Aliki Komps – founder of A City With Quirk

Aliki has worked for non-government organisations for eight years in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, learning & development, instructional design and training. Her tertiary background and current studies lie heavily grounded in the behavioural sciences (aka psychology) in the area of positive psychology and she is currently floating with some philosophical academic pursuits. In the mix, she has also founded A City With Quirk – a Melbourne based initiative that supports eclectic activities, events and interestingness.

Throw in collaboration and enormous amounts of informal discussion with others in the process…and your idea evolves!

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

A City With Quirk is a Melbourne based initiative that supports eclectic Melbourne activities, events and interestingness. We provide individuals/businesses the opportunity to share their activity, class, workshop, meetup, event, on a Melbourne centric online hub that encourages and cultivates homegrown happenings. A City With Quirk particularly likes the lesser known eclectic happenings that are not being overtly promoted through the usual suspects. The reasons I decided to develop A City With Quirk are twofold. Firstly, I wanted to provide individuals/businesses a free niche space to list their own activity or event, and secondly, I wanted to provide individuals a place to explore some brilliantly awesome and strange goings-on in the world’s most livable city.

How do you make money? (please explain your business model)

A City With Quirk doesn’t make money. We are a free go to hub for checking into and listing some left of centre stuff going on within Melbourne. The business model is yet to be established. Early on, I recognised that A City With Quirk in general would have to find it’s own way organically. And this is the approach I’ve taken in regard to the business model. The business model is yet to be grounded!

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?

I tend to work on a number of things at any one given time. At the moment, in terms of A City With Quirk, I’m specifically focusing on developing the Newsletter and Grassroots blog to flesh out and ground their identity and character. In addition to this, I’m thoroughly engaged in learning and development projects where I can apply my skills, experience and enthusiasm.

How do you make ideas happen?

Ideas can happen in a number of ways. But for me, ideas largely happen through the processes of identifying a concept that you’re genuinely passionate about, analysis of what’s going on in your concept area, doing, developing, action and continual phases of reflection and evaluation throughout. Throw in collaboration and enormous amounts of informal discussion with others in the process…and your idea evolves!

What does your typical day look like?

In addition to living with A City With Quirk, I currently also provide contracted services in the areas of instructional design, content writing, and training. I’m passionate about the idea of life learning and engage in this area daily. A typical day would involve getting up at about 7am, starting work at 9ish which either involves designing training, technical writing, or training others. Currently, I’m heavily engaged with youth learners through the Brotherhood of St Laurence Training Services and this is thoroughly enjoyable and engaging. I usually finish work at about 5pm and then spend some time in the evening working on A City With Quirk or other personal areas of interest

Aliki workspace

Stand up workstation on my kitchen bench.

I work at many workstations, and for the most part try to work standing up in front of a computer – it suits my health and well-being!

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

The greatest challenge I faced when I initially started working on A City With Quirk was the uncertain nature of what the future holds with your idea. This can work both ways though. On the upside, the uncertainty also assisted with my openness to allow my idea to grow in ways that I had not necessarily envisioned.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Not my idea, but an idea I’m willing to share for free. Despite our perceived comfortability in stability, “change is the only constant.” ~ Heraclitus, Greek philosopher.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

Laneway Learning – Engages, supports and features some terrific “cheap, fun classes in anything and everything”. Based in Melbourne, their classes are fun, eclectic, cheap (as little as $12), and there is beer and food to boot!

What about internationally?

Brooklyn Brainery – Based in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Brainery “host classes about all sorts of things: from physics to Australian desserts, from HTML to shorthand and just about every nook and cranny in between.”

Although A City With Quirk is not a physical space like Laneway Learning and Brooklyn Brainery, I consider it to be fundamentally consistent with the principles of Laneway Learning and Brookly Brainery. Similarly, I would like to provide individuals/businesses the opportunity to share and discover local and eclectic ‘everything’ activities and events happening in our city – our method is an online hub developed just for this niche.

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

In an age where movement and innovation are coming into their own, businesses can harness this by listening, sharing, collaborating and driving change in their specific interest area.

Business can play an integral role in affecting social change. Essentially, businesses are comprised of individuals working together to realise a shared mission and vision. And social change of any sort arises through individuals that enter a dialogue and aspire to advocate for change in an area of perceived tension and need. In an age where movement and innovation are coming into their own, businesses can harness this by listening, sharing, collaborating and driving change in their specific interest area.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?

Brain Pickings – a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.

The Conversation – An independent sources of in-depth analysis, research, news and ideas sourced from the academic and research community

Freunde von freunden – FvF is an international interview magazine that portrays people of diverse creative and cultural backgrounds in their homes and within their daily working environments.

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter?

Elise B – @meditatecreate – Multi-passionate, curiosity driven, doctor, writer, documentary filmmaker, dancer, humanitarian, storygatherer, connector, Founder @mindfulinmay.

Veronica Grow – @VeronicaGrow – masters cross-disciplinary design, communication design professional/educator, and ethnographer. Founder @oldschoolthenew .

Angie Muccillo – @_artsinaction – Host of Social Action Film Night presenting world-changing documentary films that inspire & empower audiences to take action on global social issues.

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

Absolutely! I’m always on the scout for community engagement and collaboration in any form. A City With Quirk is community minded through and through.

Our readers are smart, creative, talented and good-looking. Here’s your chance to ask them anything.

If you could add a value-add good-looking feature to A City With Quirk, what would it be?

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

I relish supporting my local cafes. At the moment, I often flit between Pomona and Fumanchu (2 Gilbert Road, Preston, Melbourne). Both make a brilliant coffee and offer a welcoming and lovely atmosphere.

What is your favourite song by an Australian artist at the moment?

Nick Cave – Push The Sky Away

We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?

Most definitely! Lunch with me at my local newcomer, Fumanchu!

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