Talking Sociotech Advances, The Value Of Our Content, & Going Paperless

This is an excerpt from an interview by John Zipperer for Northside, a San Francisco neighborhood newspaper, April, 2012

So tell me about Global Niche. What is it? Who is the audience/customer?

Global Niche is my startup with my partner Tara Agacayak based on our combined 20 years of expatriatism, my experiences as an author building her publishing platform (that’s where you demonstrate your expertise, your reach, your ability to draw an audience) and the rising notion of creative entrepreneurship (which is where who you are is what you do best -- doing what you love).

Global Niche is a life-work initiative for global citizens, mobile progressives, cultural creatives, independent professionals and any one who finds themselves in a situation mismatch. In this day and age we should be able to operate independently of traditional limitations like geography, time zone, culture, language. I call that achieving “psychic location independence”.

There’s a place in the world just for us, where we can be both as unique as we want to be, and as big as possible. We don’t even have to leave home to find it, and build it out -- and our progress in doing so is reflected in a professional web platform. That’s where the world finds you. It’s about making ourselves a global microbrand.

By combining recent sociotech advances that digital nomads take advantage of, like mobile devices, online education and the social web, the Global Niche philosophy supports your effort to make your life work in straitened situations. To live a globally unbounded life.

I call it “creative self enterprise for the global soul” but our audience don’t have to be expats, world travelers or professed globalists to tap into a bigger view of themselves -- and gain access to a wider assortment of opportunities for community, lifestyle and work.

Anyone in a disadvantageous situation -- for instance, recent school graduates who are discovering a thin resume doesn’t get their foot in the door, corporate refugees, stay at home parents and people forced into early retirement -- can also use Global Niche’s “creative self enterprise” approach to build a more empowered life and livelihood.

You've mentioned a new product or service you're rolling out in April. Tell me about it.

It won’t be launching in April, but we’re close!

It’s a content packaging program inspired by the content marketing movement (and once again, a concept borrowed from the publishing world, of a building an author platform -- you don’t have to be a writer, just think of yourself as the author of your life).

That is, letting your content support your aims, whether you’re positioning yourself as an expert in a field to land jobs or funding, or you’ve got a product or service to sell.

Whatever you want to do, you’ll need help and support and part of that is going public with your process, to gather likeminded people to your cause. The kind of people who are interested your stuff, can help you develop your plan, the kind of people who will form the basis of your network.

Many of us have generated a lot of content in our lives which is not actively working for us. Hobbies we’ve poured ourselves into. Independent research we’ve done (and no one around us thought was a good use of our time!). Things we alone are very knowledgeable about. The older we are, the more boxes of stuff we’ve got that we’ve never used for anything. Photos that haven’t seen the light of day. Artwork in the basement. Things we may consider failures.

I imagine many of us are sitting on a mountain of it, at the same time wondering how we’re going to make ends meet, or finally leave this job we hate. Or actualize that dream we’ve always had. But if we consider that earlier output not as failure or a waste of time, but instead a chain of events that make us who we are today, then we start to get an idea of the arc of our lives and how what we’ve done in the past can help us get where we want to go in the future.

At Global Niche we’ve created a 6 week group program to help you wrap your arms around your content and link it with your goals. We’ll also be releasing a self-study guide.

Describe a typical day for Anastasia Ashman these days.

After breakfast with my husband, we both settle down to work. We’re on the dining table with our double monitors at the moment.

I’ll scan my emails, which I have almost down to nothing by judicious pruning of subscriptions and automatic filing rules.

If I receive things that aren’t personal, I’ll adjust my email rules to make sure I don’t see that kind of correspondence again. I’ll peruse, bookmark and participate on my Twitter account (my favorite social media platform to swim in deep, intellectual waters. I’ve been a top ten user in Istanbul in 2009, top 20 women entrepreneurs according to in 2010, and this year a top 50 follow according to another business personality).

I’ll have a Skype call or two with people in other time zones about collaborations or a Webex call with a TEDx Women Entrepreneurs group in Silicon Valley (we’re creating a pitching support group after TEDxBayArea), and maybe an hour-long Linqto video chat with my Global Niche partner in Istanbul, a guest expert on creativity coaching or women’s leadership like Tara Sophia Mohr along with all the members of our community who also log on for these live monthly events.

Throughout the day I’ll share links relevant to my field and interests and my own work, at multiple Facebook pages, Twitter and Google+. Reading news and other links I’m directed to by my Twitter network.

I’m building out my Pinterest account too, a place to visualize my handful of cultural projects in a fresh light, as well as discover more likeminded people.

I’m going through my research and web bookmarks to find ways to bring more previous work to light and familiarize myself with sources after a hiatus. Most of this is preparation for what’s coming: as this relocation displacement comes to an end, I’m preparing to begin a huge memoir rewrite based a plan devised last fall with my editor and agent.

If I met someone the day before I’ll connect with them on the social media platforms and then throw out their card. No more paper!

What's ahead?

Just further along on the path and projects I have simmering now. Offering life-work solutions for the globality of us, through Global Niche.

Running a transmedia production house for all my cultural entertainment projects like my Byzantine princess art historical soap opera about the forgotten woman builder who spurred an emperor to beat her with the Haghia Sophia, and my Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Meet the Parents tale of culture clash at my Istanbul wedding.

I can see having the staff to enact some of the ideas I’ve had for producing the work of others. For instance, having a stable of illustrators working on digital graphic novels based on unproduced screenplays, that’s an idea whose time has come and with a huge amount of polished writing lying fallow due to the high barriers to entry of the past.

Speaking at storytelling and innovation conferences, producing retreats and summits of my own.

At that point I hope my memoir is released, and optioned for film, so I may be involved in book tours and writing the screenplay, or involved in the production.