Network Management

In which The Author loves it when a plan comes together

I really don’t know why I bother going to bed these days. About a fortnight ago I was talking to my GP about the insomnia which has plagued me for pretty much my whole adult life.
‘Have you seen the trailer for this week’s Doctor Who?’ I asked her. ‘One of the character says, “Now you can stay awake for a whole month!”‘
Dr Davies laughed, but I shook my head.
I said, ‘I’m completely serious. I thought, “Only a whole month? Bloody amateurs!”‘
Anyway, the rain finally stopped on Thursday morning. I went into Aberdare to pick up a few things, and decided to call into the Lighthouse for just the one. I eventually got home at about half past midnight last night. You know you’ve had a good weekend when that happens.
In the meantime I met up with a number of friends who are all creative and imaginative types. I pulled out my virtual contacts book and put the magical networking ability of the Cosmic Tigger Social Hub to work.
The first conversation was with Alwyn. He’s an extremely talented artist, whose work I first mentioned in ‘Frustrations of a Solitary Walker‘ a few years ago. We first teamed up about ten years ago, when he was looking to sell his paintings and prints online. Even through we made a decent start on discussing a website, the time wasn’t right. Social networking was in its infancy (unless you count MySpace, of course). People just weren’t connected.
A decade on, everyone’s connected.
We chatted over a few pints on Friday, and bounced some ideas around for a website. Then I messaged my mate Chris D. He’s just set up a web design and hosting company called T12 Designs. He knows far more about the nuts and bolts of website building than I do – and I know considerably more than Alwyn does. (By the way, I have yet to apply my tender ministrations to Chris’s site. All typos are entirely beyond my control at the time of writing.) It seemed like an obvious solution to bring these two guys together. We arranged a meeting, and Alwyn and I carried on chatting.
Mark P., the guv’nor of the pub, came in later on. Alwyn told him about the website idea we’d been discussing in the afternoon. It’ll involve showcasing his work, with an e-commerce option, and a rolling blog which Alwyn wants me to manage.
‘After all,’ he said, ‘you know a bit about blogging, don’t you?’
Just a tad.
On Saturday afternoon Mark took me to one side. He wants a website for the pub. Alwyn had suggested he ask me about it. I’ve arranged for us both to sit down with Chris on Friday morning. Again, Chris will sort out the design and the hosting, but I’ll be responsible for maintaining it.
Two down, two to go …
Yesterday I called into Thereisnospoon for a glass of Pepsi and to try and use the wifi. While I was waiting for the Cloud to gather, I got talking to another old friend. He’s trying to develop his music production hobby into a business. I suggested a couple of avenues he could explore.
Then I had a play around on Twitter. I decided to check out the author of the book I’ll be copy-editing any time soon. Sure enough, he’s got a web presence, so I sent him a message to introduce myself. We ended up chatting for a little while. And then there were three.
This morning Chris, Alwyn and I had a breakfast meeting in Servini’s Restaurant in Aberdare. It’s an established business, now run by the grandson of the Italian founder. I’ve been going in for years. I’d rather support them than Subway or the snack bar in Tesco, in fairness. I was expecting a brief discussion about the possible alternatives to Alwyn. Instead, we came away with a concrete plan, and some good ideas of how to develop it later on. We should be ready to launch it in about a fortnight. That’s pretty decent progress!
The fourth connection has yet to fall into place. Susanne, the landlady of the other pub I go into regularly (it’s Aberdare, you know – we’re not exactly spoilt for choice these days) hates doing the book-keeping with a passion. I’ve got a friend who’s a qualified accountant. She already does some book-keeping for local businesses as well as her day job. I’ve arranged to bring the two together on Wednesday evening.
I told Alwyn and Chris over breakfast this morning about the word synergy. It was coined by the visionary engineer, architect, philosopher and social scientist Richard Buckminster Fuller. In short, it refers to a physical system where the total output is greater than the sum of its constituent elements.
Or, in our case, a set of individual people whose combined skill sets mesh perfectly to produce something extraordinary.
I’m going to try and get Clint on board, too. We really need a decent and innovative photographer to make the whole thing hum smoothly. Clint needs some creative and varied shots for his university portfolio. Everyone’s a winner.
To put the icing on the cake, National Express have just emailed me a reminder of this year’s final trip to London, a week today. I’m going to check out the exhibition about the Celts at the British Museum. (At least I know it’s actually opened now. That’s a marked improvement on my first attempt to see it.)
Now, consider that only about six months ago I was a whisker away from throwing in the towel. The last four months have been the most remarkable period in my life since I legged it from Waterstones and checked in at the University of Glamorgan instead.
I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who’s supported me, encouraged me, had faith in me, and persuaded me that swilling back a hundred prescription-strength co-codamols with a bottle of vodka really wasn’t a viable course of action. You know who you are, folks. I won’t embarrass you by naming you here.
My subsidiary blog project 100 Songs in 100 Days has already featured one of the quintessential 1980s floor fillers. You can check it out on the posting from Day 12. Yazz and the Plastic Population, it seems you were right after all: the only way is up!