December 2009

Neoteny Singapore Camp 1 – Done!

The first of hopefully many Neoteny Singapore Camps has come and gone and by every measure I can think of was a huge success. Of course I’m biased because I was one of the organizers, but it was better than I expected it to be – and I expected it to be good.


It’s worth noting that for the majority of the time before the conference the organizers were not all in town working on this – I was in Los Angeles, James Chan was in Singapore and Joi Ito was on a plane. Luckily we had Tara, Mark, Mika and others who while also not in Singapore did lend a hand to help us with many of the details. While I got into Singapore a few days prior, Joi’s flight didn’t arrive until 7am Saturday morning. The same Saturday morning that his opening talk was to begin at 8am. So even with everything working perfectly there was still a pretty high stress level going into the event.

Of course things never work perfectly which became obvious when we saw Bre tweet that he’d just missed his flight to San Francisco, and the next flight he could catch would cause him to miss his flight from SF to Singapore. The good news is he rescheduled quickly, the bad news is his new flight put him into Singapore 3 hours after the scheduled time of the panel that he was supposed to be on. And then Joi’s flight was delayed out of Frankfurt. So before the doors opened Saturday things were a little tense to say the least. But flights arrived and schedules worked out so no worries.

Back in Singapore

Graffiti in Singapore

As I mentioned I’m back in Singapore for the NSC1 conference we’ve been working on. After a delay filled trip it’s been a hectic last few days but friends and speakers are starting to get to town and the folks at have been kind enough to let us set up camp and swipe their wifi. The conference starts tomorrow and with any luck we’ll have a lot of images and video up online shortly.

So far this trip has been VERY different that my last one. On the previous trip our time here was very structured and we were bussed as a group from one meeting to another. This time I’ve been on my own a lot and had the opportunity to just walk around and I have a much different feel for the country and there is definitely more culture than is immediately obvious when staying only in the more polished areas. I actually found a bunch of graffiti while walking which is a really really good thing in my book. More news from the conference as it happens…

Fighting Jet Lag with Fasting

I just got to Singapore for Neoteny Singapore Camp 1 and wanted to post my initial findings on this jet lag hack I’m trying out. A few months back Joi pointed me towards this study which suggested that fasting for 16 hours prior to traveling, and then eating when it would be breakfast in the timezone you are traveling to can force reset your internal clock. I thought Los Angeles to Singapore was a pretty good time to try this out given the 16 hour time difference.

A few months back I made a similar trip, LA to Hong Kong and was wrecked for days. Granted I’m only a day into this but so far I’m feeling great and not at all like I have with lengthy/multi-timezone trips in the past. It’s 10PM right now and I’m just starting to get sleepy, right about the same time I did yesterday when I was in Japan (1 hour difference) for a layover. I woke up this morning at 6am which is about the same time I start to wake up on a normal day when I’m home.

So here’s what I did:
• Stopped eating 16 hours before my flight
• Changed my clock to Singapore time and ate when it would be breakfast time. (in practice this worked out to be about 18 hours with no food)
• Ate again when it would be lunch & dinner in Singapore regardless of when food was served to me.
• Forced sleep with melatonin around 11PM Singapore time (even though I was in Tokyo at this point).

I woke up briefly around 2am, but feel back asleep right away and woke up for real closer to 6am. With the exception of a brief 40 minute nap around noon I didn’t sleep all day long and now at 10PM I’m just starting to feel sleepy. So far this seems like a huge win to me, it’s definitely a serious improvement to say the least. I’ll report back in a few days to see if anything caught up to me, but right now I’m thinking this is legit.

Practical Urban Caching

I have a dream..

That dream is to never have to pack anything when I travel because everything I need will be waiting for me in my destination. It’s crazy I know, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite sometime. So usually when someone talks about ‘Urban Caching‘ they are either talking about geocaching in an urban setting, or some kind of city specific survival cache. Both of which are interesting in their own right but not what I’m talking about here. I’m thinking about something a little more functional.

Twitter / Tim Ferriss: I just started stashing to ...

Part of the original MultiBasing plans spawned from the idea that, or rather the frustration that I was feeling packing the same things all the time when traveling to the same city. When I talked to some friends (like Joi and Tim) who also travel a lot, and to many of the same places I found they had the same issues I did.

On a super obvious level if I live in Los Angeles (I do) and it almost never drops below 40° F here then I really have no reason to have big jackets and gloves. I certainly have no reason to have snow gear. That is unless I travel to places where it does get colder. But then I’m stuck in the situation of having something that sits in my closet until I pack it to take it somewhere, use it there, then pack it up and bring it back and throw it in closet. Just keeping it in the place I’m going all year makes much more sense, the question is how to do that.

If I have a friend there and can leave it at their house then problem solved. But maybe I don’t and I need to rent a locker somewhere or hide something in an office that I’m fairly sure I can get back into next time I’m in town. Hotels would be ideal but are rarely cool with the idea of holding your crap when you aren’t there paying on a daily basis. So that is on challenge, but assuming you do find a place to keep items, maybe this idea can be expanded? Climate specific things are obvious, but do I usually bring the same things to many places? Actually, yes I do.

So lets get one travel tip out of the way real quick – packing for a 1 or 2 day trip is much harder than packing for a week or more. When you start packing for a week you have to think about items you can wash and reuse which often results in bringing less. When you are packing for a day or two, everything you bring is single use and often you get sucked into the idea of “options.” If you are traveling for one specific event, you might bring 2-3 things that you could wear to it resulting in returning from your trip with things you never even touched. When you are packing for longer periods of time everything gets used.

So that in mind, in theory, you could create a pack of commonly used/worn items and leave them in the major cities you pass through or visit regularly. This would contain about a weeks worth of clothes covering various options – several casual things, a few nicer items, perhaps a jacket or different shoes. Depending on your work perhaps a suit. This creates a bit of a redundancy issue, in that you’ll likely have a few of the same thing, but if they are scattered out around the world that isn’t really a problem. And once you have this “basic” pack together and stashed in a few different cities, then what you need to take with you next time you go to one of them is suddenly reduced immensely.

If you find you need something you hadn’t anticipated you can probably just wear it on the trip itself. Or maybe you’ll need on very small carry on, maybe a backpack or something.

And maybe this doesn’t just apply to clothing. I know we are getting very speculative here, but with more and more data being stored in the cloud it could be possible to not even need to bring a computer with you. When you can pick up a brand new netbook for under $300, depending on your needs, that could more than do the trick for a few day trip.

Assuming this all makes sense and worked, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine being able to travel between a handful of cities on a regular basis and never need to pack anything. The thought of flying internationally without the headache of any luggage makes me giddy. Anyway, obviously this is still firmly in dreamland for the moment, but I do really think it’s not only viable but a very real option in the near future. And if you add into that pack a few disaster/survival/preparedness related items you’d be pretty well covered anywhere – or at least anywhere you regularly visit.