2009 Highlights in Pictures and a Few Words

What a year 2009 Was… I’ve been looking through my Flickr stream and pulled out some highlights. Apologies, as the page may take a while to load, but pictures seem to express the year better than any words I could write. Towards the end of 2008 I was at a dinner with Caalie and the Scobles. There were quite a few faces at that meal that ended up playing different roles through out 2009 – you can see Neville Hobson and Chris Heuer as well as Robert Scoble here.

DinnerWithTheScoblesAndCrew - Benjamin Ellis, Robert Scoble, Chris and Neville

Measurement and efficiency were some of the themes for 2009, and I’m sure they will be for 2010. Through Homecamp I learnt about monitoring home power use, and with Redcatco we got even better at measuring things and making business cases.

In 2009 I experienced my first ever SXSWi, which meant heading to Austin, Texas, with Chinwag and the Digital Mission crew to meet with lots of new and familiar faces from the digital industry.

Hermione Way + Darren Waters

Sarah Austin

And I got to see a few bands while I was out there too, including The Webb sisters, for the second time in the year!

The Webb Sisters

Robert Biswas-Diener (CAPP) 94A fair amount of the year was taken up with psychology study – reading, experiments, write ups and an exam. Probably the highlight of all of that was attending the CAPP conference, hearing some very well grounded, but inspiring lectures, case studies and talks. I ended the year with a First in cognitive psychology, so it feels like the hard word paid off.

The summer was an eventful one. Although a lot happened in the spring, Redcatco social media work started to build up over the summer, and I seemed to be speaking and doing social reporting at more and more events. I even bumped into this chap…

HRH The Prince of Wales

SummerSandwich - Darius Zvinis

There was still time for fun side projects, one of the most memorable was the Twitter Cook Off, watching a chef judge a set of sandwiches via Twitter, as you do, and listening to Caalie relay the results to Nicky and Maggie Philbin.

I was involved in quite a few NESTA
related events over the year, and also a couple of Reuters ones. The meant that I got to work with some bright, fun people, and chase political leaders around London. A very different perspective from the Cabinet Office events I helped with earlier in the year. This was also the year of the Digital Britain report.

The 1pound40 event at Reuters was one of the highlights of the year, although presenting at SMiB09, Online Information 09 and the Dell B2B Huddle was close to top of the list too.

askclegg - the team at NESTA

The number of meet ups seemed to grow over the year, and I added to the mix by kicking off the Thames Valley Social Media Cafe, inspired by the model Lloyd Davis pioneered in The Tuttle Club. One of the evening highlights was the Cozytweetup that ended up with a candle lit picnic in St. James Park, before everyone was moved on, in a very friendly manner, by the police.

CozyTweetUp by Candle Light

During the summer our eldest son managed to break his arm not once, but twice. Oh, and he burnt the other arm just for good measure!

VannFest09 J Gets a Break

VannFest was, as the previous year, the highlight of the summer. And for the record, I didn’t get a tatoo… Although did this photo of me ever cause a saga! I’m assuming it was the QR code on the T shirt ;).

VannFest09 Tatoo'd

VannFest wouldn’t be VannFest without a picture of some sky candles…

VannFest09 Lighting up the sky

There were quite a few business trips during the year. Too many to mention, although the visit to Bonn, Germany sticks out in my memory. Amazing place:

One Night in Bonn

Benjamin in a Vodafone Ad

Very oddly I appeared in a Vodafone advert in Germany, both on-line and in posters. You’ll have to look closely, but you’ll see me on the screen of the phone, next to Robert Scoble (remember what I said about those faces at that dinner!)

Over the course of the year my photography set up evolved, with some new cameras and lenses. I started to shoot some video – having been won over by the Canon 5D Mark II.

The Kit Bag Used for The New York 09 Digital Mission

I squeezed in a photo walk or two, including a memorable afternoon with friend and Flickr super star photocillin.

Trailing Photocillin

Canon L series Primes - 200mm F/2

And Canon let me try out some amazing gear, at just the right moments during the year, including the largest lens I’ve ever handled. The photo doesn’t do it justice – that’s a full size camera body on the lens in the picture there. It takes two hands to lift and gets comments everywhere – including during the Legoland fireworks, where more than one young lad said “I want one of those!”. Needless to say, it captures some amazing images.

Seeing real-time Time-Slice photography in action at the Canon Pro Solutions Exhibition was a definite peak camera-geek moment.

The expanding photography set up meant the chance to shoot some memorable pictures at various places around the planet, as well as Sara’s amazing body painting art.

This Sky

Middle Earth

TweetCamp Afterparty - Underwater!

I read lots of books, not just psychology ones, including reviewing quite a few, and featuring in some too.

Reading CauseWired - Ready to Review

Oh, and printed one of my own…

Benjamin's Blurb Book

Back at home, the apple and pear trees and the vines were fruitful, the kids grew up some more and the recording studio remained sadly unused – something I hope to fix in 2010.

Grapes from the vine...

In the autumn I got to watch two of my favourite bassists play, at the same time! Michael Manring and Steve Lawson played together in London:


And I even managed to edit together this video for the bass guitar blog:

That wasn’t the only music in the year. Later in the autumn I went up to Birmingham and photographed and interviewed behind the scenes at the UB40 Live Loud and Local gig:

Brian Travers on SaxBrian Travers talks to the press

Last Day of Movember

In November Kate showed quite how much interest a fox on the underground can create! By then I’d also set up SocialOptic with Jim, something which will be very much at the centre of 2010. With November on the scene, I dived in and took part in Movember – growing a moustache to raise awareness of men’s health issues, including prostate cancer. It opened my eyes to a few things I will write a lot more about in 2010.

To round out the year, snow arrived. Followed by more snow, and lots of it! The roads were chaos, so I holed up in the home office and click-clacked away to close of projects, ready for a clean start to 2010.

As the snow subsided, visitors arrived, and finally the family managed to squeeze in a break down to the west country.


Including a morning on the beach in Devon, before heading home for the New Year…

Devon Beach

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