New York, New York

Freeway NYC

Moleskine entry: September 18th, 2009

Six hours ago I was landing at London Gatwick, fresh from the Lucozade Challenge of Yacht Racing around the Caribbean. Now, as I write, I’m on a flight back out to New York (from London Heathrow mind, that was interesting) with my darling girlfriend and I am happy. Tired. Exhausted. Travel weary. But ultimately, for the first time in such a long time, truly happy.

You might scoff if I were to tell you “it’s been a long, hard summer” given the adventures I’ve been on, the places I’ve seen and the things that I’ve done but really, as much as all that that has been awesome, it’s the bits inbetween that have been hardest.

Being away from home every other week for just shy of ten weeks creates a strange instability around things. Plans are harder to make, promises harder to keep. A constant state flux one might say.

Not counting the stress and strains that places on any kind of loving relationship, there was the whole work mess to deal with too. Halfway through the challenges, all that additional…. worry was not helping the situation at all. The time I was actually at home, I was spending the whole time working. Leaving me tired. So so tired.

Rest soon. And sleep. Sleep, beckoning so sweetly.

Sleeeeeep.

Waking up in New York

Cross-posted with my new Posterous website, set up purely for #ClimateVoice.
Normal service will return shortly.

(I have many more Moleskine travels to write up and, fingers crossed, I’ll have some other things to talk about by the time I get back too)

In the meantime, here is the first post from said Posterous.

Please remember: I’m not deserting My Happy Place, I just felt that for this one week-long gig, I should take my work elsewhere. I guess when you read some of the things we’re getting up to here, you’ll see.

See you when I get back.

James.

PS. A few commenters have remarked upon the irony of yours truly helping out with the #ClimateVoice project, given the amount of traveling that I’ve done this Summer and my continued response to them has been: I was asked to help and, after my Summer of travelling, I felt it was the least I could do.

_______________________________________________________________

So, the Lucozade Challenges are at an end and I find myself not at home, in London…

But here, in New York.

Why?

Back in February I was part of the team that helped the G20Voice blog get up and running through my work with SpinVox; working with Alfie Dennen of Moblog we were able to set up phone lines all over the world that allowed anyone, anywhere to call up and put their question to the G20.

When Oxfam heard I had some free time at the end of the Lucozade project, they asked if I’d like to tag along and assist with their livestreaming of the event; interviewing attendees and bloggers and generally doing what I do, but for them.

So a trip to NY, working with a charity I love?
Oh go on then..

So for the week that I’m here, I’ll be blogging at this new posterous blog, just for this one project, as a container for all my Oxfam/G20/ClimateVoice content.

Let’s see how it works out.

Thanks for reading,

J.

What a Beautiful Day

September 10th, 2008.
08:24

One year, to the day that I started my employment with a little company called SpinVox and… Wow, what a journey it has been so far…

The view you see before you is the view that I have right now, as I type this post from the departure lounge of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 1, (looks familiar huh?). As you know some time ago I got ‘the call‘ and lo and thusly I am on my way to Finland.

But we’ll come back to that…

What I want to talk about, if you’ll indulge me for a moment, is the amazing journey that I’ve been over the past year. Personally, professionally and of course geographically.

Working backwards, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been so well travelled, (although quite how you can be less travelled I don’t know – heh), with my work so far taking me to such places Barcelona (beautiful) San Francisco – twice (one of my favourite places in the world and a potential base for me the future for certain), Las Vegas (ugh)… and, as we speak, Helsinki.

There of course being no rest for the wicked, straight after this trip I’m headed out to New York then onto Las Vegas once again and by the looks of things Frankfurt too before the year is out.

I used to mock my friends when they used to get the work trips abroad, accusing them of ‘going on a jolly’ and basically being a bunch of work-shy sun-seekers. But guys, if you’re reading this, I take it back. I now know… It’s relentless! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it – wouldn’t change it for the world in fact. But jeeez… talk about taking it out of you! This time round I’ve prepared. Both physically and mentally.

Bring. It. On. πŸ™‚

Which dovetails nicely back into the professional part of my journey. So, as I said, one year ago I joined SpinVox. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for whatever they had to throw at me.
Having initially secured the interview after being told by a recruitment agent that I was ‘definitely a SpinVox person’ I was taken onboard to apply some ‘Digital Native’ thinking, if you will, to an already rock solid proposition…

Six weeks later I was on a flight to San Francisco after launching Social Networks through SpinVox.

Awesome.

I’ll never forget rocking up to my first CTIA in torn jeans, flip flops and my now trademark MASSIVE white sunglasses adorned across my brow and being told almost immediately:

“Oh, you’re ‘The Web Guy’. You’ve got the look for sure.”

HA!

You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve since smartened up my act somewhat (although the Sunny Gs remain) and I’m now ‘The Social Media Guy’.
Which kind of, in a sense, further demonstrates the journey: Starting with Social Networks through SpinVox, then getting Big Talk (the SpinVox Blog) off the ground, working on and around the digital propositions…
All of which meant that in February of this year I was part of the team that flew out to Barcelona to represent the big SV at Mobile World Congress (MWC – previously known as 3GSM).

This is when my entire world changed.

Suddenly, almost overnight, there was this paradigm shift in how I saw the industry around me… and it was changing. Mobile is my first love and always will be, but in Barcelona the power of Social Media and what it actually means really hit home.

Walking the floor at MWC, finally meeting some of the big names in blogging face to face… Shall I list them?

Nah. If you’re reading this and I shook your hand in Barcelona, then I’m talking about You πŸ™‚

I was saying; Meeting you guys and gals face to face made me understand the enormous sense of community that lives and breathes in this new world of ours… and the enormity doesn’t just stop there either, it also applies to the immense importance that we place on this community as well.

We, you, me, them, us… We are right here, right now. Carving out and pioneering a new digital age for our children to grow up into. What you think and say about this whole space will define how the rest of the world interacts with their digital media for the next 10-20yrs, if not more.

Social Media ‘happened’ (for me at least) this year; I’m going to be able to look back and say ‘Yep, I was there’ …well, you were there too. It’s happening Right Now.

And listen, without getting ranty, understand this – what I said up there – is paramount to any and every business today. It really is.

Arriving back from Spain after the conference finished, with the support of my boss, I got to work on a Social Media Strategy doc that, with the help from the team, would define how SV as a business and as a brand would operate in this space… and so far, it’s playing out nicely.

So yeah, we’ll see on that one shall we? πŸ™‚

Building that thing up and playing it out through the year as we have has been an awesome experience. Learnings on the way of course – some things took a while, some things took off straight away and some things you just can’t predict..

Hence the journey I guess. But I tell you one thing, in this job I don’t think I have ever been happier.

And in fear of being a complete link-monkey, ‘not ever being happier’ leads me quite perfectly into the “Personally” part of this little trilogy.

A few of you reading this may follow me on Twitter or even chat to me on Jaiku, in which case you know that most of the time I am of quite a cheery disposition and I take pride in the fact that I truly enjoy life to the fullest. Now I’m not big on sharing personal stuff online.
Not at all.

Gotta keep something back, y’know?

But anyway – the fact of the matter is, right now, for the first time in a long time I am happy.
Truly and utterly.

And I love it.

Thanks to you guys, for all of your kind words, support and just general awesomeness over the past year.
I’m looking forward to the next one with immense relish and I’m rubbing my hands with glee…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Bring. It. On.

πŸ˜€

Thanks for reading…

Oh yeah – and there was that small matter of being in Finland.
Guess it’ll have to wait until my next post, (tomorrow – promise).

πŸ˜‰

P.S. It’s taken me all day to get this post up, I’m now in Helsinki and a very happy Whatley indeed.

September 10th, 2008.
20:49