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Trade clxii | Month 22 | Spring

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99U | Istanbul to New York City

Those of you who know the layout of the trades I post on the website will already notice a slight difference with this one. My trade with 99U Conference was unlike any briefs prior to this.

‘The goal of the 99U Conference is to shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution. Providing road-tested insights on how to make your ideas happen. We bring together some of the world's most productive creative visionaries & leading researchers to share pragmatic insights on how ideas are brought to life.’

I was invited as one of the speakers for the conference and The Pixel Trade was to photograph a speaker’s from start to finish in 21 photographs (including the one above). Because they were flying me from Istanbul to New York City that is where the journey began and it finished after I spoke at the conference and moved onto the next trade.

| note: if the images don't fit on your screen, don't be frightened to click on them |

I woke up in Armada Pera Hotel, Istanbul, from the humming of the Muslim prayers and a couple ‘playing cards’ on the other side of the plaster walls.
She won.

As I headed towards the airport, I noticed the ships lining up for the port. While I was observing this, the taxi driver cut through the soft droplets of rain falling from our eager friend, gravity. While he drove, the tires of our car struggled to grip the road.

There are fundamentally three things to do when flying, close your eyes from the onslaught of the dry air and rest, burn your eyes from on board entertainment and curiosity or look out the window every so often and notice the Atlantic blanket never changes.

From Istanbul to New York city, the rain continues to play with the taxi drivers.

Thanks to jet lag, I get up and look out my hotel window only to notice a single office is still glowing in an entire building. I wonder if they know they’re the only ones there.

A dad joke: I asked the horse if I could have a ride on her back and she replied, ‘naayyyy, for  tis’ nobler in the mind to suffer...’

99u conference. I didn’t expose the projected image properly and as a result the message became a pessimistic one.

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I’d like to introduce you to Nortman Taylor & Baboucarr Mboob. I’d also like to know who that woman is photo bombing them.

To fall asleep on the streets of NYC is an indication of absolute solitude &... oh no wait he is just listening to beats from Dr. Dre.

The Speakers dinner I almost missed.

Interview with Jocelyn

Director & EiC, 99U

Describe your most memorable adventure as a child.

We always played in the woods all day as children. It was out in the morning, and back when the dinner bell was rung. There’s lots of memories and images: Falling into the creek as I was crossing it for the first and last time and drenching my brand new red Buster Brown sneakers; walking alone through the forest and seeing a buck with huge antlers for the first time; making bow and arrows out of bamboo stalks; discovering a secret fort inside of the neighbors trash heap of yard cuttings…

What changes have you seen in the writing world?

Curiously, the biggest change is the rise of business's perception of the value of “content” and the almost simultaneous fall of people’s willingness to pay for good writing. I’m sure I needn’t bring you up to speed on the decline of media companies budgets. What’s interesting is that rather than content itself being saleable, what’s happening is that content now drives engagement, which allows you to sell something else. For 99U, we are built on online editorial like a standard Internet media company, but what we sell are books and events. It’s interesting that you now see many large, traditional media companies trying to shift to this model as they realize ad sales don’t work anymore.

What is the hardest part about being a writer?

There’s a great travel writer names Sarah Wheeler who says something like, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Every day is a success when you’re researching, but writing is hell.” That pretty much sums it up. The hardest part about being a writer is just… writing. I also think writers, like any creative worth his salt, tend to set wildly high standards for themselves. And then you frequently fail to live up to them.  Alas.

What is one of the most valuable things you’ve learnt from writing?

Aside from being an art, writing is essentially a method for clarifying your thinking. So in the process of writing, you come to a deeper understanding of whatever your subject matter is. For me, writing and editing for 99U, it means I have a disturbingly detailed understanding of what does (and doesn’t) help us execute on our ideas. But I try not to let the knowing hamper the doing. ; )

If you were not in the writing industry, what would you be doing?

Something else related to communicating ideas. I’m a gemini, and I would be terribly depressed if I had no outlet for disseminating and talking about ideas. That’s what we do!

To clean yourself is as easy at one, two, three. Note: don’t look to close at this image because the tiles are kind of reflecting the naked man taking this photograph.

While we are all inspired by the Speakers, this girl found something far more interesting in her cocoon. Note I lost the business card of the mother and would love to send this image to her if anyone knows who she is.

Backstage with Matias, Scott and Jocelyn.

Gearing up for the next set of Speakers.

A photograph of the audience after my talk. I asked everyone to turn around except for one gentlemen in the middle. I didn’t catch his name.

I return to the Ace Hotel to rest and contemplate whether impact was made or not.

The after party dropping beats out the front.

I found a group of people and asked them to pose for an image they’d like to send to their parents...

Saturday was spent resting and watching Lincoln. I was wondering what he was contemplating on his podium...

Ohhhh, he was trying to figure out what the fuck these numbers meant.

If you could teach humanity one thing, what would it be?

Well, I’m not quite sure I am qualified to teach this as yet, but I am working on it. What that would be is: How to slow down. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I love this excerpt from Carl Jung’s “Dreams, Memories, and Reflections”:

"The European is, to be sure, convinced that he is no longer what he was ages ago; but he does not know what he has since become. His watch tells him that since the “Middle Ages” time and its synonym, progress, have crept up on him. With lightened baggage he continues his journey, with steadily increasing velocity, toward nebulous goals. He compensates for the loss of gravity and the corresponding sentiment d’incompletitude by the illusion of his triumphs, such as steamships, railroads, airplanes, and rockets, that rob him of his duration and transport him into another reality of speeds and explosive accelerations."

What is something you haven’t told someone in a long time?

I’m always telling people things. All kinds of things: Things I am excited about, things I have observed, things I have learned, things that annoy me, things I will later regret saying. (See Gemini notes above.) I think people could probably do with hearing a little more silence from me. And I could do a little more listening.

What is your biggest goal at the moment?

Focusing less on being obsessed with goals and what’s next. And that’s not a flip remark, I actually find this extremely difficult.

Describe your most memorable adventure as an adult.

I’m still in it!! I think I’ll have to work on a memoir that no one will read to capture this properly. I’ll call it “Slow Hustle."

If you had to recommend a favourite music album, what would it be?

It’s not an album, but “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” is the song I want to be playing when I leave this world.