People Passion 360° is the BIZCATALYST 360° channel for People First. We are delighted to announce the launch of a new special series focused on the ‘Real Stories of Real People – Travels Without Charley’.

The People First initiative has a big vision and is moving forward on a variety of initiatives including ‘Post Disaster Lost Identity, the Indie Web Movement, GDPR, Internet Identity,  and The ‘Business of Identity’.

These initiatives have been selected because they fit into the overarching mission of People First: to help identify what we each need to create a world where people and their humanity are at the center of all thinking, decisions, and action.

This human-centered perspective led me to think about the ‘Real Stories of Real People’ and ‘Travels Without Charley’ was conceived.

John Steinbeck is one of 4 literary ‘Johns’ that I reference regularly; Steinbeck wrote ‘East of Eden’ and ‘Grapes of Wrath’. He also wrote a lesser-known work from 1962 that records a journey in 1960 through America with his dog Charley. The book ‘Travels With Charley’ is lovely and highly recommended. While not as famous as his earlier work, it is in many ways more approachable, definitely shorter and certainly not missing the acerbic Steinbeck commentary on America.

Me? I don’t have a dog to travel with and would not even begin to think to compare myself to someone like Steinbeck. I am just borrowing his book title because there are stories I hear from people. All kinds of people. All the time.  ‘Travels Without Charley’ is my modern-day, far less skilled contribution to the storytelling that is centric to putting people first – but that many reference as if they have just learned of the ‘second coming’.

Every story you will read is true and came out of a conversation I had with someone. Sometimes I have changed the names of the people, sometimes I haven’t. I have been deliberately vague about the location of these people and their stories, to maintain confidentiality.

The stories emerged simply by talking to people, but mainly listening to them. What they said, they were saying to a complete stranger that they had just met for the first, and in most cases only, time. I don’t think anything that was told to me was ‘secret’ … but then, how much do we say to complete strangers that we might not say to others? I can tell you that each person talked because they wanted to tell their stories. To be heard.

Through these short stories, I hope that I am allowing them to talk a little louder.

The stories are also steadily mapping into a book that will connect to People First themes and frameworks designed to help people navigate this increasingly automated, data-driven, corporately shaped world that we all live in.

I hope you enjoy them.


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JOHN'S career spans 30 years, 2 continents, and organizations as diverse as Oracle, Citibank and GE. A Mathematics graduate, John moved to California in 1990. He helps technology companies create, develop and deliver their story for fund raising, market development and influencer programs. He also works with businesses to ensure they understand, and are ready, for the ever accelerating changes that technology is bringing to their industry. John is a co-founder of Expert Alumni and gleXnet and long before futurists and industry watchers were writing about the impending challenges that industries were going to be facing, they predicted a perfect storm of issues like skills gap, declining work forces, the gig economy, people trained to do work no longer needed, demographic shifts, economic and social change, market upheaval and rapidly changing ways of doing work. From the beginning they have promoted the idea that massive change was coming to how organizations should think about their workforce, with a singular focus on simplifying the interface between people and their work. Understanding the challenges ahead of the curve, the solution was built to arrive at a better understanding of the greatest restraint to business operations - competence, not capital. gleXnet provides unparalleled insights into an organizations people and operations by flipping the problem from the perspective of people, not the business.
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