Author: ericaeyoung

Introducing The Reliants Project

Recently, I’ve been building up my understanding of social network analysis (SNA) so I can help myself and others build and maintain more resilient personal networks. I’ve learned how to graph my social network and the impact that quality relationships have on your life. Now I’m hoping to incorporate these skills and interests into my work more directly.I wanted to say thank you for your willingness to respond to my repeated requests over the last several months; filling out surveys, testing newsletters and sharing content with your network. Every little bit helps and I wanted to share some of the valuable outcomes you have helped make possible so far.People who made direct introductions have helped me: Connect with 20+ potential collaborators Find 7 podcast guests Identify 3+ advisory opportunities with companies that are trying to solve important problems using networks People who shared The Reliants Project content on social media have helped me: Secure a guest blog post on The Relationships Project, which will help build awareness around the importance of networks with people that are working on social problems Get …

On forty

Happy belated new year! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season, wherever you were. Grant and I celebrated my milestone birthday on the Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia. At over 10,000 sq km, it’s the largest salt flat on the planet. It’s unique color, flatness and size make it ideal for taking photos that play with perspective. A couple of days in advance, we managed to find a hardware store in San Pedro de Atacama and explained to the owner in broken Spanish what props we were looking for. He rummaged through piles of dust-covered cardboard boxes and uncovered a set of metal house numbers. He even helped us find and bend hardware that screwed into the back of the numbers to stand them up. The results aren’t half bad!  How does it feel to be forty? Pretty fantastic. It’s been fascinating to look back on all the important personal events that have happened in the last ten years.  2019: I left the world of venture design for network science 2018: My team at Anthemis co-founded altbank and zevie, both of which have since …

The Reliants Project in Kumu

Finally, I’ve managed to embed an anonymised version of the latest Reliants Project network graph onto the front page of the site. I think it is much more interesting to engage with an interactive map than static images. Back in 2017, I shared maps showing my London personal network before and after pairing up with my partner. Before that, I shared a global map showing how my network has evolved over my adult life. Over the last year, I have introduced my partner to many people within my global network. We have also introduced many of our friends to each other. The resulting 2018 graph is more complex than the previous versions and shows a more developed London network.Reading the map. In Kumu, nodes are called elements and edges are connections. Each element represents an individual in my personal network. The connections show who knows who in that network. In this map, the colors indicate which geographical group the individual is part of (United States, Hong Kong or the United Kingdom). The large elements identify …

Continuous participatory change

This morning I’m sitting on the tiny, south-facing balcony of our flat with a coffee-filled mug with red letters that say “niet normaal”. Even though the balcony is overwhelmed by vines, I somehow haven’t managed to keep our mint alive. This is the third attempt to complete this update, trying to find a narrative thread through the last 12 months. While the phrase “continuous participatory change” is used as an approach to organisational transformation, I think it a powerful way to approach all of life. For most, change is difficult, uncomfortable and disorienting. More than ever, it’s also the only constant. Over the last year, I have been learning new ways to thrive in these conditions and navigate change.A habit I adopted last year is to ask myself questions from Changing on the Job, such as: “What assumptions about the world underpin my or others actions and opinions?”It has helped me reframe many challenging situations and identify some of my own blind spots. For example, I strongly believe that creating more connections within a network makes it more …

How I invested 8760 hours in 2017

Inspired by Kunal Gupta’s How I Invested 2504 Hours post, I decided to perform my own audit for 2017. My goal was to compare how I actually invested my time to the ideal 24 hours I imagined back in 2016. This way, I could decide if I wanted to change my time allocation for 2018 and implement habits to help me do so. Back in 2016, here’s what I outlined for a typical day: Sleep and restorative (sleep and naps) – 7 hrs / 30% Creative and productive (content creation, workshops, culture) – 7 hrs / 30% Eating and social (meals, coffee, drinks) – 5 hrs / 20% Active and physical (exercise, walking, sex) – 3 hrs / 12% Quiet and reflective (meditation, reading, bath) – 2 hrs / 8%  The results. All in, I was able to account for about 80% of my time in 2017. Of that time, a third was scheduled, a third was unscheduled estimates and a third was sleep. While the math is obvious, it was still surprising to internalise that spending …

Primary relationships impact personal network structures

In my post “Change over time“, I hypothesised that coupling up and separating with someone would have a significant impact on the structure of an individual’s personal network. After my divorce many years ago, my network structure shifted from one that was compartmentalised to that of a ‘sampler’. Little did I know that I would soon have the opportunity to actually test this theory.Between 2015 and 2016, I tracked how my London social network grew from a small group of pre-existing connections to a reasonably strong support system. In the resulting graph, I emphasised the role that non-local contacts had in helping me expand my community. Now I’ve taken 2016 data and compared it to the present in a new visual:The most dramatic differences between the 2016 and 2017 visualisations are the new node sitting at the centre of the graph and the cluster of new nodes on the far right. That central node is my new partner and the cluster to the right is the portion of his London network that he has introduced to me. His …

Honeycomb hexayurt

The first time I went to Burning Man, my experience was made much more comfortable by fellow campers who had prepared temporary shelters and offered me a spare. Insulation from cold, reflection of sun, firm walls, and being able to stand up removed many of the common irritations of camping. When our group began planning for this year’s trip to the Burn, I wanted to give them the same level of comfort. I set out to design a structure that would provide all of those benefits and some privacy, while minimising the amount of construction materials we’d have to buy and transport.The design I arrived at is based on the 6′ hexayurt, one of the many designs by Vinay Gupta. In order to reduce the amount of building materials required, I arranged them in a honeycomb layout. This saved us 4 sheets of 4’x8′ insulating foam and about a roll of filament tape. It could easily be expanded to incorporate more hexayurts, seemingly indefinitely (though it does make sealing much more difficult). Here’s the recipe.Preparation materials: …

Standing the test of time

It’s been over 9 months since I adopted 3 ‘networked’ habits to test if I could make them more resilient than stacked habits in the face of change. This is one of the four intentions that I set for myself during my 2016 yearly review. Since then I have: Transitioned from being single to having a partner Moved from East London to North London Managed a new commercial partnership Traveled a total of 8 weeks In the past, any one of those situations would have thrown me off the wagon. Changes to workload, routine and certainly life stage have historically had a big impact on my foundation habits. However, this time I’m thrilled to report that I am still consistently eating healthy (38 AmazonFresh orders placed in 2017), walking (at least 1:30 hour ~4x/week), and meditating (~4x/week). The walking is either to commute, attend meetings or even as a meeting itself).Of course, I’m still linking the new activity to another one that was already deeply embedded. The difference is that I’m not layering other new activities …

Eight weeks of ‘networked’ habits

Gotta celebrate the little wins! At the end of last year I completed another year in review and identified 3 areas that I wanted to focus on for 2017. One of areas of focus is intensity, where I’ve asked the question: How can I make my foundation habits more resilient to changes in my life’s intensity and rhythm?Limitations of habit stacking. I’ve had the ongoing issue of stacking habits only to watch them fall like a house of cards in the face of change. When I fall off the wagon, it can take me months to get back on again. The only foundation habit I consistently maintained in 2016 was sleeping 8 hours a night. In Q1 I kept an incredibly aggressive physical training schedule. In Q2 I ate healthy and cooked consistently. Most of Q4 I meditated regularly. There was no stretch of time when I managed to consistently incorporate all 4 into my life together.Enter networked habits. Yeah, I know, if your tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail. However, I do find that my most resilient habits are connected to several …

Celebrating friendships

After all the effort of building a dataset for The Reliants Project, it’s been great the reap the rewards with countless ways to explore and visualise the data. I’ve decided to focus first on the reliants, my closest relationships.To give readers a sense of the breadth of the group categorised as reliants, here are some reference points. They include family members I’ve known since birth, others I’ve built relationships with spanning 25+ years, as well as people I’ve gotten to know within the last year. I met an equal number through direct introductions and public events and there are even two that I met serendipitously. They are overwhelmingly male, but very diverse in terms of nationality and ethnicity. Their ages span from mid-twenties to retired, though the majority are 25-45. Almost all of them have moved internationally and have lived in the same city as me at some point, though there are a couple of exceptions. Roughly half of them are married and/or have children, however few had reached this life stage when I met them. Beyond family (2 people), two pairs have relationships …