Raising Boys [en]

Cindy Gallop (you should follow her on Facebook) shares a piece about the Weinstein scandal and excerpts this:

Begin young: Jaclyn Friedman said culture must adopt a new definition of what it means to be a man: “We have to start raising boys to think girls are cool. … If we raised boys to assume that girls are fully three dimensional and human and interesting, then they will be more horrified when people don’t act the same way,” she said.


Indeed. From reading « Bitter Chocolate » way back when (on child sexual abuse in India), it’s been clear to me that the way out of this is largely in the way we raise our boys. Starting from when they are very little.

Mothers, fathers: this is on you.

Over the last year, I’ve become increasingly sensitive to two things that we do with kids that now feels very wrong:

  • forcing physical contact upon toddlers and small kids when they don’t want it (how do you then explain to them that it’s wrong to do it to others once they are teenagers or grown men?)
  • « romanticising » childhood friendships by making fun of (even in a nice day) « girlfriends » or « boyfriends » when our kids are three, four, five… Why does every interaction between the sexes have to be seen through that lens? And after that, we complain that our kids are « sexually precocious »…

Seriously, just like you’d educate a cat or a puppy: don’t, when they’re small, encourage behavior you don’t want to see when they’re big. 300 grammes of kitten climbing up your jeans is cute. 5kg of adult cat is not. Then don’t let the kitten do it. 4-year-old running after a little girl to kiss her: will that be cute when he’s 40? Don’t let him.

Living on a Boat [en]

[fr] Ce matin, j'ai passé une heure et demie à lire les aventures de Capucine et Tara Tari.

I’m writing this (“yesterday’s”) post late, because I unexpectedly ended up joining a party of one of my clients’ — I sailed past it as I was bringing the boat back into the marina, saw the big banner with their name on it, texted my contact, and he promptly invited me to join them.

On Wednesday nights during the “good” season I usually go sailing. We have training races. Tonight I was at the till, and we did good, better than I expected. That means there were more than one or two boats behind us when we crossed the finish line.

I might have mentioned it: sometimes I dream of living on a boat. I’ll probably never do it, but I like dreaming of it. This morning Corinne sent me a link to Where is Tara Tari? — the blog of Capucine and Tara Tari, her boat. She crossed the Atlantic with it. Corinne told me it made her think of a cross between she and I: a nomad on a boat.

I spent an hour and a half reading through the blog, and reading articles about Capucine and Tara Tari. Check out the blog. The boat is beautiful. It’s a 9m boat built in Bangladesh on the model of traditional fishing boats, using a jute composite. The guy who built it sailed it to France, and Capucine took over from there.

The Mollymawks also get me dreaming. I have spent hours reading their blog and books. Unlike Capucine who is at sea alone with her boat, the Mollymawks are a whole family with three children born at sea — now grown and growing up.

Funny how some dreams or obsessions we have seem destined to remain just that. And I say this without bitterness. I’m not sure I would like living on a boat “permanently”. But I like dreaming about it.

3rd #back2blog challenge (3/10), with: Brigitte Djajasasmita (@bibiweb), Baudouin Van Humbeeck (@somebaudy), Mlle Cassis (@mlle_cassis), Luca Palli (@lpalli), Yann Kerveno (@justaboutvelo), Annemarie Fuschetto (@libellula_free), Ewan Spence (@ewan), Kantu (@kantutita), Jean-François Genoud (@jfgpro), Michelle Carrupt (@cmic), Sally O’Brien (@swissingaround), Adam Tinworth (@adders), Mathieu Laferrière (@mlaferriere), Graham Holliday (@noodlepie), Denis Dogvopoliy (@dennydov), Christine Cavalier (@purplecar), Emmanuel Clément (@emmanuelc), Xavier Bertschy (@xavier83). Follow #back2blog.

Bol d'Or Mirabaud 2013 avec le Farrniente [fr]

[en] YouTube video and Storify of my three days sailing on the lake with the Farrniente for the Bol d'Or.

C’était mon troisième Bol d’Or, le week-end dernier. Genève-Bouveret-Genève à la voile. Ça va pas forcément vite (29h de course pour le Farrniente) mais ça donne un peu le même sentiment de satisfaction qu’une longue randonnée en montagne: tout ce chemin parcouru sans source d’énergie extérieure!

J’ai posté quelques photos et séquences vidéo en cours de route, jusqu’à ce que mon iPhone rende l’âme (malgré le chargeur de secours que j’ai vidé aussi). Grâce à Storify, voici donc le Bol d’Or 2013 du Farrniente presque comme si vous y étiez. J’ai pris pas mal de photos que je dois encore trier (avec celles des éditions 2009 et 2012!) et en attendant de faire mieux, j’ai collé bout à bout les séquences vidéo pour en faire le film d’une quinzaine de minutes que vous pouvez voir ici:

Moins pénible peut-être que la vidéo, le Storify mentionné plus haut (et il paraît que les liens vers les vidéos dans Facebook marchent quand même, même si on n’a pas de compte Facebook!):

[View the story “Bol d’Or Mirabaud 2013 sur le Farrniente” on Storify]

J’ai profité de l’engouement provoqué par la possibilité de suivre le Farrniente live durant la course pour créer une page Facebook pour le bateau. Click click!

Downtown Project Las Vegas [en]

[fr] Quelques infos sur Downtown Project Las Vegas, un projet très inspirant.

Yesterday, before diving back into #joiito, I was rummaging around a little to see what Zappos and Tony Hsieh had been upto since the Amazon acquisition, where Tony’s book Delivering Happiness ends.

A bit of googling later, I understand that Tony is in fact the driving force behind the Downtown Project in Las Vegas. I first head of Downtown Project through Cathy Brooks, who was moving from San Francisco to Las Vegas to start Downtown Dog House. I was happy for her (as I pretty much always am when I see friends embark on big life changes) but also curious as to what was bringing her to move. The answer was the Downtown Project. I visited the website a bit then, got the gist of it, but only truly got what it was about when I understood that this is the continuation of Tony’s community and values-based vision.

I invite you to check out these links for more info:

I personally find all this inspiring, and next time I go to the US (no trip planned at this stage) it definitely makes me want to visit.

Serendipitiously, one of the first people I ended up chatting with last night on #joiito, Thomas Knoll, is also involved in Downtown Project. I took that as a sign that #joiito has to live on.

My Interest in Organisations and how Social Media Fits in [en]

[fr] Ce qui m'intéresse dans ces histoires d'organisations, et le lien avec les médias sociaux (du coup, aussi des infos sur mon intérêt pour ceux-ci).

I found these thoughts about organisations at the beginning of Here Comes Everybody fascinating: organisations and how they disfunction are a long-standing interest of mine, dating back to when I was a student with a part-time job at Orange. My initial interest was of course function rather than dysfunction. How does one make things happen in an organisation? What are the processes? Who knows what? It was the organisation as system that I found interesting.

Quickly, though, I bumped my head against things like processes that nobody knew of and nobody was following. Or processes that were so cumbersome that people took shortcuts. Already at the time, it seems I displayed a “user-oriented” streak, because my first impulse was to try to figure out what was so broken about those processes that people found it more costly to follow them than come up with workarounds. Or try to understand how we could tweak the processes so that they were usable. In reaction to which one manager answered “no, people must follow the processes”. I didn’t know it then, but I guess that was when I took my first step towards the door that would lead me out of the corporate world.

More recently, and I think I haven’t yet got around to blogging this, I have remembered that my initial very “cluetrainy” interest for the internet and blogging and social media really has to do with improving how people can relate to each other, access information, and communicate. The revelation I had at Lift’06 (yes, the very first Lift conference!) while listening to Robert Scoble and Hugh McLeod about how this blogging thing I loved so much was relevant to business was that it pushed business to change and humanised it. Blogging and corpepeak don’t mix well, blogging is about putting people in contact, and about listening to what is being said to you. As the Cluetrain Manifesto can be summarised: it’s about how the internet changes the way organisations interact with people, both outside and inside the organisation.

That is what rocks my boat. Not marketing on Facebook or earning revenue from your blog.

Again and again, when I talk to clients who are trying to understand what social media does and how to introduce it in their organisation, we realise that social media is the little piece of string you start pulling which unravels everything, from corporate culture to sometimes even the business model of the organisation. You cannot show the human faces of a company that treats its employees like robots. You cannot be “authentic” if you’re out there to screw people. You cannot say you’re listening if you’re not willing to actually listen.

Of course, there is the question of scale. I’ll get back to that. Personal doesn’t scale. Radical transparency or authenticity doesn’t scale. But your average organisation is so far off in the other direction…

I’ve realised that my interest lies more with organisations and forms of collaboration and group effort than with social media per se, which I see first and foremost as a tool, a means to an end, something which has changed our culture and society. I find ROWE and Agile super interesting and want to learn more about them. I have a long-standing interest in freelancing and people who “do things differently”. I’m interested in understanding how we can work and be happy, both. I’m also realising that I have more community management skills than I take credit for.

In the pile of books I brought up with me to the chalet, next to “Organisations Don’t Tweet, People Do” by my friend Euan Semple and books around freelancing there is “Delivering Happiness“, the story of Zappos, and “One From Many“, the story of VISA, the “chaordic organisation” — and “Rework” (37signals) has now joined the ranks of the “have read” books in my bookshelves.

A Bunch of Links [en]

[fr] Pelote de liens.

Linkball time.

Now that you’re nice and depressed, let Kim Wilde lift your spirits with an impromptu performance on the train home the other night.

Plant News [en]

[fr] Mes plantes vont bien!

The plant-life in my appartment is doing pretty well, so I thought I’d give you some news. Happy news, to make up for the poor yucca, who is, it’s decided, going to be chopped up. If you have an idea for a big shade-loving plant to replace it, let me know.

Happy Monstera

My Monstera is happy. I think it likes the fertilizer. The stump of the stalk I cut off has sprouted two new leaves. I suspect it is relying on the aerial roots more than the flimsy stalk for those, but we’ll worry about that when I repot it (probably next year, I’m not sure how wise it is repot a fresh spurt of leaf-creation).

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As for the stalk I didn’t touch this time, it has produced the most beautiful leaf ever in all my years of Monstera-keeping. See all the holes? I’m also going to wait a bit before chopping this one up. I actually managed to pull it into a less invading position now that the other stalk is gone.

Plants of mine 3.jpg

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The Monstera in the kitchen is happy too, and has produced a giant leaf. This one is a chopped-off top of the main plant, from a year or two back (I’ve lost track).

Plants of mine 8.jpg

Multiplying Spider Plant

The tiny spider plant I bought is thriving. Did you know that here we call them “plante vaudoise”, because the colours of the leaves are the same as the Vaud flag? Anyway, the stolon it produced is now carrying flowers and plantlets, which I find very pretty. I’m looking forward to having many more of these!

Plants of mine 1.jpg

Flowering Begonia

The Begonia Maculata in my bedroom has been in bloom non-stop.

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The cutting on the kitchen shelf is also flowering. How did I manage so long with fertilizing my plants? It’s obvious they like it.

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By the way, I have two Begonia Maculata plants: one with 10-cm leaves, and the other with 15 to 20-cm leaves. Aside from the size of the leaves, they are identical: white-spotted leaves and pink flowers. If anybody has information on how to call these two siblings, I’m interested. The leaf size is not just a question of plant age or location or pot size; it’s really two different variations on the same plant theme. Like an M-sized Begonia Maculata and and L-sized one.

The Unhappy Yucca [en]

[fr] Le yucca de l'eclau n'est pas heureux.

There is a very unhappy Yucca at eclau. Here he is:

Unhappy Eclau Yucca 1.jpg

As you can see, his lower leaves are drying out in huge quantities. By the time I remembered to take a photo, I had already cleared about half out:

Unhappy Eclau Yucca 3.jpg

You can see which way they’re drying out, and the speckles on the dry leaves:

Unhappy Eclau Yucca 5.jpg

Unhappy Eclau Yucca 4.jpg

Even the new leaves are not happy:

Unhappy Eclau Yucca 2.jpg

It might be overwatering (I’ve hung a “don’t water” sign on him now) but I suspect something more problematic like lack of light. It doesn’t get any direct sunshine where it is, and eclau sometimes stays closed (blinds down) all week-end. Not great for a yucca.

I don’t see a solution to this because this guy is huge. There is nowhere else he will fit. The yucca was brought to eclau ages ago by one of the coworkers and was left there when he departed. I’ve always had a bit of trouble fitting him somewhere, not to mention that he first came with hordes of little black “rot flies” (dunno how to call them in English).

So, I suspect it’ll come down to this:

  • make sure it’s not an illness (anybody?)
  • chop chop chop him down, cut the arms off
  • repot the stump and put it somewhere happier
  • repot the tops (I’ve read you just stick them in soil and they’ll root) for three smaller yuccas which can go live in happier places

Ideas and advice welcome, specially if you know what’s going on here.

Formateurs: et vos supports de cours? [fr]

[en] Trainers: do you make your course material freely available, or do you guard it safely for only those who followed your teaching?

Au début de la formation MCMS/MSCL, nous avons décidé de rendre publics les supports de cours des intervenants.

Cela me paraissait la chose logique et naturelle: mettre à disposition une partie de son savoir, et aussi, à mon sens la valeur qu’apporte un formateur dépasse largement son support de cours. Sinon, passons-nous du formateur, et vendons le support de cours.

Pour moi, un formateur dont l’atout principal est son support de cours se trouve coincé dans un modèle “économique” archaïque, comme l’industrie de la musique qui tente de remettre des goulots d’étranglement artificiels à la distribution pour sauvegarder son business.

Un support de cours est un support. Il enrichit le cours, offre un ancrage, sert peut-être d’aide-mémoire une fois le cours passé. Vous l’aurez deviné sans grande peine, je ne suis pas une grande amoureuse des supports de cours, et clairement, ce n’est pas ce que je fais de mieux dans mon enseignement. Mais j’admets volontiers que les supports de cours sont utiles, importants, et que c’est quelque chose dont je veux développer la qualité en ce qui concerne les formations que je donne.

Par contre, il ne faut pas tomber dans le travers opposé de tout miser sur le support de cours. Tout comme, lorsqu’on donne une conférence ou une présentation, on évite comme la peste de faire un Powerpoint contenant chaque mot que l’on prononcera.

Assez théorisé. Au cours de l’année, j’ai pu me rendre compte que ce qui allait de soi pour moi (partager ses supports de cours) n’allait pas forcément de soi pour tout le monde.

Chers formateurs qui me lisez, je serais très curieuse d’entendre comment vous considérez vos supports de cours: sont-ils la colonne vertébrale de votre enseignement? un supplément? une béquille? un soutien? les mettez-vous à disposition? les gardez-vous jalousement?

Comment fonctionnez-vous?

Plantgasm: I Love Plants Too! [en]

[fr] Mes plantes!

A few months ago, I discovered Derek‘s new blog Plantgasm. Derek and I have met a few times, but to be honest, I had no idea (or had completely forgot) that he loved plants.

I’ve spent a few hours (in a couple of sittings) since then reading through his entries and looking at his photos. You should do so too if you have any interest in green growing things!

I’ve always liked plants too, and from the moment I moved into “my new room” at my parents’ (bigger, downstairs, cat-compatible — I was 9) I remember inviting plants in to share my living space. (No huge surprise here, there were plants all over the house already, and given the amount of time my dad spent and still spends tending the garden, he probably also likes plants.)

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My balcony plants

In Montreal earlier this year, I realized something important about myself: I’m not a city person. As in — and it’s become increasingly obvious these last years — though I like living in Lausanne-City, I’m really happy outdoors, on the lake, in the mountains, on the balcony, and doing stuff with plants and animals. And I guess living “in town” in Lausanne works because Lausanne is such a tiny village, and I live almost out of town (translate “10 minutes away from the centre”).

So, my flat is full of plants, and for the last two years I’ve been going “heck, I really need to repot them and chop some down”. Well, this spring, I got to work. And, even though I’m a bit tired of documenting my life, as I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to show you some of my green pets. My photos are nowhere as nice as Derek’s, of course, but better than none!

These two are among my favorite (as far as I’ve been able to figure out, begonia maculata or tamaya, though they are clearly different variations, one having way bigger leaves than the other).

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This guy regularly falls off his perch when he gets top-heavy and I forget to water him. He’s recently graced us with flowers (maybe the fertilizer helped!) and I have a bunch of cuttings growing in various pots.

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Here’s the little brother, also very easy to reproduce and regularly gracing me with pink flowers.

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Higher up, you caught a glimpse of the chopped-off-and-repotted top of my monstera deliciosa.

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There used to be two stalks 🙂

My problem was triple: the plant was getting huge, all the lower leaves had fallen off, and the stem at the base of the plant was very thin and sickly. So I started the big monstera reduction and multiplication operation. (It actually started a couple of years back when I chopped off the last leaf of both stems and repotted them — happily in my kitchen now — but it just shifted the problem a few centimeters to the right or left.)

In addition to chopping off and repotting the healthy leafy part of the plant, I had some fun untangling the roots (hadn’t realized how long they were!) and tried some experiments: sticking bits of roots in pots (attached to the plant or not), and also sections of stem with no leaf but some root. So far, it seems that “root in pot” doesn’t work very well. The jury is still out for “leafless stem in pot”.

As you can see in the two photos below, the monstera has started budding at the bottom of both stems. I’m going to wait and watch before doing anything rash.

My Plants 7.jpg

My Plants 6.jpg

Other members of my green family include this guy, recently brought back from the dead:

My Plants 15.jpg

A dracaena which was drowned too often and needs repotting:

My Plants 13.jpg

A banana tree that has recently produced offspring:

My Plants 12.jpg

A spider plant that’s reaching out:

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And a few more hanging out on the kitchen table and in various other parts of the flat:

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(Most of the photos have descriptive text, click on them to read a little more.)

Next steps, once I’ve got all the houseplants under control: a pallet garden and fun edible things on my balcony, more orchids, and… a fish tank in the office (yes, I know fish aren’t plants; they’re somewhere in between plants and cats).