Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Plan

Here are the specifics on how I plan to go about achieving what I want to do. If you haven't already, you can read my post Moving Ahead where I describe what my goal is. This post does overlap somewhat with that one, but I'm directing this post to those who actually see me on the train. This is for you so you know what's going on and how you can get involved.

Stage 1:
I will be on your train every weekday making my pitch. [For now I will be riding the F train from Brooklyn to Manhattan, getting on at 8:45am at 4th Avenue / 9th Street. I will get on at the last car and move up one car each station until Delancey St, then I will get off (around 9am) and get on the next F train, enter at the second car and move back each station until 42nd St. I will never be in the first car, so if you want to escape me that's where you should go.] I plan to get some kind of interaction going by seeing you repeatedly and vice versa. 

To start I would like to know who you are. So please do the following: Get a piece of colored construction paper like this. Bring it with you on the train and hold it up when I get onto the train. Let's make it color-specific. Use the following colors to communicate with me:
Orange: Just curious to see where this goes.      
Yellow: Really feel some movement like this is needed. You feel there should be interaction on the subway.
Green: You love this so much and are ready to participate with me! You'd be comfortable with me coming up to you on the train and I can point you out as a member of our group.
Red: You hate what I'm doing and want me to stuff it.
In the future I plan to use colored paper for other types of interactions (And then this will turn into the armband idea where we communicate different things based on colors and patterns of our armbands). I will announce how many oranges, yellows and greens I've seen on your train, so you get a sense of how this is growing too. Once I hit about 8 greens on one train, we'll be ready for Stage 2.

Stage 2:
Once I see there are enough of you, we can make up to all ride the same car. So now we have a group of say 8 of us riding together and interested in connecting on the train. I will lead the group and come up with daily objectives. We can start really easy and light, and maybe I'll post in advance the daily objective so we all can be prepared, like one day talk about food/restaurants, or one day share a challenge we are facing at work, etc. (I will need your ideas with this.) I also plan to incorporate the ideals that I had originally envisioned where we interact for the sake of mutual exchange and ways in which we can help each other. Once we are all comfortable with this, I will leave you on your own and start Stage 3. 

Stage 3:
I will repeat the process on a train one earlier, i.e. take the 8:40 train instead of the 8:45. However this time I will ask a couple of you from the 8:45 to help me seed the 8:40 so we get new people involved more quickly. In truth there will be some overlap between these 2 trains anyway, since not everyone's schedule is perfect, mine included, not to mention the train's. I will then repeat the process on the 8:50 train again bringing some of you along with me. And keep branching out until we have the rush-hour uptown F covered. Then I will move on to other lines that are near or overlap the F so I can tap my biggest fans to help me out on those lines for a few days. In this way we can tackle the A, C, B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Stage 4:
At this point we have 12 lines covered with maybe 7 time slots per train and say 12 people per train involved daily, so as a group we are 1008 people strong. I think that's enough to have momentum build on its own in unpredictable ways. People will start hearing about this, there will be press about it and we can go from 12 per train to 35, and then spread to other lines like the J, Z, M, L so that's 16 lines and with counting both directions is 32 lines, with now maybe 10 time slots each. So that's (35 people x 32 lines x 10 timeslots) over 11,000 people! At this point the group can become far looser and branch out organically. We can start connecting with others in the group whenever we ride the train, anytime. How? Armbands! :) Whenever you get on the train and are interested in connecting with someone random just put on your armband and there's a decent chance that someone else on the train has one too. Since your colors signify your objective, it makes for an easy icebreaker, e.g. wear blue if interested in talking about food, green for seeking advice, purple for help with your business/career, you get the idea. And then we can move this off the subway, to the bus, to the supermarket, to infinity and beyond!

So to recap, if you've seen me on the subway and want to participate just bring a sheet of orange, yellow, or green construction paper (no red please).

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