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podcast 430 - Otis

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Location: Issaquah, WA
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Credit: Penny McLoughlin

Paul and Shawn get read to talk about "Otis".

Paul has a new headset since his old one died and Shawn thinks that it is lame. Paul would like feedback from listeners on how you think the audio quality is on his new headset.

Paul also mentions that he has had trouble lately with an outer ear infection, a chronic problem that has flared back up again.

Thanks for the Patreon supporters.
  Dr. Hugh de Kulture - an anonymous supporter for Paul's Patreon account is really making the podcasts work.
  Suleimon, Karrie and Sasquatch - are other Patreon supporters.

The Kickstarter for the book should be going by the time that this podcast hits the public. There has been lots of good feedback from other authors and so some small tweaks are underway. Paul and Shawn are done with suggestions now.

The book will be out for editing during the Kickstarter if it gets funded. Paul has found that lots of Kickstarter books don't get funded or just barely get funded. This is freaking Paull out a bit. He's both nervous and excited. So is Shawn. Paul is hopeful that a hundred million people might read his book.

Both of them agree that the book is way better after all the work that they have done on it. Maybe 10 times better than before. Also, they both think that the video for the Kickstarter may be the best one that they've ever done. Shawn was so excited that he posted an image from the video - an apple with the words Luxuriant Environmentalism.

The Kickstarter will be posted on the dailyish e-mail when it's ready. They need to hit about 500 in the first few hours to get special listing at Kickstarter so Paul is hopeful that lots of people will visit the Kickstarter and pledge at least a dollar to help with that.

PEP 1 - The "Otis" thing.

More than 1/2 of the PEP 1 badges have been listed on permies and several dozen BB's have been listed as well. Lots of people have already done some of the BB's (badge bits).

Paul had his coat rack drying on the rocket mass heater after it started bending strangely and he had to stabilize it with a 2x4. Also the dry pegs in green wood is on the rocket mass heater.

Paul is REALLY hoping that lots of pod people will come to the PEP 1 event in May. They are the people that he really feels like he can connect with since they understand where he is coming from.

Thank you to those who have helped with PEP 1!
  Nicole Alderman - designed lots of BB's and cool badges which will show up under your name on permies.com
  Mike J and Steve Thorne - made a ton of BB's
  Dave Burton - also made some BB's
  Raven - made one BB
  Paul - made a few BB's as well

Paul feels that eventually more people will want to do PEP than do a PDC. The why of that is the "Otis" story.

Julie and Paul came up with the fictitious character of "Otis".

Paul reads - "Otis" was born on 200 acres in the old house. He made a new house and raised 3 kids. But the kids aren't interested in running the farm and just want to own it so that they can sell it. "Otis" wants to find someone to will his land to who will use it. He has 2 houses, a good barn, a dozen out buildings, a tractor and a truck. He doesen't trust college kids, he sees other kids spending all of their time on their phones, and feels that no one has experience. "Otis" is giving up on finding someone to will his property to. (If you think you are an "Otis" got to the 101048 thread on permies about "Otis" - don't e-mail Paul)

Paul was on the phone with Mike Oehler many times. Mike was looking for anyone to take over for him. He had 8 structures and several acres in the panhandle of Idaho and wanted to will it to one person. He wanted that person to demonstrate their industriousness by working with him for a period of time. Over the years he had tried about 60 different people and none of them had worked out. He wanted Paul to find someone for him.

Paul says that the core of an intentional community is that you need to embrace that it is within you to say "obey or else" to other people and you have to control that impulse. You also need to recognize that others may want to say that to you as well and figure out how to deal with it. This is the primary destructive force in any community.

(Paul plays with the mute button on his new headset so he can cough.)

Either Mike ran them off or they left when Mike wouldn't do what they wanted him to. Mike once told a crazy story about a woman with a knife who ran off with Mike's cook and scared off the others on his property. He kept trying to get Paul to find someone for him.

Mike's story of being an "Otis" is one of many.

Salatin recently wrote a bot about "Otis" farmers. He says that he gets about 200 letters a year from people looking for someone to inherit their land.

Shawn read Salatin's book where he said that a huge portion of the farmland is owned by old "Otis's". Salatin's book was mainly about how these older farmers can find someone to take over their farms and how the younger people can work with the "Otis's".

Paul is thinking that just telling them how to do it won't work. He feels that they need a way to demonstrate to the "Otis's" the the younger people have skills (PEP).

Shawn says that Salatin's solution was that each of the people would need to meet 1/2 way but Paul has a hard time seeing them be able to compromise.

Paul thinks that a certified PEP 4 person could argue their case for a more permaculture way of farming and that the "Otis" might be more willing to let them try their way. "Otis" can see what that person has done (build a house, grow food, demo skills) in the PEP program and there would be pictures to document it all.

Paul says that a person could do PEP 4 instead of college and be able to get a job when they finished.

Paul again says that he feels that people will want to do PEP 1 instead of a PDC.

Shawn sort of agrees but says that ideally they would do both. The conceptual work in the PDC and the hands on work with the PEP 1.

Paul says that he is trying to set up PEP badges with the thought of passing the "Otis" test. Would he be impressed? And then there would be picture of the achievements. Evidence that it had been done.

Some of the things that were done were steps to work up to doing the things that would impress "Otis".

Paul could see "Otis" getting online and checking out what the PEP 4 level people had done. Built their own house, put up food for several people, sharpened tools, built furniture, run an excavator, etc.

That would be proof of an industrious person.

Paul notes that industrious people often already have jobs though and can't necessarily go and work for someone else for a year to prove themselves to them.

Paul also notes that completing a PEP 4 doesn't guarantee an "Otis" land but that there are thousands of "Otis's" looking for skilled, industrious people.

Paul thinks that there will be about 40 "Otis's" for every person that completes PEP 4 in four years when the first ones are done.

Paul then asks Shawn if there was anything else that he remembered from Salatin's book other than needing to compromise between the two.

Shawn notes that Salatin also talks about having reasonable expectations and doing an internship.

Salatin has 8 interns per year and gets about 400 applications for those 8 positions. His program lasts 9 months and there are lots of people waiting to give them their land based on having Salatin say that they are good to go.

Paul has great hopes for PEP 4 to fill the gaping hole that now exists.

Support the Empire

Help support the empire and get all of the podcasts in a bundle here in the digital market at permies.

To support production of these podcasts, make a donation here at Paul's Patreon page.

This podcast was made possible thanks to:

Suleiman, Karrie, and Sasquatch
Bill Crim
Kerry JustTooLazy
Wade Luger
Jocelyn Campbell
thomas adams
Julia Winter, world's slowest mosaic artist
Dominic Crolius
Eivind W. Bjørkavåg
Seth Gregory
Bill Erickson
David Ingraham
Michelle Martin
G Cooper
Miroslav Ultrama
Matthew Johnson
Lisa Goodspeed
Dylan Butler
Kyle Neath
Penny McLoughlin
HL Tyler
Dana Martin
Keith Kuhnsman
Arturo Ceron
Eric Tolbert
Mehron Kugler
Sean Benedict
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I'll take this one.

Penny McLoughlin
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I think that Paul's audio quality is good.
Posts: 1306
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The audio quality was acceptably good, however, the quality with the previous headset was better.

A thought came to me a few months back when I seemed to be hearing a lot of talk from people wanting to see a university education be made free for anyone who wanted to pursue it.  I have a hard time seeing it happen in the way most seem to envision it, which is everything stays as it is except the government pays the bill.  What I realized though was that a significant portion of the infrastructure needed is probably in place already to make free, or very low cost, education for all a reality.  You can likely get it now if you want through all the videos, blogs, etc. out there.  The catch is being able to verify that you got the learning to someone else.  In other words, accreditation.  Our current system accredits the schools based on their programs.  In theory if you pass their program you gained the learning.  I'm not sure everyone is convinced that is true anymore.  I know I'm not.

It looks to me like we are ripe for a major shift in our education models.  In particular shifting from accrediting schools to accrediting specific individuals.  When a student has to prove to an accrediting body that they truly have the knowledge then the game is changed.  It no longer matters where or how you get the knowledge/skills.  It could be paid instruction in universities, or small workshops.  It could be reading books checked out from the library.  It could be YouTube videos.  What will matter will be having the skills and the reputational quality of the accrediting agency.

I suspect this change in the education system will happen organically over time.  Paul's PEP program fits right into this new model I expect to see emerging!  I'll also note that the field is ripe and wide open for anyone to tackle the task of becoming a reputed individual accrediting agency on a broad society wide scale.  In fact, if universities were smart they'd start trying to make this shift to keep themselves as that point of accreditation.
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Southeast US
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Thanks for the shout out Paul, that was fun!

Really enjoying the PEP program so far!

Excited for y'alls book coming out soon!
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I want to bring focus to Paul's reflection on the keys to an intentional community's success.

"you need to embrace that it is within you to say "obey or else" to other people and you have to control that impulse. You also need to recognize that others may want to say that to you as well and figure out how to deal with it."
Is there a podcast that explores the idea further?

May I also ask East Coast Otis's to consider my farm and business plan (link below). I'm ok with giving up some control. Thanks
- David

steward & author
Posts: 35855
Location: Left Coast Canada
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"I couldn't put it down.  It was so good!"

Probably giving away top secret information here:  I read one of the final drafts recently.  I thought it was a well-polished, engaging read back when this podcast was recorded.  This final read is fantastic.  Yep!  Couldn't put it down.  

A review will come later.

In other news, I got my first PEP badge!  
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