The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Interview: Sydney Local, Scott Drummond — June 25, 2012

Interview: Sydney Local, Scott Drummond

This fortnight, our Community Ambassador, Annette Slunjski (GM of Lucidity Marketing Communications) chats to Scott Drummond about social interactions, creative ideas and how his young son’s successful blog inspired a photographic exhibition.

Name: Scott Drummond

Website: http://scottdrummond.org

Twitter handle: @scott_drummond

Works: http://hostsydney.com

What are you working (work-work or play-work) on right now that makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
I’m always trying to work out new ways for brands and people to come together socially and make each other’s lives better, so that’s a great daily work-work/play-work challenge that I’m always up for!

How do you keep up with what’s happening?
I try to listen and look out for interesting happenings in all the usual online haunts, but to be honest most things come to me by way of people I know. The best recommendations always come from the friends I have – they are into all sorts of wonderful stuff and I’m always learning from them.

What is fastBREAK and who would get the most out of it?
fastBREAK is a series of monthly short breakfast talks produced by Vibewire, an innovative non-profit youth organisation whose mission is to help young people participate in the conversations that really matter. On the last Friday of every month 5 inspiring speakers speak for 5 minutes each in response to a monthly theme. There’s coffee and delicious breakfast supplied by the amazing Black Star Pastry in Newtown. fastBREAK is the perfect wake-up treat for the intellectually and creatively curious, ad it’s also a great place to meet fascinating people.

Which fastBREAK speaker was the most facinating?
Impossible for me to say – I’ve found so many of them fascinating for different reasons. I’m always hanging out for the next speakers. On Friday June 29 I’m really excited about our line-up: Lord Mayor Clover Moore is joined by Annalie Killian (Director of Innovation, AMP), Marita Cheng (2012 Young Australian of the Year and Robogals founder) and Luke Geary (Managing Partner, Salvos Legal and Salvos Legal Humanitarian). They’re all responding to the theme ‘Stuffed’ so I’m fascinated to see their different approaches.

What’s the most memorable creative idea you’ve awarded as part of the Awesome Foundation?
It would either have to be Physique, an 80s-inspired freestyle aerobics night that runs in Redfern weekly or Scott Brown’s project to build a sensory-feedback device for sensory stimulation between a young autistic child and her parent. Both projects are totally awesome for such different reasons.

Moving on the The {Tiny} Times (previously The Tiny Satorialist) – the blog where young Marshall (with some help from Mum Karla) photo blogs about his {tiny} world; what made The Tiny Satorialist gather such a strong following – enough to support the photographic exhibition?

[Enter Karla and Marshall, exit Scott]

Early on, wordpress.com put selected one of our posts for their “freshly pressed” homepage feature, which had a huge impact in terms of page impressions, exposure to the wordpress community and subscribers. This first bit of exposure is what also led to the great deal of press that has followed. I was lucky enough to chat with some people from the wordpress team this year at SXSW and their feedback was along the lines of: simplicity, consistency and original content is what attracts them to certain blogs. The {Tiny} Times has a very simple formula – photos and short captions with practical information about where we are and the clothes we are wearing. I post 3-4 times a week and use only my own photographs. And I love doing it – and love is contagious 🙂

What are you working (work-work or play-work) on right now that makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
Play-work projects are the real things that get me out of bed. Currently, I am knitting Marshall a purple Ziggy Stardust cardie and taking a photo after each row so I can turn it into an animated GIF, something like this.

How do you keep up with what’s happening?
I don’t really 😦 Conversations with different people in my industry (media) help me stay in touch with what is going on. I read sites like Colossal for creative inspiration, Wired to sit down for some good longer reads or good ol’ Mashable for the digital what’s what.

[Back to Scott]

Scott, what’s the coolest thing happening around community at the moment?
I think it’s exciting to see so many people getting off the couch and meeting up with like-minded people in person. I’m obviously an advocate of the power of digital technology to connect people, but I also think it’s great when those people are moved to meet up and create new opportunities together.

What is the one issue you are most passionate about?
How humans can connect with each other to build valuable relationships that help us to collectively address the most important challenges of our day.

What are some upcoming events you would recommend to the Fetch community?
It’s quite a long way off still, but I’m very excited about ISEA 2013.

About our Ambassador // After a long time in technology marketing and communications, Annette still loves the wonderful nerdiness and envelope pushing that is IT, especially the amazing things happening in the Australian startup scene. As GM of Lucidity, Annette helps tech companies tell the world about their goodness. Connect with Annette via @luciditymc

Event Review: Portable Presents Frank Chimero — June 12, 2012

Event Review: Portable Presents Frank Chimero

I attended an inspiring talk last Friday with Frank Chimero put on by Portable. We were back for an afternoon session at the Vivid Ideas Exchange held at the MCA. An influencer in the design arena, Frank has worked with leading businesses worldwide such as The New York Times, Nike, WIRED, Microsoft, Facebook and more. However, on this Australian speaking tour Frank shared less about his own portfolio and more about his thoughts on design thinking, defining good design and the creative “search” we were challenged to take.

I often find myself most inspired by events and meet-ups that reach beyond my usual work. I must confess, sitting in a room of designers listening to a talk on design thinking (when you’re not a designer) is wonderful. After all, design thinking touches more than just those who actively work in the field. The messages around technology’s growing role in our work and the potential to design a better future rang true with me as someone who identified as a digital marketer and perhaps just ‘creative person.’

One thing that really stuck with me was Frank’s message around the path that we take when creating. He said that he often does things the long, hard and stupid way. He swears and makes the people around him miserable throughout a project. While it’s painful at the time, in the end that hard work is seen by the world. Others can see when someone puts time and care into a project and the audience appreciates it for that reason. We recognise good design when it delights us.

I often feel this way when I’m writing the fortnightly Sydney Fetch (I promise I don’t swear when curating the Fetch). I take my time pulling each link manually. There are quicker ways we could populate the newsletter, but I like to think that some of this manual process can be seen by our readers — that they can see the care and thought that was put into it.

Frank also shared, that as creative people, he thinks we don’t shy away from the difficult path.  We are willing to take on the hard work and go on “the search” in our careers and ask the tough questions. Something that I think many friends of the Fetch can identify with.

Thank you Frank Chimero and Portable for a great event.

What inspired you this week? Let us know, leave a comment below. 

Event Review: Three Awesome Things about Awesome Soup — June 9, 2012

Event Review: Three Awesome Things about Awesome Soup

What: Awesome Soup was organised by Sydney’s chapter of The Awesome Foundation as part of Vivid this year. Each month the group come together to read applications of local projects and then fund one of those projects with a $1000 microgrant. Awesome Soup awarded a $5000 grant to the winning idea chosen by all of the attendees. Your ticket to the event went toward the grant total. By contributing financially and participating in the voting process, attendees of Awesome Soup gained some insight into how the Awesome Foundation operates each month.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) as part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange.

Overheard: Oh no, I said that ‘awesome word’ again.

Awesome Ideas

We heard five finalist pitches (narrowed down by the Awesome Foundation board). It was everything from a day of bubbles bringing random joy to Sydney-siders, to a business that would turn Japanese tattoos into wallpaper. Each project shared had its own level of awesomeness; however our champion at the end of the night was Oxford Street Design Store — a project that has already shown a promising start, and will continue to give back to the community.

Awesome People

One of the best parts of Awesome Soup was all of the wonderful people who it attracted. It was great to chat with some friends of the Fetch and also see some new faces. As part of the event, we had dinner (soup, if you couldn’t guess by the name) and get to know our table. We were bonded by good conversations and good food, a winning combination in my book.

Awesome Sydney

Hearing these ideas and being in this room surrounded by inspired people was just another reminder of how awesome the Sydney community is. I’m glad that this event was part of the Vivid lineup.  I wonder what other awesome, local, ideas we can support over this coming year.

Have an awesome idea that needs some help getting off the ground? Apply for an upcoming grant from the Awesome Foundation. 

Event Review: Etsy Success Sydney 2012 — June 8, 2012

Event Review: Etsy Success Sydney 2012

This event review is brought to you by Delphine Vuagnoux, from our Fetch Community Ambassador Team in Sydney.


What: Etsy Success Sydney, a day-long conferences and exchanges to inspire, inform and connect local creative entrepreneurs who wish to learn new skills and understand the need for change in the new economy.
Where: in the newly-renovated Museum of Contemporary Art, with incredible views on the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
Over Heard: “I’m not perfect. I’m perfectly myself.”

Etsy is a global platform for people to buy from and run independent, creative business. It’s a community marketplace selling unique handmade products accross the world. Launched in Australia in 2011, Etsy is about connecting people, supporting independent businesses and artists and promoting a sustainable and viable trading.  Etsy Success Sydney, part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange at Vivid Sydney 2012, provided a rich programme for everyone looking for ideas to create or expand his/her own business. 300 creative people came to get inspired, to connect, to learn and to share.

Here are six lessons I learned from a full day of inspired stories and rich insights:

1. Find your courage

Starting something new is one of the biggest challenges in life, whether it’s moving to a new place or launching a new business. Chad Dickerson, Etsy CEO, set the tone of the day by telling us how he found the courage to do what he really wanted to do. Yes, there are always a ton of reasons not to change, not to try. So how to overcome your fear? By starting somewhere. Anywhere. “Courage comes from doing,” Chad said. Once you started you have to persist. You make some mistakes, that’s normal; the main thing to keep in mind is that you learn something everytime you failed. And then, always be true to yourself; when in doubt, go with your heart.

2. How Etsy success works for newbies

Danielle Maveal started selling on Etsy 4 years ago and as being now Etsy’s Seller Education lead, she shared tips for the beginners. Etsy has 15 000 members. They sell products which are vintage or handmade or supplies to make them. Danielle was really enthusiastic and as she emphasized, ‘with Etsy, it’s not only opening a shop, it’s about values.” She shared practical insights about how to use keywords (must be clear and detailed) or social media (it’s all about storytelling: sharing your unique point of view, of inspiration). And of course, being consistent so you keep investing time, editing and sharing.

3. Ways to use fashion as a vehicle for social change

Dr Grace McQuilten narrated us the story of The Social Studio, a social business in fashion industry, adressing the issue of refugees in Melbourne. Starting from scratch 3 years ago, The Social Studio is now a fashion label, a retail space, a cafe and a printing studio. “It’s a complex solution to a complex problem”, Grace confessed. Employing 20 people, training 35 students a year in association with the fashion school, the social studio has 5 outlets accross Australia and studies the possibility to be present in Sydney.

4. How to boost your creative business through networking

Hard to believe that Valerie Khoo used to hate giving speeches and networking as she was one of the most interesting speakers of the event. Valerie is the founder of Sydney Writers Centre, a journalist, a blogger and an author. So she had a lot to share about how to make the most of your networking opportunities: both in person and online. It’s all about to connect with your customers and continuing the conversation, building your community as we trust recommendations of people in our community. In real-life networking events can be scary but “if you force yourself, you’ll end up by liking it!”, confirmed Valerie. Overall, always remember that “your network is your networth”.

5. The story of the garage sale trail

It began as part of a local creative community festival in Bondi in May 2010. In April 2011 it went national and was activated in locations all over Australia. In May 2012, more than 150 000 people participated in event nationally. According to Darryl Nichols and Andrew Valder, 3 keywords explain this amazing success story: sustainability, community and creativity. The general idea is to “encourage recycling and relationships between neighbors.” People just adore the idea to make money and celebrate community. “Commerce is powerful when it’s fun and social.”

6. DIY Media and PR: a practical guide

There weren’t enough seats for the last conference of the day! People were really keen to learn all the secrets on how to reach their favorite journalist and get coverage in the media. Jo Walker, editor at Frankie Magazine, and Lexi Kentmann blogger at PottyMouthMama, provided basic rules such as: keep your media release short and simple, error-free and  addressed to the right person. Rather than sending randomly your media release to 100 magazines, carefully choose your target. When you send your email, be sure that it contains all the information needed, in the limit of 300-400 words, with pictures in low resolution. Timing is a key component of success: always think ahead, at least 2 months for a bi-monthly magazine.

This is only a small glimpse of the Etsy Success Sydney 2012. To find out more stay connected on Twitter with @EtsyAU. Also check out some snaps from the event on the Fetch Sydney Facebook page.

About our Amabassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a Communications officer, working for corporate and not-for-profits sectors. She is passionate about social change and is an idealistic: she believes that all together, with a collaborative approach, we can make this world a better place to live. She just obtained a Master in Public Relations and Advertising at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Connect with Delphine via @delphinevuagnou.

Interview: Sydney Local, Renae Mason — April 29, 2012

Interview: Sydney Local, Renae Mason

Renae Mason

Name: Renae Mason

Website: awesomefoundation.org

Twitter handle: @awesomefoundsyd and @missnae

Works at: Boomworks by day, Awesome Foundation by night

Sydney has a chapter of the awesome foundation, which is awesome. Can you tell us a little about it?

The Awesome Foundation provides micro-grants for micro sparks of genius and creativity. Every month ten trustees chip in a collective $1000 of their own cash to fund a project, no strings attached. There are currently about 33 chapters in the world providing a great support network and sharing so many inspiring stories, it can be hard to keep up with all the good news!

What do you think is awesome?

Well that’s easy. Every month there’s something new to choose from in the world of Awesome! One of my favourite projects is The Oxford St Design Store, where a variety of quality, local and handmade goods are sold for $1, $5, $10 and $20 respectively. They are also hosting events, an artist-in-residence and a co-working space. It’s great to see this happening right in the heart of Sydney, where rental prices can make this kind of gathering very difficult to pull off.

Some of my other favourite projects just demonstrate what a big kid I am. In Awesome Boston, they built the world’s biggest hammock in a park for all to enjoy. In Awesome LA they installed guerilla swings in interesting locations all over the city (imagine the joy of swinging under a boardwalk as the tide rolls in!), and in Toronto there was a night of cardboard fort building. The designs were epic!

Who do you think is doing cool stuff in our industries?

I like a lot of stuff that’s happening at the edge of industry, with events like Pecha Kucha, TEDx and Trampoline Day. These events empower people to come together and share their unique perspectives.

Also, I’m a huge museum and gallery fan and the work of the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale really stands out from the crowd. The passion for Chinese contemporary art, cultural exchange and audience engagement shines through in everything they do.

Where do you get your information from?

All over the place! I’ve got to admit – my feed reader is bursting with loads of interesting things I will never get the time to read. Mostly I find great links and stories from people I know via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Goodreads, Foursquare, Instagram, Path, LinkedIn. Yes, I’m an app junky.

What are some awesome upcoming events you would recommend to the Fetch community?

We’ll be holding an epic event as part of Vivid Sydney festival this year. It’s called ‘Awesome Soup’ and the idea is that folks will pitch their projects to the audience, who will then vote for their favourite project, whilst sharing a delicious meal. It’s going to be awesome! Anyone can apply to pitch their awesome idea on the night. Tickets are now on sale on the Vivid website.

How do people learn more or get involved with the awesome foundation?

We’re about to launch our own Sydney website, but for now you can find our more about us here. We’re also on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to be considered for a position on the board, we’d love to hear from you at any time – just email sydney@awesomefoundation.org. Likewise, we are open for applications all year round, so head over the website to apply.

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