March 2020: Power Shifts
Rebel Book: #59
Book: New Powerby Henry Timms + Jeremy Heimans
Meetup: First 100% Remote Meet+ interview with Jeremy Heimans
Fuel: Cocktails from your Cupboard by Mix + Muddle
Many new things came our way in March 2020, notably we found ourselves in a global pandemic and in lockdown across our Rebel Book Club cities. Something we all suspected could happen in January, but couldn’t quite imagine until it really happened. This meant a fundamental shift in how we run things here at RBC. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we did a huge pivot, brought forward plans to find new ways to deliver excellent remote meets and went for it. Here’s what happened…
1. We got our heads around what New Power is… and isn’t….
Which threw out questions around the current global situation on our members’ Mighty Network, such as ‘what is Old vs. New Power in a global pandemic?’
Ahead of our upcoming live interview with Jeremy Heimans, we reflected on the draconion lockdown measures and whether anyone other than Old Power government could have delivered something so impactful for widespread public safety… But then again, what would we do without the New Power influencers? Community helpers springing up with Facebook + Whatsapp networks to help those in need, companies like Smile Direct switching from teeth aligners to face masks, or the Italian engineers turning Decathlon style snorkling masks into ventilators… Is it one or the other when it comes to Old vs. New Power, or do they work best in partnership?
2. Music is the Answer. To your problems.
Next up, we kept our motivation high with our Power Shifts playlist, which tempted New Power co-author Henry Timms into a collab. Can you guess which tracks are his [New] Power Ballad adds? Ps. while you’re there, give us a follow…
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3. Everyone was talking about book clubs and we were featured!
Not only were we the non-fiction choice for Laura Hampson in the Evening Standard, alongside our fiction faves Florence Welch and Reese Witherspoon. We were also featured in BBC News, iNews, Time Magazine and via an interview with Ben S-G from Rick Edwards on BBC 5 Live!
This was the media equivelent of ‘when you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance’… but in our world, ‘every time you recommend an indie book club, a small but perfectly formed team sends a stream of celebratory, excitable Whatsapp gifs’. Yehhh… Catchy!
4. As we adjusted to life in lockdown, we launched our Rebel Book Pub
This was a space for us to meet and connect. A pop up if you will. We had some beers, we said ‘these strange times’ many times and we had some good old fashioned chats about books. Believe it or not.
Ben K gave out book recos from his vast #showusyourshelves, Emily ran an emoji book quiz and Anca hosted one of her favourite RBC spin off crews ‘Rebel Brunch Club’.
After some struggle to focus in the midst of global choas, we also invited podcast producer + RBC friend Andy Goddard to refocus ourselves on New Power. This time in the context of media and podcasting. Read more about this interview here.
Overall Andy concluded that he has always needed a blend of Old + New Power. We asked him which ‘New Power lessons’ will always stay with him:
1. Keep an element of DIYism, authenticity is key
2. Go with the current of the crowd, let it flourish + don’t try to control it
3. Transparency, there’s no need to hide things from the audience
The Rebel Book Pub is closed – for now… As we adjusted to our new virtual lives, we also discovered a need to take a break from screen-time and look after our me-time. So as a team, we turned our attention back to settling down to relax with a book and set about drawing up a new plan to bring mid-month bonus events to our members. More on this here.
5. It was now time for our first ever 100% Remote meetup!
Never ones to miss a meet, we took our events online to a fantastic events platform called Hop In. Our Rebel Book Club members were superstars, taking to this new format like a pen to paper (*desperately searches for better book analogy*)…
Being Rebels at heart, we didn’t make things easy for ourselves for our first event, we wanted to rise to the challenge. So we here’s what we did:
- A live interview with Jeremy Heimans (co-author of New Power) joining from New York
- A changing ‘main stage’ lineup introducing our city hosts
- A new quarantini drinks feature ‘Cocktails from your Cupboard’ from our in-house Mixologist – Rich from Mix + Muddle (check it out!)
- 250+ members joining international breakout sessions – whaat!?
- Super speedy 1 minute video chat roulettes from city to city
- An exhibition area supporting Rebel Book Club members projects + reading charities at a challenging time…
Listen back to our interview with Jeremy Heimans here:
6. Thank you Rebels for believing in us + being part of this bloody brilliant, vibrant community of thinkers + doers
Here you all are! Doing your Rebel thang… Remote meeting, being all curious.
We love you all…
And here are some of the amazing, morale-boosting, community-vibing things you said about the last meetup we had together…
- So much fun! Thank you guys! This has been great – G.G
- Thank you RBC crew, amazing job tonight – I.W.
- Networking is hilarious. I spend the first 20 seconds laughing so apologies! – L.T.
- Really great event, but definitely agree that the [1 minute] networking is very intense! – S.R.
- Thanks guys! Really interesting experience – A.L.
- Such a lovely evening in!! – C.C.
- Amazing session guys! So impressive to pull this all off so quickly! – J.Y.
- Yes, [do this] more than once a month! – J.S
- Great work RBC, thanks so much for the evening – it was my first one, and I’ve learnt so much. Glad to have been a part of it. – H.P.
- Was great to hear from the author, thanks for inviting and coordinating that! – S.P.
- I’ve been attending lots of online events since the lockdown and last nights RBC was epic, by far the most well thought and well executed I’ve seen! Well done you guys, keep rocking!
We are so grateful for this last Tuesday of the month ritual with you all. Thank you Praneth, for reminding us that throwing ourselves into events like this can be our one portal to meeting new people in ‘these unprecedented times’…
“But more seriously – was such a great way to be social and meet new people – which is something I miss more as tend to more easily keep in touch with friends and family atm online – there are virtually zero opportunities in this lockdown to meet and chat with new people – so in this respect – was hugely helpful – thanks so much to all of you that organised it!” – Praneth, RBC Member – Brighton.
That’s a wrap! Holy smokes, no wonder we were exhausted. What a month March was!
What’s coming up in April?
We can’t wait for our April event where we will be speaking to our very special guest, Dr. Dame Sue Ion (Rock Star of British Nuclear Power) about Midnight In Chernobyl, our 60th Rebel Book exploring Stories of Resilience.