Posts in Monthly Reviews
It's a wrap! November 2018
dietmar_friedmann
Paris
skillshare_social_media

Oh. Wow. NOVEMBER! A lot has happened this month.

Besides me going to Paris to join one of Jim Haynes’ legendary Sunday suppers, I’ve also managed to start working on an event series myself. Together with Kate Sagovsky from Moving Dust, we’re planning a series of 12 live performances to spark an honest, soothing conversation between people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, but more on that later!

I spent parts of the month transcribing interviews for the book I’m currently working on. While I don’t have a name for it just yet, I’ve been collecting stories of people who organize dinners and brunch clubs to bring people together in their communities.

As much as I’ve always loved the internet for bringing like-minded people together, over time I’ve become very aware of how important it is to also gather people who don’t have the same opinion. It’s become increasingly important to create gatherings for strangers of diverse backgrounds to talk and exchange thoughts and experiences. Speaking to people such as Timo Santala, the founder of the Restaurant Day, the tireless idealist Joe Edelman, who loves to play with how people make a connection, Maciej Chmara, who together with his wife ran the Mobile Hospitality where they hosted people despite being just visitors in different cities, and others has inspired me greatly. So far, I have 14 interviews of which I’ve already transcribed six, and given I’ve always been most productive in the winter months, I’m pretty excited about how this project is evolving.

For this particular book, I’m actually not so sure if Kickstarter’s the best way to launch it, so instead I’ll be looking for a publishing house to help me shape the final product. I believe this might be interesting to a publishing house that focuses on coffee table books, city building books, and similar. If you know someone who knows someone, you know where to find me! And should your lead get to something, I promise you a seat at one of the live performances I’ve mentioned above.

On a personal note, in 2019 I’m planning to move into more hands-on community building by running events and offline initiatives. I’d love to get involved with conferences to bring people together, in team building initiatives. I’d also like to work on more customer-focused experiences, such as the LifeStartFest I got to program earlier today. Maybe, I’d even like to become more political and get involved in the European election next year. If you know someone who needs someone, I’m currently looking for new projects starting on the 14th of January. Please don’t hesitate to introduce us via hello@mkanokova.com.

It’s not just future outlook I want to talk about in this monthly summary...

In this past month, I got to collaborate on the launch of the Virgin Galactic Unite LifeStart Challenge that gives UK students the chance to submit to an idea competition and win a trip to the Virgin Galactic Space Port in Mojave, California and up to £1000 in cash. The Challenge is open until the 10th of December, 2018.

Last but not least, and potentially of interest to all freelancers, I’ve launched a new Skillshare class explaining how to frame side projects and use social media to spread the word about them.

Anyway, thank you for reading until the end of this report and please do get in touch if you know of any projects I can get involved with starting in January!

It’s a wrap! October 2018
Norn.co
London
Norn.co

What’s a conversation you’d love to have and with whom?

Every time I started working on a new book, I’d start by asking myself just that; what would I love to know and who do I want to have a discussion with? Then I’d reach out to those people and have the sort of conversations I was craving.

If you’ve been reading these monthly reports for what’s now been exactly four years, you might have noticed I’ve had an obsession with “conversations” and how technology is impacting the way we communicate and spend time together. For my upcoming book project, I’ve reached out to people who gather friends and strangers to ask them more about how they see their role as a host and how they orchestrate gatherings that leave an impression; gatherings people ponder about even days or weeks after.

This new project has been filling me up with joy, in addition to a new client I’ve started working with: Norn.

To me, Norn is one of the most exciting ventures I’ve come across in recent years, and at least since I started working with Kickstarter. As conversation hubs, Norn’s aiming at bringing people together to help them facilitate meaningful conversations.

Together, we’re refining their customer journey and experience and also reworking their messaging. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend following them on Instagram.

Along these lines, yet slightly extended in their sense, I’d also like to recommend the following articles written by my friend Joe Edelman, who I consider one of the most inspiring philosophers of modern times:

Five Question Rethinking Civilisation

Non-Goal Drives

As for LifeStart, we’ll soon be launching new challenges on the platform after closing a challenge with Virgin Money Giving and Sony Pictures. I’ve managed to hire a couple of students to help us create interesting content for students. We’re still looking should you know a student who’s based in the UK looking for part-time work, and is a great storyteller.

I’m also in the process of launching a new Skillshare class on how to use social media as a creative, which should launch within the next couple of weeks.

It’s a wrap! September 2018
A65E4D62-7ADE-4F72-951A-702C35E004E1.JPG
copenhagen
LifeStartFest

All I think of when I think about September is the LifeStartFest. At the end of August, we started organizing a careers festival for students in Bangor and I was lucky enough to be one of the key people in making the event happen. Luckily, I wasn’t responsible for the logistics because that would mean I’d order the pizza from the US and the balloons to Bangor in Northern Ireland as we happened to learn in the process. I was tasked with programming it all and making sure our attendees would have an incredible experience. You can read more about it in my case study.

Because of the LifeStart event, and next to my usual community work, I spent most of September thinking about hosting gatherings and creating inclusive environments. Over the years, I’ve been a part of many online initiatives and learning how to sort out conflict and create a friendly environment online. Yet with how the social web’s evolving, I’ve found an increasing joy in thinking about offline experiences. The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker is one of the most useful books, and just like Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle, it’s a must-read for everyone who deals with communities.

I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the Community Summit at the TechFest in Copenhagen organized by my friend Severin Matusek and his co-matter studio.

One of my highlights of the month was that I joined Norn.co as a founding member in Berlin. So far, I’ve participated in two events and it’s been incredible to witness how they facilitate gatherings. I feel like I have so much to learn from them. And so, if you ever get a chance to join one of their events, I’d highly recommend it.

In October, we’re opening a new round of LifeStart Challenges, which is what will be my focus of the month. If you have some small projects you want me to help out with, please let me know. I’d also love to get involved in creating event experiences, so if you think having a community strategist on board would be of value, please reach out.


It’s a wrap! August 2018

The biggest question I’ve asked myself in August was how do you organize an event where every attendee – even the shyest one – goes home with the contact details of at least one potential future friend. How do you create an unforgettable experience for 200 students?

Over the years, I’ve attended a number of conferences and have seen what experiences turn a conference into a great one. I believe there are three key things. To me, a good conference is when I go home with at least one new contact I’ll actually care to follow up with. Yet, in order for me to follow up with someone, I need to know what they are about. Thus, as a conference organizer, it’s key to make people connect over a task or a question that creates intimacy. Another key is making people laugh. And last but not least, you want people to have the space to chat freely, but you need to give them a subject to talk about or a question to answer to start with.

In August, I’ve been obsessing with icebreakers and team building exercises. I’ll definitely write a summary once the event I’m working on happens, but I do want to share one favorite exercise we found that we’ll definitely try. It’s called “the toilet paper game” and it works like this:

“The very premise of this game will get the group laughing. The group facilitator passes a roll of toilet paper around the room and asks each member to tear off how much they normally use when going to the toilet. After everyone has their tiles paper, ask them to tell the group one interesting fact about themselves for each piece of toilet paper they have.”

Please check back for the September summary to hear more about how the event went.

This past month, I’ve also worked on the activation strategy for an intranet of a global brand. As companies grow, the HQ needs tools to keep everyone on the team equally engaged and provide them with information and a loyalty program. Yet whenever someone introduces a technology, it takes time and effort to make sure people actually use it. Technology often feels intimidating, which is also a job of a community strategist to solve that challenge.

I was also asked to write a funding proposal to help a social startup get funds from the government. When writing proposals, what matters is putting the ideas into the social and societal context, which is where I usually step in.

One last thing I’ve worked on this past month was finally recording my Skillshare class on how to run a Kickstarter project. It’s framed for freelancers who want to position their business. I’ve gone in so much detail that everyone who’s planning to run a Kickstarter will find a lot of takeaways. At the end of the day, I did run five projects and not all of them went well, yet all of them succeeded. If you are planning to run a project or someone you know is, share the link with them. I don’t think there is any other resource as detailed as that one, besides, of course, the post Tim Ferriss shared in The 4-Hour Workweek.

As for recommendations, I was lucky to be invited to a Norn dinner, which most certainly was my favorite experience of the whole month. Norn is a salon for structured conversations on topics one doesn’t usually talk about the way the Norm team invites you to do. It’s incredibly insightful and feels intimate. I had the immediate feeling of belonging. It was lovely.

Last but not least, my inner panic monster has finally arrived and I’ve began writing my TedX talk. I cannot even describe in words how intimidating this feels and how long I’ve been procrastinating on this. The event’s on the 13th of October in Graz in case you want to attend and see me live.

I’m heading to the TechFest in Copenhagen and will also be traveling to London and Wales this month. Please reach out if you’re around and let me know what you’re working on. Would love to hear more about inspiring projects.

It's a wrap! July 2018
#kathmosmoving
Birmingham
#kathmosmoving2

It feels like it’s been two days since I last posted an update here. But then it also somehow feels like it’s been two years since I signed a rental contract in Berlin and turned my entire life upside down. I’ve been wishing to write more. But then had to assemble a bed. I wanted to finally shoot the Skillshare video I started working on in January, yet there I was, trying to unbox and sort through my things.

It would be a lie if I said I was fully focused on work this month. It’s actually surprising how much has happened in the past four weeks.

First of all, I was fortunate to join the Hanzo team for a series of workshops in Wales. It was a user research workshop to learn more about the challenges of academia.

I have also signed a contract with the Upskill Digital team to become one of their associated trainers. And then, the biggest highlight was that I was contacted by the TedXLend team asking if I’d be up for speaking at the upcoming event in October.

For LifeStart, we have organized a series of mentorship events in London to connect students with professionals over dinner or an afternoon tea. We use these events to connect with students offline. To us, it’s a great way to induce small offline highlights and give students a real reason to connect with the initiative online. We also use the conversations the students and mentors are having at the table as a base for our content strategy online. In August, we’ll be rolling out a Youtube channel and a blog. I’m very much looking forward to what’s ahead of us regarding this wonderful initiative facilitated by Virgin Money.

I will be updating my imprint soon, given I had to found a company in Germany and close my Austrian one. It’s been a lot of bureaucracy, but it feels good to finally feel a little more settled. What I think is the most wonderful thing is how much I feel I am in the right place right now.

Last but not least, I’d love to recommend you the following reads:

Some thoughts on what might drive space exploration

https://medium.com/s/futurehuman/survival-of-the-richest-9ef6cddd0cc1

How to share your user research

https://medium.com/mixed-methods/8-creative-ways-to-share-your-user-research-746fae501e2c

What to do when nobody notices your art

https://artplusmarketing.com/what-to-do-when-nobody-notices-you-the-power-of-the-300-rule-e132efa6b51a

Enjoy your summer!

It’s a wrap! June 2018
lifestart.JPG
grind

I often ask myself whether it’s possible to build a community that’s purely online and without any kind of offline interactions. Is it still a community or is it just an audience? Is it then marketing or is it still community building? 

I’ve always believed there is a distinct difference between someone who works as a marketing consultant and a community strategist. In my job, I always look for ways to bring people together. In my opinion, what makes the internet so magical is that it’s much easier to gather people who have the same passions and interests, and that if you can gather people, you should. 

When we were thinking of what sort of social media content we wanted to produce for LifeStart this summer, we wanted to experiment with career mentorships and actually bring students together to chat with someone who works in the career they might be interested in. 

Luckily, we had a bunch of Virgin Experience Vouchers lying around, so Cleo and I set up group meetings, invited mentors, and asked students to join. We got very lucky with the locations too: from Fortnum & Mason to Grill Plateau, we turned an empty excel sheet into social media content that’s a treat for everyone. 

At the moment, we’re preparing the outreach to launch the next round of LifeStart Challenges that will begin in early fall. As always, we’re looking for UK-based university staff and students to help us. 

Another project that’s been keeping me busy is my upcoming Skillshare class on how to use Kickstarter to build a career as a freelancer. For this, I’ve been carrying around a microphone for most of the month trying to finally record it. 

You might notice my VAT number is no longer active, as I’m currently in the process of setting up a German company. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen I found an apartment and am moving back to Berlin. While it all went through just a week ago, it had been long time coming given that I’ve lived between Vienna and Berlin for five years, and as previously said, just got really tired of traveling around so much. Nevertheless, I’m currently popping in and out of Britain, so should you be in London, we could also a have a coffee one day. I’m mostly hanging out at the Shoreditch Grind when I’m there these days. I like to watch people as they rush through the streets. It’s so different when thinking of Vienna, or even Berlin.

Until next month! 

It’s a wrap! May 2018 
digital_explorer.jpg
digital_nomad
google-digital-garage

When life gives you lemons...

Life gave me three weeks without in-person meetings and a project I’m currently truly excited about (Hello, Hanzo! I like you!). Seizing the opportunity, I immediately booked a flight to Australia and New Zealand to see my wonderful friend Greta.

Ever since I met Greta in Bali last year, I knew I wanted to visit her, so once I had an opportunity to do so, I didn’t hesitate.  The 25th of April was my last day of teaching my students, on the 26th of April I was on a plane down under. 

All of this booked and decided on the 21st of April. I do love the internet. 

Being remote and somewhere new, it makes it much easier to focus. I didn’t really tell anyone I was down under, so I made an extra effort for no one to notice and for no one to mind. 

Having done this trip inspired me to conduct a Skillshare class on remote working, so that’s what I’m currently working on. Diana is also reviewing a script about using Kickstarter as a freelancer, so that I can start recording the Skillshare class on that subject very soon. 

However, life hasn’t just given us lemons this past month. Life has also given us a great portion of GDPR. As a community strategist and someone who connects people for a living, I probably had more to do than most freelancers. I’ve written an extensive blog post about all I’ve done, which you can read here. (I’m still not 100% done but I hope I’ll get there eventually.) 

One thing I'm extremely excited about is the Google Digital Garage that I found out about just a couple of days ago. If you'd like to get up to speed with online marketing, they've created the most valuable webinar to teach you all the necessary basics. You'll also get a certificate once you successfully do the final exam. 

On the project front, I’m currently preparing content for a student outreach initiative for which I’m looking for people who’d like to contribute a fun story from their student lives that’s related to some of their odd jobs. I’m also looking for HR managers who’d like to share what they look for when hiring junior staff. If you think that’s you, please don’t hesitate and get in touch or pass on this post to someone you think should definitely contribute a story. 

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m updating my website with my planned trips, so if I ever happen to be somewhere close to you, please don’t hesitate and get in touch. I’m pretty much playing it by the ear at the moment. 

It's a wrap! April 2018
new design university
vegan food.jpg
orion.jpg
melbourne.jpg

April was great! I’ve successfully accomplished my three month assignment with Veganz. I’m especially very happy I was able to hand it over to someone as capable and wonderful as Moritz Möller.

Moritz and I met when I first moved to Berlin. Back then, he was heading the local Instagram community, and to this day, he’s responsible for the #igersberlin account. He’s someone I’d recommend any day. It’s so great to know the marketing department at Veganz is in good hands.

I really love the mission of the company and I’m thankful it’s given me the opportunity to reflect more on what lands on our (and especially my) plate. If you’re interested in veganism and might want some help to make you give up meat, I can only recommend the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Patrick Bolk’s Vegan Guide

Don’t get me wrong, I do really enjoy eating meat for its taste. However, the more I read about what it means to eat meat in our capitalist times, the more I wonder how it’s even possible veganism is such niche thing. From the ethical point of view, veganism should really be the norm for anyone who lives in an urban area in what’s considered a developed country.

This quote sums it up well: 

"Since the world has changed so much, the same values don’t lead to the same choices anymore."

Jonathan Safran Foer

While my Veganz project has come to an end, I’m glad I’ll now be able to dedicate more time working together with the Barcelona-based agency Hanzo. We’re working on a student initiative for a London-based client and it’s the sort of work that’s truly aligned with what I’m most excited about: helping people get the sort of work they're most excited about.

I’ve also finished teaching at the New Design University. My course Social Media for Designers was a series of lectures on how to use the Internet as a tool to make a living as an independent creative (or get the sort of jobs with the companies one wants to work for). 

I love exploring what’s possible online and it’s moments like getting emails from EyeEm that I sold 40 images (of food) in one month that give me a weird sense of satisfaction. 

And even though I do make parts of my income with selling photos of food, it pleases me even more when a publication such as Girlboss recommends one of my books to their readers. 

All in all a very pleasant, successful month. I’m fully booked until the end of May, however, if you have a project you want to do in June, please don’t hesitate and drop me a line. Let’s talk!