The Storybox Saga continues…

When last I wrote, I was about to ‘launch’ the Storybox at our first ever Social Age Safari @seasaltlearning

Here, I’ll tell you more about how that project is going. Be warned, it turns into a reflective piece about the Safari and Sea Salt in general.

It turns out, this whole process is way more complicated than I anticipated, not least of which is how to communicate my ideas effectively and entirely!

The way I selected the developer to work with was by determining who had the fastest response time, since I was in a hurry to show something at the #socialagesafari

At ‘go time’, I still didn’t have a product that I could really use. The recording function didn’t show if it actually was recording, the wifi at the venue was quite slow, subsequently it took a long time to upload into the database. The listening part didn’t work, there was no way to playback. Over the course of the event I was able to communicate with the developer and fix most of the bugs. By the last day, I had a working site!  Technically…

Once it was working, I was past the bugs and running into the developer’s interpretation of my ideas as well as testing the features I thought would be good, but backfired. For example, I though it would be good to have the recordings play back randomly. This idea backfired as reality intervened: the site played back randomly however, that included the developer’s and my and people I had asked to record’s test recordings. The reality was that I had to wade through all the test stuff to listen to the real recordings and to test the crowd sourced analysis feature.

Well, I won’t bore you with all the gory details. Two things happened during this whole process at the Safari. As I was attempting to show what the idea was in my role as curator of the Knowledge zone, I had to explain to people what the purpose was, what I was attempting to achieve. That gained more traction than the actual site. People were interested in the idea, the drawings I had made. The more I talked about it, the better I was able to explain it. Who was it that said “When you have an idea, tell everyone” ?

The second thing is that a fellow member of the Sea Salt crew whom I had previously only met online was also working with audio recordings. His great idea was to use the podcast equipment he already had to build a ‘podcast chain’. A chain of people interviewing each other, finding out more about each other (Great idea, loved participating in it btw). The morning of Day 1, while I was on a laptop to see if my site was working (the developer could only have it work on Firefox, on a computer not a mobile device. I work on an iPad and phone) he asked me what was up. Pretty simple. Once I explained, he suggested we use his microphone to set up a minimum viable product experiment (MVP). We could record on his laptop with the wireless microphone, and he would drop the audio files into a shared folder, which I could play from my phone and ask people in an audience to vote on.

We tried the first part a couple of times, finding different ways to make it work. Long story short, I didn’t carry out the whole experiment. But, I had fun and learned a lot trying to make it work. Figuring it out with Sam, trying it different ways. With a bit more time, a bit more design, the idea could have worked and could have given me a better idea of whether this could actually work as a website or app.

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Hack group deep in thought at the Safari

This is why I work with Sea Salt. It’s not about the brand or Julian’s beard. It’s because I need a team. I need collaborators, co-conspirators who are curious and interested in trying new things, who are in my field and who I can be a resource to as much as they can to me. Coming at it as an independent consultant who has most of her experience from the public sector, that is the aspect of Sea Salt I am most passionate about. Sounding out my ideas, hearing those of others, putting them into practice, seeing what happens, sharing my work and trying again.

Those first two parts are a challenge for me. Moving forward, I am mindfully practicing working with others, asking for help, sharing my ideas before they become concrete.

It shouldn’t be all about me, about finding human resources to help me carry out my nefarious deeds. I’m not interested in finding my minions. I am looking for a network of people that I, as an ‘independent thinker’, can rely on and trust. The effect is twofold: to support my organisation and to build my reputation.

To use Julian’s phrase: Sea Salt is ‘a safe harbour for independent thinkers’. Ok. This one’s mine, “putting people in each other’s way”, being resources for each other so we can do stuff together.

Stay tuned for the next installation of the Storybox saga… 😁

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