The following day she went out and ordered some stationery in the name of Hadfield Manor Conference and Management Training Centre, reasoning that by the time it had been printed she’d know all that was necessary to know about running such places.Good Omens, pTerry, and Neil Gaiman.
This is a post mostly for myself, I expect it to be of very little interest for the casual reader of the site. I’ve put it up because, well, my name is above the door and I think the site should reflect a full version of me rather than an edited one.
I’ve a certain amount of success in the last few years. The Flowers for Turing project raised a lot of money for charity, CommuniKate was released as the first open licensed AAC page set, I managed to attract Government Minsters to come and interview on this site. I’ve been very eager to use this blog to tell you all about my successful bits.
The problem is, of course, that this is a misrepresentation – I fail a lot. I’d like to start sharing some of those fails.
What I think about when I think about failure
When I was first workshopping this post – most of the failures I could think of where in my personal life: friends I’ve lost touch with; People who I wanted to connect with but couldn’t; stupid things said in the heat of the moment.
However, those aren’t particularly quantifiable and make for poor posts even if privacy wasn’t an issue.
The failures I can tell you about
There are still lots of things I can tell you about freely. For example I’m applying to funds to run a variety of projects via eQuality Time. Most funders haven’t got back to me at the time of writing, but there are a lot of applications that didn’t even reach submission.
This is the list of funds that could have funded eQuality Time projects but that I missed the deadline on, or committed to but found that I didn’t have all the policies in place that were needed, or that fell off that stack because I managed my time badly.
It’s only four items, but these are the ones that all got started, investigated, and invested in. It’s also about one a month since I started. And it means I missed out on one in three so far.
|The Oak Foundation||http://www.oakfnd.org/|
|Creative English Innovation Fund||http://ce.faithaction.net/innovate/||22nd September|
|Deptford challenge trust||http://www.londoncf.org.uk/downloads/DCT%20Small%20Grant%20Guidelines%202015.pdf||20th Feb|
|SERGO||Particularly bad because I was invited||March|
Note, this post was drafted a month ago, since then we’ve had some responses on funding, I wanted to keep this draft as it was written because I think it puts across the ‘waiting’ feeling that I was feeling at the time. More up-to-date posts to follow.
So a few months ago I wrote this post – announcing that I was putting together a charity. I’ve been quiet on that front, largely because relatively little impressive stuff has happened. Still it’s time to give a bit of an update.
I’m getting a excellent introduction into how business law works, and more to the point, I’m getting a pretty good introduction as to why companies don’t generally work in the way you would expect.
It’s hard to say how it’s going right now. We filled in all manner of paperwork, we’ve opened bank accounts, registered domain names and all of the overhead that is needed. We’ve also got a name: eQuality Time, that was suggested by one of my trustees (the process resulted in a range of good names that are clearly going to be saved for things in the future).
Most importantly, we’ve applied for eight distinct lots of funding for a variety of projects. Some of which already exist on my project pages, and others are more ambitious ones that need some solid seed funding behind them before we can release them (if I’m low on blog posts over the next few months I’ll put out some posts describing what I want to do).
I have limited experience with this sort of funding. Since 2009 TooManyCooks probably picked up one in three of the funds it applied for and now we’ve got official organisation bank accounts, trustees, and articles, so we are more of a ‘safe’ bet for funders. On the other hand TooManyCooks was a proven commodity and I was only applying for funds that I was very certain we’d do well in. More to the point, since 2010 there have been fewer and fewer funds and more and more need for them. It’s really unclear if there will be room in the wide world for an organisation like ours.
None of the funds available will get back to us for at least a few months, and there are five or so more than we are eligible for before then. So we are in a strange place: plugging away at changing the world but we’ve got no idea how well we are doing at all.
In other news: I’ve been prototyping an intervention with a school in North London – I should be reporting back about that in detail shortly. I’ve also been working on a range of other cool developments for the TooManyCooks methodology and beavering away at the details for some other interventions like beefing up this into a solid resource and investigating some other ways of getting though things.
So while I do feel like I’ve rolled the dice… I do have to keep hustling until I know a little bit more about how it’s going. I’m just a little worried at the moment that I underestimated the timescales involved; That a even a year on savings isn’t enough time to get something sustainable happening.
So in case you are wondering – I’m starting a charity…. In fact, it turns out that it already exists as of this week when we sent off the paperwork.
My contract with Royal Holloway finishes at the end of this month and about six months ago I decided that it was time to throw my energy into doing social projects full time. For some years I’ve been updating this file on my laptop:
…and I decided that if I didn’t do something about the list soon then I was going to find myself retiring without having done any of them. So at the end of August (co-incidentally the anniversary of this blog) I’ll be halting a day job that concerns itself with enabling formal specification of programing languages (apologies if the link made anyone’s eye’s bleed) and working on things that I think will make the world a better place.
This is going to include more work on White Water Writers, a few more estoric experiments with it’s parent experiment TooManyCooks, some more fundraising work like The Flowers for Turing Project, activist scholarship like the Domesday Dataset, and a range of other projects both large and small (like Project Grin, which is Tiny But Fun). To pay the occasional bill I’m going to be taking the odd bit of freelance work, and we’ll see how sustainable that is. If I start getting funding to do things then I’ll ride it as long as it’s sustainable, otherwise I can happily live on savings for a year of doing things that I think make the world better.
I’m going to talk a little bit more about the details of the charity in a future post (such as the name)- we’ve done a few innovative things with the structure so that it’s a little bit more accessible and open, but I’m going to leave that until we’ve got all the official documents back. I’d like to think that as I write up funding bids I’ll put them on the blog (like I did with this rejected Wellcome Trust bid) so that people can see what I’m up to and maybe offer feedback (or for that matter, do the relevant project themselves, that would be awesome).
The other reason for this post is that as I’m coming to the end of my contract I’ve got rather a lot to do. There’s a big pile of work and handover stuff for the project, and there’s general removal stuff. Plus I have to work out how to successfully move the 418 teapot to my house.