Category Archives: General Ramblings

Awards? Pah! Who needs ’em….

WinnerAs part of my ‘day job’ as a Marketing Manager, industry awards and accolades are a really important part of day-to-day business.  Hardly a week passes when I’m not looking at award categories or writing up entry submissions. This isn’t something however that has crept into my other work… Until recently that is!

Just before the last TEDxCardiff Neil and I were very kindly nominated for an Inspire Wales award. I was fairly surprised and flattered and we spent the day before TEDx filling in paper work for the awards, something I particularly struggled with because, although if you’re a design agency you have something tangible to show for your efforts, you can say ‘yeah, we did an awesome job with our design, if you don’t believe us take a look for yourself… See, isn’t it great!’ (that’s not quite how I write my award entries by the way), but for being ‘inspirational’ it’s a little harder to prove your outcomes, I can’t capture in a form the shear love and devotion that goes in to every one of our events and the results and feedback we get from our audiences, and I don’t think a suitable way of completing an awards entry is ‘well, I guess you had to be there’.

Needless to say, we didn’t get shortlisted (you probably guessed that as if we had been, the tone of this post may be a little different…!). Yes, I was a little disappointed although I spent a fair amount of time convincing myself, and trying to convince Neil, that it was OK, our whole ethos is to do things a little differently and because of that people don’t always ‘get’ what we do. It’s a prime example of experiential, I think you really do need to be there to understand how our formats work, that goes for TEDxCardiff, Ignite Cardiff and for what’s coming next… So we don’t need these awards to tell us how we’re doing…

Sour grapes? Hrm, maybe! It may also come as no surprise that when we came to talking about desired outcomes for next year’s event my initial response was ‘I want to win an award… For anything, I don’t care what’.

An element of it is, as much as I hate to admit it, about acceptance and the acknowledgment that we do good things. Ok, it may not be to everyone’s taste, we may not be saving kittens, rehoming orphaned dolphins or protecting Namibian Mountain Goats (yet…) but I like to think we’re contributing to a little corner of what makes Cardiff great so I’ll probably be working a little bit harder towards getting more recognition for what we do. On the other hand, we’re not a hard edged business either. Doing something that we love of more important to us than making money, and perhaps that also goes against us. Like an awkward teenager we’re not even really sure where we belong so I don’t know how I expect other people to know (are we a not-for-profit? Yes, are we a start-up? Hrm maybe, are we arts or education based? Kinda…).

So, does that mean we need to be more commercialised? Maybe. More business-like? Probably.  I suspect part of the problem is that to the outer world it may look like we’re ‘playing’ and not taking things to seriously and perhaps that’s why I don’t have a range of shiny trophies adorning my shelves but I’ll remain optimistic.  It’s always good to have something to aim for and in the mean time I’ll start clearing my walls ready to be inundated with nominations next years!


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Social media and the feel good factor

I recently read a great book, just one of those ones where you’re waiting in the train station, bored, want something to read so buy a cheap book scenario.  I really enjoyed it and so mentioned it on Twitter.  To my surprise the Author tweeted back and thanked me for saying nice things about her book!  I thought it was such a nice personal touch and exactly what Twitter should be used for.

A friend of mine has recently decided to take a break from Twitter because, as his personal blog explains, it has caused him a bit of grief in the past, and although one of his experiences directly affected me too (although unlike him it’s inappropriate for me to talk about it) I will not be taking a Twitter break any time soon.

When I recently spoke at Ignite Bristol (blatant plug!) I got one of my Twitter rants off my chest.  Twitter (for all its goodness and badness) is a conversation.  Sometimes you say things you wish you hadn’t said, sometimes you read things that you wish you hadn’t seen, but at the end of the day the most important rules are to be polite, if someone talks to you, talk back, don’t just push information out and not respond to your followers (that’s what RSS feeds are for) and most importantly think about what you say because once something is out in the public domain – you can’t take it back.

I don’t follow everyone that follows me, but I generally follow people who talk to me but if I’m no longer interested in what you’re saying I will unfollow you, it’s nothing personal!

I have another friend who has recently joined Twitter and only after much badgering gave me her username under the explicit instructions NOT to tell anyone who she was or to hint anything in my tweets about where she lives or anything about her, purely because she likes the anonymity of being able to say what she likes without work or personal friends judging or reading something and taking it the wrong way – this is something I wholeheartedly understand!

Whereas I generally use Twitter for more professional reasons keeping FaceBook for my personal life, I have recently found that I have made some great new friends and I think, for all the bad stuff that’s happened (and trust me, some of my lowest points from the last year or two can be attributed to Twitter!!!) as with life, shit happens, and if you can make the most of the benefits and take reasonable precautions to avoid the crap, there’s no reason why Social Media can’t be your friend!

Claire x

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Random musings of a mad-woman

As a woman who these days seems to be constantly surrounded by men (lucky me eh?!) I do feel that it’s time to admit something that I think my sorority sisters may shoot me for – yes, it’s true – women are all a little bit crazy!

OK, I’m not going to tar all women with the same brush here and please feel free to stop me if you disagree with any of the following pieces of evidence that I think prove that I’m actually a complete raving loon on the inside even if to the rest of the world I appear to be a perfectly reasonably human being…

1. I over think things

Now I guess everyone is guilty of doing this just a little. My husband is obsessed with hair – not in a bizarre kinky way I might add, just that his life-long ambition has been to be a hair dresser.  Last year we decided that instead of listening to him raving on about how great it could be, that he should actually give up his office job to pursue his dream.  And now that he’s doing it he lives and breathes it and I would say 50% of our conversations are about hair or hair related products!  But that’s not the kind of over thinking that I’m talking about… I’m talking about complete immersion and analysing every single detail of something that hasn’t even happened yet, sometimes to the point that within minutes of coming up with an idea I’ll have decided not to do it because in my head, by taking certain steps I’ve managed to result in it leading to the end of the world!

2. I don’t hear what you actually say, only what I think you’re saying

Firstly, I would like to state that this usually only relates to conversations that are of an emotional nature.  For example, if I’m taking a brief for a website or going through financial things – basically where the information is pure fact, this doesn’t cause me any problems.  However, the moment the conversation becomes slightly personal all rationale goes out of the window and try as I might to digest the words that are actually said somehow when I go through the conversation in my head later (usually at 2am) it’s completely different.  It’s as though someone has muted the sounds and added truly random sub-titles! A good example is if someone comments that I’m wearing tight jeans, what I hear is ‘your bum is HUGE’ or when Neil (my partner in crime in all things Ignite and TED related) says ‘hrm perhaps you have a point’ what I hear later is ‘that’s a completely idiotic idea, what was I thinking going on holiday and leaving you in charge’!

3. I don’t want an easy life

OK, this one isn’t going to be too much of a revelation to those that know me but I am incapable of doing nothing.  My diary for the last three weeks or so has been a mess of meetings, meet ups, gigs and events, on top of that I’m mid-way through renovating my house and on the very odd occasion I get to see my family.  Today I find myself with an oddly clear day where I have nothing that I actually have to do, but will I sit around and do nothing – hell no!  I’m already seeing myself doing all manner of things from baking to laying tiles to organising presentations and writing press releases (OK those last two things I do actually need to do this weekend) and as much as a complain about it Mr Stevenson was right, I obviously do enjoy it so I should stop bloody whinging about it!

This blog post could literally go on and be the most epically written post of all time, but I’m going to stop there before my employers, friends and husband realise what they are actually dealing with.  The one thing I will complement myself on is that I know that I’m a nut-case and I do try and deal with it (or hide it as best as I can) but sometimes I’m afraid it does slip out, so for all of those that get to deal with the rare moments of craziness I sincerely apologise, my jazz musician father reminded me that thanks to him I’ve probably inherited the attention-seeking gene so I’m going to partly hold him responsible!

The mug that I drink out of at work that says ‘High Maintenance’ – that’s not an understatement…

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Cardiff has got it goin’ on!

I LOVE living in Wales.  I’m sorry but I do.  I’m a proper Welsh girl.  I love the place, I love the people I just think that it’s awesome.

When I set up Cardiff Web Scene nearly three years ago now I did so because there wasn’t much of a local scene happening for people with an interest in the web.  But I’m so glad that in the last week I’ve been to two brilliant webby events that have been started up by other people.

The first on Thursday was the first Cardiff Girl Geek dinner (which I’ve just blogged about for Wales Online).  Girl Geek dinners are there to support women in the tech industry and the turn out was fantastic.  It was a great pleasure to be in a room of such, gorgeous, intelligent and fascinating women and I can’t wait until the next one.

The second event was the Cardiff Tweet Up on Friday.  Tweet Ups are a fantastic way to not only put faces to the tweets that you follow but also to meet new, local tweeters and find out what they are up to.

It’s fantastic independent events like these two that have inspired the new project that I’m about to start working on (bit too early to talk about at the moment but more information will follow).  If you are running or are involved with an independently run event in Cardiff I would love to hear about it.

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New look!

OK, I know, I’m really, really rubbish at keeping blogs and things up to date.  However, my resolution for 2010 is to try harder to get my website sorted out and this is the first step!

So, this little redesign is just a step to getting up and fully functional, and I’m hoping that a proper website will follow in the next few months.

While you’re here and I’ve got your attention here’s just a quick plug to say that I’m involved in two incredibly interesting events in the first half of next year.  This first is Ignite Cardiff #4 which is being held on March 4 at the Wales Millennium Centre and is part of Global Ignite week.  The second is TEDxCardiff which is being held in the Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre on April 14.

If you’d like to be involved in either event please let me know (we’re looking for volunteers, sponsors and speakers for both), you can drop me a line at

Anyway, other than that I hope you had a lovely Christmas and have a great new year 🙂 .

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