Author Archives: Martholio

Conference Gone Bad


Apologies for the radio silence! Been much busier than expected with conferences, gigs and flying back home for a few weeks, and I have to admit I did forget to write last week. I am ashamed.

So while I was busy finishing assignments and then fulfilling the rock’n’roll part of my personal blurb on this blog (actually ran into one of the speakers from the Unconventional Women conference in a rock bar in London!), I also went to another conference. This time it was Business 2012, and I have to say it was quite an experience. And not all good.

Speed Networking. Yay or nay?

Getting past the absolutely and unforgivably poor organisation of the event – we didn’t get to see Sir Richard Branson speak because they “couldn’t disclose the information” about which speakers were on & when! Srsly, what the eff? – the seminars and workshops we attended were quite surprising. In fact, my friend and I came to the conclusion that, with the exception of the seminars on trademarks and mobile internet, we could’ve gotten up on the spot and taught the seminars better than the speakers.

Now you might be thinking I’m crawling up my own rear end here, but it was very shocking how unprepared and unprofessional some of the speakers were. I did not come to sit through a seminar on the commercial use of twitter being taught by some middle aged guy who gets up and starts off with “Well I’m actually really bad with social media and some kid I have working for me actually does it all.” Why are you here giving your “advice” then?

This conference was really an example of making it too broad and in turn making a big mess of an event. To top it off the seminars were overbooked so we had to sit on the floor, and The O2, where the conference was being held, was freezing cold.

But perhaps most notably,

 The best and most informative seminar was the one given by one of the youngest speakers there.

Just something to think about. And comment on below.

Stay cool,

Marta

P.S. The saving grace for the last day was the British Music Experience museum of popular music which is in the same building, and which I HIGHLY recommend you visit if you can!

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Un-Covention: Women in Music and Media, Part 2


As some of you may have noticed if you saw last week’s post, I took a litttle trip to Manchester last weekend. The following Monday I wrote a post about it which covered the gender-related conclusions, this week I want to talk more about why it’s important to go to these things whenever you can.

When I went to this conference, I didn’t really know what to expect or even how formal or informal it’s going to be. I went there with the expectation to learn something about the state of the music and media industries from the women that are actually in the thick of it, and at the same time see what they’re like and if I ever enter any of these arenas, what are the people I would likely be working for like. And I went to see if I could gather any information that would be useful for my dissertation on live music and heavy metal.

Turns out the conference was so relaxed you could easily approach the speakers after each panel, a golden opportunity for anyone who, like me, was looking to build contacts. It took some courage and the best opening lines I could muster to do it, but I went up to them. I introduced myself, I commented on the points made in the panel, I took and interest in their work. And I walked away with not one, but two interview arrangements for my dissertation research. We are now also connected through various social media, therefore I am on their radar for future opportunities and have a huge edge against most of the competition if I do apply for a job with any of them, simply because they’ve met me before.

Competitions are good, you get prizes and pretty CV material. But conferences give you the chance to make your presence known among the industry community, which WILL give you an edge and might even bring the job to you.

It’s time to put that natural charm to good use!

Stay cool,

Marta

P.S.: Next weekend I’ll be attending another conference in London which lasts until Tuesday so the post should be out later the following week, but the delay should be well worth it.

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Un-Covention: Women in Music and Media, Part 1


So yesterday I attended Un-Convention’s Un-conventional Women event in Manchester’s awe-inspiring Victorian neo-gothic town hall (I have a wee bit of a soft spot for anything gothic). A fairly last minute decision since I was only told of the event a couple of days prior, and Manchester isn’t exactly in my general area. Nevertheless I grabbed a friend and off we went, almost unacceptably early on a Sunday morning.

It was awesome.

The main reason I decided to go to this convention/conference wasn’t to indulge some kind of feminist man-hate that these events have an unfortunate tendency to turn to. I was interested in learning about what the “state of the art” in the music and media industries is today, how do these influential figures in the music industry understand the age of digital music, and how can I work the situation to my advantage in what is very much a male-dominated industry. Another reason was a chance to network with the speakers and others in the industry to further my base of contacts.

It was very eye-opening just how little understanding of the relationship between music and the internet was demonstrated by some of the speakers. And what a fantastic opportunity this is for our generation to become the next great innovators in the music industry.

But mainly, I have to say, I was incredibly pleasantly surprised by the sheer presence of the speakers. Most of these were charismatic, no nonsense women. They have every bit the confidence to play with the boys, and they elegantly shot down all the characters that show up in these crowds to cry and whine about how “the boys make mean jokes” and are “insensitive”. Have you ever seen a bunch of guys hanging out together? They’re not exactly having a tea party and complementing each other’s hair. If you’re having to work with a bunch of guys, you need to learn how be one of them. I’m not talking visually, or about renouncing your femininity. But you can’t expect to walk in a room and everyone adapting to you just because you’re a girl, because let me tell you something, sweetie:

That is not equal treatment. That’s preferential treatment. And you’re nothing more and nothing less than every guy in the room.

Besides, from my experience, most of the time a girl’s biggest enemy in a male-dominated place is the other girl. Just something to think about.

I’ve still got a thing or two to say, so stay tuned for Part 2!

Much love,

Marta

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Challenge Accepted.


Good morning everyone! How are you this fine day?

Yeah, Mondays suck.

Therefore instead of imparting my finite wisdoms upon you this week I’d rather impart upon you a challenge. Something to make you excited, elated, nervous, terrified, bursting with anticipation or all of that rolled up into one juicy burrito.

So here it is:

Instead of wallowing in your Monday Misery arrange to do something this week that you’ve never done before. Today if possible. It has to be something to get your heart rate up, or something that you’d never in a million years think that you’d be doing. Perhaps something you’ve been meaning to do but were too scared, or just something crazy you’ve never gotten around to doing. Drag some friends into it. Feeling uninspired? Tap your friends for inspiration.

And don’t forget to share what you did with us in the comments below!

Woooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Stay cool,

Marta

Follow me on Twitter @Martholio. It’s good for you.

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The Power of Schmoozing


A few weeks back I was contacted by a lady from my university who wanted to hire me to photograph classes and events in their department for new brochures and website content. She found out about my photography (a hobby) after I mentioned it to a colleague of hers at a social event in my department.

I like taking photos...and silly hair. (© Marta Svetek 2012)

This isn’t some kind of high paying job. It isn’t a milestone in my career. I don’t even want to make a career out of photography. I am definitely not the best photographer at our university. I am also not the only one who would even be willing to do this kind of job for free. But I got the offer simply through making a good enough impression to make that person recommend me to someone looking for someone with my skill set.

That lady doesn’t have the time to review the entire photography talent pool of the university and she obviously trusts the opinion of her colleague who thinks I am reliable and generally someone she can trust to get the job done well. And in turn I get to boost my creative CV and portfolio with an actual paying job.

This little anecdote is hardly groundbreaking in itself but it shows how important socialising and networking is.

Studying hard is important, but don’t forget that it’s people that hire you and people you work with, and you need to show them you’re the person they want to work with!

A smile goes a long way! (© 2011 Toastmasters International)

Be nice, compliment people, take an interest in whoever you’re talking to. Tead up on the latest news, talk about your interests/hobbies. You’ll find people will be much more willing to talk to you if you can have a conversation about something OTHER than work! Having a hobby in common with someone or generally just a very interesting one will definitely make them remember you.

So go to those employer presentations, conferences, sponsored events, alumni events, basically any kind of social events and work on your networking and social skills. You might not meet the CEO right away but you may meet someone he/she knows that will refer you to them when you apply for the job.

And above all else, don’t forget to SMILE! No one wants to talk to a grump, or the guy that takes himself too seriously.

Happy schmoozing!

Much love,

Marta

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Martholio !

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“…And you must be creative.”


Here’s a question:

How many times have you looked at listings for jobs or internships or competitions or whatever else from the “I’m doing something with my life” basket that has stated being “creative” as a requirement, and actually understood what that meant?

My face after reading the 300th infuriatingly vague job description.

If you actually tried to answer the question I’m betting about 99% of you choked on your own mental monologue at least once in the first few minutes. Many of you will go somewhere along the route of “it depends on the situation”.

And you’re right: it does depend on the situation/field/employer. But even more importantly:

Most of the time, employers don’t even know themselves.

Creativity has become one of business’ favourite buzz words. It takes the mind away from a dry, old-fashioned perception of something into a hip, fun, “anything is possible” world of both unprecedented achievement and caring. It implies personal development and an almost romantic view of what lies ahead. And it is directly linked to feelings of bitter disillusionment.

It is without much doubt one of the most devalued words in our dictionaries but nevertheless, it still represents something crucial to all of us – it represents pushing yourself to think and act beyond your own limits. Creativity, originality, and ingenuity. It reminds us to not become complacent in our routine, but to “think outside the box”.

And that’s really what employers in any situation are looking for when they say they are looking for someone “creative”. They are looking for the individuals who are open-minded and motivated enough not to become complacent in their work routine, and see and take advantage of the opportunities that can lead to great things.

And I think that’s a little something we all can write on a post-it and stick on our desks.

Have a great week!

Much love,

Marta

P.S. Follow me on Twitter @Martholio for more musings, event info and general silliness!

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Student Unions


First off, apologies for the late post today. It’s been a pretty hectic weekend with lots of lovely and some not so lovely little adventures, but either way I hope you will forgive me and still enjoy this week’s post!

As some of you may or may not know I also work for Warwick Students Union as an Entertainments Representative (basically telling people where/when to party, wooo!).

Warwick SU is a non-profit organisation that is technically separate from the university but works very closely with it to enhance the “student experience”. To quote our motto, the union is “run by students, for students”. In the UK pretty much every university has a corresponding SU which is a great way for them to listen to their students’ voices and be able to improve their offering. On the other hand SUs are also a great way for students to get their voices heard about issues on everything from academia to living costs and social causes.

Our lovely Warwick SU Sabbatical Officers

SUs however have evolved far beyond just student-university liaison, as my job title can tell you. They are the central hub for university social life through managing all university Societies and Sports Clubs, providing student-priced cafés/pubs/restaurants/shops, entertainments through club nights, events and live concerts and much, much more. They also form the central student support system for non-academic issues, so basically anything from fixing your computer to counselling.

Here’s a link to our website if you want to have a look! http://www.warwicksu.com/

Personally I think SUs are something that the UK Higher Education system really got right, but I know not many countries (including my native Slovenia) have such a well organised and centralised system just for student well-being.

So I’m wondering, what kind of support systems do Unis in your neck of the woods have? Do they simply unleash you into the wilds of academia with nought but your cunning to protect you or is it a more centralised approach like in the UK? I really want to know!

Much love,

Martholio

P.S. Apologies for not replying to comments yet, been very busy but will get back to you before the day is over!

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They make Drano for that, don’t they?


The deadline looms nearer and nearer and here I am, sitting in front of the computer, staring at my screen with an expression that could be described as void with a subtle hint of desperation. Indeed, this has been a ritual for a number of days now as I attempt to offer a work of my great knowledge of intellectual property law to the scrutiny of the panel of professors and external markers, but cannot produce said work in the required physical form.

In other words, I’ve got an essay due and I just can’t squeeze the words out of my brain. Your faithful blogger, my friends, is suffering from writer’s block.

In fact, I’m suffering such writer’s block I decided to write about it because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about this week.

Me, most of the day.

My usual remedy is to go do something completely unrelated for a few hours and come back with a fresher mind, in the hope that I’ll see things from a better (more writable) perspective. This time it turned into spending hours on Facebook, YouTube, 9GAG and BBC iPlayer. And driving my friends nuts with floods of posts.

Other times I try brainstorming ideas, concepts or characteristics of/around the issues I’m supposed to discuss. Usually this gives me at least a couple of ideas I can begin expanding on. This time, nothing. I can only hope to get out of this funk and actually write something before the deadline.

So now I ask you, my darling readers. What do you do when you have writer’s block? Post your suggestions in the comments below!

Much love,

Martholio

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Students and The Piracy Paradox


Hello all and welcome to my new weekly spot! From now on I will be posting new stuff every Monday (or as many Mondays as possible), and not just the “How to” stuff, but a few of my academia/event/student/campus-life ramblings as well. Basically anything I find that I think you might find interesting.

This week let’s start off with a theme that is uniquely and very strongly linked to students the world over: piracy. Lets face it.

Everyone’s done it, but students seem to especially depend on it.

And now it seems the US government is going in for the kill.

The other day I came across this article about a UK student supposedly being extradited to the US over his acts of online piracy.

SOPA

What could SOPA mean for Students?

But it doesn’t stop at creators of such websites. Since I’m studying the business of creativity, intellectual property law is a very important topic, and when a course-mate showed me information about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), I was all ears. Here’s a brief explanation of SOPA.

The relationship between students and piracy in my personal opinion really represents an interesting paradox. Without free access to them, would most popular TV shows, movies and albums ever reach a sustainable level of recognition in the public? Would they be such an essential part of popular culture? Online existence for students demands extensive knowledge of these. Do students have the money to buy all the albums, movies and other media that participating in today’s social media discourse and popular culture requires?

Students, Piracy, and Megavideo

Students, Piracy, and Megavideo - What could SOPA/PIPA mean for popular culture?

On the other hand, if there is inadequate financial return on investment for the content creators, will they keep making the content? And so on.

Obviously this issue is much more extensive than this, but what do you think? As a student, what is your view on piracy?

P.S. Follow me on Twitter @Martholio for more updates on StudentEvents.com and microramblings from yours truly!

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Quote of the Day


“I don’t think we’re ever going to get it completely right. The world is changing so quickly that it’s very hard to get anything right for long.”
 —  Sean Parker, Spotify/ex-Napster
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How to Succeed in Life Without Getting Ulcers


It has been no surprise that since the beginning of the “noughties,” technology has been integrated into every aspect of life to a level previously only entertained in the wistful looks of science fiction fans. The pace of our lives has sped up.

Keyboard

There is an unprecedented supply of information at our fingertips that we need to absorb to decide what we want to do with our lives. By the time we’re wrestling with the throes of puberty, we have to have already settled on one career choice from thousands of possibilities; all so that we can take the right classes in high school, study the right subject at university, and ultimately land our coveted dream job.

Recruitment

For a student and potential entrant into the UK job market, the pressure is on to live that ideal. Competition is fierce, with employers looking for the best of the best across the globe, so whatever you decide to study, you have to do it “guns blazing” to stand a chance.

But how can we know we’re making the right decisions? And even when we know what we want, how can we run the gauntlet of CVs and interviews? Continue reading

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A Guide to Taking it Easy


Having faced what has probably been the busiest December of my life to date, I can’t help but admit that I’m a teensy weensy bit tired. Actually, I lie, I’m exhausted. So as I was finishing things up for this year and planning some well deserved days off I got to thinking about just how important taking the time to sit back and recharge is.

When you're rested and relaxed, even hard work is easier.

Listening to lecturers, colleagues, career gurus and whatnots inadvertently makes me a little nervous. Somehow many of us are being pushed to think we should have finished 10 internships, entered 30 competitions and climbed mount Kilimanjaro with orphans strapped to our backs in the past month, all the while doing our coursework well and on time. If we don’t we’ll never get a job. Ever.

Well, let me tell you something. Taking time for yourself is important.  Continue reading

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A Follow Friday From StudentEvents.com!


Hello all our lovely readers,

Hope the New Year is treating you all well, and if it isn’t then it can only get better!

Today we’re hijacking the Follow Friday Twitter trend. It’ll give you a chance get to know the team behind this blog and the rest of our Campus Ambassadors a bit better! You can tweet us your questions, comments or whatever you feel like. We have all sorts of inspiring, quirky and wonderful individuals in our midst with all sorts of ideas and interesting tweets, so check us out!

Sarah, the Big Campus Ambassador Chief! – http://twitter.com/#!/SarahWitiuk

Marta – http://twitter.com/#!/Martholio

Barbara – http://twitter.com/#!/bpoberc

Angelina – http://twitter.com/#!/MeowAngie

Arush – http://twitter.com/#!/arushchandna

Sreekanth – http://twitter.com/#!/sreeitbhu

Satyaprem – http://twitter.com/#!/Satyaprem007

Archit – http://twitter.com/#!/arc7971

Xarlish – http://twitter.com/#!/XarlishAmjad

Vera – http://twitter.com/#!/VeraOreti

Prashannth – http://twitter.com/#!/vprashannth

Mayur – http://twitter.com/#!/Mayur_sk

Vincent – http://twitter.com/#!/azode90

Rizalul – http://twitter.com/#!/sora_mean_ciel

Adedapo – http://twitter.com/#!/daclean2003

Daniel – http://twitter.com/#!/DanielTurikumwe

Dhruv - http://twitter.com/#!/dhruvkhandelwal

Looking forward to hearing from you all!

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Creativity for the Non-Creative


Just a few days ago I was sitting here at my desk, contemplating life (read: procrastinating) when I remembered a question that kept popping up at almost every social event I’ve been to since the beginning my course:

 “Creative Industries? What the…?”

A simple answer to remedy the confusion is this: all the music, films, literature, advertisements, video games and other “artful” things you encounter in your everyday life are creative industries.

They are businesses producing and selling cultural products in all shapes and formats.

They might be from your home town, or imported from some distant land (think: Hollywood movies in the UK or Susan Boyle in the US). Although individual artists may loathe admitting it, making a living off of creativity is a business. Continue reading

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