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Over the years the Tuttle club has moved around and I’ve been intrigued by the effect different Tuttle venues have had the dynamics of the group. Last week we were at the up-market offices of Z/Yen ( Z/Yen Facebook, website).

About half a dozen of us had arrived earlier than Lloyd Davis (the man behind the Tuttle club – see Tuttle website)). Given the board-room style surroundings we had taken seats in a most “Untuttlishly” formal way around the table. Significantly, no-one took the chair at the head of the table. It remained empty, until Lloyd came in. He took the “chairman space” briefly, and gently teased us for the way we were behaving. Soon we were all on our feet, the furniture was re-arranged, and immediately Tuttle-style  conversational dynamics came into play.

Conversations and collaborations

My Tuttling session started in converation with people I hadn’t met before. Introductions led us briefly to accounting and AI before getting into what I found to be a helpful “basics of blockchains” informal tutorial – including the human side of blockchain creation and flat organisational structures. I’d just started to formulate some of the ideas and questions that were buzzing in my mind when 11 o’clock was upon us and the focus shifted. 11 o’clock is the time for Lloyd to do his Tuttle-master open-invitation for people to share “whatever” to the whole group. This sharing makes it easier for people to recognise overlapping interests and strike up relevant conversations.

I mentioned the blockchain conversation we’d been having and its relevance to flat organisational structures, which related to my involvement in flat Teal organisational structures in the Teal for Startups working group, and also to my practical work growing UK-Africa collaborative work “according to Teal”.

This led to a rich mix of conversations afterwards with people I had never met before, all with different perspectives on Africa, and some with possibilities for future collaboration.

Old friends and Tuttle 2009

There was also the delight of meeting old friends, including one I had not seen for years (Mark Charmer) who was responsible for my first connection with Tutlle.

Seeing Mark reminded me of the time I went over to meet him the Akvo office back in January 2009. Our meeting was about our shared interest in Africa. Our focus was water, John Dada’s project at Attachab and possible pumps to raise water from The River Wonderful on the boundary.  At the last moment Mark suggested postponing our meeting from 11am until the afternoon because Vinay Gupta would be arriving in the UK, heading for Akvo, and I might like to meet Vinay too.

So it was that Vinay invited me to a talk he was giving the next day at the Temporary School of Thought – an educational pop-up at a squat in Mayfair. His talk was on Infrastructure for Anarchists (my first introduction to “The Six Ways to Die” – and the advisability of avoiding them).

I went along and I happened to meet Lloyd Davis in the lobby. We got talking and he invited me to Tuttle (then at the ICA). I went, and went back often because of its great atmosphere and the interesting people I met.

Tuttle has had other homes since then, but ICA was my favourite for the way its layout supported Tuttle dynamics. It was easy to circulate and join in new conversations as you moved around or waited to replenish your coffee cup. It wasn’t a public space. People were moving around and they were all there for Tuttle. Subsequently when we met in public spaces I sometimes alarmed unsuspecting Londoners by striking up conversations with them, mistakenly thinking they were with Tuttle.

Tuttle at Z/Yen

At the Z/Yen office we were all there for Tuttle and it worked in a similar way to ICA.

It was a great venue and there was an unexpected bonus on the way out when a few of us got to play with a phone-sized device with a stunning 3D display. I watched some cartoon caterpillars doing exceedingly 3D cartoon caterpillary things, and at the other extreme had some impressive views of real mountain peaks, as if I was looking through a helicopter window. Vinay Gupta made some observations about 3D effects that interested me. He pointed out the difference between all the effects happening  “behind the screen” (much like real life and looking though a window) and having the 3D effects come “in front of the screen” (a totally unreal kind of experience). I hadn’t thought of the difference like that before.

It’s been a few months since I last Tuttled and it was great to be back –  a rich mix of people and opportunities for serendipitous conversations and new ideas. Thank you Lloyd, Z/Yen and all the Tuttlers.