Dispatches

Special issues sent to paying members who support the publication of the weekly. Those emails are usually focused on one topic, some are in the same format as the weekly, while some others are longer form articles.

Latest Dispatch — Sep 16, 2021

Intelligences

The term Artificial Intelligence needs to be reframed, Augmented Intelligence needs to be explored more deeply, and so do more varied perspectives and other forms of intelligence in nature.  Keep reading →

Dispatch — Aug 01, 2021

Reality, Ownership, Scarcity

On synthetic reality, the corruption of the word Metaverse, and what is actually valuable and intriguing to track, despite the VCs and NFTs.  Keep reading →

Dispatch — Jul 14, 2021

The Knowledge Stack

I started thinking that you could go more granular, and consider tasks, sprints, agile, kanban, different kinds or timespan for strategy, etc. I started wondering where business intelligence might go in there. Could this be framed as a “time stack”? Different parts or definitions of the organization being on different time horizons.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 17 — May 07, 2021

Generalists

I realized they can also be seen almost as steps in a process: look at a broad landscape of topics, synthesize what you see, pick the most important. I like the term generalist, it’s one of the best descriptions of my career(s) and also a good representation of something I see as vital: being able to understand different domains and translate between them.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 16 — Mar 01, 2021

Products, Plots, and Gaining Agency

Jon Rogers explains how designers, smaller firms, and artists can create and re-orient products’ plots to provide citizens with more agency in their use of technology. As told to Peter Bihr in the course of an interview for his Getting Tech Right project.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 15 — Feb 03, 2021

The Practice

Although I use various topic names to describe the newsletter, tweaking once in a while, re-framing how I present it, basically it’s always “here’s stuff I found interesting.” And yet I’m also always trying to determine (guess) what readers might enjoy, how each issue can make sense, and to find the overlap of where my curiosity leads and what might be more generally engaging.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 14 — Dec 18, 2020

A Personal Book Cellar

This month’s topic was all researched and ready to be written, even though I was finding it hard to line things up in an interesting manner. Then I happened on a tweet, quoted below, and decided to write about what that brought to mind, and ended up going more personal than usual at the same time.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 13 — Nov 13, 2020

Just Enough

I’ve recently come to realize that a good number of the articles I’ve shared in the last year could, when contemplated from a certain angle, be grouped together in a way I hadn’t planned on. I noticed that there’s definitely a “just enough” aspect to many of them.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 12 — Oct 02, 2020

Spaces of Work & Life

The remote work experiment has been ongoing, though some have gone back to workspaces, many are still largely working from home, and although the numbers have gone down, there’s still a good percentage of home workers who would prefer to keep this way of work most days, as long as kids are in school.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 11 — Sep 11, 2020

Bundles, One of the Futures of Newsletters

If you’ve been following the newsletter beat, you’ve probably heard that the buzzword of the last couple of months has been “bundle.” As in bundling together a few newsletters under one price, to feed off each others’ reach and prepare for the much feared newsletter fatigue. Here are somes things I’d like to push back on or expand, and a few other options.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 10 — Jul 17, 2020

Publications

Having been a lifelong book and magazine tsundokist (not an actual word), having co-edited a print magazine, and now writing Sentiers, I’m always paying attention to various publishing models and experiments. With Walden Pond popping up a few weeks back, then Robin Sloan launching his Sloanstarter, and finally following an exchange on Twitter about zines, I changed themes for this Dispatch and decided to share some of the publication formats and concepts that have drawn my attention over the last few years.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 09 — Jun 26, 2020

Synthetic Reality & The Metaverse

By now I’m sure you’re aware of the expression “software is eating the world” so I won’t dwell on the topic—it’s clearly happening—except to say the one of the interesting things unfolding in that process is that more and more “things” become digital or have a digital version, thus becoming more easily interoperable. Tools, methods, practices, skills become, at least superficially or in part, compatible from one domain to the other.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 08 — May 21, 2020

Digital Gardens

It’s a less-performative version of blogging - more of a captain’s log than a broadcast blog. The distinction will come down to how you blog - some people blog in much the same way. For me however blogging is mostly performative thinking and less captain’s log. So I am looking for a space to nurture, edit in real time and evolve my thinking.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 07 — Apr 24, 2020

Ballardian & Theory Fiction

Regardless, Ballard has been appearing left and right as I’ve been following and reading more futurists and discovering new scifi authors so he’s been repeatedly on my radar over the last few years. It feels like we’ve transitioned from “Gibsonian” to “Ballardian” in describing the current era. Since we seem to be living in Ballardian times, what better topic for the first Dispatch after this past March “decade”?  Keep reading →

Dispatch 06 — Mar 13, 2020

Working From Home

Aside from the one topic on everyone’s mind, a related one is something I’ve spent some time paying attention to: distributed or remote work. As country after country and company after company decides to have people work from home, how to best do it while staying sane is a very timely question. Here are a few ideas.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 05 — Feb 13, 2020

Convening

To feed a discussion about a potential get-together, a client recently asked me to gather some interesting event formats. After asking for pointers on Twitter, I was asked by a number of people to share my findings. I repurporsed some things from the report, fished some out of my “archives” and decided to first share all of that here with members. The article will likely then be opened up publicly in a few weeks. This _Dispatch_ is a members only issue of _Sentiers_, now unlocked and free to read for everyone. If you are new here, you can subscribe to the [free weekly](https://sentiers.media/) or [become a member](https://sentiers.media/membership/) to also get the extra dispatches.{.boxed} The first [SXSW Interactive](https://www.sxsw.com) I attended was in 2006. I think there were probably around 6000 people, some of my friends and their more international connections were already saying it was done, too big, uninteresting. Even though you could still meet a lot of interesting (and sometimes well known) people randomly, it was already starting to outgrow the convention center and it was harder to benefit from the vaunted “hallway conversations.” Since then I’ve seen for myself, and read or heard many many times how various events were too big, you couldn’t get in the after party you wanted, there were 30-40 minute lineups to get into certain talks, couldn’t get to someone you wanted to talk to, had no way of meeting the kinds of people you hoped for. And so I’m always spending some attention to new formats or different ways of doing things. In the mean time I’ve also been “care taker” for the local blogging community, which met in person once a month for a good eleven plus years, started a coworking space where multiple meetups and communities were born, did some matchmaking to play a small part in bringing a European event to Montréal, was one of the co-founders of the local chapter of Creative Mornings, and participated in multiple “camp” or “open space” events. So I’ve been involved from the inside of a good number of small to medium sized events. Nowadays I’m vaguely imagining what kind of smaller events I'd like. Lets say sub 50 people or even sub 15, where actual conversations can happen, where you’re not missing half of what’s going on, where there is no “sage on the stage” format. Perhaps with some speakers, yes, but always in a more conversational tone and on the condition of also being present as participants, not just as “keynotes.” And actually, there are even a few examples included below that are really more "getting people together to work on something" than anything normally called an event or conference (hence the title "Convening") but I think the whole spectrum of things included helps reflection in a certain direction. This is in no way comprehensive, just writing this dispatch I remembered other examples and added them. I’m sure re-reading this in a few weeks I’ll have more ideas. Note that I haven’t attended the vast majority of these events, so how well reality matches up to their websites, I can’t say. They are here for inspiration, not all as recommendations! ### Features First are some of the “features” I look for, encourage you to consider, or would hope to produce myself if involved in getting something together, followed by some of my favorite live examples of those ideas, as well as good reads on convening and organizing. - Small size. - One track. - Space to wander / organized walks or visits. - “Speaker dinners” for everyone. - Something more interactive than talks and panels. - Something co-organized (_à la_ unconference). - Questions that aren’t comments and with time to discuss properly. - More than yearly (depends on the exact combination of features, but some variations could be held two-three times a year). - Ongoing exchanges between events. - For some combinations, think of streaming and leaving proper archives to make some form of asynchronous “attending” possible. ## [Boyer’s dim sum table](http://etc.ofthiswearesure.com/2013/09/mssbk/) The quote below is a footnote in a post from years back but it’s come back to mind a good number of times since then. I’m starting with this one because it’s a good example of what I’m looking for in this dispatch; hints of useful formats, ideas of how to gather people, even when it’s just this small detail: the size of a table. (The actual article is a good read on some of Bryan’s experiences organizing studios, a coworking space, and more.) > Through empirical study conducted over the course of 13 months I’ve concluded that the perfect table for a social gathering of 8-16 people is 2 meters in diameter. At this size a group will be able to maintain a single conversation without any one individual being so distant from their complement on the opposite side that it is not possible for them to discuss. Likewise, the round shape allows all to share a single conversation if they choose, without preventing people from breaking into smaller subgroups. ## [Hours Beirut](https://www.hoursbeirut.com) Held last year, ticks a lot of the boxes from my list above. Fewer than fifty people, a mix of activities to create a three day conversation, even though the core programming is a series of speakers. There were common meals, a day of music shows, themed walks around town, and the city itself was picked for how it symbolized the theme. Finally, they had “pop-up talks” at some stages of the walks. > Hours Beirut is a three-day rocket aimed to utilize the energy of a city, the energy of convening a group of humans and a digestive meditative sound experience. The overarching goal is to boost creative and empathetic undertakings. It’s a day of city exploration, a day of talks and a day of music. > > Hours Beirut is designed to shine light on perspectives outside of our everyday sight. To twist and bend topics of relevance in our beautiful, yet fucked up, world. To provoke new feelings by intellectual as well as emotional experiences. ## [Inventing a truly smart city - an interdisciplinary salon in NYC](https://www.thewire.ch/en/pages/inventing-a-truly-smart-city  Keep reading →

Dispatch 04 — Jan 17, 2020

Trees

This Dispatch regroups some excellent reads on these essential organisms and I’m taking a somewhat liberal approach to the theme by including things like legal personhood for natural phenomena, fungi, and the metaphorical tree of knowledge.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 03 — Nov 20, 2019

Maintenance

That’s something we’ve been hearing more of as we realize everything that’s not working right, everything that our societies will need to do differently. We’ll be hearing a lot more still about maintenance as consumerism needs to slow down, as cities and all infrastructures need to prepare for, and periodically get back up from, existing and coming climate-caused catastrophes.  Keep reading →

Dispatch 02 — Oct 31, 2019

Ideas & Tools From My Process

I don’t have any plans for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) but for this second Dispatch I decided to give you some answers to what is definitely the question I get asked the most often: “how do you do it?!” By which people usually mean, how do you manage to put so much stuff in Sentiers week after week?  Keep reading →

Dispatch 01 — Oct 18, 2019

Design

Welcome to this first members only Dispatch from Sentiers, thanks for joining! One of the topics I’m very interested in but rarely feature on the weekly Sentiers is design. Since, at it’s core, everything I send is simply what I’m interested in, I decided to sift through all my recent unreads, research folders, and a few I’ve featured in the past on Sentiers at Work, to offer you a selection of design related articles. It’s not an intro or a best off, but rather what’s currently being shared in my feeds and drawing my attention.  Keep reading →