Tell me your passions

For some time, I have been interviewing user group organisers (community managers each of them, no matter what their day job is) about their groups.

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview leaders of groups like the London Java Community (upwards of 3,000 members), Hacker News London (approaching 5,000 members), and many other group organisers from around Europe. It’s a theme I’m continuing, and I have reached out to several other organisers recently.

I love to write, and I love hearing people’s stories. I once trained and worked as a journalist for this very reason, but found in the real world of a news desk on a regional daily newspaper it wasn’t that simple.

For some time, I have had an idea: I want to interview successful people who are well known for one particular thing. But I want to interview them about their other passions. I have a theory that people who are passionate and successful in one area of their life are often just as passionate in other areas.

This is something I started exploring in my community manager interviews: my final question was always along the lines of “Aside from your work, tell me about something else you are passionate about?” — though I never had the time to pursue these leads any further, with a day job to do.

Now I want to ressurect this project. While continuing with community manager interviews — about how different groups find speakers and grow their communities — I want to hear about passions.

I had a false start once before when I contacted my hero Carol Ann Duffy to ask if I could interview her, and got no response. But now I am going to try a slightly different approach, using social media to both share this article and reach out to some public figures. And since I have contacts in the Open Source community, perhaps I can find some well known figures in the industry to tell me about their passions.

Of course, if anyone should have friends or contacts that would be useful, please let me know — these things are always about who you know.

The Arctic Calendar

The Arctic Calendar
Image courtesy of Amanda at Apples & Green

The lovely and talented Amanda of Apples and Green fame has produced a charity 2012 calendar for the Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure.

Rejecting the clichéd slightly rude and nude “Calendar Girls” style, Amanda has instead gone back to the 1950s for a vintage pin-up inspired calendar, featuring members of her community theatre group, Starling Arts, along with work
colleagues, at least two members of RunDemCrew, and some mutual friends.

The Arctic Calendar project started for Amanda as a pie-in-the-sky idea hatched one Saturday evening in an East London pub.  It was hard to guess how popular it would be, but a dozen or so helpful volunteers would be all that was needed to get it off the ground.

Just 10 days later, and Amanda had over 20 models, all volunteering their time to dress in their favourite vintage inspired looks and spend an afternoon playing in front of the camera, all for a good cause.  4 photo shoots and countless hours of photo editing on, and there were drunk housewives, retro Playboy bunnies,  dashing gentlemen, swimsuit models, and a whole host of other great styles.

Producing the calendars in time for Christmas meant some delays in printing and delivery from Vistaprint — in fact, the original samples ordered were so delayed that they only arrived this week — but the original print run sold like hot cakes, and the desk calendars have all sold out.

Luckily, there are still wall calendars left, so you can start 2012 in style.  To get your own Arctic Calendar and help raise money for The Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure, order a calendar online at

The Arctic Calendar
Image courtesy of Amanda at Apples & Green