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Charity Russia-Ukraine War Small business

Stand with Ukraine 🕊️

I am shocked and angry about the news from Ukraine. Putin’s aggression is a horrific assault on democracy, freedom, human rights, and a sovereign, peaceful nation. It’s also emotional, not rational. He can’t erase history and recreate the USSR.

It’s heartening to see all the protests in Russia this week despite the threat of arrest. Nobody wants this war except Putin, and the young are furious – this is their future at stake. A defiant Zelensky’s not walking away either. Refusing to leave Kyiv with a request for additional ammunition instead. Ukraine’s military said this morning 3,500 Russian soldiers were killed in two days, 102 tanks and 14 planes destroyed – they’re putting up a fight despite much smaller military might 🦁

A Ukrainian woman telling Russian soldiers where to go – put sunflower seeds in your pocket because you will die here. A video showing an elderly man being pulled from his car alive after being deliberately crushed by a Russian tank – a miracle.

Putin shouldn’t underestimate the effect of soft power, either. Depriving Russians of things they need and love – sports, culture, entertainment, social media, and a sense of belonging in the world will lead to more riots and protests. Who wants isolation, insularity and to be cut off from the rest of the world? It’s not possible in the 21st century with technology and the internet, we’re interconnected more than ever. 

Ukraine needs help and support from us – a collective, collaborative and fast response. I hope we see bigger sanctions from Europe and will write to my MP. This is a threat to us all – Putin won’t just stop at Ukraine.

It’s been a complicated conflict for eight years and can’t be fixed overnight, but war isn’t the answer. As Maya Angelou said, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Most of us want the same things – family, love, peace, meaningful work, a home, travel, freedom.

There’s much talk about the ‘borderless world’ and it raises the importance of border research. Recent work talks about ‘reconceptualising borders’ and borderlands as sites of cultural interaction, exchange and hybridity with individuals from all backgrounds. A far more positive way to look at the world, and it’s where we’re heading with work and travel.

Praying for peace and an end to this asap 🙏

Nicci 🙋🏻‍♀️

How to help people in Ukraine

Here’s a list of resources to stay informed and help Ukraine.

News 

Live Universal Awareness Map (‘liveuamap’) – a global news site founded in 2014 by a team of software developers and journalists who wished to inform the world about the Ukrainian conflict.

The Kyiv Independent – English-language journalism in Ukraine. Become a patron:  Patreon.com/KyivIndependent 

The New Voice of Ukraine – An English-language site covering developments on the ground via local journalists. 

Sign the open petition: War aggression against Ukraine: immediately exclude Russia from SWIFT. 

Write to your MP. Lobby the UK government and encourage maximum sanctions. Here’s a letter you can use. 

Make a donation    

The National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special account to raise funds for Ukraine’s armed forces – open to multiple currencies. 

Sunflower of Peace has started a fundraiser to prepare first aid medical tactical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the frontline. Also works to empower orphans and displaced people. 

Voices of Children – helping children affected by the war in eastern Ukraine – art therapy, psychology, storytelling and more. 

British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for Ukraine – help someone affected with the basics: food, shelter, medicine, & first aid. 

Book an Airbnb – not to stay, but to show solidarity. Airbnb has waived all host and guest fees in Ukraine. So far, bookings have grossed $2m in aid.

Grammarly Premium – an AI-software tool to improve your writing. I use this all the time – an excellent product created by a Ukrainian startup. An update from CEO Brad Hoover – they’re offering free access to Premium for non-profits and NGOs. 

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Blog Newsletter

Feeling the pinch 👀

Issue #74, February 6, 2022. Art: Rosie Johnson Illustrates

So there it is, Rishi to the rescue with a package of ‘support’ to offset rising energy bills, which covers less than half of the £693 energy bill hike for the average UK household from April 1 👀

£150 rebate on council tax for some and a £200 negative levy on energy bills from October to be repaid in instalments over the next five years. The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts a £1,980 rise in overall living costs. The government is trying to soften the blow, but it’s not enough for the brutal cost of living crisis.

All eyes are on the UK to see how we handle this.

And there’s Andrew Bailey, Bank of England boss, telling us not to ask for a big pay rise!! i.e. the 0.5% interest rate rise will be the first of many if we start demanding higher wages. All well and good if you’re earning half a million a year…

Sod that! I’m going to have to raise my prices.

We’ve had bankers’ tax cuts, billions lost to fraud on Covid loan schemes, losses on PPE, and Shell reporting mega-profits. Good to see Red Ed back on it – excellent timing – with calls for a windfall tax on energy firms to help with the price hike.

Time to transform the way we do business. The Better Business Act is collective lobbying for change in company law to ensure companies align their interests with wider society and the environment. 900 companies have opted to be part of the coalition for a cleaner, greener, fairer future for all 👏

Will you join them? You can nominate a leader here.

What help can you get?

Covid cash cut… a running summary from the NUJ London Freelance branch of what help’s available. If you’re going to apply for the Household Support Fund via your local council, do it now – it expires March 31. 

Write to your energy supplier. I’ve written to Octopus to ask for help – they have a £2.5m financial hardship fund and the Warm Homes Discount, which gives you £140 off your bill. This needs increasing and extending.

Turn2us – benefit calculator and grants search to find out what support you can get.

Join a union: the NUJ’s charity has been brilliant and helped me financially throughout Covid as I wasn’t eligible for the SEISS grant. They’ve also given other key workers and me a pay rise and backdated pay to offset inflation.

Citizens Advice are helping record numbers with energy help, advice and referrals for crisis support.

We all need to slowly adjust to paying more for energy bills, and that’s fine. I can be frugal when I need to. But a scarcity mindset isn’t great for my mental health, business and creativity.

I don’t need to cut back – I just need to earn more. So I will be raising my fees and retraining for higher-paying work.

Not going out and spending money locally won’t help small businesses either or create a thriving community to be proud of.

5 Things to Know 🖐

Growmotely’s Align Summit: Building the thriving business of the future. A global online event for entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders transforming the world of work. 7-9 February, free or pay what you can afford. Excellent speakers and topics. Excited about this! Love Growmotely’s vibe ✨

→ Join: Align Summit (Growmotely) 

Tallinn’s Got Talent: Why Estonia’s capital is the best city in the world for digital nomads. James Ware on his week working from Tallinn, recently ranked the best city in the world for remote workers: “not because of one wow thing, but a gazillion small things that accumulate into your experience.” On my list.Love theIgluoffice, a workspace set by the sea – like an Airstream with frills.

→ Read: Tallin’s Got Talent (The Independent) 

Unlearning the way we work – Alastair Simpson, VP of Design at Dropbox, has led the company’s virtual-first transformation. Great to see a design-led approach to the future of work rather than the usual Ops and HR focus – we need more of this! The framework they used for their distributed teams is a Virtual First Toolkit.  

→ Listen: unlearning the way we work (Remote First podcast) 

Move to Sicily for free: restored 1Euro house in Sambuca looking for a live-in Airbnb host for a year. Be the host of a designer house in Sambuca, learning Italian, experiencing local life, and helping regenerate the region. Great initiative from Airbnb – remote work is the way to regenerate small towns. Also good to see CEO Brian Chesky doing the product research… 

→ Read: move to Sicily for free (Evening Standard) 

Clear thinking for 2022 – topline findings from a new report surveying knowledge workers and what we want (flexibility, change, hybrid). Intriguing to hear Julia Hobsbawm (The Nowhere Office) say, “the world is going freelance,” with growing numbers of solopreneurs making their own luck. Ipsos: “we’re going to need offices, but just not for work.” I enjoy every episode of Bruce’s thoughtful podcast. 

Enjoy this newsletter?

→ Listen: clear thinking for 2022 (Eat Sleep Work Repeat) 

Send me a note: nicci@niccitalbot.io

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future of work remote working writing

Merry Christmas🎄✨

An ode to offline. I’ll be back on January 9.

Thank you for all your support this year.

May this holiday season bring you lots of love, joy and happiness!

Here’s to 2022.

Nicci 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ps, I’d love to know what products and services you’ve found useful and the best book you’ve read this year. Doing a quick roundup to share.

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future of work remote working technology work culture

The Metaverse and You 🙋🏻‍♀️

How are you doing?

I’ve been down the crypto rabbit hole this week—the future of money is digital and decentralised, so I wanted to share some valuable resources.

A big shoutout to Lavinia Osbourne, founder of Women in Blockchain Talks (WiBT), a total badass babe who has planted a seed and got me all excited about the possibilities in this space. I did a two-hour workshop: The Metaverse and Me via the Women in Digital community – a deep dive into the building blocks of Web3—blockchain, NFTs and the Metaverse.

Lavinia’s passion is learning and education, financial wellbeing and female empowerment. WiBT’s mission is to bring 50K more women into blockchain by 2023, see her campaign #Creatingspace4all. In January, Lavinia is launching Crypto Kweens, the first NFT marketplace for female artists. A place to buy and sell NFTs and learn about them—how to create one, sell one, set up wallets, buy crypto and market NFTs.  

NFTs are an accessible way into the blockchain space for many creatives, and there’s plenty of inspiration—check out the women aiming to change crypto bro culture through NFTs

Thank you to Lucy Hall, founder of Digital Women, for your notetaking! 

  • The Metaverse isn’t one thing, and it’s not owned by Facebook (Meta); there are several metaverses of which many exist already, e.g. Roblox for gaming. Although big tech companies are hoping to build future metaverses that we will spend our time in. 
  • Metaverses are already here and will be built on the blockchain in the future. While early virtual worlds were owned and controlled by companies, crypto metaverses are typically decentralised, meaning they are not owned by anyone.
  • The Metaverse is built on a handful of platforms⁠, including the Sandbox, Decentraland, Mirandus, and Axie Infinity⁠, creating an interactive version of the internet where users can play games and explore virtual worlds, and do business.
  • Cryptocurrencies will be how we buy products in the Metaverses, and NFTs are the digital assets we own.
  • Our assets will be viewed in our crypto wallets, and eventually, we’ll be able to show our art on the walls of our space in the Metaverse just like kids do in Roblox.
  • We kind of already do ‘Metaversy things’ like buying digital products in games, so our characters look better. But the ideal vision is that the Metaverse brings the reality of Web3 into motion. 
  • What is Web3? The next iteration of ‘the web’, Web2 or the social/mobile web started in 1998 and connected us like never: social media, the cloud and mobile apps became the norm. But Web3 will include more immersive applications, and for now, we can only guess what these will be…

…and lots more, so if you’re keen to dive in, you can watch the replay here. Super!

Crypto isn’t something I want to do alone—you can’t be naïve in this space!! I’ve been put off by the insane gas fees with Ethereum so it’s good to hear about Layer 2 living. If you’re looking for ways to earn more, collaborate, help, and lift others, check out the WIBT community events.

As Lavinia says, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” WiBT isn’t just for women either because “You can’t clap with one hand.” We all need to work together.

I’ve also signed up for the world’s first free MOOC on blockchain and digital currencies—starts on January 31, 2022 🙌

Heads up: February will be Metaverse month at Digital Women. Lucy will be bringing in more experts to discuss Web3, the Metaverse, NFTs, Crypto and more. So, you understand what’s coming next and how your skills and knowledge can be used. 

Some resources below. Have a read, digest, let it percolate… and think about what you want to bring to this space and how you will position yourself. 

What really resonates with me – there are no barriers to entry, taking a slice of the pie, claiming your space, sharing wealth, and gender equity. Rather than playing catch up, chasing from behind, working within old systems and trying to close the gender pay gap, let’s embrace the new and experiment. 

The Metaverse is still new, and we can be pioneers and help shape it.

Have a fun week.

Nicci 🙋🏻‍♀️

📚 Speaking of the importance of community, I’m reading Noreena Hertz’ brilliant book: The Lonely Century: A Call to Reconnect. A look at what’s driving the loneliness epidemic and a crucial call for governments to rebuild better. Bold and empowering solutions—we have the power to reverse it. Using remote work to repopulate rural areas is one way.


🔗 Links

Virtual land in the Metaverse dominated NFT sales over the past week (Cointelegraph)

NFTs can be a good pathway to draw women into crypto (Cointelegraph)

Metaverse – a guide for virtual enthusiasts and a Whitepaper (Vault Hill)—an extended reality Blockchain-based Metaverse designed to make you feel more human.

Crypto Kweens: The female-focused and female-led NFT marketplace 

What has blockchain got to do with me?! (with translated editions) (WiBT

What have NFTs got to do with me?!

Workshop: Create your own NFT (live recording) 

Women in Tech, BITCOIN & Financial Wellbeing w/Lavinia Osbourne—Women in Blockchain Talks (Cryptonites)

Free MOOC: Introduction to Digital Currencies (UNIC)

Goodbye Gas Fees: Hello Layer 2 Living (Almanack)

Global Report on Women, Cryptocurrency and Financial Independence by Marina Spindler (The Defiant)

Matthew Ball VC: The Metaverse Primer – a 9-part series on what’s to come… 


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Help me build an Ecologi forest! To offset the carbon emissions of my online work, I plant 12 trees every month via Ecologi 🌿 🌎