21 July 2019

I finished ‘Everybody Lies – What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are‘ by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz this week. It was about how, as you might imagine, when we are speaking to a person, we tell them what we think they want to hear, or base our response on who we want them to think we are. Our searches and big data from sites like Google, Facebook and the multitude of sources that we leave evidence about who we are on, as well as what we do, that is tracked by our devices, will reveal a different truth.

Some of the examples he uses to demonstrate his knowledge are not what I would focus on if I had the knowledge to access the data, but the methodology is what I found inspiring. There are so many great questions that data could answer. When you add AI to the mix, the potentials are boundless. In Stephens-Davidowitz’s conclusion he says

“Social science is becoming a real science, and this new real science is poised to improve our lives.”

I started trying to learn data analysis and only completed one unit. The maths and the language were difficult, but I can’t help but feel if I learnt this language and the formulas it would be helpful to respond more thoughtfully and meaningfully to our community. At the very least it would give me more direction to further test in.

Is data analysis a part of social science study at our Universities? Perhaps it would be a valuable addition. I found this MOOC and have enrolled but I may have to finish the other other one I started to have the skills to do it.

I had a little play with Google Trends . I think I could lose many hours on that site and may in the future. You can look up searches based on years, geography and compare search terms – see below.

There have been trials and errors in the time I’ve worked in my current role. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to learn as much as I’ve learnt in this last six years. There is so much more to learn.

One of the tools he discussed was data doppelgangers, which led me to read this – https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/data-doppelgangers-and-the-uncanny-valley-of-personalization/372780/ and who hasn’t wondered about the ad targeting. This article is 5 years old so I imagine a lot of progress has been made since then.

There are existing resources like – https://data.gov.au/ which is open data from the government. I had a look at the Latrobe Valley sources available. There was nothing there from Department of Education, DSS or DHHS. There is a lot of other information available, some of it quite old. I will take more time to see what I can learn.

This book was recommended on the Impact Boom podcast – Bradley Clair & Nicholas Kamols On How To Power On With Your Social Enterprise. These two guys have been doing amazing work around the planet with recycled electronics and it’s a great story. There’s references in the podcast to some great social enterprise projects in schools that Tom Allen has worked on. I’ve previously read Bold and have started Abundance by Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler, so the final recommended book to read from this podcast is 21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.

Impact Boom posted this week 60 Recommended books that global changemakers are reading in 2019 , there are some great books I’ve read on it but many many more to read.

On Friday night I saw this post from Rob Rees, who is a mentor I have had access to this year. He delivered the Kitchen Challenge program at The VRI earlier this year and I have seen a lot of growth in the participants that did the course. I have been thinking about it and reflecting on how we can shift our projects from hybrid non-profit to social enterprise. It’s not a new thought but the clarity of this image cut through some confusion I feel when I hear the term ‘social enterprise’ applied to government funded projects.

Two Weeks

I missed posting last Sunday.

I spent the day at ReActivate Latrobe Valley‘s event: Get Cheffed and was straight to bed at the end. The event was fun. We had around 500 local food lovers come through our market and 100 spectators for the main event.  The marquee was full of supporters who by pledging to our crowdfunding had made the Chef off and Chef up a reality. So many people contributed to the day and donated their time or cash or goods.  It is overwhelming sometimes how generous people are.

My parents had their 53rd wedding anniversary this week. I got married on the same day as them, 30 years ago, but did not go the distance, despite choosing what I thought would be an auspicious day. I only lasted around 5 years married. Enough time to have two amazing children, so no regrets.

Jane had her final day at Serving the Valley on Friday. She worked tirelessly right up until the last second following up opportunities for participants and sharing news on social media. We will miss Jane’s dedication to Serving the Valley, but fortunately we work together on other projects and are friends. Jane has volunteered at The VRI and Traralgon Neighbourhood House from the start.  I am happy for her that she has a more rewarding job and I believe she will make a greater contribution where she is going and that she may be able to improve opportunities for more people. Jane is one of the kindest people I know. We had a great party on Friday night!

Lots of other stuff has happened and I’m left tonight feeling very grateful for all the wonderful people we have on our teams. People who step up to help out and support in lots of ways. Brilliant people who roll up their sleeves and get stuff done, and make it fun.





Each week lots of little things happen that give me big joy. It’s challenging to describe my work week sometimes, so much happens….

I watched my friend Jane deliver her first yoga class here to a room packed with people.  Jane headed off to India for two months to explore and be trained as a yoga teacher.  We advertised her karma classes little over a week before. Lots of positive feedback. On a personal note it was the first yoga class I’ve attended for around 30 years (apart from YouTube classes). I loved it! Just got to get to bed early so I can get up.

I went to a meeting for Get Cheffed. Two of our chefs know each other very well as Megan was Manny’s apprentice. As the friendly banter went on, Manny very genuinely said he hopes Megan beats him because he trained her to be better than him. That’s a boss I want to see training our youth. As the team ticks off all the details that have gone into this epic undertaking I feel in awe of all the work, the quality of the work and the generosity of our foodie and business community. An impressive lineup of people from crowdfunding supporters, businesses sponsors, food industry celebrities and some govt funds is going to equal something very special for Gippsland and our team has plowed through the many stages of putting this on.

An irreplaceable belonging went missing this week. Our crew were horrified and went into action to track it down. I’m not sure who or how, but the item was returned within hours of it’s disappearance. A bit of detective work and an honest phone call led to the item returned to its owner with huge smiles all round.

A past participant returned to prepare nibbles for our Art Exhibition opening. He’d joined Alt_Art for a meeting and one of the artists had told him about a job opportunity and he got the job! He was so grateful he came back to give a few hours of time and $$ for ingredients to make a delicious feast for our event.

I was given a ticket to Pause Fest. I enjoyed all the speakers I heard. I bumped into a past student who I remembered loved to draw. He has turned his passion into a multi-media company and his work is amazing.

Lots of other stuff happened too but I’ve ran out of time.