What is The Story Academy?

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The Story Academy is a year long program designed to open doors to a creative career for young people. The focus will be on 18-26 year olds from less advantaged backgrounds and not in education or employment. It’s something close to the hearts of the three directors of Storythings. We all came from less advantaged backgrounds, we didn’t all go to university, yet we managed find our way around institutional prejudice to build good careers in creative fields. One thing we had in our favour was the era in which we grew up. We all benefited from things like student grants, the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and cheap rents, all of which played a big part in giving us the time and space to develop our skills and early careers. Those opportunities don’t exist today so we want to give young people the same chance we had.

There is no pathway when you are off rails
As a young person building a career in a creative industry there’s an assumption that there is only one pathway. You have to have a degree in your chosen field before anyone will bother to look at your CV. But what if you struggled at school? What if standardised learning wasn’t for you or you faced personal difficulties that made school and further education challenging. A government report from 2017 noted that 92% of creative industry jobs are occupied by people from more advantaged backgrounds. So even if you have that degree you’ve only got an 8% chance if you are not from one of those backgrounds. The report also noted that barriers to accessing job and careers opportunities, included financial barriers, lack of networks, knowledge and information barriers, geographic barriers, and attitudinal barriers. 

There are thousands of young people across the UK who have creative talents but are not in education or employment. Without qualifications they feel lost at sea, they’re off-rails and they can’t see beyond all those barriers. They have a talent but they don’t have the education to open doors, they don’t have the mentors to show them the way, and they don’t have the network to support their dreams. The attitudinal barrier mentioned above is reinforced by personal financial pressures and those close to them suggesting they get a ‘proper job’. I know how that feels because I was in that position at 18. So the three Storythings directors, myself, Matt and Anjali, want to be the people I needed to meet when my life was off-rails and going nowhere. 

How the Story Academy will remove the barriers

By using our networks, our experience and our desire to change people's lives we want to remove those barriers for young people. We will work with different organisations across the UK to find young people (18+) who have talent but are not afforded the same opportunity as people from different backgrounds. We specifically want to find young people outside of London, from smaller towns and cities that don’t have the support and infrastructure London does. A lot of people working in creative careers either came from big cities or went to university in well connected cities. Unless you’ve gown up in places like Ellesmere Port, Sterling or Dundalk, and not spent 3 or more years in further education, it’s hard to imagine how little infrastructure there is to support a creative career. 

So here’s how we will remove each of those barriers:

  • We'll remove the knowledge barrier by giving them an education in their chosen fields through masterclasses and paid training courses. 

  • We’ll remover the financial barrier by giving them funds to produce a piece of work to showcase their talents and getting them into a paid internship. 

  • We’ll remove the geographical barriers by working with organisations all over the UK to find, support and develop talent outside of the big cities. 

  • We’ll remove the network barriers by introducing them to our national and global networks. 

  • We’ll remove the attitudinal barrier by giving them a mentor. 

  • And finally we’ll get them into a six month paid internship in a creative organisation. 

What we need
To make all this happen we need your help. We’ll be investing a percentage of our annual profits into The Story Academy and well as a lot of our time. but we need your help. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • We're giving clients to opportunity to sponsor an academy place when we engage with them on new projects.

  • We’re looking for creative companies who are prepared to offer six month paid internships.

  • We’re looking for anyone running training courses in creative fields. (video/audio/animations/design/coding and more) to offer spaces for academy members.

  • We're looking for mentors. Thanks to everyone who has offered so far. 

  • And finally we’re looking for organisations working with young people across the UK that might want to talk to us about academy places. 

If you want to support The Story Academy please get in touch.  

Launching Identities of the World


Client: Experian

Project: Identities of the World

We are incredibly proud to launch our newest project, Identities of the World, in partnership with Experian, today. 

When we finished working on The Identities Project and The ID Question last year, Experian reached out to us, via the brilliant John Willshire and Mark Earls, to explore expanding on some of the themes we'd touched on. The topic of identity is very complex, and it is changing rapidly with the advances of technology. In a country like India, for example, with the world's largest biometric programme Aadhaar underway, proving who you are, and how that identity relates to various papers, mobile numbers and bank accounts, can mean that reasons like 'insufficient data' can mean people's lives come to a standstill, or become significantly disadvantaged, at worst. Identity as a subject fits Storythings' passion to delve into complex storytelling issues perfectly. 

We discussed with Experian ways of talking about this subject that focussed particularly on the link between financial inclusion and identity: how the lack of (or proximity) to access to credit can make or break lives, how people are finding their own solutions to building their identities, how the system works in reality and how it can be better. 

Karam Rahman and his family in India, featured in Episode 1. More at: identitiesoftheworld.com

Karam Rahman and his family in India, featured in Episode 1. More at: identitiesoftheworld.com

We commissioned three brilliant journalists in India to find some of these stories, by speaking to people who live through being financially excluded in some way or another. Today we are releasing the first of these stories. We hope it makes you think - and don't forget to come back and read the rest, including a short animated video summarising what our protagonists face in these stories. 

Our first story is by journalist Shalini Singh. Shalini was a Nieman Foundation Fellow at Harvard University in 2018, is a regular contributor to the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) and a founding trustee of CounterMedia Trust, the nonprofit that owns PARI. You can find her on Twitter here.

Our second story is by Jency Samuel, a journalist based in Chennai.

Our third story is by Priyanka Borpujari. Priyanka was a Fulbright Program Fellow in 2016, walked on National Geographic’s Out of Eden Walk in India with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Paul Salopek in 2018, and has won fellowships from the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Bosch Stiftung Foundation.

The stories were edited by Duncan Geere

We're incredibly proud to have the opportunity to work with Experian on this, and we hope you learn as much from the stories as we have!

We Made Some Posters (and they're lovely)

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Client: Pearson
Project: Nevertheless

We’ve been working with Pearson since summer 2017 developing their Nevertheless brand. What started out as podcast about diversity in tech is now a platform that includes podcasts, films, live events and learning resources such as these beautiful posters.

The posters celebrate the work of role models from the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM as it’s often referred to). We worked closely with partners and communities from around the world to choose the women featured and used illustrators from Europe, the Middle East, China, South Africa and South America - a truly global project.

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The posters have been shared by schools, colleges and universities all around the world, as well as by science organisations, and media companies such as Nat Geo. They are also being shared widely by people who love design and illustration. It’s been great seeing photos of them on people’s walls appear on Twitter.


The posters have played a big part in building the Nevertheless brand and complement the visual identity we produced for Nevertheless. We’ve been posting copies out to people who have asked on social media and handing them out at events. In a digital world, people LOVE and appreciate analogue gifts like these. The next step is getting them translated in seven languages, which we’ll be working on in the coming weeks.

Building The Public Media Stack

This is the first of a two part essay. The first part is here.

If you’ve read the first part of this essay describing why we need a Public Media Stack, you probably already know lots of examples of projects that could be part of this stack. Here’s an incomplete set of my thoughts and examples of how the Public Media Stack currently looks. I’m sure I’m missing lots of examples of projects, so please email me or leave a note in the comments if you have any suggestions.

The Public Media Stack

The Public Media Stack


CONTENT ARCHIVES — Storing content in sustainable archives with human and machine readable URLs so that it can used for research and analysis by the public after it’s initial publication window, and even after the lifetime of the publisher itself. This is by no means a trivial challenge — I was involved in the BBC’s Creative Archive, a project aimed at digitising the BBC’s TV and Radio archives, but the issue of archiving digital native content is even more acute. Nearly all the digital public media projects I commissioned at the BBC and Channel 4 in the 2000s are no longer available online.

CONTENT METADATA — Storing content metadata in similar human/machine readable archives so that it can be used for research and analysis by the public after it’s initial publication. This should at least include data about the creators/publishers, versions and corrections, and ideally structured data about subjects and themes.

AUDIENCE DATA — Storing audience data, including core metrics, audience funnels, and CRM systems for tracking how audiences access, use and pay for public media content. This is a huge challenge, especially in a post-GDPR world, but there is a real opportunity to create ethical systems for holding personal data. I commissioned a bunch of work about this when I was at the BBC around 2006, and this work is even more necessary now than it was back then, before Facebook showed us all how not to do it. Tim Berners-Lee’s Inrupt/Solid project is pretty much exactly what I was hoping the BBC would build ten years ago.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT — The Correspondent and other engaged journalism projects are leading the way in showing how public media can work with communities to tell stories, not just publish stories to them. There are even more radical models for this kind of engagement from the history of broadcast television. When Channel 4 launched in the UK in 1982, community film workshops lobbied for the ACTT Workshop Declaration — a commitment for the new broadcast TV channel to not only commission individual programmes from diverse communities, but to actively funded ‘integrative practise’ — workshops, education and access to equipment to enable community film & video workshops to make their own programmes. Many of the TV companies that emerged in the 80s and 90s independent TV boom came from these workshops, so imagine what similar workshops (or even accelerators, as we might call them now) could do in the next few decades.

Existing projects — Ethical OSPo.etWikidataInternet ArchiveEngaged Journalism AcceleratorThe CorrespondentHearkenCoral ProjectThe Membership Puzzle ProjectInrupt/Solid


CONTENT PUBLISHING — Alongside industry leading publishing platforms like Wordpress, we’re seeing publications like Vox and the Washington Postmaking their CMS technologies available to other publications, alongside open source platforms like Ghost.org. The fact that the Bezos-owned Washington Post are rolling out their publishing platform as a service is no surprise — Amazon has long recognised the competitive advantage of owning infrastructure as a way of getting a foothold in new industry sectors, from book depots to AWS and their Lumberyard game engine. It’s almost impossible to build on the web without using Amazon infrastructure for part of your stack these days. I don’t think this is a good thing.

AUDIO/VIDEO SERVICES — This is an area where existing public media organisations did lead the way, with the BBC iPlayer and similar services pioneering online video at scale in the mid 2000s. But since then the game has been raised by Netflix and Amazon Prime, both in terms of commissioning and product development. There is a very real risk that public media video and audio content will suffer because of the sheer complexity of products, apps and subscriptions that users need to watch the content they love. Plans for UK broadcasters to collaborate on a shared service were nixed by regulators in 2009, but a decade later, the same regulators are calling for a rethink.

The challenge is that content, product and brand are being tightly knitted into offers for consumers, so asking existing services to host public media content risks diluting their brand in a very competitive market. Also, a lot of public media video is currently being commissioned for social sharing on mobile streams, rather than the kind of ambitious, immersive storytelling that audiences are bingeing on VOD services. As well as opening up access to players, there needs to be investment in ambitious content that is attractive to premium VOD services. Podcast networks like Gimlet are starting to see results from developing IP in audio before transferring to video, so this could be a model for other public media projects. This is something we’re *very* interested in at Storythings, BTW.

SUBSCRIPTION/PAYWALLS — The Reuters Institute Digital News Report has shown for the last few years that media businesses are moving from advertising based revenue to more complex strategies with subscriptions or donations at the core. A decade of giving away audience data and monetisation to third party platforms like Facebook clearly didn’t work, so this is an area where there has been huge amounts of innovation in the last few years. Audiences’ willingness to commit to subscriptions has grown at both end of the scale, with products like SubstackPatreon and Drip building on the advances in crowdfunding for niche media projects in the last decade, and Netflix, Prime, Hulu et al at the premium end.

We might be reaching peak subscription soon, though, as there is likely to be a very hard ceiling on how many subscriptions users are willing to commit to. Bundling subscriptions is very likely to happen soon, and this will more than likely be led by the FAANG platforms again, as they already have payment infrastructure baked into their products. If public media projects want to avoid another decade of disintermediation, we should start exploring bundling subscription models asap.

AUDIENCE/NETWORK /IMPACT — This is a bit of a bucket for a range of issues, some specific to public media projects, some not. At the heart of it is the question of impact — what it is, how to measure it, and how to increase it. I’ve been working around this question of impact for pretty much all my career, from the early years of BBC New Media in the 2000s, through our experiments with digital commissioning at Channel 4 Education, to our work with clients like Omidyar Network, Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at Storythings.

Pretty much every organisation has a slightly different approach to measuring audiences and reporting impact, but for the sake of this post, I want to split them into three activities — audience metrics, network development and impact reporting. The technologies and conceptual models we use to measure public media projects combine all three, but I think it will really help to think of them as three different activities.

The first — audience metrics — is usually dealt with at the level of the individual project/publication, but there are huge advantages in sharing knowledge and models between projects. I’ve been involved in a project doing this in the UK museum and heritage sector called , in which large and small organisations worked together to make their audience measurement and insight projects more effective. A similar project working with public media projects globally would be hugely valuable — The Audience Agency in the UK is an example of how publicly funded technology and consultancy can help raise the skills of an entire sector (disclaimer — I’m on their board).

The second — networks — is sorely underdeveloped in public media content. Building technology to grow audiences by cross promoting content between networks has been proven effective in the early years of nearly every digital network, from the maker networks on Youtube to podcast networks like Radiotopia and Shoutout (this is something we’re developing at Storythings with Diffusion Network). There are thousands of individual public media projects that are all struggling with the same problems of how to grow audiences, and often publishing similar content. Why aren’t we working together to build more examples like the Solutions Journalism Network?

The third — impact — tends to be driven by funders, and their theories of change, rather than public media publishers themselves. The most interesting work happening here are the moves away from retrospective impact models to real-time, iterative impact models. The Center for Investigative Reporting’s open-source Impact Tracker tool is a simple, but very effective tool to help monitor real-time impact, but the really interesting developments are in the research and evidence-led approaches that the Wellcome Trust are experimenting with. This brings impact much closer to engaged journalism, in that both want more involved, complex relationships with audiences, not just measuring them.

Existing Projects — GhostChorusArcSubstackPatreonDripPRXBBC iPlayerBBC SoundsSolutions Journalism NetworkLet’s Get RealThe Audience AgencyRadiotopiaShoutoutDiffusion NetworkCenter for Investigative Reporting Impact TrackerWellcome Trust Public Engagement Team


CONTENT SYNDICATION — We’ve been running Diffusion Network, a pilot project on content syndication at Storythings over the last two years, with partners around the globe. There are huge opportunities for public media publishers to increase reach and impact through syndication, as Project Syndicate has proven. But there are real costs to the original publisher, as host publishers are very inconsistent in how they attribute and share user metrics with the original publisher.

One of the most interesting challenges we’re dealing with in Diffusion is translation — we’ve syndicated content in Spain, France, South America and China through our partners at HuffPo, El Pais and Guokr. Syndication and translation are good examples of the kind of issue that can be solved much more effectively by a network — it’s almost impossible for small projects to fund the staff and workflows needed for syndication and translation, whilst host publishers would much rather deal with a credible network than field requests from hundreds of individual publications. Another good reason why we need to be funding more network initiatives in public media.

BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION — The last few years has seen online publishers pivot their business models in an attempt to reach sustainability, from display advertising to sponsored content, native publishing on third party platforms and most recently subscription and membership models. The Non-Profit News Index shows that most of their members rely on Foundation income and individual giving for 90% of their income. To be truly sustainable, publications should have a more diverse mix, including more earned income. Projects like The Information Accelerator and Matter.vc show how a more commercial model can help media projects diversify their income sources — it would be more projects like the Engaged Journalism Accelerator and The Membership Puzzle Project that actively help public media projects diversify their business models and become more sustainable. More importantly, we need to develop open technologies that can support diverse income models, from ad serving to membership and events.

Credit:  INN 2018 Report

FORMAT INNOVATION — This feels like the area where there is the most investment from public media funders at the moment. I’ve worked in media innovation for most of my career, and it still annoys me that funders are more interesting in funding unsustainable experiments instead of helping to build genuinely sustainable ecosystems for public media. Format innovation is important work, but I’d like to see a shift in funding towards the other areas of the public media stack, not just format innovation. This is why I’ve put format innovation in the ‘tactical’ layer — it’s a the kind of experiment you should do only when you know your fundamental ethical and strategic layers are well established. Without that, there is no long term benefit for these experiments other than helping to showcase the emerging tech of the FAANG companies.

THIRD PARTY PARTNERSHIPS — Which brings us to the final element, partnering with the major FAANG platforms like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Netflix. Bruce Sterling coined the terms ‘stacks’ to describe the integrated strategies of these dominant companies in 2012, as he felt the dominance of these platforms meant it was no longer possible to talk about ‘the internet’ as a cohesive technology platform or public realm. Since 2012, this has only become more true.

Public media projects have relied on these platforms to reach audiences increasingly over the last decade — I’d love to know how much public media investment in the last five years has gone on promoting Facebook posts, for example. This might not change in the next few years, but it will over the next couple of decades. This is why I’ve put partnerships with the other ‘stacks’ as a tactical decision — it’s often not the right choice to make ethically, and we know it’s a poor choice strategically. Working together to negotiate these partnerships, with a long term goal of creating a sustainable independent ecosystem for public media, would feel like a much stronger position.

Existing Projects — Matter.vcThe Information AcceleratorGoogle Digital News InitativeDiffusion NetworkEuropean Journalism Centre

We’ve got a few resources at Storythings to organise a summit on the Public Media Stack, and I’d suggest that doing it in the US (possibly NYC?) in late spring would be a good idea. If you’re interested in taking part or supporting a summit like this, email meor message me on twitter and we’ll get cracking.

The Public Media Stack

Metal stacks in book room, Pequot Library, Southport, Connecticut. Credit —  Public Domain

Metal stacks in book room, Pequot Library, Southport, Connecticut. Credit — Public Domain

This is the first of a two part essay, The second part is here.

Why we need a Public Media Stack

As someone who is an eternal optimist, and who loves tracing the complex arcs of history, this is my favourite proverb:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

I’ve worked in digital public media projects for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen many attempts to imagine and build new ways to make public media effective, relevant and sustainable in a digital landscape. They haven’t succeeded. Instead, we’ve seen a growing monopoly of platforms emerge that prioritised the harvesting and monetisation of user data, and public media projects have had to dance to their tune, constantly pivoting their strategies in a quest for reach and financial sustainability.

For the last decade in particular, as the FAANG platforms tightened their grip on discovery, reach and advertising, this fight has felt un-winnable. But right now, at the beginning of 2019, there are signs of hope. The dominant platforms are facing calls for regulation or even breaking them up into smaller companies. Native digital publications like Buzzfeed, facing decreasing advertising revenues, are floating the idea of merging with their competitors, and there are other calls for publishers to share their publishing infrastructure to help them fight Facebook. New public media projects like The Correspondent are raising money directly from readers, rather than venture capital investors who demand the kind of growth that traps media companies into endless, disruptive pivots. And the founder of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, has announced a new startup to “restore the power and agency of individuals on the web”.

During the last decade, the unimaginable scale of income and investment at the FAANG companies has meant that most public media projects have focused on funding for editorial rather than tech development, and have become increasingly reliant on those monopoly platforms as a result. The Institute for Non-Profit News’ 2018 report showed that their 180 members spent only 6% on tech development, compared to 67% on editorial.


But despite this lack of investment, there are signs of a ‘public media stack’ emerging, with a wide number of projects focused on the specific problems that public media face. It feels like there is a perfect storm right now that might make these projects more sustainable than similar initiatives over the last few decades, and there is the potential to co-ordinate them into something that could grow into a sustainable ecosystem that could survive in parallel to the FAANG monopolies for the next twenty years.

Firstly, we now have well over a decade of experience and data about how audiences want to consume digital media, and these behaviours are mature and widespread across nearly all demographics. Secondly, the underlying technologies for creating, storing and distributing media are mature and well understood — Wordpress, one of the most popular publishing platforms, is now over 15 years old. Thirdly, there are strong signals that media companies are shifting strategies to build more direct relationships with their audiences, rather than relying on the FAANG platforms as intermediaries. And finally, there is a much-needed conversation about how to build ethical technologiesthat see users as stakeholders, not resources.

As Benedict Evans has put it, we are at the ‘End of the Beginning’ — we’ve given access to digital networks to the majority of the Earth’s population, but the potential uses and benefits of this access are still only emerging. If we want to build institutions to ensure public media is a benefit that everyone can access in the next two decades, we need to do something about it now.

What is the Public Media Stack?

I think we have an opportunity now to co-ordinate investment and development efforts to create a sustainable public media stack, and by sustainable, I mean a project that can last at least two decades, as that is about how long it takes for digital ecosystems to reach maturity.

To be absolutely clear, I’m not saying we need to create a ‘digital BBC’ or a ‘publicly owned Facebook’. A 21st century public media ecosystem can’t be developed from within the public media institutions of the 20th century (believe me, a lot of us spent the last two decades trying), and we should stop confusing the infrastructure needed to own and monetise personal data with the infrastructure needed to produce and distribute independent public media (despite the current dominance of social streams, this is not the only means of reaching audiences). Instead, we can learn from projects like Government Digital ServiceCode for AmericaDoteveryone and others about how to build communities and ecosystems that work across institutions.

The public media stack should be an open community of projects, funders and partners, built around three layers — EthicalStrategic and Tactical. I’ve suggested these layers as they address very specific concerns facing public media network, but are broad enough to create a strong structure for planning and investing in for decades to come. Individual elements might shift up or down the layers over the years, depending on broader commercial and social contexts. For example, audience engagement has been treated as a tactical issue, outsourced to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But as engaged journalism changes our perception of audiences from customers to stakeholders, I think we need to see audience engagement as an ethical issue, fundamental to the trust and transparency of public media.

The Public media Stack

The Public media Stack

The ETHICAL layer deals with the elements that are essential to the values of public media — transparency, trust and creating permanent archives for public analysis. These elements should be fundamental to all public media projects, and need business models and infrastructure that make them sustainable for decades to come. If you’re starting a public media project in 2019 you have to think about the ethical consequences of how you manage your content archives and audience data, for example. This layer includes content metadata and audience data as these drive the content algorithms and AI that decide what content audiences actually see in their personalised streams. This is probably the biggest challenge facing public media projects right now. The work Omidyar Network and Doteveryone are doing with their Ethical OS and Responsible Tech projects are leading the way on how to create ethical frameworks for tech in these areas.

The STRATEGIC layer deals with the elements that are critical to public media projects’ core activities. There are huge opportunities here to share infrastructure and business models between projects, and to create common services that can help grow audiences and networks. Creating networks to share infrastructure and build audiences has been a fundamental strategy in media from the days or early radio to Youtube, so I find it remarkable that this isn’t more common in public media projects.

The TACTICAL layer deals with experiments in new formats, distribution or syndication. This includes partnerships with third party platforms like the FAANG platforms. These have been the focus of a lot of investment in public media over the last decade, including Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund. But these should really be a small part of the work of public media projects — innovation is vital, but it should not come at the expense of investing in the fundamental ethical and strategic issues that make public media projects sustainable and healthy.

A really important feature of the Public Media Stack is that any individual public media project should be able to start building from the first layer, but also fall back to it if needed. The difference between building public institutions in the 20th and 21st Century is that sustainability and relevance are not gifts, but challenges. Whereas public media projects used to be given competitive advantages like access to limited spectrum or due prominence on listings, this is no longer the case. Digital public media projects need structures that enable quick launches, on-demand scaling, flexible business models, and the ability to scale back based on spiky patterns of attention.

A 21st Century public media ecosystem needs to be a platform that enables many different projects to face the challenges of sustainability and relevance, and if they fail, to let others build on their work. Public media projects that fail should degrade gracefully back into the ecosystem, creating archives and tools that can be shared and developed by partners, rather than having their legacy locked into third party platforms.

How can we start building the Public Media Stack?

I think supporting and developing a Public Media Stack over the next twenty years is not something that has an easy solution. I don’t think its the right time to start a new organisation or institution — there’s already a very broad and diverse range of projects working in this space.

Instead, I’d like to suggest instead organising a summit/workshop to explore the structure and elements of a Public Media Stack. I’d love to bring together some of the incredibly smart people working in this space, and flesh out some of the specific challenges and opportunities at each layer in the stack. Out of that could come a roadmap for building the Public Media Stack out of the loose network of projects and organisations I’ve linked to in this post, as well as the many posts I’ve forgotten to include, or haven’t yet heard about.

We’ve got a few resources at Storythings to organise a summit on the Public Media Stack, and I’d suggest that doing it in the US (possibly NYC?) in late spring would be a good idea. If you’re interested in taking part or supporting a summit like this, email me or message me on twitter and we’ll get cracking.

To go back to the proverb at the beginning of this post — we’ve seen the kind of trees that have grown over the last twenty years. It’s time to start planting the seeds for new kinds of trees now.