Category Archives: TEAM

The End is Nigh

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The calendar year is coming to a close. I love how people do end of year posts and they are always so supper sappy – as much as I love unicorns – I do have a special place in my heart for Unicorn Meat.  So this is going to be realistic yet magical…..

Although we have made plans, I’m not certain what’s in store for the band, the label, or even just little ol’ me in the year to come, but for everything that has been the past year:

Thank you

to all the amazing people who have been working alongside the band, the label, the community to continue to work against the random factors of Life through creating art! Thank you for fighting the good fight.  Your support and love and sheer wild bewildering believing has provided our little band with a beautiful community, a stunning audience at our shows, and the joy of performing.

To have you come to a show, post your thoughts on our Facebook page, hangout with us on Twitter, send us an email (see below), talk to us about your thoughts on music, life, love, community, change – we have been very privileged to engage with you.  Thank you for sharing in our music!

Our last show of the year is Friday Dec 16th at the legendary Velvet Underground in Toronto – it will be loud and lovely.  If you are at the show we would love to have your thoughts on the new songs!!! We will definitely need your feed back on songs!!!  (see below)!  SBS + Friends are then heading away to the Hart House Farm to write, and record demos for the upcoming album due out Spring 2012.  We will be sharing demos in late December an early January.

Every day is a new year – not in a shmultzy kind of way – but in the way that love, joy, merriment, peace and resolutions can be had at any time! Don’t sweat the insanity that is supposed to be “The Holidays.”  Besides – The End is Nigh! Which means we get to begin again.

Much love,  your band always,

SBS

We will be releasing new tracks very soon – if you’re interested in being a part of our listening panel – please provide your info below! In the comment section – you can write Listening Panel! THANKS!
 

Team Shout Outs! (Romperoom Styles)

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So this month has gone by very very VERY quickly. Where do we start!?

  • Daniel Trinh came by and took some GORGEOUS photos of the band last weekend and we now have some amazing photography for the site. It’s soo easy working with Dan and we are soooooooooooo excited to do a formal, stylized photoshoot in the coming months.
  • Our website is still in the works! I made it a bit more difficult than it should have been for our website producer, Chris Mallon, by not transferring some name servers recently……SO SORRY CHRIS! But he’s on it and the first version of the site should be up very very shortly. Had a great Mobile meeting with Nik Papadakis – omg – so super informative. Mobile is a medium that is definitely on our radar.
  • We are so lucky to have some amazing mentors/advisers and we had a chance to chat with Fleur Leslie, at Small World Music (Chair of the Board of Directors).  She sat down with us and helped talk us through some business planning with engaging teams, building robust contact database and focusing what our core business will be and how it might expand in the next 3 -5 years (always daunting especially when you’re only really 2 months in – but vision helps steer this creative ship!).
  • We have a real space to work out of at the Centre for Social Innovation down at Queen and Spadina.  AMAZING energy and people in that place – super stoked to be working out of there!

Which brings us to the time for Marco’s vlog – we’ve met with our growing MineOwn Media team over the past month and Marco wanted to send out some love – in song form and highly inspired by Romperoom – “and I see Timmy and David….”  they never saw Bandana or Tanuja or Nik Papadakis for that matter – but in Marco’s vision of the Romperoom Shout Out – he sees us all!

Works in Progress!

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Hi Friends,

First month down – 17 to go……September is a new year for many students – but really aren’t we all students of in the school of life?  (hahahaha)….September has always felt way more like the beginning of a New Year to me than Jan 1st- and in that regard here are some of our new school year resolutions……

New songs, New shows, New website.….NEW FULL LENGTH ALBUM!!!!

Check out the “vlog” (video blog) below for details!  VIDEO DISCLAIMER:  I am almost always in “muppet mode” when on any kind of film based medium – photos, videos, etc… it’s a known fact.  You will notice many a “muppet moment” throughout the video.  Enjoy! (This is the first one – so it’s fairly ranty/rambling…but it’s full of rainbows and unicorns with a low dose of marshmallow bananas).

It’s been 1 month since we’ve have moved into project mode.  I had an amazing chat with Marco Adamovic (our fantastic drummer) – and he’s also on board to help build the label – how very very exciting!!! He’s simply an amazing dude with a great history in youth facilitation and artistic programming.  So we are soooo stoked.

We’ve finally come up with some real launch dates for our upcoming works!

  • Sept – New Band Photography!
  • Oct 1  – New Website!
  • Sept/Oct – Questions and Answers (we have tons of questions about how you interact with music and really would love to get your thoughts and ideas on distribution, shows, videos – details coming in the next post)
  • Nov – Shows in the US!
  • Mar 13 2012 – New Album Release Date! (Hazah!)

We’ve got a lot of stuff going on and it’s all being brought to you by the letter W.  Well no, it’s actually being brought to you by a set of helping hands (Christine, Tanuja, Daniel, Chris, Nik!).  Live events, websites, grants…this team is going to rock some socks this fall.

Oct 1st will be the launch of a new website as well as Marco’s  turn to do a Vlog – his Vlog will be soooooooo much more together because he’s a pro! 🙂

B is for Blog is now ‘The Workrooms’

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Hi Guys!

Hope you have all had a great long weekend (if you’re in Canada you’ve been enjoying a lovely Monday off!)

This image is from my phone

Tomorrow people will be going back to school, back to work, back to the grind – and yet – it will be new; a new school year, a new work week after a long break; a bit of a fresh start.

We at B is for Blog are thinking about doing the same – September is a great time to make change! We have changed the name of this blog to simply:

THE WORKROOMS

This is happening for several reasons:

a) This space is a workroom – there are bits and pieces of stories, ideas, essays, conversations; this space is being used as a working studio not as a publishable magazine
b) It’s not really about just B anymore (to be honest it was kinda creeping me out)
c) We hope the change in name will also make it more appealing for everyone to join in the creation of the page! It’s a work in progress and always will be – this is a testing ground, a playground, a stomping ground for all!

I personally love September – it feels more like a meaningful change than New Years to me. The season’s are changing, the weather is changing, we get new chances at things we’ve tried before; we get second chances at the things we’ve tried again and again – there’s just something really lovely and fresh about September.

You can now find us directly at http://theworkrooms.com

(The old address –https://bsingh83.wordpress.com -will automatically re-direct you to the correct place too! – there’s no missing out!)

Isn’t it just a lovely time to make change?

Your pal,

B

B is for Blog Updates and Randomness

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Hey all!

I usually blog and have something new every Monday but this week I have been tardy.  It’s unusually warm this summer in Toronto and I have to say the heat got the better of me at the beginning of the week.  I’ll be sure to keep hydrated and I’m sure it won’t happen again!

We have some new stuff coming along and wanted to keep you in the loop:

  • More awesome content from FStop10 (you guys really like her stuff and she’s hoping to post more often! yay!)
  • More new bloggers who will be posting once a month! (Quil4 – keep an eye out, and one more 90% confirmed blogger [I was just too excited])
  • Mon July 12th we will be uploading our interview with Manu Sharma from Stanford University regarding the Natural Capital Project (we finally got some time together and now I’m just editing down a 3hr long conversation into lovely bits of nutritious info!)
  • More technology + art based blogs from me…..I’m taking a bit of a break from my own art and doing a bit of research about all the new models for media, art, content distribution.  There’s just sooooooo much going on!

In the meantime here is one more addition to my last post about working with virtual teamsAction Method Online….I have the “offline” organizers but the new online project management system seems to be pretty rad so far.  I love the interface and the ease of use – and you can even ‘nag’ or ‘appreciate’ your team mates! Ha! I love it!

Action Method has been developed by Behance – an company that helps to keep creative people organized. I very much have enjoyed perusing their many sites however I have found that their creative network (where you can upload and share your portfolio of work) is geared especially towards creatives in the visual fields, such as graphic design, animation and photography.  They also have CREATIVE BASED JOBS listed! How exciting! Even artists need to work!  Artists and Entrepreneurs aren’t all that different you know…we both attempt to move our passion from concept  to reality, all the while attempting to find funding or financing for our endeavours.  I feel a new post coming on!

Stay hydrated this summer and try not to exhaust yourself! If you are working hard – take a break! Have a cupcake with a nice cup of light tea and find a buddy to chat with about your passions and dreams. (Lord knows I’d probably have gone mad by now if I didn’t have other artistically minded people to interact with!)

If you don’t have a buddy to chat about such things – you can chat with us!

Working with Virtual Teams – Everybody’s doing it. You want to do it right.

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This blog, you will notice,  is made up of many people from different places contributing their original works- that is nothing new – now.  But some 2 or 3 years ago when we first really started to venture into the virtual workspace we had little idea what any of us were doing.  Things have come a long way in a short time and many of us are becoming more comfortable with the idea of collaborating and even creating online in groups.  Here are some of my thoughts about leading and motivating these awesome virtual entities into healthy and organic places to create and work!

While volunteering at the Millennium Network I was able to experience the new way of working – virtually.  Once I was in the thick of a project working with a team virtually, I began to understand that I needed new tools and resources to adequately make this virtual workspace successful!


Failures (aka Learning Opportunities)

The first thing I noticed was that all of my years of leadership and management training – were failing me. The techniques relied heavily on face to face communications, including visual cues and vocal tone – there is so much that can be said just by the intonation of your voice.  Secondly, once you’ve electronically met all of your team, managing the varied individual schedules and meeting times was a difficult task; multiple timezones, multiple job types and task schedules -it was a real learning curve. Also the temptation to work or create at all hours of the day because you know someone somewhere is awake needs to be addressed: these tools are supposed to actually free up more personal time – that was how they were originally sold to us!  Just because you and your team can work 24hrs a day doesn’t mean you should be.  Stress, fatigue and members dropping out of the project can be the result! Finally, interpersonal relationships and team dynamics required individual attention, ie: we would have to allocate time with each individual member on a regular basis for one-on-one meetings to ensure tasks were being completed.  Also – I wanted to actually get to know who they were – they weren’t autobots on the other side of the screen (could you imagine? Bumble Bee on my team?!).  The level of accountability definitely changes working virtually – especially when you are volunteering your time (as everyone in this example had been).

Successes! (aka here are some thoughts and tools that might help you keep your sanity):

Virtual leadership for me meant that I had to be incredibly organized.  My beautiful articulate ornate and precise language was counter-productive via email, or Google Docs or even conference calls.  This is where my media writing background finally came in handy.  I had to be concise.  I had to be direct.  I needed to clearly understand the scope of the project and how each individual member (members of committees) fits in the final picture.  I was honest about time-lines and ensured that the team recognized how important those time-lines were to the greater project. I had to motivate them to contribute in ways that were an efficient use of  our time:

Google Docs – great, free, interactivity allows for each member of the team to easily view, contribute and share information in documents, spreadsheets and presentations; not every member has to have gmail to access the documents created by the team lead [though it sure helps!] and you can export documents as needed.

Personal Brain – I LOVE this software for brainstorming, strategy building and mind mapping. It’s free [although I’ve been using it for years and recently upgraded to the pro version].  It allows for a visual respresentation of your thoughts and allows for tangents like documents, webpages, contact information or notes to be added to each thought – so the links between the thoughts are realistic and I just love the way it works! You can print and export parts of your ‘brain’ however you should note that you will only have full functionality for a short while with the free version.  You will be able to retain, change and save all of your future mind mapping – you just won’t be able to export it after the demo time expires.

Basecamp is a pay service which is really professional choice -I have yet to  use this platform specifically but it’s the choice of many small businesses and large enterprises alike.

Applications: My ‘smartphone’ is particuarly inept and hates to function properly so unfortunately I don’t have any insight into mobile apps currently [except for ones that don’t work well – which may be a representation of my phone not the application- I have a 2yr old phone running windows mobile – says it all doesn’t it] but if you have any suggestions please share I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have some insight on these.

Meetings and Time Zones and Schedules Oh My! Pavinder Tut (from the Millennium Network) introduced me to Doodle which I love. I think it’s a great tool and it puts the accountability not only in the hands of the team leader but of each individual as well.  Lord knows I’ve probably spent hours of my life in the past attempting to hunt people down, wait for their responses, reorganize if there’s an issue – Doodle helped make the virtual meeting scheduling much more efficient! (it’s great for regular meetings too!)  Mac Entourage – I also really enjoyed this application as it allowed for so many of my email accounts and project specific information to be pulled from separate external places;   it did a lot of the heavy sorting for me after I had set preferences. Heap CRM was also handy – I used it mainly for storing contact info on the go – but it’s a great simple interface and easy to use.

Individuals Make the Team: I couldn’t understand  personality through the virtual world. .  When you’re meeting anyone for the first few times in person it can be awkward – let alone when they’re not even a real person but rather 1’s and 0’s in your inbox. I would have individual phone calls with the team members just to see what was going on in their world – work related or otherwise.  I needed them to understand that I was actually genuinely interested in their skills and experience.  The internet is a hard place to come across as genuine!

Skype is the obvious cheap and cheerful choice: free calls over the internet from Skype to Skype accounts;  cheap international calling rates, great audio quality; fairly good video quality; chat on the side – we all know how great it is! Mac and PC friendly.

Also Pamela (PC only platform – sadness) is my new friend.  Pamela is a software that allows for Skype video and audio to be recorded! Who knew! As someone who works in media, being able to record interviews or team ideas is a great boon! (Although please do let the other callers know that you are recording the conversations – not disclosing that information makes you creepy not clever)

Also if you are working as a member of the team – give the team lead a head’s up if something’s not working for you! If you don’t feel comfy in how you communicate, create or complete projects – then the entire idea of the autonomy behind the virtual working team is lost. None of the examples above are super original discoveries but I just found that when I was trying to figure out how exactly to function in this new working environment there was little in the way of direct links to tools or resources that worked.    If you have others, let’s add them to the list!

A baboon on the roof

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It would be a crying shame to veer completely off the engaging and relevant train of thought sparked by my illustrious fellow floggers (first time bloggers…just trying the word…I know, I am ignoring the “t”…but it just doesn’t fit!…now I am wondering if it sounds rude, mmm).

So I won’t…veer off that is. I like ellipses…you will get to know that about me…

Anyhoo…career choices and all the various considerations that go along with that topic occupy my addled mind daily. Like John Malkovich, my brain has a 9th and a half floor (in my case this is where the slightly off thoughts go to procreate). And though my anxiety does not take the form of a walrus (fabulous imagery inkling7)…it does do an admirable job of turning my plump and shiny creative drive into a raucously deflating whoopee cushion, taunting me with self-doubt and derision! Is my art good enough? Can I monetize my passion? Which one of my lovingly fostered obsessions is most marketable. (the one I can charge the most for, of course!) Oy!

Luckily for me, the clear winner in that dubious contest is an abiding, lifelong preoccupation of mine. (I will expand on my beginnings in a later post) I am almost afraid of admitting what it is…as every man and his dog claims the same pastime as their own. Somehow the proliferation of this art form makes it difficult to admit to doing it – for fear of being lumped into some mediocre, pedestrian, meh group of blahness. I make images…with an SLR…I am a photographer.  (and yep…my name, if you know about aperture, is kind of messed up…there is no fstop 10 – it just sort of happened, OK!)

It isn’t my day job…yet? (I am so excited…I have successfully pulled Sachin and inkling7’s musings into my first contribution. Holy, preamble!

So, to clearly state my humble intentions – due to my walrus (© inkling7)/whoopee cushion conundrum – I would love to use this space to share my art…with you. Instinct kicks in and I feel compelled to blurt out an excuse about not being a pro, or utter “I know I am probably not worthy, but!” That would do a disservice not only to me, but to the bravery of my co-conspirators (gave up on the word floggers…it definitely sounds dirty!).

In our midst here we have the brave and inspiring muso (who puts the B in our blog at the very least!), an undercover creative writer (who I am yet to meet, but am confident is a genuine mensch) and our courageously thoughtful (yes I know it is another word for brave…but inkling7 is that too!) writer and philosopher and all round tremendous individual. And photog (me) makes 4.

My first share: An image I am rather pleased with. I took this with my 70-300mm lens, from across the road. He was sitting on my neighbour’s roof…surrounded by his marauding troop. These guys raid the gardens and kitchens of any house in their path. Their only there for the snacks though…no one usually gets hurt. (unless an idiotic human makes the wrong move)

Guarding the troop is tiring work – and my choppers can be pretty threatening!

My thanks…

Plan B…

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Thanks to B for that intro and to Sachin for his insightful post, which was indeed food for thought!

Interests, aptitude or financial security – oh my!  Quite the dilemma…

No doubt it becomes an even more trying issue when you have a number of varied interests and aren’t quite sure which one you’d like to pursue, when you’re skills may or may not be marketable, and/or when you have a sneaking suspicion that a predictable/banal/secure job might crush your soul (just a little bit – even if only around the edges).

It doesn’t help either when that dreaded beast (Career) Anxiety (which I’ve often imagined would appear as a walrus toting a briefcase, should it be so inclined as to take material form – go figure!) lumbers over your thoughts, your plans, your imaginative inklings and does it’s very best to crush them under it’s lumpy, bulbous belly.  It barks and honks at you (“What if?,” “Is this the right choice?,” “Could this be an awful mistake?”) and refuses to clean up after itself when it leaves…..What a horrible house guest!

Well, I’m not sure what combination of “interests, aptitude and/or financial security” it’s best to go with (particularly in this economy!), but in hopes of finding some kind of answer, I’ve made a concerted effort of late to seek out the counsel of older folks – you know, those who have already settled into their careers and who seem satisfied with their choices.  Curiously enough, many of them have instructed me to follow my “passion” or to “look into my heart” to find an answer.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this advice.  Do you buy it?  What if your “heart” has taken a vow of silence?

One colleague with a very enviable career path offered these consoling words: “Don’t worry, I didn’t figure it out ‘til I was like 40.  You just gotta keep trying different things until you figure it out”.

I’ve decided to take comfort in that.

I suppose a career is as much a work in progress as is anything else… if all else fails, look for Plan B and refuse to be taken hostage by any walrus you should happen to bump into (particularly if it’s of the imaginary variety!).

First Post – Career Choice

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Hi, I’d like to thank Bandana for the intro, my name is Sachin and this is my first post, truth be told I was struggling on deciding what topic to discuss and as I was contemplating, it dawned on me that I would touch on something I’ve been talking to friends/acquaintances as of late being career choice.

I think it’s a very relevant and important topic that is often touched on but not explored, specifically as to the driving factors that effect one’s decision in determining what career path they will pursue.  Most of my friends are in their mid-late 20’s, some have recently changed jobs into a completely new field and others are considering going to back to school to gain more credentials and skills.

Based on my experiences and I think everybody would agree in general, money is more often than not a big consideration when choosing either a specific job or considering what career to endeavour into; the stereotypes that doctors, lawyers and in general professionals, do very well holds true and since most people work to earn a living, it would seem logical to choose a profession that pays well.  I think as a pretense, when planing what field you want to enter, money is a consideration and in fact in my opinion it’s a valid consideration, after all if you plan to raise a family and lead a certain lifestyle, your payscale can be a limiting factor.  On the flip side, I know we’ve all met people who have entered a job on a temporary basis, been very successful such as in a sales environment and because they are doing very well financially, do not consider going back to school or building on a skill set that they may be more interested in.

This brings me to an obvious second consideration which should be like/dislikes and interests.  I’m sure we all remember being asked in elementary school what our favorite subject is?  Of course the guys say phys ed and the girls say art (I’m joking, don’t want to get myself in trouble here), but on a serious note your initial interests may be in sports or something adventurous like being an astronaut or a fireman.  However, to use an extreme example to make the point, if you can’t hit an 85 mph curve ball, your probably not going to play professional baseball.

Of course that was an extreme example, in a lot of cases you can build on a skill set such as acting if your interest lies in being a professional actor.  But it does bring up what I consider a third factor that most should consider which is aptitude, this quote from Bill Clinton that I came across I think describes it best:

Sometime in my sixteenth year I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service.[14]

So, I think it begs the question, which approach be it your interests, aptitude or financial security drive your decisions? and also from a practical standpoint is it more prudent to take a job in a field that is a compromise of all three?  I’d like to hear your feedback, that in fact was a much longer post then I had intended to do on my first one, I hope it provides some food for thought.

The Natural Capital Project – What is that Forest Really Worth?

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In my own work and art I have been very interested in trying to bring value to things that have been helping us along in life but never really get the recognition they deserve.

Our communities have had to endure environmental degradation and exploitation for commercial purposes. Let’s not be too smug – we need businesses to employ our communities and provide us with goods and services. But over the past little while we have finally collectively recognized that the ways in which we do business currently are not sustainable.

Lake Louise, Alberta Canada ~ We undervalue our natural resources and the commercial market is not the only place where these resources derive value.

THE NATURAL CAPITAL PROJECT is moving forward with research to develop tools that will allow business leaders to make more informed decisions about the environmental resources they use and how they use them.

“Ecosystem Services” is a phrase you are going to start hearing a lot more often.  It’s a concept that proposes that nature is doing a lot of work that is simply not being recognized; if we can provide a way for the work nature does  (that we rely on) to be recognized,  we can consider the implications of our actions.  It’s an interesting idea which is much along the same lines of SROI (Social Return on Investment) – where the value being created by non-profits and other social ventures is not wholly represented by a monetary return. For the true value of the work to be undrestood the monetary and non-monetary values (i.e. social good or ecosystem service) needs to be recognized together in a holistic manner.  For a more “official” definition of Ecosystem Services click here.

From my understanding the good people at The National Capital Project have been creating “demonstration projects” at sites where changes to the environment can have drastic consequences.  These sites are where models are being created for leaders from other organizations to SEE  how the models and tools work and more importantly how to integrate these new ideas into their own decision making processes (all links are from The Natural Capital Project):

This is a joint project between Stanford University, the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

I’m pretty interested in this concept as it does relate to my own readings in SROI.  I’m going to try to do an interview with Manu Sharma  – an engineer who is currently working on the project who is based at Stanford. (He also happens to be one of my dearest friends ever in life – when I learned about his work I was pretty awe-struck).

Until my interview with Manu – If you have 60 seconds (which I know you do)  take a listen to this podcast from Scientific American about ecosystem services (I found the link to this via The Natural Capital Project website)

PS: Keep up the good work in your life!  I know sometimes it may seem like you’re not making a recognizable contribution – so tell us what you are up to! We can’t recognize you and your awesomeness if we don’t know what you’re about! Monetary value is only one point on the value spectrum – you are awesome – your work is bringing value into the world – share your passion!  Take comfort in the stories of others and know that you are not alone.  Work hard and fight the good fight my friends.