What Next?

So I didn’t succeed in staying on at JISC another year – I’m pretty unhappy about it but have decided not to rant any further (unless you see me in a pub..) and am instead now giving some thought as to what am I going to do next. I do have a couple of months to sort something so I’m not out on the street just yet!

I am going to focus on what I’d *like* to do (which is different from what I imagine what I *will* end up doing which is take the first Digital Project Manager gig or similar that I’m offered!)

One thing for sure is that I think it is time to put some distance between myself and higher education / public sector. I’ve had a good run and met and worked with some great people but the Coalition is tearing the sector to shreds and there is going to be less and less room for people like me I think.

So what does that leave?

I guess one my main preoccupations is still the ideas around the ‘amplified conference‘. I’ve been interested in this area since Lorcan first used the term and was one of the first people to write about it and implement it at a decent sized conference. I think it is still early days for this stuff – a mix of streaming, chat, live-blogging, whiteboards etc as well as coping with (but not censoring) Twitter. I still have alot of ideas – more everytime I see people try. I was also interested in using Elluminate – which is a strange mix of brilliant functionality and amazingly bad usability.

The whole concept of the hybrid event – part face-to-face, part-online – is coming of age and creates some interesting challenges and opportunities that I’d like to be a part of.

I also find myself more and more interested in some kind of event ‘convening’ or ‘curating’ role. Coming up with the agenda for the event – getting great speakers in the right format at the best location is alot of fun. The nitty-gritty detail is not something I’m as good at – proper Event Managers put me to shame but I find this role seems to have value – understanding where all the pieces fit; unconferences, amplified conferences, online conferences etc does take some thought.

The other thing I’d still love to do is take another stab at working on an education focused startup. In many ways I regret leaving Jiva – especially when I see the brilliance that is Tutorhub as a web app – but at the time it was the right thing for me and for them I think. I still think I have alot to offer in that area and probably have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t than I did a couple of years ago. My interest in ‘open education’ and the ecosystem of organisations that have sprung up around has convinced me that this is an area that is going to be huge in the years to come. The Government cuts to education might even work in its favor as schools, teachers, parents and students start look for alternative solutions to previously expensive education software.

I do think the cleverest thing (out of many clever things) that School of Everything did was select their audience; informal learning for adults is going to be a space worth watching I believe.

I’m hoping to actually combine these two interests in January with a conference that (fingers crossed) I’ll organise in London.

So if anyone is looking for a geeky events guy or a product/community.customer service/project manager type for an edu-startup give me a shout ;0)

5 thoughts on “What Next?

  1. Sorry to hear you’re not staying on at JISC, Matt, but I really hope that you find something that excites you soon. Don’t just “take the first Digital Project Manager gig or similar that [you’re] offered” – hold out for something awesome!🙂

  2. Matt says:

    I certainly hope to hold out for something awesome but a combination of mortgage and other debt means income is more important than satisfaction😦

    That said I have already got some leads on very cool projects so it might have just been a well needed kick in the rear🙂

  3. Matt says:

    Cheers Andy – initial combination of anger and panic has now passed and am looking forward to doing something new..

  4. “geeky events guy or a product/community.customer service/project manager type for an edu-startup”

    That’s exactly what we need! Sadly can only pay with chocolate digestive biscuits at the moment and I don’t think mortgage providers are keen on them😦

    Good luck am sure you’ll find what you want soon.

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