Advice to my Kids

Advice to my kids:
1. Don’t believe what anyone says about who or what you are. Including yourself.
2. Learn to observe when it’s happening – the gold stars, the “good girl”s, the “you always liked…”, the “buy our product to appear more successful, lovable, welcome”.
3. Understand that even if well-intentioned, these are manipulations. The person desires a response. Understand that what they are saying says far more about them and their desires, than about you.
4. In this way you will be freeing yourself from the clutches of advertising, the power of devious or neurotic people, and the inner pain of self-judgement.
5. One exception: mummy knows you and knows what’s best for you! ;D

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Take Your Time (a London Fields morning poem)

Take your time
Hang time up in the air
Like a jacket

Sit under a tree looking up
Observe the spaces between the leaves and branches
Observe the slices of silence between the sounds
Pay attention
Listen for the energy you bring into this scene

Feel your feet where they touch the ground
And any other part of your body that is resting on something, your arm on your thigh perhaps
Your head, balanced on your neck, or hanging forward from your shoulders
Like canvas on a frame

Observe the velocities of people, and clouds, the gathering mist
How leaves shake with distinct rhythms on a chestnut or 
A poplar
The Zitterpappel shivers

A single golden hair from my daughter’s soft head
Hanging on the edge of the shoulder of my shrug
Reminds me of the excitement of small children
As sunshine sieves through leaves
Cold air descending

Come and sit with me, under this tree
Imagine this fertile void
Create an empty space
Take your time

Hang time up in the air
Like a jacket

[a London Fields morning poem, Thurs 19th June 2014]

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I Came Back to Write This Note for You

It’s been about four and a half years since I ventured down the rabbit hole. Haven’t quite reached the bottom yet, but starting to get a sense of the spaces I’m moving through. There’s a loosening, an unfolding. One day perhaps I’ll emerge with some kind of a map of the warren.

Deepest thanks to the many people who don’t know that they’ve helped me grope my way through this darkness. Reading about and listening to their/your experiences has been like coming across an arrow or a friendly note scribbled on the tunnel wall: 
“Hello stranger. Funny place you’re in right now. Well I’ve been here too, and I found a way out. Your way out may not be the same way as mine; getting out may not even be the answer. But know that I was here and I got out, and that’s what matters, and I came back to write this note for those yet to pass through here. 
“If it helps, when it’s so dark you can’t even see the walls or whether the floor drops away to nothing right in front of you, remember that you are not the only one here. Although you cannot see their faces or hear their breathing, these tunnels are full of people searching for light and rest and life, just like you are. And in these tunnels are also people who’ve come back in to help guide others out, as they once were guided by a quiet stranger who asked for no thanks.”

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Fortune Wraps Us Together

Fortune Wraps Us Together

London, Monday 30th September 2013, lunchtime.


In Fortune Street Park,

The young city men

Exchange firm handshakes

Between the helter-skelter (sky blue) of the playground

(Grandma in a wheelchair, blue jeans)

And a spiral staircase that’s the heart

Of the school behind them.


Perhaps they haven’t noticed it, the school for children with

“Special Educational Needs” or

Physical disabilities

– Otherness –

Different physical characters

The spiral staircase is where the “special” and

“Non-special” children of the school

Come together to eat – compañere –

To break bread together.


Between sky blue helter-skelter and a spiral staircase,

Between green trees, under blue sky,

In blue suits and blue jeans,

Here in London.

Lunch, in Fortune Street Park.

We unwrap sandwiches, we munch

Wraps folded in waxed paper,

We break bread together, we share fortunes

– At least we live them wrapped together.


Wrap, fold, spiral, helter-skelter, young, old,

Green, blue, son, father.

Fortune brings us here,

Fortune wraps us together.


Pascale Scheurer


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How To Build a Startup.

1. Put down your pen, fold up your laptop, and think.

2. Think, read. Walk through the city, somewhere new. Think, build, test. Share, talk, tweak, test again. Share again.

3. Repeat until something starts pulling itself out of possibility and into reality. Hold the reins, now gently, now tight. As the thing pulls, let it pull.

4. When the pull builds to a force, when the force disturbs the air around it and attracts others, when others start running over and offering help, when children chase after it clapping and laughing, that’s the time to let it go, lay the logs in front of it and roll it down the hill, chase after it too, shouting as you go.


Stage 2 can take a very long time, even while you’re iterating fast, lean-style. It feels like endless failure, like being punched in the face a thousand times. It’s incredibly lonely. Sharing is hard, when most of what you’re sharing is not good enough, yet. But share you must, as sharing is nurture for the idea and for yourself. Holding on at Stage 3 is incredibly hard too, after all that time waiting. But it’s important to wait, to hold, to let the thing fill out, take its true shape and build its own momentum.

Let it pull itself out of possibility and into reality.

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Building a Brave New World

Award-winning writer Arundhati Roy’s most famous quotation is also one of the most beautiful and powerful statements of our time:

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

I like to pair it with one from another of my heroes, Buckminster Fuller:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Is it a coincidence that both trained as architects?  Coincidence or not, it makes perfect sense.  Whilst young and naïve, future architects look at the world around them, and the way people interact with each other and with artefacts in physical space, and say to themselves: “Another world is possible.  I will build it.”

More than that, the profession – the vocation – of architecture demands collaboration and holistic thinking.  It demands that we remain artists – creative, curious, challenging – whilst using existing technologies, engineering, science, economics and politics, as our tools.  “I will build it” becomes “I will help build it, we will build it together”.

Here at Intelligent Futures, we are architects and engineers.  We are unashamedly – perhaps naïvely or even arrogantly – committed to building a brave new world.  One which we hope will owe more to Arundhati Roy’s vision than Aldous Huxley’s.  Huxley warned us of techno-dystopia, as George Orwell did in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Both, I am sure, did so in order to help us focus on building a different new world.  Perhaps not a techno-utopia, but something better than we have now, or than we will have if we fling up our hands and proclaim the search for progress futile.

If we wish to have a less dystopian future, we must build it together.  When we see the people working around us in innovation projects – as showcased on our website and at our events – we can hear the new world breathing.

Posted at, 15th May 2013

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Reflection – Sat May 11th 2013 … 4.19am (Sun)


What:     Working on research for cool tools for SNA, biz ideas



Why do I not want to stop?

   Because I haven’t got there yet?

Where am I going?

   I don’t know but I haven’t got there yet

Will I know when I get there


Will I be able to sleep when I get there

   NNo, I will be too excited

Oh. No sleep till Brooklyn then


Remind me why I am doing this?

   What makes you think I know why?

Well here I am, doing it, it must have started somewhere

   Are you lost?

Am I lost?


How would I know?

   A bird is singing outside

Does there have to be a why?

   Are you happy?


   Is this work making you happier?

Yes. I think so.


Or maybe unhappier. I can’t remember.


I wish you were here.


Maybe I’m trying to build a bridge back to you.

   Back? Or forward?


   Away or towards?

Or maybe I’m drawing a picture of a door out, on the wall


Anaïs Nin on love and uncertainty, Richard Feynman on love of uncertainty.  The embrace of uncertainty.  The embrace of fear.  To stand and wait and do neither.  Neither reject, nor embrace, nor even entertain.  To set aside the question.  All questions.  To be, here, now, whatever and wherever that is. Wherever you are.  Wherever *you* are.  To be, not to build.  To build a different thing.  To build two different, small, charming, wayward things.  We’re building a different life together.  Just, I didn’t want a different life, I liked the old one, the one I had.  This one … it doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t feel like it has space for me in it.  I feel pushed to the wall.  I turn round and draw the outline of a door on the wall.



I don’t know how to not be sad about it.


And here comes the dawn.

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