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podcast 403 – Bits and Bobs towards Critical Mass – part 2

Published 5 years ago in Podcasts - 0 Comments

Paul Wheaton and Bill Erickson, a permies.com staff member, continue the podcast with discussion on what Paul would do differently if someone gave him a million dollars (in case anyone is wondering we are sure Paul would be open to it if you would like to make such a donation) and he could go back and start over at wheaton labs. Paul would start with a Permaculture-loving MBA, then hiring an Event Coordinator/Education Director (the position is currently available in real life) and a full-time Natural Builder. The discussion then delves into the roles those people would play and the impact it would/might have on wheaton labs.

Paul then brings up that Bill has agreed to work on a Biological Reverse Kickstarter. The intriguing title can be summed up by what is needed to improve the forward velocity at Wheaton Labs prompted by a forum-based discussion of revamping the bootcamp program by people who want to “throw money” at the program. People who are outside the program but watching the progress of participants would pledge money or items towards when artifacts are completed and the people who are pledging would influence what artifacts that they would like to see worked on or finished.

Many other topics are touched upon during the discussion of the Biological Reverse Kickstarter and various projects and learning opportunities that are available or might become available in the future. Paul points out that he has attempted to design the lab to be a “permaculture home” not a commuter job location. The discussion turns to PEP1 and PEP2 -basically a “Permaculture Experience” course or courses that would be defined by an understanding of a series of basic tasks or skills that would help a person be self-sufficient and competent to run a homestead or a farm. Bill points out you don’t get paid to go to school – you’re getting an education and Paul’s bootcamp program is an educational opportunity.

The discussion between Bill and Paul continues on the possibility of modifying the bootcamp program to include pledges, ranging from items to money, how the “Human Factor” impacts all on-going relationships, a mini-rant about how there is “nothing to take pictures of” at wheaton labs, including junk pole fence, rock jacks, handmade gates, things growing on the berms, hugelkulture beds, chop and drop composting, ongoing projects at lab like the dry stack moon gate, etc. Bill makes a valid and on-point observation that if “you don’t have skin in the game” nothing gets done and that you need a “Critical Mass” of like-minded people who are committed to making things work to move things forward.

Bill then relates the welcoming environment he found upon first experiencing wheaton labs and the fantastic person that is Fred. Fred is the gold standard of the kind of person that wheaton labs need to attract to reach the “Critical Mass” that moves the lab forward and gets projects done.

Bill and Paul move on to discuss Paul’s book in progress, “How to Build a Better World in Your Backyard Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys”. Instead of creating a quick, low-key book as originally intended, Paul is in the process of taking the slower, longer route of editing the book for outreach to a larger number of people. The book will be an expansion of the concept behind the Permaculture playing cards that were an attempt to allow people who are bonkers about Permaculture to share their love of Permaculture with other people who are not yet aware of the wonders of Permaculture.

Following the book discussion there are kudos to the awesome people moving things forward, especially Fred and Jocelyn. They talk about Paul’s YouTube videos having 73,000 subscribers but the changing algorithms have limited views of newly published videos to only several hundred followers, an issue that is happening to many video channels. Bill explains that he will be publishing a wiki on how to change your YouTube settings to make sure you get notified of new content and Paul and Bill go on to discuss how to improve YouTube viewership and rankings.

The podcast wraps up with talking about the burning question of “What is Paul doing with all the money”? Bill points out that Paul and Jocelyn live frugally and spend a lot of time and money promoting current and future projects, including feeding the boots and materials costs for the on-going projects. The podcast ends on a discussion of possibilities for a relaxing, friendly space at the top of the Volcano and Bill’s advice to “get some time for your soul”.

Credit: Eric Tolbert

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Relevant Threads

permies rental/event manager position
wheaton labs bootcamp program
dry stack moon gate
Permaculture playing cards


You can discuss this podcast on this thread at Permies.

This podcast was made possible thanks to:

Full Name
Bill Crim
Josh Phillips
wade L
James Tutor
Suleiman ALAQEL
Jocelyn Campbell
Jason Hower
Ash Jackson is The Scrollbard
thomas adams
Julia Mason
Dominic Crolius
David Ingraham
Miroslav Ultrama
Lisa Goodspeed
Bill Erickson
Keith Kuhnsman
Wayne Fajkus
Eivind W. Bjoerkavaag
G Cooper
Dylan Butler
Cody W.

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