File: “TFGL HEADS”

SKIP s

TFGL Weekly - Smell-O-Vision and disembodied heads in jars

Bex = B1

Ben = B2

GREG = G

JONNY = J

PAUL = P

AMELIA = A

Transcript

B1:: Hello, welcome back to the Tech for Good Live podcast; or if this is your first time here, just welcome, I guess! We have an action-packed agenda to get through this week; we'll be looking at how your work colleagues might just not be that into you - expect things to get tense here in the studio; we'll be talking about fundraising and how you can now do it on everyone's third-favourite platform of hatred and self-loathing; and we'll be discussing Design Systems, a great phrase to make systems sound more fun and to make design sound less wanky. Also, Greg will say data a lot; Jonny will giggle each time he says it; I'll shake my head in sorrow as we drift off-topic yet again, and then we'll all go home. Deal? Cool! For the podcast lineup this week, i've managed to go back in time and found all of our team's Tinder bios from when they were single. On the podcast this week we have Greg Ashton; his bio reads “I’m 6 foot 1, kind-hearted, enjoy stats and data and a beautifully coiffed hair that just won't quit. My eyes have been called an ocean of despair.” Hello, Greg.

G:: Some of that is true.

B1:: Ben White, digital agency director: “Have been to South America- and why won't Tinder work properly on my nin- on my Nokia 3210?”

B2:: There was no autocorrect in those days, so that might be true.

B1:: And Jonny Ray Evans: “Oh my god, I'm going to die alone, aren't I?”

J:: True! Hello.

B1:: And we've also got Paul Jakubowski. Paul has always been a man of mystery; his Tinder photo is just a black silhouette of a man, and his bio said “If you want to meet me, you will sit on the bench opposite Ancoats General Store reading a copy of The New Yorker. A woman will approach you and say the code phrase: “It's rarely this sunny in springtime.” You must reply with “You've never seen springtime in Leningrad.”

G:: We've gone really off the wall.

P:: I’ve seen a lot of Archer this week. Hi!

B1:: And me, I’m just Bex. My bio is just a photo of me covered in cats, with the caption "Please help!” That is probably true, I don't remember; Tinder was a horrible place. We also have a guest, Amelia. Amelia is a cyber security specialist, so I couldn't find her Tinder bio.

A:: And I’m so glad you didn’t. You might as well have found me on Tinder though, because you’ve nearly literally dragged me off the street to be here.

G:: Is that true?

J:: You’ve had about 8 minutes’ warning you were going to be on today!

B1:: Thanks for coming on. Cybersecurity; that sounds cool.

A:: Sounds more glamorous than it actually is in real life, don't worry.

B1:: Well I've also heard you know about GDPR; as we all know, that's very glamorous.

A:: We say in the industry, it's “Eat, Sleep, GDPR, Repeat”; that has been my life for the last nine months.

B2:: Greg's never said that, and he claims to be an expert.

G:: Because I'm not that cool.

P:: Wrongs have been righted already, basically.

B1:: But it's also a negative phrase, and I guess Greg will say it. It’s a bit like “Ugh, GDPR again”, but Greg's like “Woo, GDPR!”

G:: I’m in the background like “Wahey!”

B1:: Start of the week; 62% of distance workers say they are connected to their office colleagues but don't like them.

G:: No, what they said is 62% of distance workers say they feel connected to their office colleagues, but when they ask those office colleagues, only 40% felt the same way.

B1:: Oh, that's sad.

G:: This is an article from Quartz; it was a study, which was published in the Journal of Personal Psychology, looking at the rise of remote working. In the US, apparently remote working has risen by 159% - there are more people that now work remotely than actually cycle or walk to work -and this is starting to look at the divisions around those working relationships. They ran a test where they got people to work in different patterns, and they observed the way that they developed their communication patterns. When they say that, you go “Yeah, of course you're gonna communicate differently with someone who's in the same room versus someone who's not there”, but I don't think anyone's really considered those working patterns, and how you develop those distance work in offices. It's interesting that we're starting to look into these patterns of work that everyone seems to be doing, but no one's actually sat down and gone “Should we be doing this? What's the best way of doing this?” It's good to have this information to point out these divisions.

B1:: And I suppose relationships are a key part of any job in working with your work colleagues; but there must be ways of developing relationships that still work for remote workers.

J:: Tinder?

G:: Definitely; I think the point here is that they felt way more connected, but the people in the office are just cold-hearted monsters.

P:: I guess they don't have the comparison-  if you're a solo remote worker, you don't have the comparison of “I also get on with Jeff at my desk, because Jeff will be a terrifying Furby, not a real person”. Whereas the other people who are in the office, are comparing the relatio nship they have with the remote worker with the people at their desk. They may like you more, but they actually hate Peter who’ve sat next to them.

B2:: Yeah, by definition you're gonna be judging the person who's the remote worker against the people in the office; unless you work in a place with mostly remote workers, in which case this survey wouldn't make sense. So it’s a flawed survey; that's the answer.

G:: Well, it wasn't a survey; they actually-

J:: Even worse! It’s just a theory with some numbers.

G:: What they found was the remote workers - because they weren't there to fill in those gaps of communication - that they would write longer, more polite messages; more positive expressions and humour put in. They would approach the messages that they did write differently; as opposed to someone who was in the office, who would be like, “Well, I've literally just seen you two seconds ago, so I'll just write something short and curt.”

B1:: This is slightly different; because someone I know, they all remote work. It's not got an office - the difference between remote workers and non-remote workers - but obviously remote working can get lonely, I think everyone agrees with that. Sometimes they call each other over Skype - the remote workers, who have never met in person, don't work in the same building - just to chat; they’ll have lunchtime Skype calls, and they'll eat lunch together over Skype.

G:: See, I think that's important.

J:: The word  "connected’ here is interesting, because it suggests something that's more important to the productivity of the company than liking, if that makes sense. It's concerning if you don't feel a connection in work; but I'd be interested, though, round someone saying “Yeah, I feel more connected to Jeff”; it’s very different from you being able to say, “I work better with Pete than Jeff.” Does that make sense? I’d be interested in profitability and outputs of companies of remote workers; I bet the distance between them isn't as big as this is suggesting.

G:: Yeah; without a doubt though, if these things go unanswered there's an opportunity there - maybe not all situations, but in some situations - that you could build disharmony amongst your team, which can create frictions when you're working on a project and you've got some people a locally position and the others are distance working. You could have those results where productivity goes down; and also from a human being aspect ,just having that poor person who’s distance working is the one that's not included in things.

B2:: We have a couple of people who work remotely at our place, and we also have massive - like, enormous - televisions in the meeting room. It does give the impression whenever they’re joining meetings, of some kind of super-boss instructing their minions about the next plan, because of this face; it's about four feet tall, leaning in and shouting at people.

B1:: Oh my God; slightly off-topic, but I joined a conference call - so I was dialling in to have a one-on-one chat with with a guy over a conference call - but I dialled in on time, probably like a minute early-

P:: Of course.

G:: If you’re on time, you’re five minutes early.

B1:: I turned up on somebody's giant screen, like this - big giant head - and they were having a full boardroom meeting, I’d called in to the previous meeting that was running over, and they forgot to lock it down, and there was my head. They all looked at me and were like “Who are you?”, and I was like “Exit, exit, exit…”

P:: You should be like “I’ve hacked your system, guys. I've been listening to everything you said. Wire the money to…”

J:: We have a system - which is better now, but was quite antiquated - where sometimes people would dial in, and they'd use a videoconference on their laptop rather be in one of our VC rooms. Usually if you had a videoconference, it's just looking at boardrooms of people. Sometimes it'd be someone's massive disembodied head, but the system was so poor that sometimes it would freeze on them. They just have this weird contorted expression, and when you ended the call someone would come in and start up another call; but that person's face - even though they’re not live - would just be stuck. They’re like “Anyone know who this is? Please hang up, please hang up” and you’d be like “She was here four hours ago.”

B1:: “That’s Allison, she’s been there all day.”

G:: Has anyone ever used one of those systems where it's for a conference room, so it’s supposed to focus in on the person that’s speaking? But if you've got someone at the back who's very loudly tapping on their keyboard, it then focuses in! I was doing a call with-

B1:: Oh mute it, mute it!

G:: But they were just tapping away, and it kept zooming in! I was doing a conference call with a number of volunteers and students and interns, and there was just one poor lad at the back who clearly had a louder keyboard and it just kept zooming in right on his face! And he'd just be like…

J:: You need to stop playing Solitaire!

A:: That's a recipe for awkwardness, isn’t it really?

G:: Yes, it’s hilarious.

A:: What you're saying; you need either whole teams of complete remote workers, or whole teams of face-to-face.

J:: Because just that one is an awkward situation. If you're just that one floating head, it is a bit weird.

B1:: Remote working is great, and I think we all would agree that the benefits of allowing that for the people that need are better than not; but when technology catches up to make it better, that would be amazing. Conference systems have been shit for ages now.

J:: And it's also processes as well; so how does the team that is not remote make sure that they're not trying to force the remote worker to fit into the templated way, that they work with people in an offline way. Otherwise you're not going to be connecting, you’re going be hanging around. If you can't physically stick a ticket on the board, how do you help make that seamless?

G:: I think the important thing for me from this is that we've potentially done a lot of work making allowances for people to remote work, but then not answered the question of how do they fully interact with people who are in the office? What do we do for those people who are "left behind’:as they’ve been abandoned in the office?

B1:: A question for you, Gregg, because you read the report more thoroughly than I have - and maybe Ben cause you have remote work, and you all have remote workers - do you think the people who don't remote work hate the remote workers, cause they wish they could remote work, but they don't have a real excuse?

B2:: They will soon, because one’s now remote working from Madrid! So that will definitely cause a big clash! But, up until this point no, I don’t think so.

J:: One is, if there is a performance issues it will unfairly affect the way people view remote work. If the person you have who remote works isn't actually doing the job, people will think, "Oh, remote work helps you not being able to do the job,” which I don’t think is necessarily true. I think danger is as well, unrelated to that; if you do have division within the company, it's another way for it to spread and people not noticing it’s spreading, and it's another reason for people to falsely think, "That's the thing that's causing the issue.” I think the way it works well is if the company manages and prepares for remote working well. If it's just expected it to be remote working, but everything function as it always has done, that's when you’ll fall into problems.

G:: I'm trying to get this in for ages, but this is time for the return of Smell-O-Vision! To get into the office ambience!

J:: I don’t think I want to smell what an open plan office is like.

G:: That’s the thing that will bring you together.

J:: I think as well; what if they build robots with iPad screens, and the remote workers faces on it and they can pilot it round the office. So you can go over to that person and chat with them.

G:: Like Futurama with the heads.

J:: Exactly like that.

G:: I think we solved another one, "Smell-O-Vision and Disembodied heads in jars’.

J:: Podcast title right there!

G:: I think from my point of view I've seen it work, and I've seen it not work. I think my advice would be remember that people don't work in isolation, wherever they are. Don't just think about that one person's working patterns, think about how it fits with the rest of the organisation.

B1:: On that, we’ll move on to charity news of the week. “YouTube launches new fundraising tools”; what are they?

G:: Did you notice that I've sneakily changed the name of this segment?

B1:: Charity news?

G:: Because it used to be campaign of the week.

B1:: Oh, so it’s month- no, its week! Sorry, sorry, it was month for ages; I thought it was still month.

J:: Like a year ago.

G:: Having an LSD flashback?

J:: Stop eating those Gummy Bears!

B1:: Greg, tell me about YouTube's new raising tools?

G:: YouTube have followed up from Facebook and other fundraising tools, and they've launched for different tools as part of a beta program called  "YouTube Giving’ which they've been testing initially. This will give charities the ability to have a donation option, to the side of their videos. They use the example of Hope For Paws, which is an LA Animal Rescue Center. I've had a look; you have the video, and then down the side you have  "donate now’ with a campaign target on there. Donation is completely handled by YouTube; they use similar payment programs, as you would normally pay for stuff on YouTube. For the beta, it's completely free; so they're covering all the transaction fees, but they don't say how much it will be after that. In addition to this, they're doing some community tools; you can have community fundraisers who will raise money and give that to the charity, but then they've done another version which allows a group of people to gather together, and raise money for the same campaign. Not sure how that's going to work, who manages it in all of that; but it's quite an interesting concept of group fundraising. The final thing that they're doing is they have this thing called Super Chats, which I had never heard of until I saw this. If you're watching a live stream on YouTube - apparently you can chat - and if you wanted to push your comment to the top, you could pay money towards it. They've done Super Chat for Good where, if you are doing a live broadcast, and it's for some campaign, then the money that you would spend, on getting your comment pushed up goes to the charity, rather than paying for that.

B2:: It felt good. And one question that's slightly difference to this, but I just want to know if you answer to it. Are charity videos exempt from…

B1:: "What is 2463 x 349’?

B2:: It’s relevant! But are charity videos exempt from this new bullshit ad thing they’re doing - where since they've moved to the  "ad-free’ versions and the  "cost’ one, I've seen so many ads - because that would put me off donating, if you can't get to the end of the video to actually donate. I don't know if charity videos have always been exempt from that, or-

G:: I don't know, actually.

B1:: I can't remember; it’s been a while since I've done YouTube stuff, but you used to get YouTube Pro for free. I don't know what that means.

B2:: If that's the equivalent of what this introduced; because it does infuriate me at the moment, how many more ads there is to get you to sign up for that paid YouTube.

G:: I think at the very least it would be related to the video, but I'm not 100% sure if that's the case with the charity videos. Certainly if it's putting people off donating, you'd want them not to do that.

B2:: Apart from that axe to grind about that, everything else looks good. Let's move on.

B1:: The only thing I have to say about that article is, e-begging is a term I have never used before. It’s in this article. It says “while it's true that e-begging is rampant on YouTube, the tools will be limited to qualifying US registered nonprofits.”

J:: E-begging, what does that mean?

B1:: I guess people saying “give me money for my health treatment’”; there was quite a lot of that.”

J:: Like  "GoFundMe". My concern is that - I don't have concerns, because there's not a lot of information yet - I fundamentally don't trust YouTube in any way, shape or form. I think I'd be interesting if we could look at this again when the beat is over; what are those transaction fees? Do you remember PayPal Giving sounded great, and then we found out that if your charity wasn't registered on PayPal, it would look like you were; who knows where the money went. It may well be that this is legitimate; they’re not telling you the transaction fee. It might just be because they’ve not decided yet, we just don't know. How are they going to handle the data that they capture to their payment gateway? There's just so many unknowns that it’s Google, and I would like to see what happens after their beta. It sounds great.

G:: It’ll be interesting to see the process for charities to sign up to it as well. It sounds very similar to Facebook's  "Fundraiser Tool’, and it took ages for that to roll out; that only just came out in the UK about a year ago. There were some people who were saying that the signup process was an absolute nightmare - because it was developed for American organisations which have different rules, and it was like jumping through hoops - but then other ones were like  "Oh no, it worked perfectly fine’. I'm hoping with it being Google that that process will be easier; hopefully, it won't be one of these projects that just disappears, and we'll actually see this. I don't think it will be, because I think it's in their best interest to promote this content and support; certainly with the Community Tools and the Fundraiser Tools, that's very much focused at these YouTube creators who were their heroes of the YouTube story. They're the ones that they want to promote who will do all these good things.

B1:: I’m so glad that influencers can't just put a fundraising button on their bloody channel, though.

J:: I was glad when it said towards the end that at the moment it's only open to registered to nonprofits. That was my other question before I'd finished reading the thing, who is it actually open for?

G:: For the beta it is, kind of…

B1:: Is it not  "beetah’?

J:: Because you know, Suella would use is to buy crack.

B1:: Jonny, stop saying that. She’s going to totally sue us.

G:: It’s  "baytah’ from where I come from.

B1:: Can we have a show of hands?  "beetah’ or  "baytah’?

G:: I like saying  "baytah’ but I know it’s  "bayetah’.

A:: There is some enjoyment from  "baytah’.

J:: You sound like an American in the midst of a military operation.

G:: But I know what it actually is.

B1:: So on that, trying to move on-

J:: I’d be interested though, because we had these same conversation…

B1:: You literally just ignored me!

J:: I did! I think we should have a conversation with some charities, because we talked around concerns we had with Facebook Fundraise; I think Fay was on that time, when we maybe talk-

B1:: Fay would know all about this; she’s not here today, and she’s moving to America, she's off the team. No, she's gonna be our San Francisco correspondent!

J:: I'm interested what charities think of Facebook Fundraising now it's live; and then similarly, look at this again in a few months time when it's rolled out. Does it work for them? What are the issues?

A:: I'm gonna look into that, because my dad manages or runs helps run a charity, which is the Harrogate Music Festival. It's about inspiring arts and music in young people, and actually they struggle to get funding; he's trying to figure out how he can best get donations, so that sounds really good, I’m going to tell him about it.

G:: That would've been a good platform for that.

B2:: Two birds, one stone, sort of thing.

G:: Making content for it anyway. Call to action, with a payment gateway at the end.

A:: We've got some good footage from the Festival itself.

B1:: You can come back and let us know how it went.

G:: Well, when they launch it in the UK.

J:: Remember, don't forget. It’s going to happen.

A:: Is the  "beetah/ baytah’ time-bound? The  "beetah/ baytah’ ?

B2:: They haven't specified. I think they're keeping it fairly loose cause…

B1:: The Facebook one was years before.

B2:: They were like  "yeah, we're testing’; it's two years later, what are you doing with it Facebook?

G:: That works quite well I like the Facebook one. I know I hate Facebook and everything, but when I did a campaign with that it worked really well. Quick and easy money. Put it straight in the back pocket. [ALL LAUGH]

J:: That’s how you got the yacht!

G:: There’s rules about that.

B1:: We just done charity news of the week. This is tech news of the week; I see what you did there, Greg. You have changed the titles of the segments, not that anyone pays attention to the segments.

J:: You thought it was monthly! It’s the passage of time you’re not paying attention to!

B1:: GDS launched the gov.uk design system. So what’s that, then? What’s that all about?

G:: Do you want to take this one Jonny?

J:: I’ve not looked at this yet. I thought this wasn't super new, but they'd added a search function to it.

G:: I have no idea. I mentioned it yesterday because they were shouting about it yesterday, in terms of  "this is now being rolled out’. It’s been talked about for ages.

J:: Oh, OK. Maybe I had seen the beta.

G:: It says it's the beta. GDS (Government Design Service), they've been working hard to basically sort out the whole digital landscape for the government. This is a huge challenge for a central service, because it's so fragmented across different departments, different councils; all these different people being involved in it. What they're not trying to do is build these systems for them, and then push them out from the central point. What they're doing is, they've built this design system that allows people to tap into it, and then build services and systems themselves that look and feel like the central service. This design system is the culmination of a lot of that work; there's a lot of built-in kits, essentially.

B2:: It’s a design system for all, basically, and you can all contribute to it - you can make suggestions about new blocks, and new things, what they're going to make with it, - or  "we want to do this’; “are the government going to do anything about this, that we can follow your example”? The question to Jonny would be  "Design Systems – discuss’, that kind of thing; about how you feel that jeopardises creativity, if we are just basically all just copying?

B1:: Or the opposite? Does it make people make really bad websites, if you’re able to control them?

B2:: That’s the idea; that it’s based on the government's website, which is well-respected in terms of it being like a decent standard or the gold standard of (UNCLEAR). I don't know what your feelings about that are Jonny, as well; from everything I've heard, that was a magnificent job that they did to bring the whole of government websites in line with each other. So opening that up for everyone to use; is that gonna benefit everyone, or is it just gonna make everything look the same?

J:: Two things, I guess. One is I don't care if everything looks the same, truth be told. There's been some interesting discussions over the week, actually, around the difference between design and art; and how important it is to - particularly in the sense of digital design - to understand the difference between those things. A website's job is, you go there with a problem, its job is to solve it for you; if you know how to use that thing, and it works, who cares if the logo spins? Obviously it doesn't mean creativity is not an important part of the job, it is. A design system in theory should be a way to express the rules for what that brand is - how the patterns and things will work, and how those libraries come together - so it makes sense that GDS have one in place for the work they do, it's great. The success of GDS has been impressive; I know that their academies that they run and stuff is quite helpful to teach those organisations how to use stuff. Opening stuff up like this is great; it doesn't mean everybody has to use this, and everyone should use this, but for those particular organisations who don't have a design system in place, don't understand how this stuff works, this is a trusted source. The amount of research and stuff that would have gone in, and the amount of testing into how this thing will work; you can go in with confidence knowing “If we can apply this, it saves us a huge amount of money, it saves us a huge amount of stress”.

B1:: I love it as well, because it is open. They're allowing people to input and say “I need this block and it doesn't exist please can I have it?”; but also the backlog’s open as well, so they can go “Yes, you can have this block, but there's three others ahead of that block, so you're gonna have to wait’. It's all open, so I think it's good.

B2:: Quite a lot on the old to do list. Currency input, search box.

G:: We don't need that!

J:: (UNCLEAR)

B2:: There is a search box, I’m looking at it.

G:: I just used it!

B2:: Pay for something. Personal details…

B1:: Oh, but it also has really good text though. I just clicked on the Gender or Sex section, just out of curiosity; and it's like, “You should only ask users about their gender or sex if you genuinely can't deliver your service without this information”. How many times do we complain, about  "Why is it asking me what my gender is?’; it's telling you “only ask if you need it”. It's giving you tips as well, on how to build your pages; I like that.

A:: GDPR.

G:: Says as well "Avoid using pronouns’’, “Don't use titles to guess gender”. That level of detail for this is what makes this amazing, from my point of view. I think like the detail in here is fantastic; and the level at which it's written at, it's not dumbed down, but it feels very accessible as well. It feels like a tool that these different departments across the UK could definitely use. Nice work, guys.

B1:: We like this, right?

J:: I remember when they were first redesigning gov.uk, and it was super interesting - this was years ago - the frequency with which they would blog and talk about how they were doing things, how they were making decisions, how early you could see their work in progress. The way that they built the building blocks for this was really interesting, and that team has only grown and got better over time, so you can be confident that this piece of what they’ve pulled together is gonna be impressive; but also, like Bex said, that ability for them to listen to how people are using it - what people need - and respond over time.

G:: I’ve got a quick update on this; the reason I shared it was because they had launched the search thing, but we've never talked about it all, so it’s good to get this going, get it out. That's why I was sharing yesterday in terms of bringing it to my attention so it’s good to talk about.

P:: I’ve never looked at it, so it's interesting to explore.

G:: But that's a good example of how they are iterating on this constantly, and bringing things in; so if you want to search through services like that, here it is. That's how easy it is to just implement that.

J:: I guess the buzz about that that's come up -  people notice it as well, I imagine - will show that people were using this, and find it interesting; the fact that people are like ‘Oh my god, now that now I can very quickly find a thing’, suggests that there's a level of use that has been happening. People excited about this search function finally appearing shows that there's a lot on there, and that people are using it to quickly nip in and out of it is good.

B1:: That was really positive; so now we have to move to Rant Of The Week, which actually this week is Letter Of The Week. We have a letter from James, about celebrities using their status to discuss scientific topics. Jonny, I believe you're gonna read this out; an abridged version.

J:: We got an email, which is always nice. If you want to email us, it’s hello@tech4good.live. This bit pops up just yesterday. It's from one of our listeners, called James, and he put “Hello lovely people” - which reading between the lines, I think he's talking about me and Ben - “I was just merrily eating my lunch here and I thought I'd write in, so to speak”. I feel like Simon Mayo reading out correspondence on the radio.

B1:: This is going to take ages if you’re gonna stop after every…

G:: There’s a lot of meta content in this email.

J:: It’s a 12-page email as well.

B1:: You said you were going to cut bits; I think the bit about Jame’s breakfast might have been a bit…

J:: I’ve already cut a lot of it out; the bit out where he talked about you, Bex. More important than the rant is things like this; “I'm a big fan of the podcast and always find your discussion thought-provoking and the conversation entertaining”, so thanks for that. Thanks everyone, from James.

G:: I'm not sure he should be drinking that early in the morning!

J:: What’s he drinking? I don't know. OK, cutting down to the point of it. He recently went to hear Wu-Tang Clan's…

G:: Finish that sentence.

J:: "Gee Zee A’ is that how it's pronounced? Because is it a  "zee’ rather than a  "zed’, with it being American? 

UNCLEAR:: GZA.

J:: Famous fan of the Wu-Tang-tang clan, obviously. He's been using hip-hop as a tool to get young people in the US interested in science and technology. He's done a documentary series on Netflix, and he was on a panel at Pilcrow, which is around the corner from us. James went in see it.

B1:: It sold out within seconds.

J:: You wanted to go, didn’t you? James went to see it; essentially it boils down to, he was asked a question about climate change, whether he'd encountered any deniers or not, and his response didn't please James. He didn't come across as a  "climate change denier’, I don't think; but he sidestepped the issue a little bit. James came away, I think, feeling that maybe he dodged the question a little bit. He shouldn't have done, and then apparently he started talking about the properties of crystals, and how they can have a profound effect on the body. So, the topic for discussion is, do we feel that there is a responsibility of stars and their audience, when faced with falsehoods and dangerous rhetoric - Morrissey and Kanye, those kind of things have come up - he's concerned about the reach and influence of these individuals and fan loyalty. I guess, should you be speaking about stuff unless you know what you’re talking about?

B1:: I have many opinions on this. My first opinion, based on the…

B2:: Ironically you can't say anything!

B1:: Based on this specific topic, I think what he's doing is great.

J:: James, or… If you’re emailing him, it’s great.

B1:: The guy from Wu-Tang Clan,  "Jizzah’.

G:: "Jizzah’.

P:: That’s a legit thing, it’s not a joke. Unless that joke is being played on me, for like 20 years!

B1:: I've seen him on loads of local news and it's a great scheme. I'm pleased he's using his influence to do this. It's great, but what we're I think he's clearly missed the mark on this, is he's not an expert in this. He's not an expert in science, clearly, he’s a rapper; maybe he's got other hobbies, but he should be using his influence to promote this by using other people who know what they're talking about. Get loads of experts involved; he should have chaired the debate on a panel of experts. He should be there - it’s his thing, he can be there - but he shouldn't pretend to be an expert on it, just because he's funding/promoting it.

J:: I wonder if his documentary does that. I wonder if it’s just that maybe the panel is trying to-

B1:: It might be that it was a slip up on the panel. I'm not saying that he does this regularly…

J:: I don't want us to disrespect the Wu-Tang Clan, because that happened to that…

B2:: Let me be clear about what would happen, if that were to be the case.

J:: Well, that Martin Shkreli went to jail for disrespecting the Wu-Tang Clan.

G:: That was all he went to prison for.

J:: I think that’s why he went to jail.

B2:: Im Googling ”are the Wu-Tang Clan something to fuck with’, just to see what comes up!

B1:: But on a wider scale of things, influencer celebrities really need to get their shit together. I think they can be using their work for good, but they need to be - there's plenty that do it well; I don't know, what's her name? Harry Potter woman?

UNCLEAR:: Zoella!

UNCLEAR: Emma Watson!

B1:: Emma Watson; she's good at doing stuff like that. And what's her name, Jameela Jamil, is great at the minute, she's doing some really fun stuff. She's running  "I Weigh’ which is a great campaign, and I think she was on a talk show this weekend; so she's talking about it and it's great, but she's been slated for saying stuff that wasn't quite right as well. There are people doing it well, these people doing it not so well. But I think you should just make sure you're informed, before you start spouting shit out. I mean, we don't!

J:: Literally this segment, I think, has proved that. We had a five-minute conversation about how do we pronounce someone's name, but Ben Googled it.

B1:: I think recognising your responsibility - like, we try and have an open conversation. We're not saying we're experts; well, sometimes we do - but I think there's people either side of the debate around the table, and we're aware of that. But some people just come out and say some shit.

J:: It's when it gets tricky guests that we would…I'm just making an assumption, based on all of us. We would probably say two things: One is that we think these people have a responsibility to make a stand on stuff; and that we also think they have responsibility to make that stand in an appropriate and accurate way. That the distance between those two, can make things…like, how far you go in expressing your reasons for that stance, it matters how well you back that up. The thing in the news this week was the New Yorker having Steve Bannon speak at one of their events, caused a huge… within like 15 minutes they changed their mind, and a load of prominent speakers - people like Jim Carrey, and the like - said  "I'm not speaking if that person is speaking at this’, and that was it. They'd made their responsibility to make a stand, but didn't go into too much details about their reasoning behind it. Some people maybe knew more about the specifics and dangers of that, did go into more detail. There's a danger if you fly in with an opinion where your moral decision is right, but your reasoning behind it - if that's really messed up - it will undermine the first one, I guess is the danger. If you say  "I believe in climate change” but then you start talking about,  “because the earth is flat” you're undermining climate change. It's a tough one to get right.

G:: I don't think that… I doubt that his intentions behind saying  "I need to check into this” were necessarily negative - and maybe he has data and information that he thinks backs up the use of crystals and things like that - it could just be that his views differ, and he thinks that he's doing a good thing.

J:: I think the email’s more tongue-in-cheek around him, in particular as well. I think this was an example where I thought someone prominent spoke, and maybe didn't hit all the right notes. What do we think about people doing that, rather than it being an attack?

G:: I think they have to accept that if you're going up and you're talking about a topic that isn't in your wheelhouse of hip-hop or cooking or something else, you need to check yourself. There are some cases where celebrities do; I was at Bluedot Festival, and Rick Edwards was there, the Channel 4 presenter. And I was like “what the fuck’s this guy-“

P:: Style Idol!

B2:: Style Idol.

J:: How did two people know who that person is?

B1:: I don’t know who it is.

J:: It’s a radio person?

G:: He's like a television presenter, but he actually has a background in science - he does a science podcast - and I was like “Oh! I didn't know that about him.” I cant remember what his background was, but he knew loads about science - I was like “Oh, right”. And then you've got people like Kirsten Stewart, the one from the terrible films that never smiles; she was studying and did a paper on A.I., and I think it was AI Ethics.

J:: Brian May is like a rocket scientist.

G:: I thought he just looked after badgers.

J:: He has like a ridiculous science degree as well; quantum physics or something.

G:: Something like that; but it's just all from a point of snobbery. You get this all the time with footballers; like "That footballer can’t read!’, that kind of thing. It's like, why can't one person be good at this thing that it's in the public eye, and also be interested in this? I've got no problem we've been doing that; but it has to be correct, what he says.

J:: I’ve heard good things about the documentary; I do wonder if it's just the panel that's gone awry. I'd looked at Twitter as well as some of the views around the panel, and they were mixed. Some people were like  "No, that’s not really what he said. He just said he'd not bumped into people that were climate change deniers.” Rather than him saying, I don't believe.

G:: How many stars are we giving James’ letter?

J:: Because he wrote in and said nice things us, I think five stars out of five.

P:: That sounds desperate, Jonny. It sounds like we suspended our critical faculties for the sake of appeasing our reader/writer?

J:: I feel that’s correct,

G:: Without a doubt.

J:: And we will put our mailing address in the link to this podcast, so you can send us gifts and baskets of fruit.

P:: I'm very pleased he wrote in, I think it's nice. It's nice that GZA believes in crystals, and it's nice that James disagrees with them, and we've given that a platform; maybe not quite as big as GZA’s, that's a fair point, but you know.

G:: If he said he believes in crystals, the guy's a dick.

J:: Whoa! Do not disrespect the Wu-Tang Clan!

G:: Just did, just did.

B1:: So, shall we do the  "And Finally’? Which one do you want to do, Greg?

B2:: Is he begging for forgiveness? From the Gizz-man?

G:: I think I'm gonna go Dad Reflexes.

J:: I’m so concerned about this topic.

G:: A subreddit has popped up called  "Dad Reflexes’ - which is basically a celebration of dads saving the day - and it's a sequence of images of dads just basically rescuing their children from certain death at different points. It's just a nice little comedic subreddit. I like these kinds of things; I was gonna do the other one, which was about eco-friendly chargers, but…

B2:: Oh No, this is way more "TechForGood’ than eco-friendly phone chargers, Gregg. I really think that’s a big issue for the world.

G:: Generally just falls; largely falls. Children fall over a lot. One of them gets attacked by a sea lion-

B1:: That's what I'm watching right now. Sea lion, I’m totally in. It drags her into the water, apparently. So this is terrifying.

J:: I don't think we’re meant to root for the sea lion, Bex.

G:: Have you seen that cat punching the sea lion?

B1:: Oh my god, it's terrifying! Sorry, I just saw the bit.

G:: Dad’s straight here.

P:: Is this really called Dad Reflexes? Because this has gone for a while.

G:: Yeah; I mean, she died slowly.

UNCLEAR:: This is a great podcast.

J:: Why did the dad’s let their kids get so close to dangerous situations?

G:: Because that's what dads do, so that they rescue them. It's like false flagging of the dad world.

B2:: I need need faster reflexes for that, that's too slow. Anyway…

B1:: Are we done? That's all we have time for. We hope you enjoyed listening to us. You can hear more episodes like this, and also some special editions on iTunes, Spotify, and your regular podcast providers. Amelia, thank you very much for guesting. How was it?

A:: Scary. I wish I'd had the pre-reading!

G:: That usually helps!

B1:: I did not pre read.

G:: She finds all this out on the podcast; but when 90% of the room do that, it's not a good podcast. I feel it went well.

B1:: Where can people find you on the Internet?

A:: Oh well, mostly on Instagram; I’m not going to give away personal information, actually. On Tinder I am A… I'm all over Instagram, - "Ace Dolls” - but please don't follow me, because it's mostly just pictures of cats. And mountains. And they're not my cats, they’re  "street cats’.

J:: Are they your mountains?

A:: They are. I climb to the top of every one and I put a little flag!

B1:: “I’ll be back in a week!” Thanks again to the Federation in partnership with The Omidyar Network and the Co-op Foundation; also, thank you to the wonderful podcast.co for this warm studio. If you like what you hear, please drop us a friendly review on iTunes; if you want to talk to us or send us complaints - or letters, which is a thing that happens now - our Twitter is @techforgoodlive. Thank you and goodbye.

--- END OF TRANSCRIPT ---


-VIEW MODE-