Ann, Bill and a bunch of storytellers

These last three days I am grateful for my Daily Dose of  inspiration from remarkable people thanks to:


Ann Larson. Demographer, social commentator, Pollinators chairperson, muffin-baker, academic, stylish-dresser, social entrepreneur and passionate and intelligent advocate for all things truly enabling of human development in regional Australia, Asia and Africa. For reasons that you’d have to ask her about, she’s put countless hours into helping Pollinators and effectively mentoring me in many aspects of my Executive Officer role. She’s done everything from fiddling with cashflow forecasts, leading the Board through ups and downs, selling office space, traveling cross-country at her own expense to pitch to potential investors and baking delicious snacks for Board meetings. In her spare time she is on several other Boards, provides consultancy services of global standard and writes very insightful and popular blogs.  Ann expressed her care for people and places with such grace, intelligence, efficiency and dedication, yet at the same time could be easily missed because she’s so darn good at deflecting attention away from herself. I would say “I want to be like Ann when I grow up”, but then I pause and think “Maybe not…” purely because she’s absolutely one of a kind.


Bill Tai. I was fortunate enough to hear Bill Tai (sponsored kite-surfer, tech venture capitalist) and several other investors, film-makers, digital designers, app/software developers and marketing people speak at Emergence Creative festival. I learned so much from their presentations and conversations, and some of it was nothing to do with the content or context of what they were doing. The learning was from simply listening to and watching people who are very, very skilful at how they do what they do. These very, very smart people who are very skilful at playing the investment, marketing, advertising or commercial ‘game’, all shared insights and learning that I can apply in a very different context and form. For example, Bill shared some metaphors relating ‘waves’ of innovation and positioning your venture in relationship to those waves, he also shared stories and insights into critical success factors for ventures, the ‘liquidity’ of human capital in places like Silicon Valley and talk about creating ‘frictionless’ user experiences. All these concepts, the way he presented himself, seemed to have a genuinely, continuously curious mind, and how interacted with others on the panel were valuable, appreciated and so….coherent. On this last point ‘coherence’ I just wonder if that coherence and clarity that comes from doings things like investing in risky ventures or mastering new moves in kite-surfing where you’re always consciously testing, trying, failing, learning and bending your own perceptions, positions and practices around the problem you’re trying to solve.


Storytellers. My participation in Emergence Creative festival introduced me to storytellers Janine Boreland, Carly Davenport, Richard Bullock, and reminded me of Geraldton’s own Chris Lewis. These people are all talented, socially-aware, ethically-informed storytellers responsible for telling stories of causes, communities and culture. It’s a marvellous skill and generates such rich artefacts and understanding, in very shareable forms. Compared to reading from ancient texts or sharing tales around the fire their influence and contribution is potentially immense. And in all their cases they’ve worked on projects that weave together (not just juxtapose) stories from very different threads: ancient cultures and recent history, commercial motivations and charitable impacts, physical locations and intangible memories. I highly recommend checking some of their work out: