WORDCON India Tour 2018 Culmination – Calcutta – 7th Sept

WORDCON India Tour for Freelancers 2018 came to a close, to the starting point – Calcutta with a Freelancer’s meet in collaboration with EasyDaftar – a co-working space in Calcutta, in their premises at SKP Building, off Kalighat Metro station in the heart of South Calcutta.

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A multi-location event, connected by Facebook in Wordcon’s traditional informal but serious event. The whole event is recorded and produced below (Facebook Live event – Wordcon Channel)

FULL RECORDED EVENT (Courtesy – Ms. Sritama Muhuri, EasyDaftar) – also shared at our Facebook Channel : Wordcon Channel

Highlights

  1. Sharing 4-city Freelancer meet experience, insight, success, failure, challenges and most-important : What Freelancers need and what are being done and what should be done. A bottom-up approach.Hear the problems at field level and direct, deliberate and build solutions and connect to resources for building solutions.
  2. Freelance Foundation officially announced its Master Freelancer and Masterclass Policy : A Master Freelancer affiliated with Freelance Foundation must guide qualified (humble, interested and strong desire to succeed) aspirant freelancers without any fee whatsoever. Only those Masters who share this value system should consider associating with us. 
  3. Freelance Foundation is building a process and platform to engage those freelancers who are humble and interested to be guided and Masters who are ready to teach.
  4. Announcing our England Tour starting next week including cricket match and 2 freelance meets – one in London and one in Birmingham.

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Thanking all our past and present partners for making the India Tour possible and England Tour feasible.

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Acknowledgements 

  1. Ms. Sritama Muhuri, EasyDaftar and her Team
  2. Easydaftar Clients / Co-working location members at multiple locations in Calcutta who participated in the Event online.
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Freelance Foundation / WORDCON – Vision 2020

Freelance Foundation is a registered charity in Calcutta, India with the mission of Harmonizing Income, Leisure and Fame for world freelancers.  For last five years, we have been conducting full day conferences, meet-ups, online mentoring, music and sports events for freelancers.

VISION 2020

The Apex Council of Freelance Foundation has decided, a part of the VISION 2020 plan, the following Tour and Outreach Programmes for freelancers.

WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018-2020 | 20 cities of India 

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Having completed metro city tour, we have realized that there is a growing body of freelancers in Tier I and Tier II cities of India. The format of each meet will be as follows, with amends as per the local custom /culture. This knowledge will come from the Lead Freelancer in that respective city / town and he / she will be part of our Team. We have already started finding those rare souls. The format of the meets (sabha) will be as follows :

  • A hosting institution will provide us space and facilities
  • The Lead Freelancer will spread the news / promote the meet in our network in the city
  • Teachers of Freelance Foundation will act as Chief Listener and will listen to the problems and solve / indicate a solution
  • It is observed that many freelancers and people in general are averse in discussing such issues in public and hence one to one, private meet will be arranged – in person or online.
  • The Representative of Freelance Foundation will not charge any fee whatsoever in any form, anytime – now of hereafter for the mentoring or training sessions.
  • Freelance Foundation is a charity and it does not and will not pay any fee for any form of activity by its representatives / teachers but reasonable cost will be compensated.

These tours will create field-data and broad spectrum case studies and that will be kept in public domain as a corpus of knowledge and know-how – both theory and of practice.

 WORDCON WORLD TOUR | VISION 2020 | 20 WORLD CITIES 

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The world tour will follow the same model of implementation and will work under the same philosophy that knowledge is free and it is the duty of senior and established Craftsman to teach younger ones without any fee – cash or kind. This comes in rare souls of the world and we are searching for such souls in 20 world cities.

We shall share our knowledge of India and vice versa.

We shall try to have educational institutions / co-working spaces as our hosting partner and will deliver our message as below :

  • Current state of Freelancing in other parts of the world
  • Challenges and solutions devised
  • Mentors who can be approached in your city for free, un-biased and honest advice and guidance. These mentors will be Foundation approved and guided by the code of conduct whose essence is : to be a true teacher without any agenda for personal gain in form of consulting, pushing products or selling a membership sort of. Every Freelance Foundation’s Global Teacher’s only duty is to help organize his students and deliver actionable knowledge based on his own experience as well as from the collective knowledge
  • We shall sponsor coffee/tea for these meets.

IMPLEMENTATION 

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For last 4 years, we have been growing with our family of sponsors and associates. We shall sound out these old friends and will try to on-board new friends who will help us fulfill our mission. Some sponsors have already on-boarded.

The only objective of Vision 2020 is to deliver knowledge as a true Acharya and hence we have proposed a Cashless Model of Patronage to our potential sponsors and associates. In this model, we list the requirements for us to deliver and then approach respective sponsors / associates to provide them. We have found this model to be very encouraging for both the parties.

More updates will soon follow.

If you are interested to be a Freelance Foundation Teacher, please let us know at wordcon2015@gmail.com.

WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 – MUMBAI MEET FOR FREELANCERS

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The Mumbai Freelance Meet || 25th August || The Rise, Lower Parel | Mumbai

Around 2008, during the height of  Credit Crisis, few freelance translators, copywriters, content editors including yours truly used to meet in Calcutta in cafes and tea-shops and we used to discuss about income, work-life balance, feast and famine cycle, how to get the next project, how to enforce better rates, how to market our services, how to deal with deadbeat clients and such staple topics of freelance life. In due course, many younger freelancers and students started joining the meet (what in Bengali we call “adda”). Without our knowledge, these meets in addition to bringing some colour to our social life also became some kind of de-facto mentoring sessions. Few corporate professionals also used to attend, asking – “How to be free from the cubicle prison?”. 
 
Cut to 2015 – we all were some eight years older and admittedly valuing these meets more.   We had our first formal meet of freelancers in the form of an informal but serious workshop  – the first WORDCON  which was joined online by freelancers from other parts of the world and happened in a modest Calcutta hotel. It was a fantastic experience. Some senior members proposed  formalizing our meets and exchanges and Freelance Foundation was born as a non-profit entity registered in Calcutta on 14th of July – Bastille Day – the day French Revolution formally started. 
 
In last 3 years, we continued our journey and articulated our Mission : Harmonizing Income,Leisure and Fame. This year, we thought of meeting freelancers of other cities in person with many of  whom we have collaborated but have not met in person plus connecting the Millennial Generation. This made us undertake WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 – a Tale of Four cities with Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai completed and Calcutta meet happening on 8th September. We are organizing 2 more meets for freelancers – one in London on 26th Sept and another in Birmingham on 22nd Sept.
 
The Road Ahead 
 
1. To help freelancers and aspirant ones grapple with the fundamental questions of freelance life, starting with income – how do I get projects ? How do I continue to get projects ? How do I prepare myself to achieve this ? How do I navigate in this flux and achieve the target – to have a tense but sustained career as a freelancer. 
 
2. Most of our senior freelancers members in various domains will help them just like a Master craftsman guides an Apprentice – not for any fee but as a duty and to continue the craft tradition. The relationship is non-commercial, voluntary and inclusive. This spirit is the Foundation’s spiritual equity.
 
3. We conduct events – meets, sports tournament, musical events plus one annual International Summit for Freelances. These events and meets create cross-pollination of ideas, thoughts and practices. We conduct these through a model of Cashless Patronage where our patrons/sponsors (for example The Rise) provide us resources to deliver our message and that helps us to keep almost all our events completely free. All our senior members do this as an Acharya – one practices what one preaches. We would like to continue doing this in an organic and community driven manner. 
We are looking for freelance acharyas (true teachers) world over to teach freelancers and the eco-system in which the freelancers operate, the Art, Science and Commerce of living and thriving in Freelance Life. 
JUHU

Wordcon Chairman Pritam B Wordsmith, a “Bombay Dekho man” for Mr. Soumendu, Head of Operations, Wordsmith – paying tribute to Mumbai at Juhu. Mumbai – City as Novel for Saleem Sinai of Midnight’s Children.

 
End-script 
2. Wordsmith University – Freelance Business School
4. Facebook : Wordcon Channel

Visualization : Wordcon’s Conference in New Delhi (Winter 2019)

This is a follow-up of the WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 for Freelancers, organized by non-profit Freelance Foundation that started last month at Bangalore and reached New Delhi on 9th August. New Delhi, as one of the major cities and capital of India since 1911, is a contrarian among great cities of the world. A land-locked city without any great port or a glorious river and where tombs of the past rulers look at the citadels of the present rulers. From Indraprastha to Dilli, to Delhi and New Delhi and now the centre of a region called NCR (National Capital Region).

We had two events in New Delhi – a work-shop for students in Amity University (Noida) and en-route, you see Huamyun’s tomb – the only piece of architectural beauty I could find in the  concrete wilderness of the  Noevue  Sub-urbium Indicourum.  Then we had a meet with freelancers of various domains at a Cafe, almost hidden in the boundary wall of RK Ashram Metro station.

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Students at Amity Noida 

 

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Freelance Meet

These two events that made us make new friends and meet old friends made me visualize the following :

  1. A Conference of freelancers in New Delhi in January / Feb 2019 to be attended by freelancers of all types.
  2.  A follow-up cricket match – retro style in some club-fields of New Delhi. We have considerable experience in organizing such retro style cricket matches from Calcutta to England. The match will include mixed-ability games, retro dress, good food and a musical finale.

What we have in New Delhi:

a. A local team and captive participants who are eager to make it happen.

b. Experience of Organizing such Conferences for last 3 years – see http://www.wordcon.in

c. Speakers, Content and Presentation Modes

d. Social Media Cell

e. Music Team for Musical Finale

f. A qualitative and quantitative report as how does it help the whole ecosystem comprising of freelancers, businesses, associates, friends, critics and curious.

What we need in New Delhi 

a. Few  sponsors with shared values covering hospitality in terms of food, mementos, gifts and printing / promotion

b. A venue partner for the Conference

c. A cricket field with the club as partner

Our experience tells that with these in place and with some luck added, The Conference and the Cricket during Winter will deliver high value and will help us fulfill the mission of manifest destiny for us : Harmonizing Income,Leisure and Fame.

Fructus et Virtus : UK Cricket Tour for World Freelancers

 

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Freelance Foundation is organizing a daylong Cricket Tournament for World Freelancers entitled Fructus et Virtus – the matured fruit of Virtue as ancient Greeks understood to be the end of all their sports. The Art of Becoming.

In their finest hour, Britons, the inventor of modern Cricket also considered games as not some mere game of virtuosity but profoundly higher in scope and practice. It was the principle of being fair – strength with honour and of being a Gentlemn’s Game and the definition of a gentleman in Victorian era was something so sorely needed in our time – “A Gentleman (and Lady) is always above money.”  In other words, the ideal of a “gentleman / lady” was a Way of Life which is incorruptible by money.

We need this spirit so much in games of all sorts where more time in keyboard is spent not about the match being played but how the match could have been “fixed” after monies changing hands and sometimes these hands are the same hands that carry the National Flag !

It is these values which we want to uphold and as a symbolic act, we have organized a Cricket Match on 22nd September 2018 at the following venue – 10 am to 5 pm.

The Ground :

Aston Manor Cricket Club, The Colin Smith Memorial Ground, Church Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2LA 

Entry as a Guest or Player is free. But registration is needed and you can register here : 

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WORCON INDIA TOUR 2018 for Freelancers |Bangalore | 28th July 2018

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WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 was a sudden “bulb-lighting” event. Since were were accompanying Infosec Foundation’s Cyber security CISO event in multiple cities, we thought of organizing an informal meet for freelancers in cities in Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta on the next day.

Our “freelance team” worked in tandem and we informed freelancers – email, phone, social media, word of mouth and also told them this sentence directly verbatim from the Chairman’s opening address : “..I come as a Chief Listener. We would like to listen to the city-specific challenges and solutions being devised by you. We are not here to sell motivational snake-oil, membership, mantra to increase income 1000 times overnight, some mircale or as such. We are here to listen – gather direct field data and then after the Tour, compile and keep it in public domain as a shared corpus for freelancers, those who buy services from freelancers, those who aspire to be and those will be forced (what was called “Bangaloreed” in the West some years back).”  

On Friday 28th morning where very senior members of Infosec Team were present, we encountered a counter-intuitive phenomena : Corporate professionals were too eager to ask : “How can I be a freelancer ? ” or more un-packed question – “Is there a chance to survive as a freelancer after so many years of corporate work?”

Then the debate and deliberation started. It was intense, very engaging and visceral including inter-generational face to face discussion on “transformation of values of work-ethic – between loyalty and freedom, responsibility and sentiment, self-worth and market-worth, net-worth and life-worth.

We also had an objective of connecting and building relationship with our next wave of Leaders in the millennial generation and we learnt a lot by direct interaction and then over lunches with few such Bangaloreans.

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What we Learnt on behalf of the Foundation ?

  • Freelancers face high risk from deadbeat clients, i,e, those who do not pay for legitimate work and there is not much of practical framework. Social shaming may be a method.
  • Senior and established freelancers / professionals must take the role of guide – not the fee seeking motivational gurus and Life coaches who have made a business out of the vulnerability and innocence of young and less experienced professionals. They must do this as one attendee told – “to give back to the society. not to take anything.”
  • The “romantic” view epitomized in the sentence – “be your own boss” is now almost equally pervasive among students (at the threshold of job) and corporate workers (at the middle of the journey) and that shows that the uncertainty and un-stability in Work, Mode of Work, Payment from Work are all under flux.  Chairman Pritam Bhattacharyya reminded the audience that this view is not the full picture – “being your own boss” is not sufficient motivation to get going, at the first stage. When you are a serious freelancer and just started, you not only have one boss but multiple bosses (read clients) to please. The ego-driven “I am my own boss” should be re-phrased as – “I have more freedom to decide how, where and to whom I sell my professional time.”
  • Mr. Subhasis Chatterjee, Tour Manager and Senior member informed how he started as a freelancer as a youth and then this made him visible to people who wanted his services and eventually offered a job. Or in other words, freelancing is not something one does leaving a job but can be a cornerstone of a job.
  • Bangalore media – both print and electronic surprised with their interest. With a small team based in Calcutta ( Communication and Control) and Silchar (Research and Guidance), we could reach a considerable number of media outlets and we hope to see their valued channels spread our message – a message not for profit or gain but to create a “garden” – unwalled so that cross-pollination of ideas, actions and best-practices can happen.

The TOUR led by two journey man of Calcutta Pritam Bhattacharyya and Subhasis Chatterjee and supported by many will call next port of Call : New Delhi – 9-11th August 2018.

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The Freelance Journeymen of Bengal – Gupi and Bagha from Satayjit Ray’s immortal work on an art medium called  film

Infosec Global Multi-city CISO Summit

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Wordsmith’s associate Infosec Foundation, in association with Enterprise IT World has been running a multi-city CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) Summit for Enterprise Level Cyber security.

 

The Summit started its Journey on 26th July at Marriot Hotel, Fairfield on 26th and witnessed a galaxy of cyber security professionals touching academia, policy, business, government, technology experts and CXO level people representing corporate houses from all over India.

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Infosec Chairman Mr. Sushobhan Mukherjee delivering the Welcome Address

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Mr. Sanjoy Mahapatra, Editor, Enterprise IT World at the Lamp Lighting ceremony along-with other dignitaries 

In his speech, Infosec Chairman Mr. Sushobhan Mukherjee posited a dilemma in cyber-security landscape – should we blame or take the challenge upfront and create a vibrant platform so that this can be collectively confronted. Here comes the significance of CISOs of Enterprise who should not only be competent but communicate and enrich not only their organizations but the industry. Mr. Mahapatra, Editor of Enterprise IT World narrated the rationale behind conducting such events with CISO at the centre and thus pointing towards IT industry’s focus on security of digital infrastructure.

Infoquest – A Journal of Information Security was launched, under the publishing umbrella of Enterprise IT world – a New Delhi based specialist publisher in the domain.

Key takeaways from the Summit :

  • CISO warnings sometimes fall in deaf ear but when a breach actually happens, then reactive response happens. There is something organizations need to know : security, like health is best when pro-active and the highest level of organizations must understand this facet of our digital lives : security breach is not an event – it can be collapse of a brand.
  • Enterprises must communicate and collaborate in this area. The more our lives are digital, the more collaborative responses will work other than silo-based solutions. Some enterprises are actually implementing such a design philosophy.
  • 25 CISOs across the country were awarded and one of the dignitaries reminded the audience that these officers must be honoured and recognized for their services, especially in today’s world when they bear a grave responsibility and custodian of data / information of an organization
  • There was an exhibition pavilion displaying products and services and CISOs were keenly attending these stalls

We wish all the best to Infosec Foundation and Enterprise IT World for this very relevant and useful multi-city tour and we shall see them in Kolkata on 3rd August 2018.