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I want more people

Posts: 32873
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Jennifer and Tom,

I am baffled that you choose this thread to rant against my podcasts. I think this should be in the podcasts forum.

Two key points:

1) If you don't like my podcasts, then for crying out loud, STOP LISTENING TO THEM.

2) If you don't like my podcasts, then for crying out loud, MAKE SOMETHING BETTER.

On the off chance that you want to make the point that this is on topic for this thread because if the podcasts were "better" then we would attract more people to the property, then I have to say that the podcasts are doing their job. They are turning away the people that would not like me. My life is better.

My podcasts are for me and the six other people that think my podcasts are perfect just the way they are. These podcasts are not for either of you.

If you think I need to change, you need to read this.
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Hey, Paul. I'm sorry that I've upset you. It wasn't my intention at all. I'd like to clarify my point but, before I do I want to express some other opinions that might clear up where I'm coming from.

I think Paul Wheaton is great! I think the work Paul does to futher Permaculture is not only fantastic but absolutely necessary if we're going to make it out of this era of pollution and destruction intact. I think Paul Wheaton is a great teacher. His lectures are awesome and definitely worth attending or watching on YouTube. I live in North Carolina so I haven't been able to attend one in person but if he ever comes down my way I'll be one of the first to sign up. Geoff was right to name Paul the Duke of Permaculture. It's a title well earned. I was introduced to Paul Wheaton by listening to Jack Spirko's podcasts. The podcasts where Jack and Paul get to talk are hands down the best. Hands down. Even without the Permaculture info they shoot back and forth, it's worth it for entertainment value! Paul is a seriously funny guy, and listening to him joke with Jack is like listening to an awesome Permaculture stand-up routine.

I also desperately want Paul's farm to succeed. I'd be there to help myself, but again, North Carolina... I was a $100 supporter on the thermal mass heater DVD's and a $30 2-pack supporter on the playing cards. I know Paul's using the extra funds from these endeavors for the farm and I'm so happy I could help in that small way. I want this to work for many reasons. First, Paul deserves it. He's dedicated his life to this and he's definitely earned some reward. I want this to work because I would like to start something similar, abiet smaller, in my area for my friends, family, and like-minded folks. And more than anything else I want this to work because Permaculture is the only thing that will allow us to make it through this environmental crisis. Nothing else is more important than this.

Now to clarify some of the misunderstanding about my previous post. First I was not ranting, and I'm sorry that it was interpreted that way. I was trying to be honest with my opinions, and they are just that, the opinions of one person in a world of 7 billion who has never had the good fortune to even meet Mr. Wheaton. I think this misunderstanding was caused because I had a misunderstanding about Paul's post. Reading this thread Paul's posts have gone back and forth about how many podcasts potential new recruits should have listened to. He states:

They have listened to at least half the podcasts so they know what is going on and why.

I assumed that this mean the purpose of making the new recruit listen to the podcasts was to inform them of what's going on on the farm and educate them about Permaculture in general. But then Paul replied and said:

On the off chance that you want to make the point that this is on topic for this thread because if the podcasts were "better" then we would attract more people to the property, then I have to say that the podcasts are doing their job. They are turning away the people that would not like me. My life is better.

The latter comment makes it seem that the purpose of the podcasts are to make sure that the potential recruit knows Paul's personality. Now if that's the case, my previous suggestion is invalidated. The podcasts are a terrific way to learn more about Paul himself.

My point was that using podcasts as a filter for new recruits, on the basis that the podcasts are informative about Permaculture should be rethought. There are tons of awesome resources that are used specifically to educate people on Permaculture. Toby Hemenway's book is probably one of my most favorite books ever. Plus the information is condensed down and outlined with accompanying graphs, charts, and pictures that make it easy to digest. People all learn differently, and visual learning is a part of that. And that's just one book. There are lots of other resources out there that are very effective, Paul's youtube videos being one of them. Geoff Lawtons videos are excellent too. It's funny how big Permaculture is, while being still too small.

It's my personal opinion that there is a world of awesome new permie-ready recruits who would love such an opportunity to work on a sustainable farm - but they currently have no idea what Permaculture is. Paul talked about wanting people of "many flavors" to join him. He also talked about how he set the bar very high and is reluctant to lower it for fear of suboptimal recruits. My suggestion was that by changing the requirements, not lowering them, more high quality recruits would become available.

To expand on that, I think hitting up highschools and colleges would yeild good results. Giving young, healthy, smart kids an option besides college is in demand right now. Colleges are getting more expensive and less educational every day. Even students who want to get a 4 year degree sometimes want to spend a year at an internship or volunteering before they start. These students, especially, understand that college, while valuable in it's own way, is not world experience. Also given the rural local of Missoula, students who plan to study agriculture and livestock might want to be given the chance to intern at an earth-friendly farm. Plenty of students spend a semester abroad learning the same things in similar classrooms...just in another country. What a wonderful opportunity it would be to spend a semester studying elsewhere and actually learning new things as well as getting awesome new life experiences. That's just one of the groups of people that I think would be a valuable addition to Paul's farm, even though they have never heard of Paul or listened to any podcasts.

I'm not saying the podcasts are bad, I'm not saying they should be altered, I'm saying that using them as part of the filter for new people might not be a good idea. I hope I've clarified my position on that now.

If you think I need to change, you need to read this.

Never change, Paul. Stay awesome.

Posts: 1536
Location: Fennville MI
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As someone who has only just started listening to Paul's podcasts and whose life circumstances are such that moving out to The Farm is not going to happen (I've got my own arc to travel ) I would like to say that it seemed evident very quickly that a major purpose of the podcast threshold was to give people enough exposure to Paul - not just Paul's ideas, perspectives and vision, but Paul himself - that they could get some kind of sense of whether they could really work with this guy in the kind of environment that the whole Farm project is going to be. An intense, demanding, intimate situation.

It would be great if everyone who wanted to be part of Paul's Empire had a couple of weeks of living with Paul to get to know him and figure out whether they could handle long term exposure - but that won't work. Not enough Paul to spread around and give everyone that opportunity.

So how best to do that? You know, a bunch of recorded sessions of Paul talking with someone about some subject, that anyone who wants can listen to - it's not a bad way to do it. And, if someone finds that they can't take listening to this guy on the podcasts - I can see where not having those people come to The Farm would make Paul's life better - and theirs, as well.

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Paul's not running a sustainable farm, and he's not looking to recruit bodies. He's doing something bigger than that.

Really, the time it takes to bring someone from 0 to "where Paul (and co.) are at" is an investment in time and teaching that Paul has (IMHO rightly) decided can be better spent elsewhere impacting other people.

Rather than rehashing his feelings about toxic gick, different techniques and practices, or teaching someone so green they walk up and say "Have you tried a swale here? I've heard they cure cancer!" Paul has set as a baseline that people at least know something about who he is and what he's about. Which he feels is best handled by having someone listen to his podcasts, where these themes and feelings surface repeatedly as I've found in my own listening.

Paul wants team mates that will fit with those already in his functioning team to turn The Project into something that hasn't been done before. And I get the impression that these team mates would be more like partners, working with him, on the same page (more or less) from day one. If someone is going to be surprised that Paul is so Paul after a few days on site... well that could have been prevented, and if someone is going to be upset because Paul believes X and they believe Y... well that could have been prevented. He's just chosen the podcasts as the metric to both disseminate that information and to gauge how likely someone is to be misaligned with the team in any of those ways.

Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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I watched your keynote @ the 2013 san diego conference last night.

You seem like exactly the kind of person I would personally get along with and learn a lot from (Charismatic w/ a decent sense of humor/broad knowledge base) I like that you'll swear like a sailor in front of large audiences with no shame. I have found it's a good trait in an employer.

I really appreciate what you are doing with this site. Many thanks for putting up with everyone (myself most definitely included)

I am currently up to my eyebrows in my own projects and trying to save my families land. Otherwise I'd be seriously thinking of sticking out my thumb on the side of I-90 right now (and honestly I have been thinking about it).

Who knows what the future holds - perhaps in time if you are still looking for people I'll look you up again and make my way there.

Wishing you the best of luck and the least of stress. In the meantime I'll do my best to put the word out for permies. World domination awaits.
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