Putting a note on the digital fridge.

Back in October of 2012 I gave a talk at the CU Water Cooler Symposium in Nashville about the leadership lessons I draw on daily that I learned from my dozen years as an independent filmmaker.

I was really psyched about this presentation and when I came home from Nashville the ideas kept swirling around in my head. Between that October and the end of 2012 I started writing those ideas into a book I named after my talk: Everything I Learned About Leadership I Learned From Filmmaking. I put down the concepts I explored in my talk, plus a bunch more. I had a couple of incredibly productive writing months.

For some reason, as 2012 drew to a close I stopped adding to the book, and it sat abandoned. It’s not like I didn’t think about the book, quite the opposite I thought about it a lot, figured I’d get back to it some day, but that day was never today.

Since 2012 my career has progressed quite a bit and my leadership muscles have been stressed and tested and strengthened, and I think about those filmmaking lessons all the time. Recently, I began to feel that I need to revisit that book. Not at some vague time in the future “when I have more time,” but now, immediately.

I brought the book up on my computer a couple of weeks ago, the first time in an embarrassingly long time, and re-watched the talk (above) and found myself making time in my schedule to expand on where I started. I put energy into the book for the first time in several years. It felt very very good.

There is a concept I spoke about in my talk about putting a note on the fridge. When I used to make films there came a point where I knew I could continue to just talk about making a film, but if it was going to actually get made I needed to get serious. At that point, I would write a date on a note and stick it to the fridge. That date was the date when I would begin principal photography – when I would begin shooting my movie. And everything worked back from that date. I had to look at it every day, I would tell people the date – I couldn’t escape it. I used my embarrassment of public failure and letting down those who believed in me as a way to get shit done.

So, here I am using my blog as an electronic fridge and publicly declaring that by the end of the year, I will have a first draft of my book done. More drafts will be needed, more notes on the fridge will be required for future milestones, and a whole lot of work lies in front of me, but I need an initial deadline to get a first draft completed. I am using you, anyone who is reading to hold me accountable for completing that first draft.

Thanks, I’ll let you know how it goes…

Running for the Modo board, again.

It’s been three years since I first ran for the Board of Modo, our local car sharing co-operative. Serving on the Modo board has been an immense privilege and pleasure. It’s an amazing organization, a great board, incredible staff and an important mission. It’s what I’ll likely be speaking about at the upcoming Disruption ’17 by CU Water Cooler conference.

I’m privileged to have been the board chair for the last couple of years, and hope to continue serving the members as I run for my second term as a volunteer director. If you’re a Modo member, please log in and vote, and, hey, if you’re voting, please consider voting for me.

Here’s my election statement and video for my re-election…

I’m William Azaroff, vice president of community investment at Vancity and current chair of Modo Co-operative’s volunteer board of directors. I’m up for re-election this year, and I hope you’ll vote for me to continue serving Modo’s membership.

I’m extremely proud to be a part of the Modo board. In the three years since my election, we have successfully merged with Victoria Carshare Co-op, brought in new leadership and renewed our strategic planning process.

Patrick Nangle came to Modo from Purolator Canada, where he was also CEO. He is a values-based leader whose deep knowledge of business, operations and technology will move our co-op forward in the increasingly complex and competitive world of car sharing.

With Patrick on board, we have begun a new strategic planning process to map out which roads are right for us. We are at a pivotal time in car sharing. Our local co-operative has a strong brand, loyal members and solid partnerships; yet our competitors are multi-national corporations who have the deepest pockets imaginable. Disruption is everywhere. Electric vehicles have far longer ranges and more affordable price points; self-driving cars are emerging on roads; and multi-modal transportation is expanding and evolving. We need people on our board who can solidify a local co-op’s place amongst global players – people who can focus on competing against corporate giants while staying true to our core values.

I would be honoured to earn your vote to continue this good work on behalf of the Modo membership.

Thanks for your vote and support.

Modo

Thank you! I am so humbled and honoured to have been elected to the Board of Directors of the Modo Co-operative. It’s a great organization, and I look forward to being useful to the organization, the management and the members as we all work to develop “vibrant communities created through sustainable transportation”.

I deeply appreciate all the Modo members who voted for me, as well as any of you who endorsed me, or simply expressed support. It means a lot to me!

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Why I want to be elected to the Modo Board.

I’m running for election to the Modo Co-operative Board of Directors. If you’re a Modo member, I’d love to earn your vote online or at the AGM.

If you’re not from around here, you may wonder, what’s Modo?

Modo is a not-for-profit carsharing co-operative incorporated in 1997 to foster carsharing and raise awareness about the benefits of sharing cars over individual ownership.

Modo Co-op

Why do I want to serve on the Board of Modo? Well, I have four main reasons, actually. Here’s my campaign video, and my reasons are spelled out below.

My first reason is that I’m a co-operator at heart. I love co-ops for their democratic and community ownership model, and have belonged to many co-ops over the years. I lived in a housing co-op, where I served on the Board as Treasurer, and currently work at Vancity, a financial co-operative and one of this area’s great supporters of co-op development. In 2009, Vancity sent me to Bologna, Italy to study co-ops with a few members of our staff, our Board and our community partners in a region where co-ops flourish and prosper. I believe I can help make Modo a stronger co-op.

My second reason is that I’m a digital leader. I worked as a digital strategist and producer for well over a decade, and for many years at Vancity I was the Director of Digital & Community Engagement where I oversaw online banking, our intranet, social media and other digital channels. My experience will serve me well at Modo because digital tools are crucial to members to book our cars and engage with Modo, and we support other car sharing co-ops through licensing our online booking system.

This is me at the party after last year's AGM.

This is me at the Modo party after last year’s AGM.

My third reason is my strong community investment experience. As Vancity’s Director of Business & Community Development I lead a team that invests Vancity’s assets in community projects, organizations, entrepreneurs and companies that contribute to a more equitable, sustainable and vibrant place to live and work. I understand the role Modo plays in our community ecosystem, shaping the transportation and community infrastructure required for a sustainable, inclusive future.

My fourth and final reason is that I’m very passionate about Modo. I strongly admire Modo’s brand focused on “disownership” – a brand that competes very effectively against larger corporate players. I am fascinated by the sharing economy, and I believe I can help Modo enable more people not to own a car of their own (or at least a second car), which is critical to reduce greenhouse gases and increase our region’s livability. I have been excited about being on the Modo Board for the past year since I attended last year’s AGM.

I’d be deeply honoured to be on the Modo Board if the members choose me to represent them. If you’re a Modo member, I do hope you’ll consider voting for me online or at the AGM.

Thank you,
William

Be a great crowd.

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Iron & Wine at the Commodore Ballroom, November 3, 2013

When I was growing up, Vancouver was a much smaller city. It was a city that, when I visited the States, many people I met hadn’t heard of (and sometimes they didn’t even realize that Canada extended all the way north of Seattle).

As an avid concert goer, we got a lot of tours coming through Vancouver, but many others skipped us. Now Vancouver is a world-class city and virtually every musician includes us in their itineraries.

I’ve lived in Seattle, Los Angeles and Vancouver, and, having been back for over a decade now, I’ve noticed something remarkable about artists when they play Vancouver. They seem humbled, sometimes ever overwhelmed by the audience’s love and support. Vancouver has some of the best crowds I’ve ever been a part of, and they create fertile ground for some amazing shows. They create an energy that is amazing to be part of, and they create a mood that encourages musicians to perform at their best. In fact, they often remark on how great our crowds are.

I took the shot above when I saw Iron & Wine this past week, and he seemed truly honoured to be playing for us. You could feel the connection between artist and audience – almost a sacred bond of trust. And you know what, I bet he’ll never skip Vancouver when he tours. That energy will keep him coming back for more.

It’s a lesson for all of us. To be grateful and humble and supportive and devoted. To be a great audience and keep our heroes coming back and wanting more. Whether that’s our members or customers, our staff, our colleagues or our boss. It’s a simple lesson from the mosh pits of Vancouver.