Thursday, January 01, 2015

Notes from Janus: Hindsight 2014

Looking back...

1. Bitcoin was a strange beast this year. We loosely and rapidly launched Bitcoin Brighton to act as a rallying point for local businesses interested in cryptocurrency. I gave a talk to local businesses. The meetup group had anywhere between 20 people and one person. Brighton gained 3 ATMs, and I got me mugshot in the Argus.

Lessons from Bitcoin:

- Attention (especially from the media) doesn't (in the best cases) define value
- Finding people who care enough to act and who are genuinely nice is the hardest thing in the world
- Don't trust meetup RSVPs, they're closer to an indication of intent
- Bitcoin is still interesting, just in a different way

2. Randomised haiku ebook Butterflies and Sand was laid to rest after 12 editions. I feel like I'm a lot more selective about what I say in my haiku after this year - and how it gets said.

Lessons from haiku:

- A good haiku is nothing short of world-changing
- Describing what I like in a haiku is hard
- Words are illusionary, but are ok at hinting at the moments that define us if used well

3. Work has been a large part of 2014, but I'm not in a state to put thoughts down on it yet. Sufficient to say, ramping up on coding practices, project management, running a team and also a company is an interesting experience.

Lessons from work:

- Make time to listen
- Know how to filter what you can hear
- Know when the right time to act is

4. Of the books I read, my favourite books of the year were one on hermits in China, and The Book of Tea. Both are setting out some directions for the next few years - one for another post.

5. A disfigured version of the papernet continued throughout the year. On one hand I sent or received at least half a dozen haiku by postcard, and on the other hand I moved away from posting longer letters via international post. Instead, I've been experimenting with on-phone scanners to send handwritten notes to Bookmore as PDFs or JPGs. Sometimes they get sent via email, sometimes by Dropbox, sometimes by Evernote. But it's fun playing with the delivery mechanism vs the content (unlike most comms services which define and tightly couple both). Sometimes you do just want things through the door.

Lessons from the papernet:

- Physical objects can and should become things of beauty when detached from the virtual world. Make your letters amazing.
- Pens have souls

6. I posted 27 photos on Flickr, of which 67% (18) were black and white.

7. The I Ching has become increasingly of interest and importance to me over the year. Like work above, this is also a complex topic and tricky to talk about, but it is great to have something that one can consider only as a "higher form of magic" become a thing of practically. It is depressing how little magic there is around these days. Some of the year’s readings are available as part of the Open Notebook project.

8. Talking of magic, our new son Rudi arrived. The lessons learned are too long to list,  and I wouldn't know where to start.

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