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Posts Tagged ‘Funemployment’

Finding WOW – the Toxteth Riots & Wimbledon Photographers

Regular readers (and those who have just randomly come across my LinkedIn or Twitter profile) will know I like WOW projects. The term comes from Tom Peter’s article in Fast Company magazine back in 1999 that explained that in the new economy, all work is project work. And you are your projects!

He said: “Your goal should be to work in perpetuity with Wow people, on Wow Projects, for Wowable clients.” It’s still true today – and will be in the future.

From the start of my working life, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in some Wow projects with some Wow people. I’ve been reminded of this a couple of times in the last 24 hours.

Firstly, I picked up the paper this morning to find a story about the Toxteth riots being 30 years ago this week. That was the week I started my first job

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– a Trainee Press Photographer at Mercury Press Agency in Liverpool.

I’d not bargained for my first week in employment to involve the coverage of some of the worst rioting on mainland Britain.

I can always remember the phone ringing late at night after the family had gone to bed. I was told that another photographer would pick me up (I didn’t have a car) and would take me to Toxteth where there were some sort of disturbances.

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The first pictures that I took were of riot police dragging away an injured colleague as buildings burned around them. It was scary – but exciting for an 18 year old who had dreamt of being a press photographer. It was what I’d wanted to do through my adolescence.

My mum and dad were concerned – especially when I didn’t arrive home for another 20 hours (that meant I had worked through the night and had no sleep for 30+ hours). I’d photographed the aftermath of people trying to put their lives back together after the riots.

I was back out in Toxteth the next night – and for many more nights over the next month. I witnessed CS Gas being used to quell a riot on the streets of mainland Britain for the first time; photographed a policeman stabbed in a related demonstration; and recorded a protester run over by a police van and then dragged in to the back of the vehicle with his back broken.

I also photographed “Minister for Merseyside” Michael Heseltine being pelted with food by children. It was a baptism of fire for a young photographer – but remains a Wow experience in my life.

This week, I’ve watched quite a few hours of Wimbledon coverage on BBC HD. The quality of images is superb – nearly as good as having a courtside seat. Looking at the background of the TV images, about 60% of the photographers sitting at Wimbledon Centre Court this week were my colleagues up to 1994, when I hung up my cameras. So they’ve continued to have Wow time for 17 years since I left this work behind. I got immense enjoyment from having the best seats in the house at Olympic Games and World Cup Finals with these photographers. It was a Wow!

From Toxteth Riots through to world class sports coverage – I had a Wow experience. Since those times, in the last 17 years, I’ve been fortunate to work on some Wow projects. Including growing and selling a business, winning a National award for technology – and most recently managing to find “funemployment” projects helping a Duchess and creating a children’s cricket charity.

I’m currently on the look-out for the next Wow projects. First step, as you might expect from the title of my blog, is developing my Personal Network for the new challenge. Do contact me if you have anything Wow that I might be able to help with!

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I met a man on the internet….

June 17, 2011 6 comments

Don’t worry – it’s not quite how it sounds. I’m not joining those newspaper headlines about Facebook fuelling divorce. However, I am meeting some very interesting people on-line – and then meeting up in the “real world”.

I had breakfast with one of them this morning. Rob Geraghty is an entrepreneur – involved in many projects – including his presentation training company the Wow Factor. Rob got in touch with me (via LinkedIn) after stumbling across my blog – and in particular liking the idea of “funemployment”.

We met for breakfast this morning – and one of our similarities was how baffled our wives are by this concept

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of people connecting via the web and meeting up. There is always a raised eyebrow when the response to “what are you doing today” is “I’m having a coffee with a man I met on the internet.” It does seem strange…

However, I’ve been thinking about it – and actually, it’s one of the brilliant opportunities thrown up by social media. In the past you would try and find like-minded people by traveling to conferences, speaking to lots of people with vaguely similar interests – and occasionally finding someone worth connecting with.

In our new world, you can easily find like minded people. You can do the research and understand what makes the person tick – and get to a stage of comfort way before you decide to write that first introductory message to initiate a connection.

I read today about Google’s new tool for “on-line reputation management”. It’s called “Me on the Web” – and can be found in your Google Dashboard. Google and many others recognise that our on-line presentation will be increasingly important as we build our Personal Networks of the future. I don’t believe this to be just a marketing exercise – it’s a way of reflecting on-line your values, interests and character.

Rob has added to my list of men met on the internet. Others include:-

Chris Redmond is an inspirational leader – and thought provoking blogger. (Attended one of his charity fund raising events in Reading.)

Jordi Robert-Ribes is a internationally respected speaker on networks. (Met for lunch in London when he was over from his home in Andorra)

Benjamin Wirtz is a young entrepreneur creating applications to help people manage their networks. (met for coffee in London)

Anyway, Rob was good fun to be around – a very similar connector. Within a week of his email – and before we met in person – we’d made a connection that should be of benefit to the Cricket charity that I’m involved in. Today, we worked through a few ideas that might be mutually beneficial – and our on-line “research” of each other before this meeting has already accelerated the level of connection and trust.

Connecting via the web is undoubtedly the most efficient way to meet like-minded people. I will be continuing to meet men on the internet – and I do recommend you give it a try!

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