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22. Juni 2014

[ English ]

Making sense of the maker / FabLab / 3D-Printing Movement

I never really understood the Maker movement and the enthusiasm around FabLabs and 3D-printing. Until today.

Peter Rukavina nails it:

What I came to realize – or, really, simply have reinforced – is that the “stuff that matters” is the process, not the product.

If, as a community of consumers, we can collaborate to understand more about our consumption, and more about the production of what we consume, and more about how we can effect, control, or drive that production, what we will have achieved is far more substantial than whatever comes out of a 3D printer.

This, for me, is the result of my two days at "Make Stuff that Matters", #mstm14, Ton and Elmines's 2014 birthday unconference.

It also builds a bridge for my own work into this scene: I thank Peter Troxler for this, who pointed out to me that the maker movement operates in networked structures and other unconventional organisational structures - exactly our topic at Structure & Process (check out our new website!) His presentation "Fab Labs, 3D Printing, the 3rd Industrial Revolution – and Their Impact (Possibly)" was insightful and inspiring to me.

What _are_ the "things that matter"? How _do_ we want to "make" them? (And in what kind of process, what kind of way-of-being-together do we want to get about it?)

Check out the pictures of the conference and party.

As I type this, other people are sitting outside in a circle, joking about what I might be doing on the computer here. Behind me, five 3d printers are cooling down.

(Nachtrag: Also see Ton's post (of April 8th, before our meeting): Making as a Communal Process vs Individual Act)

(Another Addition: Also see Ton's post on "The Failings of FabLabs" (September 2013)

21. Juni 2014

[ English ]

Working for free, polite offerings

For consultants and other service freelancers, in many situations, working for free is a sane option.

It can also lead to the most beautiful conversations:

The other day, in Dresden, a client called me, asking for an immediate meeting. We met in the evening and spoke for an hour over dinner, after which this conversation ensued:

Client: "Would you like to write me an invoice?"
Me: "With pleasure. What would you like me to to write into it?"
Client: "I am not sure. What is a reasonable amount for a consultant?"
Me: "At the moment, most people pay me between 80 and 150 Euros per hour."
Client: "Oh, well, then please make it 150 Euros!"

Which I did, receiving the money the next day.

22. Februar 2014

[ English ]

On the web, everybody can...

In his article Say “no more hierarchy” and everybody gets the wrong idea, Frederic Laloux (who has just published his book "Reinventing Organizations" points out that

Gary Hamel, in his book What Matters Now, notes that on the web:

· No one can kill a good idea
· Everyone can pitch in
· Anyone can lead
· No one can dictate
· You get to choose your cause
· You can easily build on top of what others have done
· You don’t have to put up with bullies and tyrants
· Agitators don’t get marginalized
· Excellence usually wins (and mediocrity doesn’t)
· Passion-killing policies get reversed
· Great contributions get recognized and celebrated

This is exactly how I want my company to be (and I think we are on a good way towards it with Röll & Korvenmaa) (see my previous post for more thoughts on this).

I have captured a number of quotes from Frederic's excellent article over at the company tumblr. Very, very interesting, this.

Over in London, Lee Bryant & his new venture PostShift are on to similar things...

8. Februar 2014

[ English ]

Building an ideal world of work

What would work look like in an ideal world?

... I asked myself today; and sat down for some free writing.

This is what came out.

It would be free, in the sense that nobody would boss me around. I would choose on what to work on, changing where I put my effort with changing circumstances.

I would choose my own work environment, travel to where I need to be, and spend as much time as necessary on what needs to be done.

I would be connected to other coworkers who would be working on the same or similar things as me, and I would regularly meet people who did completely different, but somehow related things.

When rules are necessary, there would be a clear way on how they are set, and how they can be changed. Anyone could propose a rule, or a change to a rule, and there would be a process of how anyone impacted would participate in the decision making.

We would know why we do the work. Payment would be incidental: It's not what the work is about. If I needed money, or a different way to get paid, I would raise that to a specific person in my surrounding who would take care of it.

Work would be plentiful, with problems abundant. There would be a marketplace for problems and people willing to solve them.

What is missing now?

The marketplace for problems is not clear. There are plenty of problems, but few people standing up with them, exposing them, and being willing to work on them. I would like more clarity with "here, _this_ is the problem, who is going to help me?"

There are "job offers" and "positions" out there aplenty, but "jobs" bore me and "positions" lock me in. Give me a problem, I'll help solve it.

Facilitation / organisation development work with Nenásilná komunikace group in Brno, Czech Republic, August 2013

All the other things, I have realised in my freelance work and especially with my new business Röll & Korvenmaa - Purposeful Collaboration. It's wonderful to work with a partner (except when it's not), and it's wonderful to be embedded in communities of like-minded (or not so like-minded) people (Open Space Technology, Art of Hosting, Going Solo, ...) For structure in collaboration and organisation, Holacracy has opened a world to me.

Views onto Röll & Korvenmaa's organisational structure, in Glassfrog, the Holacracy Support Software

Questions of money are more simple now. Sales is joyful; I just wish I had more opportunity to do it. Where can I meet the people that I could potentially help? Where are the people that want to _do_ something about their own and their organisations' problems?

Let's do something

  • If you can help me get into conversations about organisational or individual problem solving, I shall keep you updated on what happens and will let you participate in any success that comes from it. roell.net and the sidebar at Röll & Korvenmaa have some words on what I can offer.

  • If you have a wicked problem to solve, a project to realise, a group to bring to coherent action, let me know and I'll see how I can help.

  • If you know someone in Tampere or elsewhere in Finland, who'd be willing to hire me for a long-term project (it can start as a short-term experiment), please connect us. I'd love to spend more work time in Finland.

In an ideal world, what would work look like for you? How is that different from what it is now? Do write.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

9. Januar 2014

[ English ]

Learning Ruby on Rails (4): Contributing to other people's code

I missed the meetup of the Rubyists in Luxembourg while I was there over christmas, but I did continue learning Ruby on Rails.

Inspired by betacube.lu's "open source" approach to their website, I looked into how I can contribute to other people's RoR projects.

Already familiar with the workings of git and GitHub as an individual, I dove deeper into the nuts-and-bolts of collaborating with other people on projects.

These articles contributed to my understanding:

Armed with this new knowledge, I was able to contribute some minor corrections and improvements to betacube's website code.

I am off to a holiday. Back online after the 21st.

23. Dezember 2013

[ Ichichichichich ]

Brief an JT

Lieber J.,

ich habe mich gefreut, Dich heute Abend wiederzusehen.

Wir kennen uns schon lange, über zwanzig Jahre, wohl seit ich mit 8 Jahren im Musikverein angefangen habe.

Ich schätze Dich als diesen wohlgelaunten Menschen, der mich immer sieht und immer für ein Schwätzchen gut ist. Ich seh' auch Deinen Kummer, obwohl wir da nie drüber sprechen.

Ich find Dich sehr in Ordnung wie Du bist.

Heute Abend hast Du meine Grenzen übertreten.


22. Dezember 2013

[ English ]

Learning Ruby on Rails, Day 3

Besides following the teaching project of my course, I also wanted to start working on an own project from scratch. So I set up a new project following instructions from RailsGuides: Getting Started with Rails

Unlike the teaching project, these instructions do not use scaffolding, so the entire process seemed a lot more clunky. It did help really understand basics, though. routes and actions and methods are not suspicious anymore.

On the side I learnt that Ruby on Rails understands that the singular of "people" is "person" and so I was saved from having to rename classes (which apparently is a major hassle in RoR) and could simply continue. Nice.

Half-way in, I realised that I had forgotten to set up a repository / version control system / git, so I quickly did it, following these instructions. (More on Git in Day 2's post).

I learnt about Record validations and Class Associations ("A person can have many widgets").

I played with forms and managed to display Key References from foreign classes in a form. That was a big step.

I'll toy with this a bit more and make the app available publicly pretty soon, I think.

I am finding my way around the project directory structure now and know where to find what; where the controllers sit and what they do, and where to find the views. 72 hours now? I like.

21. Dezember 2013

[ English ]

Learning Ruby on Rails, Day 2 (Git Repository, GitHub)

(Part 1 here)

I continued following my online course and set up a local code repository using Git. I studied some Git Basics before proceeding to set up an account on the public shared code repository GitHub. This was helpful, because I was familiar with CVS (Concurrent Versions System, a different version control system) and Git has quite a different model.

Every time you commit, or save the state of your project in Git, it basically takes a picture of what all your files look like at that moment and stores a reference to that snapshot.

Git appears very well thought-through and quite accessible to me. I was glad for the straightforward instructions and explanations.

I created an online repository on GitHub for the course's test project ("facebook on rails") and generated the test project locally (that's a one-liner command on the Terminal - you basically say "rails, make me a new project" and it generates the complete directory and file structure to get going). I connected the local project to the online-repository following simple steps.

I set up the connection between my local git repository and my GitHub account based on HTTPS as described here rather than using SSH as described in the course. I will see if this bites me in the ass later.

The course proceeds in opening the project sourcefiles in an editor. (I took the opportunity to check out the recommended Sublimetext, otherwise I use Smultron). It looks overwhelming at first.

A controller ("pages") with an action ("home") is created via the command line. At this point I couldn't really figure out what that means, but the result is that the app, running on my local server, now has a homepage that I can edit. The source directory shows a section for the controller, and one for the view (_of_ the controller _with_ its action if I understand correctly). The view is HTML-code at the moment, in an .html.erb file.

My upcreeping anxiety was pacified by a brief review of Model View Controller basics. Maybe that time at university actually served for something.

The "controller" seems to be "what the thing actually does" (in this case: "make pages"), the "action" "one way of doing the thing" (in this case: "make a page of the type 'home'"), the "view" is "how the thing shows up" (in this case: <H1>Hello, World</H1>)

I proceeded to download Bootstrap, a framework for fast front-end development and set it up in my test project. (Very straightforward: you drop some .js and .css into two folders and connected them to the app with two lines in files in the "assets" directory. Simple.) Tested it on the local server: works. "Hello World" looks prettier now.

git status shows me what has changed in my local repository: There have been a number of new files added to the project (the new controller, view and assets) that are not yet tracked in git.

I would have missed this: New files dropped into the project directory need to be explicitly added to the repository for tracking. They don't get added/tracked automatically. Good to know.

There are also some modified files marked "not staged for commit": Local files need to be explicitly staged to then be committed to the repository in a next step. They don't move to the staging area or the repository automatically.

"Working directory, staging area, and git directory", from Git Basics

git commit -m "Added homepage, added bootstrap" stages the current snapshot to be committed. git push -u origin master then pushes the content of the staging area into the repository.

[ English ]

Learning Ruby on Rails

Today, I began my journey to learn Ruby on Rails. I have a specific application in mind that I would like to develop, and another one to which I would like to be able to contribute to. This is why I am learning. I will document my process here.

I began by signing up for Tiago Martins' "Create and Deploy a Web App in 3 Hours" course which lead me to the installrails.com rails installation instructions.

I followed them through all to the end, finding myself with a running server and a sample app in just after a few minutes. Yay!

That concludes Day 1.

(Update: Day 2 here)

1. Mai 2013

[ English ]

But why Finland?

Well, you know...

17. März 2013

[ English ]

In Germany

An old friend was waiting for me in Berlin:

Everybody speaks German here. It's like music to my ears.

I left Berlin today, going west and south, to help Oliver Gassner facilitate a World Café at Wirtschaftsforum Singen on Tuesday. Very much looking forward to it.

Four more weeks in Germany and Luxembourg ahead. Drop me a line if you'd like to meet or do some business.


16. März 2013

[ Martin lobt Kunden über den grünen Klee ]

Joel Jyrinkis Karten

Joel Jyrinkis Karten sind gestern bei mir angekommen - die erste Auflage in deutscher Sprache. Heute nehme ich sie nach Berlin mit. Ich möchte Joel und Hans helfen, die Karten weiter zu verbreiten. An der Übersetzung habe ich zusammen mit Tanja Korvenmaa seit Ende letzten Jahres gearbeitet.

Ich werde bis Ende April in Deutschland und Luxemburg unterwegs sein und herausfinden, wo die Karten ankommen. Wenn Ihr welche haben möchtet oder einen Laden oder anderen Ort wisst, in den sie gut passen könnten, sagt gerne Bescheid!


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