I don’t know how you handle stressful times, but I make lists. When I’ve got a particularly busy period in my life, I open a text document, list where I’m going to be each day, the logistics involved with getting there, what I’m committed to doing that day and what work needs to be done to prepare for the upcoming days. It’s a technique that works for me when nothing else does, and crossing off a challenging day when it’s done feels good in a deep, soul-satisfying way.
The lists don’t usually come out unless I’ve got two weeks that are booked to the gills. And the one I made early this past week covers a little more than a month. Over the course of five weeks, I’m making four trips to Washington DC, two to the UK, two to Boston, and one each to Nigeria and Ghana. As such, this version of the list includes helpful hints like where my passport needs to be to obtain visas in time, and which of five airports my truck is parked at. And I’m still having nightmares of showing up in the wrong country on the wrong day.
So here are the highlights of what’s got me on the road:
The Guardian is throwing the second iteration of their “Activate” summit, a daylong event on July 1 focused on the idea that we can change the world through the internet. It’s a great lineup, including folks you know rock (Clay Shirky, Esther Dyson, Jan Chipchase) and folks you may not know, but who rock equally hard (Katrin Verclas, Mike Migurski, Juliana Rotich). My only regrets – it’s only a day long, and I appear to be speaking three times, which makes me wonder if I’ll have time to see all the awesome folks who’ll be there who I’d like to catch up with.
The US Institutes of Peace is throwing an event to look at quantitative methods of analyzing media in Washington DC on July 8. I’m not happy about the name – “Blogs and Bullets” – but some very smart folks are going to be there, including Abu Aardvark (Dr. Marc Lynch), Alec Ross from the State Department, and a bevy of cool bloggers.
Then I’m off to Oxford, giving a talk on the second day of the TED Global conference. I’ve spoken at TED before… but I didn’t know what I was doing and gave an eminently forgettable three minute talk (which was probably two minutes too long) about five years back. This time, I get a full slot – 18 minutes – and am looking forward to the chance to talk about some of the big problems I’m wrestling with – building tools that make it easier to experience the Internet as a wide world, not as a narrow constellation of existing interests and relationships. It’s a serious challenge to try to figure out the 18 minute format, much harder than writing an hourlong talk… loving it, though, and the idea that the video – for better or worse – will live forever online.
Nigeria next, and a pair of Berkman events. The first, in Abuja on the 19th, focuses on monitoring the upcoming Nigerian elections using crowdsourcing, technology and the energy of citizen movements. The other, in Lagos later that week, talks with some of the movers and shakers of Nollywood and tries to understand the economics of the vibrant film industry in Nigeria in the context of an intellectual property system that works pretty differently from that in Hollywood.
Lastly, I’m in Accra from the 23-25 for the first face to face meeting of the PenPlusBytes board, a very cool nonprofit focused on helping journalists cover techology stories, and on using technology to do better reporting on stories like election monitoring. PPB is monitoring the Guinean election through their African Elections Project site at the moment, and I’m looking forward to catching up on the wealth of cool stuff they do.
Just in case anyone was wondering who Andrew Wynn Kwame Zuckerman would be rooting for in the US/Ghana match…
And since I’m about to spend almost a month without seeing wife and child, I’m engaged in some intense dad time, playing caretaker to Drew while the Velveteen Rabbi finishes some of the coursework she needs to complete before being ordained this winter. We’re in a small village with the wonderful name of Boring, Maryland… and I can report that it’s aptly named. All the better for some intense time with my seven-month old guy, who’ll be pushing eight months the next time we get to hang out together.
Looking forward to seeing old friends and new on every step of this trip. If we’re in the same place at the same time, please drop me a note or a tweet.