Monday, 10 July 2017

STEM, Education and The Bloodhound Project

Bloodhound Logo
This post details how I found out about The Bloodhound Project and, after a quick look at their website, looks at how deep their commitment to inspiring young people about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) appears to be.

It's Friday evening and I am tagged in a Tweet from my good friend James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge) and it would appear he's been saying nice things about some of my previous projects to some of his colleagues.
This is followed by another Tweet mentioning a project that I have never heard of before.

STEM, industry, education and a recommendation from James to check it out... OK, says I. No problem!

First thing that catches my eye about this project who's aim is for a land based vehicle to reach 1,000 mph?! from an educational context is that their offices were moved in 2016 to UTC Oxfordshire.

I'm a big fan of UTC's precisely because of the kind of collaboration that they have established with industry. When I was working in FE when these institutions were established I felt the impact of UTCs, from a cultural perspective, could have a big impact across the sector.

I then check the projects Education page out and my first impression?

It might be tempting to say that this does not look like an "Added Extra"...something that's been done because it's part of the requirements for some funding grant or something, but add this looks like a deep commitment to inspiring young people to get engaged with STEM.

But when the opening sentence on the education page includes

"The main aim of the Bloodhound Project is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers"

It takes the guess work out of what the project is about and their commitment to education.

Bloodhound Project Education Page
There is something on this page for students of all ages and various ways to get involved from some maths questions and competitions to becoming a Bloodhound Ambassador and helping to arrange an event at your school.

As I explore the range and scope of the project further I wonder, "How have I not heard about this before now" and remember that a lot of my more recent projects have been focused more on US education.
56,000 Educators and 77,000 pupils involved... and Uni STEM admissions increasing
I'll be looking into this in more detail but, in the mean time, to all those innovators that I've spoken too over the last few years this certainly looks like it's bringing STEM subjects to life for many students... and there's still time to register for the 3rd Race for the Line Competition.

I'll be watching this project with interest.

Me and My ZeeMaps

Image result for zeemaps logo

I'm in the process of winding up my Education Experiences due to some personal issues that my decisions to stubbornly stay on task has caused.

I wanted one of my last posts to be about one of my favorite tools EVER! Zeemaps. Why is this one of my favorite tools? Because:

1) I feel that "social proof" is far more effective than the pointless sales calls that the "Education-needs-to-get-with-the-program-but-we-still-make-cold-calls" EdTech industry still employs.

2) I'll leave it with one of my favorite authors give the other reason why this is a favorite tool:
I think knowing that your work situation might be imperfect, option B then is saying, “OK, I can still find things on the market that are interesting and meaningful to me and build those into my job.” That’s called job crafting and we see people do this all the time. 
I know a teacher who always wanted to be a musician and he brings his guitar into the classroom and there’s a little bit more enthusiasm and joy as a result  students love having the teacher who plays music. Adam Grant on Job Search Resiliency
I have always had an interest in Geography even though, like many subjects at school, I didn't excel at it... But did read National Geographic cover to cover. In 1999 I did an Open University course in Human Geography and especially loved maps, cities and the impact that diaspora had on both the places people left and where they moved to.

If I had the money (There's an ironic statement!) one of the things I would collect is old maps. Since publishing the "Business Development Ideas for Further Education" in 2011, I have created a few education based Zee Maps.

So how did I find out about ZeeMaps? Well it was through a bit of a catastrophe.

How I met your Awesomeness... Through a Disaster

When working on my Business Development Ideas for FE report I noticed how FE Commercial services were sometimes labeled as "XYZ Towns Best Kept Secret" this is 2011... the impact of the global financial crisis was being felt across the public sector, this is no time for best kept secrets?!

I map these services out on Google Maps with lots of information that it's taken ages to source... then disaster?! Something changes somewhere, not entirely sure if it's human error (Don't think that it was) or some changes at Google HQ but the colleges are still on the map, but details that I added had gone?!

Whatever the reason was I annoyed about this? Had I spent AGES meticulously importing all the infromation? I sure was and sure had... But as always, I reminded myself that Google maps was a free to use service so what right do I have to get so annoyed?

Keen not to see the same thing happen again, I looked for an alternative. Mapping data seemed to be a hot topic when I explored this but ZeeMaps was my favourite

Welcome to ZeeMaps
I have created over 20 maps since discovering Zeemaps and includes sourcing and plotting information about over 40,000 schools/colleges, educators and education stakeholders. Below are details about a few of them.

Many of the resources below have been curated in my own time and based on ideas that few people seem to "get" but which I see as significant in the future of EdTech sales and the way that ideas gain traction.

If anyone would like to see any of the incomplete maps (Or the ideas generally developed further), please don't hesitate to get in touch.

FE Colleges Commercial Services


As I detail in my Business Development for FE report there were over 1,200 commercial services that UK Further Education Colleges offered. If marketed collectively this would be one of the largest retail chains in areas like Hair and Beauty.

Like most of the maps I've curated this one includes details about each services, logos, social media feeds and contact details.

 Scottish Learning Festival 2015 - Scottish Schools on Twitter
A number of projects that I am working on have their basis in Chris van der Kuyls' keynote speech at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2015 where Chris called for more collaboration within and across Scottish Education.

When I heard Chris' talk I thought "I know what is needed to implement some of these ideas" and got to work. In September and October 2015 this including finding out how many Scottish Schools were using social media.

Some interesting observations with this map was seeing how many Scottish Schools were active on social media compared with how many politicians are. There are lots of comments about online abuse targeted towards the political classes, who are responsible for education policy... are they doing enough to support our teachers and young people to become digital leaders and encourage positive digital citizenship?

Scottish Schools on Twitter research featured in TES Scotland
Digital Citizenship SummitUK
As a direct result of the project above I became involved with organising the second DigCitSummit and mapped people who spoke at the first summit and the one held at Bournemouth University on January 2016


Education Conference Exhibitors
For the last few years I have curated information about suppliers who attend major education conferences like ISTE, BETT and the ASU GSV Summit. 

Something that I found quite curious was the fact that exhibitors would attend one event but not the other. There may be a lot of reasons for this (Focusing on UK/US markets so not making the trip across the pond etc), but feel there is an argument to be made that this is an issue of costs.

We see this very clearly through the startups who attend the ASU GSV Summit but not ISTE and/or how it's mostly the big tech companies who attend multiple events each year.


I published this map when working with Declara on the 2016 ASU GSV Summit and started adding ISTE 2016 speakers when working on the ISTE data curation project.

Pokemon Go - Mapping US Community Colleges
When Pokemon Go came out there was a lot written about what this game would and would not do in education but there was a bit of a problem with some of these articles... they were written when school had finished for the summer so the only people who experienced the game when students were around when it came out was Further Education institutions.

We mapped out over 2,500 US College campuses and intended to do a lot more with this... with it being 12 months since the game came out maybe we'll pick up on this again soon.


Scottish Learning Festival 2016 - Scottish MIE Experts
When I attended the 2016 Scottish Learning Festival it was suggested that I check out what Microsoft is doing in Scottish Education.

I have kept an eye on ambassador and "super user" programs in the US and UK over the last few years and when I checked out the number of MIE experts in Scotland and the rest of the UK in September 2016 there was a bit of a jump.

In October and November I curated a number of UK and global MIE and Skypeathon resources.

Microsoft Innovative Educators UK

Microsoft Showcase Schools
2015 & 2016 Skypeathon
By the time I had explored all things MIE the 2016 Skypeathon was upon us and I noticed that only a couple of Scottish schools took part in the 2015 event... I wondered if putting "social proof" to work (And a little hustle) might get a few more people involved.

I mapped out the schools that took part, who they connected with and plotted the distance each school traveled in 2015. 

The aim here was to show how many schools were taking part in the hope that the popularity of the event would see others join in the 2016 event. 

In 2015 2 Scottish educators traveled 36,000 virtual miles, in 2016 15 Scottish educators went over 150,000 miles.

I started to curate a map of people taking part in the 2015 & 2016 event

NB Neither the 2015 or 2016 Skypeathon data is 100% complete... but have the data to finish it if/when we get the time and/or support needed.

January 2017 Fake News & DigCit - Mapping US Politicians 
In January 2017 "Fake News" became a thing and, working with the DigCitSummit Founders, we thought we could introduce some workshops aimed at critical thinking based around what we read and believe.

We curated all the offices and social media feeds for Senators, Congressmen and Mayors along with details of their regional and DC office addresses.
US Politicans

April 2017 - Edcamps
As I detailed in my recent post Who Sells Edcamps... And Eventbrite in Education? I detail the various resources that I've curated in the last few weeks around Edcamps.

Edcamp Map
I hope it is obvious by looking at some of this data that a great deal of time has gone into curating these resources and that, as CMX (And the Skypeathon data) highlights "social proof" can be very effective.

Instead of calling people about this product or that, I've explored the way that successful ideas have gained traction.

Instead of sourcing leads to make cold calls I've sourced information from social media to provide more complete data sets.

There's a lot more that can be done with this and am happy to discuss with anyone who is interested in finding out more and potentially, supporting some of this work.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Who Sells Edcamps... And Eventbrite in Education?


As an EdTech sales guy who realised that my calls and emails were becoming less and less welcome (And effective), for the last few years I've tried to identify "Where the puck is going to land" as the saying goes in the world of EdTech.

I've explored what major tech companies do differently and, through my EdTech Report, tried to detail the importance of finding "Product Market Fit" before scaling sales and marketing operations.

"Many start-ups ramp up sales before the product is ready" Why Startups Fail

"Sales & marketing departments must refocus away from selling products and toward creating relationships. Partnering with customers is a key component. The primary challenge here is not technical, but cultural" Geoffrey Moore Crossing the Chasm

This post (Which may be one of my last Edu-based posts... Because, well... EdTech is Tough!!!!!) picks up on these same themes by exploring Edcamps and Eventbrite.

Pointless Sales Calls
Making the transition from sales to Community Management has not been an easy one... Especially living in Scotland where there are few EdTech companies and even fewer #Cmgr opportunities.

It's frustrating enough reading books like Hatching Twitter and discovering that the founders became involved with this startup through living in the same apartment building and a chance encounters in a coffee shop. But when I say to some critical friends who know a thing or two about major tech companies:

"If I was in California I'd just camp outside the offices of a tech company for a week until they took me on"

The response?

"A week? ...William you'd be hired within a day!"

Instead I have the experience of going to job interviews and, knowing how busy educators are and how much they detest pointless cold calls... not to mention all the research I've done and previous projects where results were achieved without any calls being made, posing questions like:

"Do you REALLY think that you need to be making cold calls to get traction for products today?"

This is followed by an awkward silence and a rather short interview. Then again you're reading the thoughts of someone that thinks sales could be a short term role (See Where Do You See Yourself in a Year), they might feel out of place anywhere.

In 2012 I noticed that 40 companies were mentioned 400 times in the first 5 weeks of #EdTechChat... without a sales rep anywhere to be seen!

In 2013 I noticed that over 40 of C4LPT's top 100 tools for learning were either free or tools and/or were created by major tech companies (See Who sells free in Education).

So knowing the importance of

1) Developing relationships
2) Ensuring that companies achieve product market fit as they get traction without making any calls, and
3) Being aware of how annoying those calls are to educators

What do you do? Well, I look for the "bright spots" and pitch in where and when you can?

Who Sells Edcamps?
In April the organiser of Scotland's #Cmgr Meetup, Jamie Johnston, shared CMX's article with me about

How Edcamp Scaled Up 1,500 Community Events Connecting Educators All Over the World


As with my observations with #EdTechChat, C4LPT's survey and Pokemon Go I wondered

"So who is it that has been selling Edcamps to the hundreds of organisers who have taken time out their busy schedules to run these events?"

I wouldn't be surprised if the answer was none. It's probably been the case that an educator attended an Edcamp, found it to be great PD and wanted to get involved.

Educators iterating their way to "Product Market Fit" with an idea and scaling in a way that many a "Disruptive EdTech Startup" would be envious of comes as no surprise to me at all!

A comment in this article that stood out for me was:
"I was reading an interview on EdSurge from 2015, where you had said there was no master mailing list"

"Right, I know what to do" thinks I... I can put some of my curation skills to good use and see if I can help back fill some of this data.

The article estimates that there have been 1,500 events and I saw a Tweet where Dan Callahan had the number at 1,400 in March

I have found 2,150 Edcamps, 1,933 of which can be found on this Edcamp Map (Need some additional info before I can add the other 200+). This map includes organisers, links to websites, SM feeds, logos and registration pages.


Other Edcamp resources that I have curated includes:

·         An Edcamp Account Twitter List
·         An Edcamp Organisers Twitter list 
·         An Edcamp Logo Pinterest Board
·         An Eventbrite Edcamp Pinterest Board    An Edcamp Map with over 1,900 entries with links to websites and social media feeds 

I'm not sure if it's obvious or not, but this has taken quite some time to pull together. Is this more productive and/or does this develop relationships more than sourcing leads to make calls?

As someone with one foot out the door of EdTech, I don't think I'm best placed to give an objective response to that question.

What I can tell you is that I've found lots of educators who appreciate this approach... but few EdTech companies. Those that do are doing fine all by themselves... with a little help from Educators, without ever speaking to them.

Need evidence of this? I wonder how many Edcamp organisers who use Eventbrite have spoken to the company?

Who Sells Eventbrite to Edcamps?
So over 2,000 Edcamps. I pitched in and helped out "Just because I could" and because I felt that I could add value in some way.

When curating this information I found that not only were (at least) 1,073 Edcamps using Eventbrite... but if they had used a different registration page for a previous event, once they tried Eventbrite they stayed with that platform for future Edcamps.

I wonder how many Edcamps Eventbrite have sponsored to get that kind of traction/exposure?
I wonder how many sales calls they made to Edcamp organisers to get over 1,000 events signed up?

Like many companies that have a high level of uptake they are:

1) Not a dedicated Education company, and
2) Are free to use

As Edcamps are free and Education may be quite a small market for a company like Eventbrite, they may not even have noticed the way that Edcamps are assisting with their growth.

Social Proof
As CMX says in their recent How a Strong Community Creates a Better Customer Experience article about Urban Sitter,

"When it comes to trusting a babysitter, friend and family recommendations carry the most weight. Social proof at this scale is hugely influential" 

I am not an educator so to say that "This product or that is amazing" doesn't really matter one way or the other. Furthermore me taking up educators time to try to tell them the product is amazing seems like a waste of my time and the educators.

I feel that spending a few weeks to pull this together is far better use of my time... Even if few others agree with such an approach.

Take a quick scroll down this Edcamp Eventbrite Pinterest Board and see if you agree.

I Got Bills! Bills! Bills!
As I highlighted at the start of this post making the transition from sales to Community Management has not been an easy one.

This is complicated by the fact that EdTech is going through a transition with more educators leaving the classroom to work for suppliers and the fact that, well... EdTech is tough!!

Educators seem to appreciate the approach that I've taken but the skills don't seem to be quite there yet for the companies who are doing great work and see the value in Community. Others (who have perhaps not yet achieved "Product Market Fit") don't get how cold calls and spammy emails are not essential to their growth.

The best way to get work in Community Management is to pitch in as a volunteer... I've pitched in and volunteered for about as long as I can (And, in some cases, with rather questionable results!). So I may need to move on. More on that in the next few posts.

A Quick 5 Min Favour...
When I was exploring the idea of crowdfunding educators PD through #Get2ISTE, it was not until I was able to demonstrate the value that an Educator provided free of charge and suggesting that the work I put in be contributed to this idea (See I'm An #EdChatMod... Get Me Out to ISTE2015 for more info).

I wonder if a similar approach might nudge the needle forward a little here too? 

There are a couple of things that I would like to achieve before moving on. So if you see the value in any of the work I've spent time on since April I wonder if you might be in a position to do one of the following?

1) Sign up to EduMatch (Esp if you are a UK based educator)

Sarah Thomas (@sarahdateechursupported members of her PLN and the UK Digital Citizenship Summit by making the trip from the US to the UK

2) Check out Sumdogs regional and national competitions

Michael Sinclair (@FilltheGapLearnhas supported some of my initiatives (and Sumdog have supported some Edcamps), it would be great to help him with his work. (Btw the competitions are free to enter)

3) Help spread the word about Forfar Acadamy's Crowdfunder (@FATech_Edfor Drones. They have 8 days to hit their £1,510 target and only need £200 to achieve that.

4) Going to ISTE this year? Please check out Frog Education (Who are developing the Facebook of Education) and animation company Plotagon... Both of whom have supported projects like our ISTE resources curation project.

5) If you've organised an Edcamp in the past and would like to see this work completed, please feel free to fill out the details on this survey Edcamp Survey and I'll add the information to the map and other resources (Resources will be shared with the Edcamp Foundation when complete).

If it was not for Bob Baldie seeing past some (intentional) snarkiness in some of my previous posts, there are a number of things that simply would not have happened.    

On a personal note, I have a lot of insights from exploring this data and it would be good to finish it. If anyone has an interest in supporting this work so it can be completed, please let me know.

Goodbye Edu...
Some posts to follow that will go into how, where and why I have found #EdTech to be a little too tough and/or my ideas being a little too ambitious (Gotta love that "Optimism Bias." Lol).

Time to focus on the Attainment Gap a little closer to home and help 3 kids make sense of some of the questionable decisions I've taken when trying to make a difference.

Apologies if this post isn't a little more upbeat in places, but it is what it is!... And I'm not alone.

When looking at Edcamp sponsors from 2011,2012, 2013 suppliers that were getting a lot of love from educators are no more. So perhaps as well as asking "Who sells free in education", we should be exploring "Who is it that pays the price of free EdTech?"

The CMX article about Edcamps highlights that 

"It is, in fact, possible to change the world from your dining room table" 


I've done my best to listen to the sector and with the time, tools, resources and skills that I have with not much more than working from a battered old laptop from my dining room table... Edcamp people, you have my respect! Kudos to you ;)

Saturday, 10 June 2017

#GE2017 & The SNP - How the Mighty Fall



On Thursday night Alex Salmond declared that "No one saw it coming" when he spoke of the Conservative and Labour Party's revival as the Scottish National Party lost 21 seats in the UK General Election.

This post details the accuracy of my predictions with election results since September 2014 and how the things that facilitated my predictions come down to:

Network Effects + Feedback Loops (#IndyRef) - The 5 Stages of Decline (#GE2015) = #GE2017

I also argue that the #GE2017 results can be traced back to 21st and 22nd September (The weekend after the Scottish Independence Referendum)... Something that I tried to highlight to the SNP at the time.

Not Being Heard
I have tried to engage with people at the SNP in a meaningful way since September 2014.
  • I tried to get in touch straight after the Independence Referendum
    (SNP Check your inbox on 21st Sept 2014) 
  • I tried to let people know that I see signs of trouble at the height of their success 
  • I let them know that I spoilt my paper in 2016.
If you have insights that prove to be accurate but struggle to be heard... when and where should you speak up? Before disaster? During? After?

Well... I have spoken up before, during and after various train wrecks of initiatives that people in Education have been involved with. I have also tried to raise the alarm since September 2014 with The SNP with the content of this post.

Speak up before hand and you're being negative. Speak up at the time and you're dismissed out of hand, silenced or ignored. Speak out afterwards and it's either you coming across as being smug or rubbing salt in the wounds etc.

Regardless of when you speak out or the reaction the fact remains... opportunities for change are lost!

Susan Cain highlights this in her book that the introverts who tried to raise the alarm about the impending banking crisis were not heard. The risk taking extroverts saying that "We didn't hear the introverts"

I have little interest in politics and use the example below to demonstrate to Mr Salmond that I saw this all coming a mile off... and in the hope that my voice and ideas might be heard with future education ideas or, in the event that I leave education, to demonstrate my community management skills and insights.

On this Day #GE2015...
As the hangover from #GE2017 takes place and people are discussing Theresa May's future I am reminded of what I was doing on this day in 2015.

This also happens to provide a little balance that it's not just the SNP that I find elitist, arrogant and really don't care about anything but themselves

(Sorry, you can argue about lots but my experiences are mine to internalise, and that has been my experiences with the political classes... I can easily justify this statement, just ask me about them!)

The day after #GE2015 I started to work on a document where I share my experiences about what I felt was happening in politics since August 2014.

I wrote this document in a coffee shop where, based on the conversation the people next to me were having, they were rather senior people from the Labour Party. During a lull in the conversation I did something that I have only ever done once or twice before, I said "I'm working on a document that I think could help"

The only other 1-2 times I've done this is when I have been extremely confident that I could help.

Whether because he was an arrogant Old School Boy type or because every man and his dog had an opinion (And an interest) in politics in Scotland in 2014-2015, he said (in a rather dismissive kind of tone) "No you're all right mate" and preceded to look at me as if I were something that he'd scrapped off his shoe.

I continued writing with a  wry smile on my face because I felt my insights had more merit than many of the political pundits, "his loss I thought to myself... no skin off my nose either way!"

Two days after this encounter the big photo shoot took place with all the SNP MPs under the Forth Road Bridge and the post-Independence Referendum hashtag got a make over - from #The45Plus (Or whatever they decided to use by 2015) changing to #Team56.

It was then, two days after the record swings, unprecedented landslide victory that I said to myself

"The SNP is in the first stage of decline" 

I highlight this in a post at the time but also emailed a few critical friends to say

"The SNP are in trouble... you heard it here first!"

On Thursday 7th June 2017 Alex Salmond said that that

"No one saw it coming" 

I've made some rather accurate predictions since September 2014.

The comments and extracts below include a summary of the most relevant comments regarding what could have happened... starting with where it all went wrong September 2014.

...And I don't mean being 5% short of Independence... I mean in the 2 days that followed the result on Social Media.

How One Weekend in 2014 Affected the SNP in 2017
I am not political in any way, shape or form. I'd given up on the political classes a LONG time ago. But in September 2014 I started blogging in support of the SNP.

This had NOTHING to do with Independence, The SNP or Politics. It had EVERYTHING to do with the potential of the CULTURE that they had created. See Page 1 of this Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates for more info (Written in May 2015 and circulated to MPs in all parties).

So, like many, I joined in what became for a 3 week period, a fun and vibrant community of people who bought into the "Yes" change can happen message (But would eventually became a rather disappointing "Yes! We've got 56 of our mates some cushy jobs!" Instead)

I don't know what the mechanics of this campaign were, or how much the campaign managers knew what they were doing... but I can guarantee that they didn't know how valuable what they had was, or how fragile it was if it wasn't looked after well!!!!

Since the 1970s there have been ardent advocates of Scottish Independence, stanch and in various sectors and who have been trying to further the cause.

Now obviously it took decades for this group to campaign to get the Scottish Parliament/Government and then secure the referendum.

However, even when these supporters secured the referendum the polls for Independence didn't go much beyond 34% until the last 2 months.

In the run up to the vote, for whatever reason, the "Yes" movement caught fire. Maybe that lecturer who was always a bit of a "Lone Nut" when it came to Independence had found enough early adopters. The same with the Biker who established "Bikers for Yes" and Women, Asians and the other "Yes" groups.

For 20 years SNP activists were marching to their own beat
 ...Until 3 weeks before #IndyRef, then you coudn't see them for the crowd
By early September the "network effects" were in place and there were so many rallies and of a significant enough size that people started to take notice. The people at these events seemed hopeful about the potential for change and were having fun... so I joined the conversation.


Image result for 2014 indy ref crowds

#VoteYes Sept 2014... First Signs of Trouble

Like many, I joined the fantastic humour at the national water cooler that was #IndyRef and #VoteYes. I went to a few rallies and wondered if Jane Jacobs ideas could be quickly and easily implemented in this culture of hope and enthusiasm for change.

The first sign of trouble was when people I was speaking to on Social Media advised that I go to some pro-SNP meetings... I lasted 10 minutes.

The atmosphere was VERY different to the public ones. Let's just say that I got an idea of what it must have been like to be at the Nuremberg rallies. (NB This was not an event organised by The SNP but was full of pro-IndyRef advocates)

This wasn't the kind of Jane Jacobs diversity of the public event, this was more like I'd imagine what a 1970s SNP AGM might have looked like ...all about politics, political point scoring and either #VotYes... or go away!

When I was leaving I got a smug "Bye then!" by someone in the crowd, and another "He must have been a #NoThanks spy." Erm, yeah! very good?! Goodbye indeed!

The night of the result the Vote No camp were rioting in Glasgow and what happened?

The Network Effects from #VoteYes didn't disappear after the vote... Nor did the humour (initially) the #VoteYes crew took to Twitter.

The Weekend in 2014 that Cost The SNP Votes in 2017
During this evening and for the weekend there was all kind of chatter and engagement with and between the Vote Yes and No Thanks camps. There were Tweets like

"I voted #NoThanks but I wish I was in the #VoteYes camp" 

The comments in reply?

It depended! It depended on who replied. It might have been

"Oh, that's OK we forgive you come and join the fun" 

Or it could be

"Fuck off you voted #NoThanks you Unionist bastard"
(Not my words the kind of comments by SNP/IndyRef supporters on Social Media)

I was there man! I saw what happened that weekend. Lol! Couldn't resist

I would have said that the majority of the people were the former as opposed to the latter. Many in the #VoteYes camp were asking on that first weekend:

"What can we do with this, the vote has ended but how can we keep this movement going?"

Again, just like the IRL public "Yes" rallies, text book Jane Jacobs stuff... fantastic and inspiring! The potential was so exciting!

In my opinion, only one group could have shaped the new culture... the 70 or so "Vote Yes" campaigns with a co-ordinated message of

"This is who the post #VoteYes crew is, this is what we're going to do... and this is how we're going to do it" 

(AKA Dave Logans "Identify your core values and align them with a noble cause")

EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE of the political classes, just sat and watched and wondered what do we do now?  Except one.

One opportunist turned what could have been 45% of people being active community members into the angry 5%, both taking over and wrecking all the good work that the SNP/Yes Alliance did AND gifted the SNP/Yes Alliance with a headache that would have taken moments to address in Sept 2014... but one that is almost impossible to fix today. This damage was done in the space of 40 hours or so.

The cost of this 40 hour absentee period of the creators of it all? In my opinion, it's quite possibly cost them IndyRef2. Don't believe me? Just ask the 2017 MPs and MSPs in any party other than the SNP what they think of Indyref2?

Alternatively go ask Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturegeon what was said about the potential of IndyRef2 in Sept 2014. I believe this conversation is a point of contention today, but regardless of what was or wasn't said, I think Dugdale might have been more open to the idea of #Indyref2 in Sept/Oct 2014 Vs today.

The Weekend After Two Elections Before
The #45Plus was mentioned in the Scottish Parliament as a threat from people like Labour and, understandably so! The Network effects and Feedback Loops were very powerful indeed and had a devastating impact on other parties.

I argued on posts in 2014 and 2015 prior to the result that the GE2015 polls were probably not wrong and that there was little any other party could have done to prevent the GE2015 result.

However, while the pundits said that that

"It will take the Labour Party 10 years to recover"

From the 2015 Election in Scotland, I was screaming at the TV (And writing in this blog) "Oh no it wouldn't! It could be turned round as early as 2016 or 2019 (When the 2017 election was supposed to be).

Disagree with my assessment so far? Well political types will argue with their own shadow. Political candidates will dismiss their own leader (In the most brutal of terms too... that is of course until they start winning, like Corbyn did).

So disagree and argue all you like. It's not me that lost their job on Thursday. It's not me that ignored the Tweets, posts and emails that I sent.

I've predicted the results as they unfolded when MPs, media and political analysts and experts were saying "This can't be right, can it?"

...Here you go:

19th Sept 2014
As Scotland wakes up to the fact that the hopes of Independence have been dashed and the army of #VoteYes feel "a little down" and are licking their wounds... this Glasgow nutter wonders if victory might be snatched out of the jaws of defeat. Is the best yet to come? Yes Scotland

28th Sept 2014
"This post includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable

[Other parties] task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off at Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too" Achieving the Impossible

7th Oct 2014
There were a number of posts written to try to encourage and/or influence the culture of this impressive network. I would argue that the culture was set the first weekend after the #IndyRef result.

"On Sunday/Monday (21/22nd Sept) leadership of #The45Plus group was missing... A leadership that could only have been established by the 60+ "Yes Scotland" accounts, as this was the unifying thing that brought a diverse group together. Here's 2 things that I believe should have happened: integrating #VoteNo people and setting the culture with a new shared goal and identity"

The culture is now set, and hell mend anyone who disagrees with someone who voted Yes! We are the angry boycotters. We are the anarchists. We are the cybernats and it would appear that our mission to piss everyone off and to argue with anyone who disagrees with the hard line we decide to take.

Oh, and by the way, we're not very good with our maths... because 100% of 45% agreeing with each other is still only 45%, no matter how much more strongly we may or may not believe in independence, this is still a minority. 
#The45Plus... Where Did it all Go Wrong?

As someone involved with some digital citizenship initiatives, I think the political classes need to take a long hard look at themselves when they complain about Trolls and encouraging Tech companies to do more!

6th May 2015
So the SNP look to disrupt the political landscape in tomorrow's General Election. This post details how, if you look at events in the context of the adoption of technology, the result was not only inevitable, but that I predicted it eight months ago during the Scottish Independence Referendum (See the extract from 28 Sept 2014 above).Why SNP Domination was Inevitable 

7th May 2015
As I highlight above, I was more interested in the cultural conditions of the "Yes" campaign compared with SNP/Independence.

Furthermore my core values include the fact that we'll collaborate with anyone and everyone... so I sat down to write this document: Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates

The intention was to reach out to people in Labour to say that no one needs to resign as it wasn't a policy or leadership issue.

I thought I'd have a few days to do this as the time for reflection and soul searching might last the weekend... but, BOY! Those guys don't hang about when there's blame to apportion!

The soul searching lasted all of about 12 hours before those long knives were out!

I'd encourage the political classes to stop and think for a moment about what might have been re: Labour's result if candidates did indeed campaign for 2017 in 2015 in the way that I suggested?

Would it be PM Corbyn today? I think it might have been! So the SNP might want to think themselves lucky or Labour kicking themselves... depending on the shiny badge that you have on lapels of your expensive suit that you get on expenses.


9th May 2015 (But post written on 9th Sept 2015)
When SNP MPs social media pictures were changed from images of candidates in their constituencies with their activists to the photo opp with Nicola Sturgeon and the #The45Plus (or whatever pro-Indyref hashtag was being used by then) was changed again to #Team56 (ie it's now all about us, not them).

It is hear that I wondered if I had spotted an all too easy to miss tell-tale sign of Jim Collins first of Five Stages of Decline.

Two days after the election we saw #The45Plus, a hashtag that represented the 1.6 million people who voted Yes in the referendum was replaced with #Team56... the 56 MPs who were headed down to Westminster to fight over where they sat and picking up their £75,000 + expenses.

There was also some changes with photos on MPs Twitter profiles, from candidates in their constituency with supporters... to member of #Team56 replacing them with pictures with their leader under the Forth Rail Bridge. How significant is this? Read Adam Grant's book "Give and Take" and you'll find it's quite telling.


When listening to all the commentators regarding the general Election result 4 months ago, who were saying "It will take 10 years for the Labour party to recover in Scotland" I was thinking "No it wouldn't!" It could be turned around by 2016... if they did things differently to the political classes usual methods, employing community management methods and "creating new patterns of engagement" Labouring on with #Team56? How to Rebuild Trust When It Is Broken



“When you are at the top of the world, the most powerful nation on Earth, the most successful company in your industry, the best player in your game, your very power and success might cover up the fact that you’re already on the path to decline. So, how would you know?” Jim Collins, How the Mighty fall

All the fighting over seats and clapping (And other behaviour that comes with hubris) suggested that stage 1 of decline had been reached.

While there is a good deal of snark in this post about the political classes, there is no criticism about this stage and NOTHING but empathy... maintaining the culture as you experience success is SO difficult to do... But is also vital!

Just imagine what could have been for Labour if there had been unity either since 2015 or the 2017 campaign? Blairites continuing to mess things up long after the "Things can only get better" bull shit?!

I shared these insights with MPs of all colours of shiny badges at the time. Some engaged. Others didn't

Local Elections 2016
Those who did we had a conversation.

I had discussed with Declara what they could to in the brave new world of 140 Character politics (Which, believe it or not, *Just Might* Have had an impact with the yet-to-be-coined "Fake News") AND keep those Network Effects and Feedback Loops in place.

I kept in touch with some of those who engaged as well as all candidates in my constituency with these random thoughts, observations and ideas.

In 2016 it was all the same colour of shit for me so here's what I did and here's what I told people what I did.
There was little by way of meaningful engagement for a proponent-turned-detractor... But grateful to those who did.

5th May 2017
The local elections and "The miraculous Tory revival" (But no real surprise to me), surprised many, as did my observation when others were saying "Get rid of Corbyn" (Again). 


This Tweet led to a quick check in on the pointless political classes (Problem with the rhetoric used in this post? Call, email, Tweet me to ask me about my experiences and see what you'd make of our hard working MPs/MSPs if you were me. #TheRhetoricIsJustified!)

11th May 2017
My views up until this point were along the lines of "I feel pretty bad for Corbyn, he seems like a good guy... but don't think that good guys do too well in the world of politics" Then I saw two things:

1) The inspired use of social media by Labour, and
2) Who one of the most vocal people were on those hashtags was


Will Black author of the fantastic "Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires" which is a brilliant complement to one of my favourite books "Tribal Leadership" helped to explain what was happening with #IndyRef, #Brexit and how all people really wanted was change, but were consistently being let down so look for change in a different way and/or with a different party.

An expert in spotting psychopaths and toxic/psychopathic cultures supporting Corbyn left me wondering "What if... What if this time really was different?"

15th May 2017


As a result of the fun #FortheMany social media campaigns and because an author like Will was supporting Corbyn I wrote about how and why I felt Corbyn could win at the expense of the SNP:

My views about global domination by the SNP and their cult popularity status changed drastically 2 days after the General Election. Yep, while everyone had the champagne out at the height of their success I was disagreeing with the pundits that "It would take 10 years for other parties to rebuild in Scotland" 
Labouring on with Team56 how to Rebuild Trust.

Where did these insights come from? I spent a year watching an organisation that I had invested 10 years of my time with slowly but surely slide down Jim Collins "5 Stages of Decline" and recognised them with an organisation that I'd supported for a couple of years.

I have seen nothing to suggest that the SNP have not moved from 

Stage 1: Hubris, to 
Stage 2: The Undisciplined Pursuit for More (The announcement of #IndyRef2/#ScotRef in March), and Stage 3: Denial of Risk (The local election results on the 4th May 2017 and dismissing the result by other parties).

A party with such large numbers of supporters two years ago and only 65 people supporting Salmond's Crowdfunder... WOW austerity must REALLY be kicking in!


Today I am spending as as much time on pro-Labour hashtags as I did with #IndyRef/#VoteYes/SNP ones... for the same reason. In 2014 the VoteYes movement was fun and buzzing, today the Corbyn movement appears to have the better culture.

is supporting Corbyn a waste of time and a wasted vote? Well... It wasn't until 2-3 weeks before the Independence Referendum that things took off for the "Yes" camp (Go check the polls in July 2014 the Yes polls were at 34%... The same as Labour are today).

The "network effects" from the 2014 referendum that made the unprecedented GE2015 SNP result possible are starting to fade... what does this mean for Labour?


Well old Labour supporters have not gone away... as the network effects for the SNP fade they *Just Might* develop rather quickly for Labour. The May Local Elections show that I'm not the only disaffected SNP supporter and inaction will lead to more Tory rule.


If the feedback loops that once worked in the SNP's favour three weeks before an election through buzzing and fun conversations on their hashtags remain in Labour's favour could enough people return to their old voting preferences before Independence and Brexit as a result of these inspired social media campaigns by Corbyn within 3-4 weeks? Well there isn't just the IndyRef precedent there's also the US election.

Indeed, has Corbyn studied what worked for #IndyRef and Trump with their respective grassroots movements and rallies with large crowds?

If so will Corbyn be able to do enough between now and June? Will there be enough of the 2014 Network Effects for the SNP? Will Labours Feedback Loops be fun enough to bring old Labour voters back?

Time will tell but I can sure see why there's been a close in the polls and an increase in bets for Corbyn. 

#GE2017 From #VoteYes to No Thanks - A Lesson in Culture & Loyalty

NB It might be agrued that Stage 4 has been reached with the #IndyRef rallies on this weekend the day after Scotland Vs England.

I took an interest in everything that was happening here and, while there was the odd RT or #GE2017 reply, there was no huge engagement.

Sure I was sitting on the fence, but there were two other things: The Leaders Debate and my personal and professional experiences with the Political Classes

Leaders Debate 
As I highlight in the Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates from 2015, I explored MPs Tweets and have a GE2015 Twitter list.

In my #GE2017 From #VoteYes to No Thanks - A Lesson in Culture & Loyalty post I detail all the things that I've done to support MPs... but had hardly any engagement with them.

I played a fun game during the leaders debates, I had the TV on, watched the "Pleb channel" on Twitter where people argued for this party or that and the "GE2015 MPs" channel where they spoke amongst themselves and/or spoke about themselves.

So hang on a minute? You want me to put you in a £75k a year job + expenses, don't come back to me on constituent issues and don't engage on SM

  WHEN I'M ACTUALLY ARGUING AND FIGHTING FOR YOU?!

#NoThanks

A Personal Note...
I have had on-going issues since 2010 and not a single MP has done much more than send me a "Thank you for your enquiry, there's nothing we can do" so I am under no illusion as to how much me, my family and our issues feature on MPs agenda, or other constituents for that matter

In my last post the SNP almost got my vote for GE2017 because of someone who had built a relationship through replying to the odd email I sent through from time to time. 

The day before the election, knowing that my MP or the party in power will have very little impact on me one way or the other... here's how it was decided:

From 2010-2015 I had Labour MPs who provided the same non-existent response to constituent enquiries as well as my SNP MP. 

So I thought, whoever comes back with the best Tweet will get the vote. With a difference of 265 I wonder if the SNP candidate wished they had either accepted my offer of helping our with her campaign in 2015 or replying to my Tweet on the 6th June. 

Equally, I wonder if the 2017 result was because after all the hope of the "Vote Yes" campaign and the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" that it created to deliver the 2015 results have faded as I predicted they could/would and saw people return to old voting habits?


If the good and the great of the political classes have a better argument. Great. But that's what I've seen.

I have been involved with Digital Citizenship initiatives and wonder at all the 

"We need to do more about MPs and online abuse" 

But what have MPs (From any party) done to influence and/or curb what their own supporters have said?


How many members of the opposition have called #IndyRef2 a divisive campaign recently? 


The two potential post-IndyRef #VoteYes movements: The one that filled George Square with food for food banks and good humour... and the one that threatened to boycott those who held views the #VoteYes crew didn't agree with? 
SCOTLAND
How many MPs would be calling #IndyRef2 a divisive campaign if the more positive aspects of the early post #IndyRef #VoteYes momentum was give over to the people with good humour and who filled George Square with food for food banks... instead of the angry 5% political activists who put others off?

Alex Salmond, The SNP and politicians can say that they disagree with any of the assessments here and that there are other things at play, and they are welcome to do so... I make ABSOLUTELY NO CLAIM to be an expert in anything... especially the stupidity of the political classes and their reasons for what they do.

But please, please do NOT say that "no one saw it coming" when I saw it a mile off! And tried to let people know!

But then again, I know from experience that it's difficult to tell anyone anything when hubris exists as a result of success... just as I empathise about the situation (Why else would I take time out from what I'm doing to write this?)

I also appreciate how challenging it is to keep the culture that delivered the success as an idea scales.

Thank You SNP
There is a note of thanks to be had here. I knew about the 5 Stages of Decline by spending a year in an organisation who went through these stages.

I've known the importance of developing and protecting the culture that you create for some time, it's good to see the impact of not doing so and how quickly things can unravel on someone else's dime/project.

I am one random blogger. Out of work because there are no #Cmgr roles and few EdTech comapnies in Scotland. How many other one time supporters with an idea or insight or two have you overlooked?

Is this a good time to highlight these ideas? Two days after a serious defeat? I tried to highlight this before during and after the fact... you tell me, when was the right time? What did I need to do to be heard?

Sorry if the timing sucks, but as you found on Thursday, you suck too... but don't blame me, I voted "Yes"  I tried to tell you too.

I'm not sure if I'll be remaining in education, but the offer from my post in May 2015 remains:

"This process could be used in many areas of Scottish society. The SNP benefited from the kind of process that major technology companies utilise, so they know it works. When I'll be impressed with the SNP, or any other party, is when they decide to use these principles in other areas, not just politics.

If any politician (from any party) wants to know how to continue to take advantage of this process in politics or, ideally, apply to other areas, especially in education, you know where to find me if you have any questions." 
Why SNP Domination was Inevitable