The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Mapping the future of The Fetch: Kickstarter campaign now live — August 23, 2014

Mapping the future of The Fetch: Kickstarter campaign now live

Back the campaign now here:  http://bit.ly/kickstartfetch

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The past three years have been an exciting whirlwind of a journey, as The Fetch grew from its humble beginnings as an email newsletter and side project into a vibrant and diverse community of professionals from around the globe. We’ve proudly watched it evolve, and even outgrow itself. This is a good challenge to have, and one that we’re now tackling with all of our passion – but we need our community’s continued support to make it a reality.

“Since becoming the Melbourne Curator, my life has changed dramatically in a very positive way. It’s truly been an ongoing journey of personal learning and professional growth. The Fetch has provided me with the opportunity to meet an exciting network of people across the digital, tech and creative industries who are eager to connect, collaborate, and share knowledge. ~ Kat Loughrey, Curator of The Fetch Melbourne

In order to build a true curated city guide for professionals across the globe, we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign. There, you’ll learn more about our mission and what you can expect from The Fetch if we get your backing. We believe that in this cluttered, crazy digital world, in-person interactions are more important than ever, and we want to be the catalyst to make those happen.

We hope that you decide to support the campaign, and help us mold the future of The Fetch. We can’t thank all of our community members enough for all of your support and dedication. To help make this campaign a success, please share it with your friends.

In case you’re new to The Fetch community, here’s some insight from some of our amazing community members:

“I regularly recommend The Fetch to people looking to get involved in their local startup scenes — it’s quick, informative and brilliant. As a weekly reader, I’m a huge fan.” ~ Kathryn Minshew, Co-founder & CEO, The Muse

and

“The Fetch has allowed me to invest in my own growth. I have been able to forge new friendships, develop skills and pursue unexpected interests because of what The Fetch has put in my path. As a result of the things I am aware of in my community, I have become better equipped at guiding other people towards the resources they need to fuel their own aspirations and endeavours.” ~ Jackie Antig, City Ambassador.

and

“To feel the pulse of a city’s tech scene, I recommend subscribing to The Fetch. Regardless of whether you’re making in-roads into creative communities, or wanting to attend a web metrics meetup, each issue will have you both scrambling for your calendar and reading up on new and interesting projects!” ~ Rosanne de Vries, Community Manager, Campaign Monitor

Thank you again and we look forward to building something great with you!

Back the campaign now here:  http://bit.ly/kickstartfetch

Hello Erin – our New York curator — March 31, 2014

Hello Erin – our New York curator

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“I always thought I was crazy with the amount of side interests I like to pursue and projects I like to take on outside of work – until I moved here and realized I had found my tribe!”

After our beta launch in New York last June, it’s been so great to see the warm reception and organic uptake of The Fetch in the city. We now couldn’t be happier to share that Erin Greenawald will be our new curator in NY. Erin has been a subscriber since the beginning and by day, is an editor at career-loving startup The Muse. We took a few minutes to ask Erin about her background:

How did you end up where you are today? 

It all started when I dreamt of being an actress on broadway at age nine. While I haven’t stepped foot in the theater since I moved up to NYC almost a year ago, I managed to make it up here somehow. I wasn’t in love with what I was studying at school in DC so took a chance at a virtual internship in a different field with a startup while I finished my degree. Before I knew it I had a job offer from them (before I graduated – the dream!) and was asked to move to NYC ASAP. Since then I’ve been happily working as an editor helping give non-boring career advice by day at The Muse!

Why did you want to get involved with The Fetch?

Networking has never exactly been my thing – I’d generally prefer to be curled up on my couch with a good book or cooking with a friend. But when I moved here with almost no network to be seen, I knew I wanted to push myself to get out there and get to know the vibrant tech and startup community surrounding me. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I know I still have so many more fantastic people to meet – and I think The Fetch will really help take me to that next level.

What things excite you about our community right now? 

I’m so thrilled to get the chance to connect with so many different people – both in NYC and around the world – who are all passionate about getting the most out of their city that they can! I think everyone in The Fetch community is incredibly busy and interesting, but also very welcoming and excited to welcome others into the circle, which is something that really resonates with me.

What events do you recommend in NYC?

I like trying to find events that are a different format than your typical networking event (see above). So panels, hackathons, dinners – anything that’s not standing around mingling keeps me interested!

What’s your favourite thing about your city? 

I love that this city is always surprising me. I’m always reading about events or festivals or art exhibits or new concept bars or restaurants and thinking “that exists?!” But of course – it’s New York City. It really feeds into my love of trying new things, and they’re often things I didn’t even know I wanted to try.

What’s unique about NYC?

I always thought I was crazy with the amount of side interests I like to pursue and projects I like to take on outside of work – until I moved here and realized I had found my tribe! So may people have their main job (which is usually pretty cool in the first place) and then the company they’re trying to start on the side or the artistic interest that they manage to keep thriving in their free time. It’s such an inspirational and motivational group of people to be around.

Where can we find you in NYC? 

During the week Flatiron is my stomping grounds (the dog park in Madison Square Park is better than coffee breaks and I can’t wait for Madison Square Eats season). On the weekends, Brooklyn usually! Once the weather finally gets nicer you’ll likely see me at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market and Prospect Park almost every weekend.

How can we connect with you? 

Reach out on Twitter @erinacously or email erin@thefetch.org.

If you didn’t live in NYC, where would you be? 

I’ve always felt the pull of the west coast. Seattle or Portland may be in my future, though I’m a little worried about the rain!

Live in New York? Sign up to our weekly event-packed email digests now!

Top 10 writers festivals around the globe — February 23, 2014

Top 10 writers festivals around the globe

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What makes a great writer’s festival?

Regardless of size, location or theme, a great writer’s festival provokes discussion and debate, encourages creativity and reflection, and showcases inspiring writers and thinkers. It celebrates its local literary culture while also facilitating discussions of global importance. And most importantly, it’s fun. Here are a few of the world’s best to add to your bucket list.

1) Jaipur Literary Festival (India)

The air I breathe is filled with words – Mahasweta Devi 

The Greatest Literary Show on Earth – or so its organizers call it. And when you’re sitting in a huge tent surrounded by a very vocal audience of Indians and travellers from all around the world, it’s hard to deny that the Jaipur Literary Festival is one of the most vibrant. Founded by charismatic British author Will Dalrymple, this festival blends music and fun alongside thought-provoking and lively debate.

January each year – http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org

2) Digital Writers’ Festival (everywhere) 

Are we live? –  Sam Twyford-Moore

Aimed at connecting emerging writers around the world to talk about their writing lives, the Digital Writers’ Festival is an innovative online event that takes place in real time via Twitter and Google Hangouts. The extensive program overcomes time zone challenges to present international discussions that are experimental, challenging and informative.

February each year – http://digitalwritersfestival.com

3) The Bookworm International Literary Festival, Beijing (China) 

I’m told that laughter is the highest wisdom of the human race.  – Li Er

At once cosy and a bit chaotic, Beijing’s Bookworm bookstore hosts several exciting weeks of bilingual literary events and fascinating discussions about the Asia region. The lantern-lit on-site café is a great place to order a cup of tea (or wine) and strike up a conversation with ex-pats and Chinese students alike.

March each year – http://bookwormfestival.com

4) PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature (USA) 

The creative act requires not only freedom but also this assumption of freedom. –  Salman Rushdie

Aligned with PEN, a social justice organisation giving voice to writers around the world who have been silenced, this impressively diverse festival is one of the most important on the global literary calendar. Each year World Voices features an impressive selection of challenging and thought-provoking events across New York City to inspire discussion, reflection and debate.

April to May each year – http://worldvoices.pen.org

5) Etonnant Voyageurs, St Malo (France) 

And this brings us back to literature’s ability to relate the world. – Michele le Bris  

Etonnant Voyageurs (‘Amazing Travellers’) has taken the idea of a festival of travel writing and stretched it to become an exploration of world literature in French. Set in a historic city on the beautiful Brittany coast, the festival of mostly-free events attracts a lively international roster and throws down some challenging sessions. It also offers exhibitions of French graphic novels, a film festival, and a huge book market. Allez!

February or March each year – http://www.etonnants-voyageurs.com

melb-writersMelbourne Writers Festival

6 ) International  Literary Festival  of  Paraty (FLIP), Brazil 

Fiction transforms memory and imagination into language – Milton Hatoum

Throughout its five-day duration FLIP holds, amazingly, over 200 events, including debates, shows, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and school presentations. The main events are presented in unique round-table style, making it an engaging experience for writers and the audience alike. The enthusiasm of Paraty’s residents adds to the good vibes surrounding this unique festival.

July to August each year – http://www.flip.org.br

7) Edinburgh International Book Festival (Scotland) 

Thank you for your excellent questions. – JK Rowling

It’s hard to go past the oldest and largest literary festival in the world. Year after year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival attracts the biggest names in writing for serious literary discussions. The Festival takes place in an elegant tent city in Charlotte Square Gardens and its on-site bookstore is astounding, with separate shops for grown-ups and children.

(And a bonus festival tip: be sure to pop into the Book Fringe at Word Power bookstore, part of the Edinburgh Fringe, bringing writers and activists together for lively readings and discussions.)

August each year – https://www.edbookfest.co.uk

8) Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, San Francisco (USA)   

Here’s how I lost my voice and found my vision – Don George 

Part-conference, part festival, this four-day intensive is the destination for aspiring travel writers. Chaired by legendary travel writer Don George, the weekend features talks, workshops and industry networking events. It’s an illuminating and informative weekend but most of all, as you would expect from a killer lineup of travel writers, a conference filled with good parties and remarkable stories from the road.

August each year – http://www.bookpassage.com/travel-writers-photographers-conference

9) Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (Indonesia)

Books opened the world to me. –  Ahmad Fuadi

Sunny days, balmy nights, open-air venues and lush tropical views make Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali one of the world’s most appealing literary destinations. Long-table lunches and sundowner cocktail events make this festival highly sociable, and if the fun gets too much there are plenty of places to escape for a quiet swim, relaxing pedicure or a spot of peaceful yoga.

October each year – http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com

And of course…

10) Melbourne Writers Festival (Australia)! 

Meaning lies in the magic of the coincidence that you should come across work at just the right time. – Tavi Gevinson

I’m proud to be a part of a writer’s festival that holds its own alongside the world’s biggest, best and brightest literary events. Melbourne Writers Festival is the literary festive season to Melbourne’s busy annual calendar of writing events. Whether you like your writer’s festivals to be intensely thought-provoking or wildly fun – or perhaps a both at the same time – we have you covered.

August each year – http://www.mwf.com.au

Subscribe to The Fetch in your city for reminders about the festivals and other related events throughout the year.

About our contributor // Lisa Dempster is the Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival. She travels widely in search of literary and other adventures. Follow her on Twitter via @lisadempster.

Image credit: Melbourne Writers Festival and sloeginfizz.

Open Space Melbourne: for the love of design, advertising and science — February 9, 2014

Open Space Melbourne: for the love of design, advertising and science

 

This is a sponsored post from our friends at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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What do you get when you put three experts in their field together in Melbourne talking about innovation through design, advertising and science to 2000 people? Well, you get Open Space.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is opening its doors to the community for Open Space, as it welcomes three of Australia’s most inspiring leaders in design, advertising and science to its Plenary stage on Thursday 20 February.

In its second year, Open Space is MCEC’s free, signature event running during Business Events Week and alongside the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) hosted annually at MCEC.

What you can expect there?

Open Space will bring people together to hear inspiring and thought-provoking talks around the event’s theme of innovation from keynote speakers:

  • Dr Ken Cato AO – renowned designer and founder of agIdeas International Design Week and Club Melbourne Ambassador
  • Todd Sampson – CEO of advertising agency Leo Burnett and panelist on ABC’s The Gruen Transfer
  • Dr Cathy Foley – leading scientist and Chief of CSIRO’s Materials Science and Engineering Division and Club Melbourne Ambassador

Each speaker will then be taking questions from the audience via a live Twitter feed.

Dr Ken Cato is an Australian designer with an international reputation. As a graphic designer, his work has won numerous design awards and his work is represented in museums and galleries around the globe. The world’s largest student design conference agIdeas International Design Week was founded by Dr Cato in 1991 and it now attracts more than 4500 young designers and over 40 speakers from around the world.

Adman about town – Todd Sampson is CEO of Leo Burnett – one of Australia’s top creative advertising agencies. Todd is also the breakout star of the hit ABC television show The Gruen Transfer and features regularly on Channel Ten’s 7pm show The Project.

Dr Cathy Foley has a world-class reputation in her field, is active in promoting science in the media and is well known for her interests in science education and women in science. Dr Foley’s research expertise covers solid state physics, such as semiconductors, magnetics, superconductivity and nanotechnology.

Open Space provides a rare opportunity to see and hear these thought leaders talk passionately about their passion – for design, for advertising and for science respectively, and, in the context of innovation.

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Want more?

For the more inquiring types, you’ll also have the opportunity to get involved with the discussion by taking part in an engaging Q&A session and join in conversations via social media which will be streamed on MCEC’s event Twitter feeds.

And the fun keeps going. After the Plenary session, guests can network with fellow industry visitors and wander through the hawker-style food market and urban-inspired installation in the Convention Centre’s foyer, featuring recycled milk crates and vertical gardens, and enjoy a complimentary taste of MCEC’s award-winning food and wine.

In case you didn’t know MCEC is an iconic, world-leading venue through its use of functional spaces, technology, in-house catering and service. Through constant innovation it leads the business events industry to create memorable experiences for its visitors.

MCEC’s business and the business events industry is an essential part of Victoria’s economy through jobs, tourism, economic impact and its support of local suppliers and producers.

MCEC is a place where people meet to connect, educate and entertain. Open Space is a place set to inspire, get you listening, talking and WOWED.

When and where?

Open Space takes place on Thursday 20 February from 11.30am to 2.30pm at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf.

So save the date and register for your free ticket to Open Space at openspace.mcec.com.au and while you’re at it share with your friends and social networks too:

Watch the highlight video from last year’s event and connect with MCEC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (@MCEC) and LinkedIn for Open Space news and updates.

Image credits: MCEC

7 reasons why you should focus on building a community around your startup — January 21, 2014

7 reasons why you should focus on building a community around your startup

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A community comes in many forms. It’s greatest form, some might say, is a movement. David Spinks elaborates…

I know, it’s a bold request to ask a startup to focus on anything other than their product and growth.

I know, because I’m a startup founder myself.

Time is our most limited resource and that you have to say no to a lot of things in order to maintain your focus, and sanity.

So why am I writing a post telling you to focus on community? Because I’ve seen first hand, and in the example of many other startups, the power that community can wield even at the earliest stages of your growth.

Lyft, Airbnb, Eventbrite, Lift, Foursquare, Soundcloud, Skillshare, Udemy, Github, Binpress, Yammer, Hootsuite, Buffer… I could rattle off startups all day who have invested a great deal of time and resources into building community. Social products, B2B, B2C, technical products, toys, fitness, non profits… name the kind of company and I can name several companies building a strong community around their brand and products.

Why is that? With all the things a startup has to figure out, why do they focus on community?

7. Create highly engaged evangelists

The simplest and most valuable thing you’ll get from a community is highly engaged customers or users.

When done right, your community creates a sense of belonging. Members feel like they’re part of something important and they’re proud, they feel special. Their experience with your brand then becomes so much more than just products and features. They develop strong emotions around your brand. They build relationships with other members.

My mentor Aki Sano once said something along the lines of “You’ll know you have a great business when you can find just one person who’s absolutely in love with your product”.

I’ve seen first hand how building a strong community can create an environment where your members do in fact fall in love with your brand.

This high engagement leads to the rest of the benefits…

6. Stay close to your customers

Perhaps the most important value is that you get to stay very close to your customers.

Your community = your customers.

By creating a community where your users/customers can interact, converse, share and help each other, it gives you an opportunity to be a fly on the wall and learn more about who they are.

There are things you’ll learn from watching them talk to each other that you’ll never see in a survey.

And when you have a highly engaged community, you have a pool of customers that you can call on individually to give feedback, test features, hop on a call or whatever else you need to do to learn more about their experience.

5. Support network for reviews and rebuttals

For many companies, getting good reviews early on can make your product. Your community will jump at the opportunity to support you and show you some love.

They’ll also be a great resource for testimonials. When we needed some more customer quotes for our homepage, it was as simple as posting in the community and asking for volunteers.

At the same time, there’s a good chance if you’re building up some steam that there will be trolls out there to pull you down. Your community can be the people who stand up to defend you and call out their bullshit.

4. Build the foundation for a movement

A community comes in many forms. It’s greatest form, some might say, is a movement.

You’re an entrepreneur, which probably means you’ve set your sights on a real big vision. You’re not looking to just make a quick buck. You’re in it to change the world.

Well, community is what can help you get there. All of the massive companies you know today started with a small, loyal community. That first community serves as the foundation for growth for years to come. Look at Facebook, Instagram, Ebay, Pinterest, Craigslist, Couchsurfing, Meetup, Yelp… I can go on. They all started with a small, loyal community that developed into a larger movement.

3. Improve your customers’ experience

Humans need community. It’s helped us evolve and survive since the beginning of our time. It touches on a basic human need.

So when we have the chance to become part of a community and feel that sense of belonging, we’re happy. That means that community can serve as an added bonus for your product. Not only do your customers get access to your features, they get access to a support group, a network of peers.

Most products become better when people don’t feel like they’re alone in the game.

2. Defensibility

Anyone might be able to copy your product, your brand, your design and even your voice. But there’s one thing no other company will ever be able to copy and that’s your community.

There’s no faking community. A true community is built on relationships that can only be formed through genuine interactions and a dynamic of trust and respect. This dynamic can take a long time to develop.

Your community members are loyal, and they’ve invested time into building a reputation amongst the group of peers that you’ve brought together. It will take a lot for another company to take that away from you.

1. Make more money

In the end, it’s just a good business strategy. Your community members, being more loyal and engaged, are more likely to come back and buy again.

Make people happy. That’s what it’s all about. If you can do that, with your product and potentially with a community, you’re on your way.

Now I’m not saying every startup should blindly jump into building a community now. It’s important to understand why you need a community. It’s important to tie it back to your goals and make sure it’s in line with everything else you’re working on.

So take a look at what it is you’re really hoping to accomplish and then think about how a community might be able to help you achieve those goals.

Not sure where to get started?

If you want to become more efficient at building community for your startup, and understand how community dynamics work, come join us at CMX Summit on Feb 6 in San Francisco. (Use promo code ‘thefetch25’ for 25% off.)

We’re bringing together some of the world’s leading minds with completely unique perspectives on how to build communities. Or if you’re looking to hire a community manager, you’re guaranteed to meet the industry’s best at CMX.

About our contributor // David Spinks is the CEO of TheCommunityManager.com and LetsFeast.com. Lifelong student, community builder and writer. Follow him on Twitter via @DavidSpinks.

Image credit: California Pass

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