Tag Archives: fsma

“On the Road to Creativity” talk notes (Pecha Kucha NIght, Vancouver, 2010)

Dave Olson - Story Maker/Writer/ Producer (uncleweed.net) speaks at Pecha Kucha - photo by Melissa Gedney

What follows are my notes for a talk called “On the Road to Creativity” for Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver. The format includes 20 slides for 20 seconds each, auto-changed. As such, the pace is brisk and a bit of a high-wire act. No audio/video exists but there is a “roundup” of photos, tweets, and other artifacts including the hand-crafted “paper-point” collage slides. See “Consider Perusing” below.

1 – On the road

I’ve spent much of my life wandering around the globe working odd jobs including mushroom farmer in Japan, grape picking in Germany, beach club host in Guam and even following the Grateful Dead – all these experiences provided lots of time for thinking mostly about the meaning of art and importance of documentation – here’s what i cam up with

2 Art makes the future

while the history we learn is laden with the stories of kings, conquerers, popes and rulers, the only reason we know anything about how people lived, loved and thought is because artists took the time to chronicle the the stories through paint, words, carvings, and song. From the earliest cave painters to bloggers, there is vast evidence for the importance of storytelling.

3 Art Craft Schwag

No doubt today like olden times, there is a tremendous amount of disposable pop culture created to satiate common interest but the best stuff created by diligent artisans rises above the layer of schlock into the territory of craft and then transcends into a rarified area of art which will last centuries rather than 15 minutes. But who decides what is art? And don’t give me that “i know what i like” answer.

4 Craft + Intent

Instead I’ve made a formula to sort out these largely subjective criteria – first off, take Craft – skill honed from thousands of hours of consideration, then add Intent – which, while subjective, can be gauged by heart of the creator, and then multiplied by the artist’s Integrity as seen by an audience. The audience who truly breathes life into a story, no matter the medium. This formula doesn’t work for you? Cool, make another, but be sure to share. Art does not live in a vacuum, art yearns to be shared.

5 Audience / Awesome

But this can be tricky for artists who must balance their internal desire and, dareisay mission, to create authentic art with the often debilitating practical need to make a living. I’ve found that my projects which garner the biggest audience, are not necessarily the ones which i maximize my artistic potential – find where you audience and awesomeness intersect and try to find a way to hang out there.

Here’s how:

6 Upgrade your Heroes

First upgrade your heroes – history is scattered with underknown world-changers, and the present is too. Dig beyond pop culture, politicians and sports personalities to find remarkable predecessors to your work – for me, my heroes range from writer of “Confessions” and “The Social Contract”, Jean Jacques Rousseau, to current day punk rock photographer bev davies. Who are your historical dopplegangers?

7 Personal Archaeology

Next, embark on personal archaeology – dig into your closet to find forgotten dreams from those black white photos you took in yellowstone to graduate thesis to 4th grade book reports to your journals from hitchhiking down the coast. Take the risk to share these artifacts with your small slice of the world and let them breathe life into your work.

8 Embrace Translucency

Transparency isn’t interesting – instead share the parts of you which are compelling and you are capable of backing up – accept risks but protect the parts of you which are too delicate to expose. Create interest through scarcity and self-editing and be prepared to deal with any reaction which comes along.

9 Express with vigour

You are an expert on something, don’t rely on others to create the historical record – everyone has access to remarkable publishing and promotion tools so step it up and dig deep to tell your unfiltered opinions and don’t let cynics bring you down – if you can’t surprise and impress yourself, no way you can evoke emotion from an audience.

10 HST

I think of “Express with Vigour” as the “Hunter S Thompson rule” – while his reputation has been somewhat maligned through hollywood movies, the fake Doctor was the finest social commentator since Samuel Clemens and offered significant discourse about Jimmy Carter, Hell Angels, 9/11 – and did it with a significant buzz – but always had a job because he expressed himself wisely and vigorously.

11 Cross Training

Now sometimes the pressure to create awesomeness can be debilitating – staring at a white sheet of paper and all that – rather than stressing, experiment with other mediums and get interdisciplinary with cross training skillz and your stories will manifest through the other tools – i contend V. Van Gogh c/would’ve made it as a writer if the painting hadn’t worked out.

12 Don’t Get Precious

With all this goodness you are creating, it’s easy to get protective of your thoughts and work. Rather than waiting for someone to make you an offer you can’t refuse, share your work openly and willingly – learn about creative commons, find collaborators, encourage remixing and your work will create a culture of its own. It’s not always fair but it is usually fun.

13 Ignore Gatekeepers

The established business models for artists are relatively modern and designed to create value for the shareholders of corporations. The goal of landing a major label record deal or a big publishing advance are no longer needed or valued – be your own imprint, chart your own course, the gatekeepers may look intimidating but they are made of stone so walk on by.

14 Cross Pollinate

When your work is released to the world to an audience – no matter the size – you’ll see a culture begin to grow around it – In the hills of Japan, I learned that once inoculated, Shiitake mushrooms propagate their culture from one log to the next – as the older logs rot away and stop producing, new logs down the line are fruiting fungus. Ditto with your audience.

15 Get more drummers

One dude drumming alone can make some noise but is not a party – recruit more drummers to amplify your story in their own way and spread your message across continents and oceans while building relationships and playing well with others. More fun, more effective plus you need others to have your back from time to time. Your momma told you are 1 in a million – that means there are at least 30 people just like you in Canada alone – go find em.

16 Formula for creativity

The old Edison maxim suggest success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration – this isn’t my formula – my formula for creative expression is 80% meditation, 10% execution and 10% inebriation – what i mean by that is the real work comes in the white space of life where you contemplate your story – the inebriation part is about pushing yourself to where you get a little scared.

17 Collect notes along the way

Travelling light means not accumulating much – for me gathering ephemeral objects along the way can be a short cut to remembering where you were mentally, emotionally, artistically decades later – a train ticket or dried flower can leap you back to a place in time which can benchmark how much you’ve remained the same while constantly evolving and spark new creative pursuits.

18 make it for yourself

Everyone else is just eavesdropping – this ain’t your job – its for love not money so make it exactly how you want it. Push out the nagging naysayers in your noggin and create something with integrity and for the love of all things decent, don’t cheese out for the quick win. Be sell out proof and make things you’ll want to read when you are old and grey.

19 Reap Rewards

Making stories for the future isn’t a way to gain the material trapping of perceived success. You may never see your reward beyond the admiration of a small tribe of others – but that’s enough. Success will be a surprise you likely don’t expect. Don’t wait for your ship to come in, instead realize it might get lonely out waiting for your bus to roll in so get comfy and settle in.

20 Hang loose

I’m dave, i’m all over the internet – i have a killer job so you can’t hire me but you can buy me a beer – thank you and hang loose vancouver

Art Might Get Lonely

Might Get Lonely - Reap Rewards
Might Get Lonely – Reap Rewards

{With talk these days of the fleeting nature of social media “success” and [purchasing flase attention and affection… i offer these thoughts adding to a conversation sparked by Wayne Shaddow} Take it if you need it, if not, just let it go.

Art makes the future, make for yourself first – if you dont “feel it” dont waste your time.

Channel a mix of joy and anguish and mix with honesty. Dont cheat yourself or any potential audience.

Don’t pander and don’t “give em what they want” – this process might get lonely, you will see other “enjoy” the buzz of immediate attention but this is a sugar-rush which likely doesn’t last long.

Instead, prepare yourself for the long haul of making creations which will inspire the generation behind you. There are wee doppleganger of you growing up, struggling with identity and understanding – maybe in school or maybe in retirement – you seek (unwittingly perhaps) exactly what you are capable of creating.

Visualize them if you desire an audience and then share your work, standing behind your creation with integrity, and let the audience breathe life and meaning into your offerings. Your rewards will come in mysterious way, not unlike the mysterious red envelopes of Chinese New Year tradition.

“Fck Stats, Make Art” Talk Transcription (Northern Voice 2008)

Dave Olsen Reads Rousseau

What follows is transcription of a talk called “Fck Stats, Make Art” at Northern Voice, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Original audio (record by Jay Stewart who is identified as Speaker 1 below) exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Speaker 1: We’re at Northern Voice 2008 in Vancouver BC at the University of British Columbia Forestry Science Center and I’m about to record Dave O’s presentation.  What is the name of the presentation?

Speaker 2: Fuck Stats Make Art.

Speaker 1: Fuck Stats Make Art.  It’s going to be a little bit controversial because he’s going to give a call to up the ante on quality of stuff people are posting.  He’s like, “It doesn’t matter if people are looking, it matters if it’s good content, that’s more important.”

Speaker 2: Certainly good content comes first and then you really [inaudible 00:01:06].

Speaker 1: I don’t need to know when people’s cats are going to the bathroom.  I see a lot of that on Twitter and other sites and stuff, you know?

Announcer: So, it’s my pleasure to introduce one of my best friends here Dave Olson.  He also works with me at Raincity Studios and I’m really excited that you guys get to hear him talk today.  I think this talk would be quite a bit different from everything else that you hear at Northern Voice.

I dragged, Dave, kicking and screaming in the world of Google Analytics and I just didn’t get it, just like every moment I spent either looking at my viewers or attracting new ones is one less moment I’m writing or doing something else that I love.  So, I always respected that about him.

He’s a poet, a filmmaker, an author, photographer and many other awesome things.  Anyway, I’ll leave it up to him to go with the rest.  So, welcome to Fuck Stats Make Art.  

Continue reading “Fck Stats, Make Art” Talk Transcription (Northern Voice 2008)

“Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion” from boldkick

My pal and long time collaborator at Hootsuite, Chris Trottier and his new crew at “boldkick” – a new social architecture bureau, wrote this little tribute post about me following a talk at Victoria, BC, Canada’s Social Media Camp where i discussed how the “Internet has a Short Memory”. I am truly touched by he and Cindy’s kind words – i am very fond of them as well.

Excerpt pasted below for the record along with a link to the original post.

Raised on a diet of hockey, punk rock, and fanzines, Dave “Uncle Weed” Olson has been writing about his experiences for almost as long as the Internet existed.

A master storyteller, Dave Olson thrives in building communities. His work revolves around being an all-around creative. He is a writer, a podcaster, singer, a multi-hyphenate superstar. Looking at his own website, it’s both surprising and inspiring to see one person who has done so much.

It all leads to one thing, doesn’t it? Passion.

It’s been such an overused word, but it always rings true to the people who have it. Dave’s lifeblood is community, something that we at Boldkick strongly resonate with. Did we mention he’s from Vancouver, too?

As a traveller, Dave Olson has had a handful of experiences with different people with different backgrounds. In a quick interview at Toque and Canoe about his suitcase, Dave Olson shares about his souvenirs in his travels.

“I keep little ephemeral paper objects. Ticket stubs. Crappy postcards. I’ll take an empty scrap book and make it real time on the trip. Then you return home and BAM, the whole trip is documented and you can share it with your friends. I was on a train in the rain in Spain (ha ha) and had my scrap book with me and I ended up partying with all of these great folks. Great way to bridge those cultural gaps. I also like to bring back coins. Little things. I like tiny things.”

Source: Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion – boldkick

Can’t Buy Me Love: A Renegade Marketing Pro’s Tips via Trippeo

My Hootsuite alum comrade pal Adarsh Pallian has yet another start-up biz — this one is a travel-expense related company called Trippeo. He published this article (with assistance from the charming Katie Fritz) in which explores some of my marketing-fu. Shared below for the record with gratitude and appreciation.

Introduced thusly via Twitter:

@pallian pays homage to @uncleweed, master of marketing and good vibes. Get some tips from his recent @Medium post! bit.ly/1URc2VU

Dave O at SXSW 09 – photo by KK

Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression

One of Vancouver’s tech-scene’s radicals used to tout the “cheap and cheerful” effect. Instead of relying on the filet mignon to impart success and influence, renegade marketer Dave Olson preferred to take his clients to underground shows and then chat business over a bowl of ramen. The man knows what he’s doing: after coming on as Director of Marketing for Hootsuite in 2010, he helped grow the user-base to 8 million, and was integral to the development of the quirky, lovable brand.

Of course, in those early days, Hootsuite wasn’t exactly rolling in the cash. Dave and his team needed to find ways to make an impression… while pinching those expensable pennies. These are a few of my favorite cheap-n-cheerful moments from the Master:

Host a dinner party

Personal AND cost-effective. One of the most memorable moments of Hootsuite’s inaugural SXSW trip was the barbeque that they hosted. Austin, of course, is pretty intense about their barbeque, so the conversation was built in. The event was inexpensive, easy to coordinate, and most importantly, an authentic place to chat with potential clients and investors.

Mobilize volunteers

Dave loved to bring enthusiastic people together around a cause, be it a Hootsuite “Hoot-Up,” a day of renegade marketing school, or a community of podcasters. Volunteers have been indispensable to Hootsuite’s success: they have translated websites, thrown parties, shared tips and tactics, and pointed out bugs. In return, Dave and his team acted as references and champions for these volunteers, helping them gain experience and land professional roles.

Say thank you, in person

One thing Dave liked to encourage was “going analogue”. He knew that facetime was the ultimate impression – no number of Mentions, Likes, or Upvotes can replicate a genuine “thanks.” Can’t be there in person? Dave was a big proponent of the quick video that included his team waving and saying thank you! A little goes a long way.

Want more stories from DaveO? He’s logged a great many of his talks on Youtube. You can find his channel right here.


Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression — Medium.

“Find Your Journey” Spiel at Capilano Changemakers – Roundup

“Art and Tech are Old Pals” at Social Media House SXSW 2011

I shared a spiel called “Art and Tech are Old Pals” at Wordcamp Vancouver in a full version but shared a spontaneous and shorter version while at Social Media Clubhouse at SXSW 2011.

In this spiel, i discuss a “people’s history” of media creation and my tactics and thoughts about how to foster creativity by viewing the past and participating in the creation of the future.

During SXSW Interactive Festival, Dave shares stories of analog arts and crafts, sparking creativity, using technology to tell stories and remaining interesting using examples from historical artists and his own experience.

You’ll see lots of interesting props pulled from an old-timey suitcase and a few laughs along the way plus practical tips you can implement to enhance your own creative process.

Note: Thanks to Social Media Clubhouse for filming. Available also on Vimeo.com, posted here for posterity.


You can catch a longer version of the similar deal in Art and Tech are Old Pals at Wordcamp Vancouver and you might also enjoy Greeks to Geeks at Wordcamp Whistler.

Pecha Kucha Vancouver ~ All-Star Edition Roster

Happy to be named to the Top 10 roster for Pecha Kucha All-star edition which sold out in 32 hours (over 1200 seats at The Vogue). This is my 3rd time in the unique 20 slides for :20 each format and am preparing all new material to share what inspires me about Vancouver and how i take inspiration into craft. Hope to see you there. If not, Bruce Sharpe is shooting the gig and hopefully Andrew Lavigne is kicking off his new documentary.

Details follow:

Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver, All Star Edition Poster

Previous Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver re-caps:

Stories from Japan ~ Inspiration in 20 seconds at Pecha Kucha Vancouver

Global Pecha Kucha Night - Inspire Japan

Apparently Pecha Kucha is pronounced anyway you choose – Spiel Recap

Dave Olson - Story Maker/Writer/ Producer (uncleweed.net) speaks at Pecha Kucha - photo by Melissa Gedney

Dave Olson – Story Maker/Writer/ Producer (uncleweed.net) speaks at Pecha Kucha – photo by Melissa Gedney

Continue reading Pecha Kucha Vancouver ~ All-Star Edition Roster

Spark Creativity by Taking Risks and Practicing Craft

Over the past few months, I’ve traveled to a handful of cities and read multi-disciplinary artist David Byrne’s charming discourse about urban planning and culture from the seat of a bike called…

read more

Pecha Kucha 10 at the Vogue Theatre entertains and inspires with elements of show-and-tell, open-mike night and happy hour

Dave Olson at Pecha Kucha in a photograph by Jonathan Hanley
An inspiring group presented at Pecha Kucha 10 last Wednesday night at the Vogue Theatre including Jay Balmer, Isabelle Dunlop, Dave Olson, Dani Vachon, Gair Williamson, Martha Sturdy, Doug Haddow, Bing Thom, Stephanie Corker Irwin, Vanessa Leigh, Marc Baumgartner, and Pamela Masik. If you don’t recognize all the names, you’ll probably be touched by their work nonetheless. They work in businesses and the arts, ranging from snowboarding, skate parks, video games, fashion design, jewelry, art, writing, , social media, curated news, crowd sourcing news.

Pecha Kucha is a global event that has emerged in 299 cities around the world since its inception in Japan in 2003. The format is simple:each presenter speaks on a topic they’re passionate about.  They’re allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds.  This is six minutes and forty seconds of fame and then the next presenter is up.

I arrived at the Vogue  to find a long line of people still waiting to get in. I talked with people about why they had come to Pecha Kucha. The event is about storie and here are theirs: