Other Stories Archive

Announcing the Birth of Elizabeth Josephine Carson

Our beautiful daughter – Elizabeth Josephine – was born today – 13th March 2014 – in Seattle, weighing in at 8 lbs and 8 oz.


Ashley was totally amazing and Elizabeth is now feeding delightfully and about to have a long nap!


We can’t wait for baby Elizabeth to meet her thrilled big sister Maggie!

Now for some sleep……..

TEDxSeattle Highlights: My Top Three TEDx Seattle Talks

One of the highlights of my career was to have been privy to the behind-the-scenes activity at a TED conference in Cannes a few years ago.

Sitting at the back of the room next to Emily MacManus (who was Tweeting for @TEDTalks) was such a treat, as was interviewing some of the speakers – Nicholas Christakis, Naveen Selvadurai and Stefana Broadbent – all who gave me some unique insight into what it was like to be there up on stage.

Fast forward a year or two and June Cohen appears in the book I’ve co-authored – Pioneers of Digital – telling her story about how she brought the talks into the online video arena and generated over one billion views of TED Talks on the web.

So when I was invited to attend TEDxSeattle I was pretty intrigued to see what an independently organized event would turn out like………and it was very good!


Aside from a hiccup at registration in the morning, the Seattle TEDx event was well executed by a merry band of enthusiastic volunteers and curators from the local area. The venue was The Children’s Theatre down by the Seattle Center and we were comfortable in our seats for the three “Acts” that were about to unfold before our inquiring minds.

Quite rightly, we were asked not to take photos (the above was taken just prior to starting) or live Tweet, so I furiously took down as many notes as I could.

My brother-in-law (Josh LaBelle from the Seattle Theatre Group) and I stayed  until the end of the second set of talks, so we didn’t see all of them.

Here were my three highlights:

Matt Chan

Creator of the reality show “Hoarders”, Matt’s talk caught my attention before he came on stage as it was called “What Great Storytellers Know” and he immediately had us hooked with his philosophy of tapping into shared experiences and trying to engage with an audience on a deeper level. The reason why “hoarders” is so successful is that we all hoard at different levels. We all have that drawer with knickknacks we can’t get rid of; objects that hold some emotional currency. What the program does is suck us in through that lens and then take us on a crazy journey through the eyes of someone who’s got the hoarding thing way worse than us.

“Start with what you and your audience knows to get them engaged and then you can take them anywhere.”

What I liked about Matt was he was self-deprecating, funny and obviously very wise. A great storyteller to learn from.

Kelly Bloom, PHD

This was thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking. Kelly came on stage to talk about “Lost and Found: Awakening the In-between”. A computer science drop out, Kelly’s second attempt at higher education found herself studying parks and leisure. Why, as she has said has happened in the past, some people find that kind of thing dull and boring I don’t know. I’m personally fascinated by what might seem an obscure study paths.

Kelly’s ethos was that parks are places where we can most be able to be ourselves. Where we’re one with nature, strolling, having fun and being able to rest our minds. In my talks about social media, I’m always banging on about authenticity in communications, so it was fascinating to hear Kelly giving us some tips on how to “make space” for being authentic and happy in our lives. She mentioned a story about playing basketball with a polar bear (yes it really happened) and how that day she’d decided to be open to more experiences.

She taught us a new word – liminality – and talked of the time while staring at a rock on the bottom of the Grand Canyon that was billions of years old, she realized she was temporary in the world and encouraged us to embrace our tiny time on this earth and attempt to be peaceful, joyous and generous.

Apparently her appearance at TEDxSeattle happened because she met one of the organizers on a plane. Hope and pray Kelly’s sitting next to you on your next flight. It’ll change your life.

Greg Gottesman

Previous to Greg’s talk on student debt, the hilarious data scientist Nick Berry had talked about all the data on the internet running to a zettabyte soon, which is (if one grain of sand is a byte) the equivalent to every grain of sand on every beach in the entire world.

So he set Greg up nicely for his rousing speech (visually enhanced by HaikuDeck) which talked about the ONE TRILLION DOLLARS students in the USA owe post-education.

Now, some TEDTalks inspire, some make you laugh, some make you cry, this just made me angry.

Angry that the rise in tuition fees is so disproportionate to the rise in anything else like wages or house prices.

Angry that student debt is the only debt that can’t be cancelled out by bankruptcy. Not that I think students should be able to take an easy way out, but that the law lets some businesses get away with taking risks, while the youth of today are lumbered for simply trying to make their way in the world and achieve the American Dream.

Greg, MD of VC firm Madrona Ventures Group, did a great job of spelling out the depth of the issue and pledging to do his bit to try and affect change. Here’s a link to his deck.

We were all fired up as we left his talk for the break and I’m already onto my financial advisor about starting to save for my 22 month old daughter’s education!

So there you have my three highlights. The other talks were good. I’d encourage the organizers to be be even more vigilant of thinly-veiled company sales pitches. Company names on some slides wasn’t cool. But the pace, balance and attention to detail of the event were all first class.

Can’t wait until next year!

Read Julia’s Story and Donate to HSDC Seattle Pretty Please!

Just over 3 years ago my wife and I got the fabulous news that her sister Colleen had gone in to labour.

We were living in London at the time, so the anxious wait to see what Colleen and her husband Josh had produced – boy or girl – was exacerbated by the 8 hour time difference.


Colleen and Josh’s Miracle

When the phone eventually rang, we found out that there were complications.

Colleen had given birth to a beautiful baby girl they had called Julia, but Julia had inhaled meconium and had been rushed to Children’s  Hospital in Seattle to be hooked up to an ECMO machine, a piece of (very expensive) apparatus that was helps make the heart and lungs work when using a ventilator has failed.

I won’t dwell on the ensuing 18 days (many more than most patients spend hooked up to the machine) but suffice to say a true miracle happened.

Julia, slowly but surely, started to pull through.


Julia On The Mend

Soon she was off the machine, home and happy after some amazing care from Children’s and of course, her amazing, strong and doting parents.

But one of the side effects of time spent on ECMO can be deafness. And after a few weeks it became clear after extensive testing that Julia was deaf in one ear and she could lose all sense of hearing at any time.

It’s one thing as parents to have been through the trauma of nearly losing your child, but to have your child that was so strong to pull  through run the risk of losing a vital sense completely, was the catalyst for them to seek out specialist help and support.

They found it at HSDC – the Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center – in Seattle.


Julia signing “I Love You!”

Like clockwork once every couple of weeks for one-to-one time during the first couple of years, and every Monday night and the odd weekend since, Julia and family have attended classes and spent time with other children and families who are valiantly learning to live with, and overcome issues associated with the kind of difficulties hearing loss can bring.

But much of that time has been a celebration; a celebration of Julia’s resilience, fabulous personality and the fact that she has NOT had any further hearing loss.


Julia Graduates The HSDC Infant Program Aged 3

A couple of months ago we celebrated her turning 3 and graduating from the HSDC infant program, a proud moment for the whole family.


Julia with my Daughter, Maggie (Such a Fabulous Big Cousin)

So now Colleen and Josh have asked us to give a little back.

So next week we all fun run for HSDC in the Leaping for Literacy fundraising event that the whole family is participating in. Even Maggie (not even 2) is determined to get through the 5K course.

Thanks to the amazing generosity of so many, we’re already two thirds towards our target of $1000, but I think, through the power of social media we could hit that number and then some.

So please, click on this link and pledge some cash to the amazing work that HSDC does to help children like Julia.

Here’s the link again just incase you missed it.

Please donate and help other children with communication disabilities and share Julia’s story as inspiration for others.

Thank You So MUCH!

Please Welcome Margaret Jane Carson to the World!


Not only did my beautiful wife do the “sister-toast” at her sister Colleen’s amazing wedding yesterday – which included a flash-mob dance routine which she carried out in pre-labour – but today she blessed the Carson/Seffernick family with a beautiful baby girl without so much as an ibuprofen!


An absolute trooper, Ashley spent nearly 20 hours persuading Maggie to make an appearance with the fantastic help of her sisters, Colleen and Aubrey, mother Nancy and the super-talented Chrissy Karlstrom.


Maggie is a healthy 9lb, 21.5 inch beauty with long limbs and big, crinkly feet.


She’s taken her first bath, listened to her first song – “Play Me “ by Neil Diamond – which Ashley and I sang to her every day for the last 3 months – and now, thankfully, she’s having a kip and so is my incredible wife.


People warned me that this would be the most awesome experience of my life…….


……..and they were right!

I used to think I was lucky sharing my life with one gorgeous lady, but now there’s another and we’re a family.

Today, August 21st at 3.35pm PST, I became the luckiest guy I know.

Please join me in welcoming Margaret Jane to the world!

Baby Carson at 23 Weeks


Just got round to posting these photos of the little blighter 4 weeks after our last scan!

Looks like he/she has got my nose. Right little ski-jump! Ashley’s amazing cheek bones too.

Ashley is now 27 weeks pregnant and doing really, really well!


Thumb-sucker like me too!

I’ve been painting nursery furniture and Ashley’s been buying paraphernalia like “strollers” and “diapers”!

Just 3 months to go and counting………tick…….tock…….

Andrew Seffernick Memorial Ride on Alki


As some of you might know, my wife’s brother – Andrew Seffernick – was tragically killed riding his motorcycle in West Seattle on April 13th.

The response from family and friends at this very sad time has been amazing.

Andrew was a remarkable young man. He was thoughtful, creative and very funny. He had an incredible flair for wood and metal work which has left a permanent legacy welcome in the homes and gardens of many people in and around the city.

He was also just 2 years into his new life adventure, bringing up, caring for and inspiring his young son AJ.

Andrew loved Alki and he loved his skateboards, many of which he fashioned himself.

The family thought a fitting tribute would be to combine his three loves, family and friends, riding and the beach, with a memorial at the Alki Bath House on Sunday May 15th between 1pm and 4pm.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Andrew’s life, see some of his art (bring some if you have any) and take a ride along the board walk in his honour.

A benevolent fund has been set up to help his son AJ which the family would prefer contributions to in lieu of flowers and cards.

Andrew Seffernick Jr Benevolent Account

BECU Account #: 3587324323

Donations can be made at the drop box of any branch or by mailing a check to:

BECU PO Box: 97050 Seattle WA 98124

We’re looking forward to seeing you this Sunday to celebrate Andrew’s life.

No tears. Only laughter……and maybe a few beers.

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