30 minutes — so that I’m not cheating myself and the next time I convince myself to spend 30 minutes on something, I know it’ll be just 30 minutes.

You see, one of the things I’ve understood about my “not being able to start” things is that it’s closely linked to my “not being able to stop” things.

In that respect, I quite like the [procrastination dash](http://www.43folders.com/2005/09/08/kick-procrastinations-ass-run-a-dash/) and [(10+2)*5 hack](http://www.43folders.com/2005/10/11/procrastination-hack-1025/). I’ve also used the [kick start technique](http://www.self-aggrandizement.com/archives/011705_kick_start.html) with success.

Being quite the [GTD](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done) fan, I’ve had a chance to notice more than once that my productivity is usually the right opposite to my levels of stress. And my levels of stress — surprise — are usually closely linked to the number of things I need to do which are floating in my head. **Capturing** all the stuff I need to do and organizing it in one system (which is what GTD is about, really) is often enough to make me feel “un-stressed” enough that I can get to work on the next things I need to get done.

Sometimes, it’s a particular thing I need to do which stresses me most. And when I get stressed, I tend to feel down, and when I feel down, well… I’m not good at doing things. So I go through a routine which is similar to [Merlin Mann’s cringe-busting your to-do list](http://www.43folders.com/2005/05/23/cringe-busting-your-todo-list/) to identify *what it is* exactly that is weighing down on me most. Then, **do** something about it!

And as Leisa mentions, having a list of **all** the stuff you need to do that you can pick from really, really helps.

A word of caution however: “to do” lists are often a trap, because they can contain much more than “things you need to do”, and the items on the list are not always **[simple actions you can take immediately](http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/27/does-this-next-action-belong-someplace-else/)** (“Next Actions” in GTD jargon). Here’s [how to make your to-do list smarter](http://www.43folders.com/2005/09/12/building-a-smarter-to-do-list-part-i/) — it’s useful even if you don’t use GTD.

Another thing I’ve been doing lately (it worked well enough until went through a bad personal phase — nothing to do with doing things — and everything went to the dogs) is deciding that I devote a small number of hours a day to *paid client work*. If you’re a freelancer, specially in the consulting business, you’ll know that a lot of our work is not directly billable. So, I try to keep my 9-12 mornings for paid work and what is related to it (e-mails, phone calls, billing) and the rest of the day is then free for me to use for what I call “non-paid work” (blogging, trying out new tools, reading up on stuff, nasty administrivia…) or relaxing.

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Blogs Can Hurt Reputations [en]

[fr] Mena Trott parle d'une situation ou une accusation erronnée contre une entreprise demeure néanmoins numéro deux dans les résultats Google pour le nom de ladite entreprise.

While the reason why Zawodny received the mail and everything else was more or less amicably sorted out, the original post is now the number 2 result in Google for “Krause Taylor.” And throughout a number of weblogs, the post was linked to by its original title “Krause Taylor spams weblogs.”

A firm like KTA, which has been around for years, can luckily rely on its positive reputation to lessen the blow of an inflammatory weblog post. But regardless of the circumstances or reality of the situation, they still have to deal with this post being a part of the permanent Google record.

Mena Trott

As I say in French in my previous post about Google and the use of full names in blogs, we bloggers have power, and with that power comes responsability. Are we really prepared for it?

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You and Technology [en]

[fr] Tout ce qui existait déjà dans le monde avant notre naissance est simplement normal; les innovations techniques faites entre ce moment-là et jusqu'à nos trente ans sont incroyablement excitantes et créatives, et avec un peu de chance on pourra faire carrière avec; tout ce qui est inventé après nos trente ans est contre-nature et sonne le glas de la civilisation telle que nous la connaissons, jusqu'à ce que ça ait été là une dizaine d'années, quand ça devient graduellement OK, en fin de compte. (Paraphrasé d'après Douglas Adams.)

A lot of truth in what [Douglas Adams says](http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/19990901-00-a.html) here:

  1. everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
  2. anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
  3. anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Douglas Adams

How old are you?

Thanks to Kevin for pointing me there.

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La chanson, bande-son de nos vies [fr]

Une citation de Jean-Jacques Goldman.

[en] Jean-Jacques Goldman: songs are the soundtracks of our lives.

Récemment, je disais à  un journaliste que la chanson
n’était pas forcément ce qu’on appelle un art majeur, un art qui
termine dans des musées, qui est fait pour la pérennité, pour la
postérité, mais que par contre, c’était un outil de l’immédiat,
qu’aucun autre art ne pouvait remplacer. Je disais que moi j’étais un
peu, enfin, que nous étions un peu comme le papier peint des gens,
c’est-à -dire on était la bande-son de leur existence. On met pas du
papier-peint dans des musées, et nous, c’est pareil. Peut-être que
cette musique ne restera pas, peu importe, mais je sais que les gens
se rencontrent, se regardent, se touchent, font l’amour, font des
enfants, se marient, sur ces musiques-là . Moi, personnellement, ça me
suffit (rires).

Jean-Jacques Goldman, 24.04.1998(interview radiophonique)

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