POCA Tv Is Live

Comrades, I’ve got some good news.

When we first started drafting the POCA Tech budget, I said, “Hey! I have an idea! Let’s film all the classes and post them online! That way lots more people can participate, and if we charge a reasonable subscription fee, that will provide another income stream and help us keep tuition low. Also, it might help with all of those people who want to ‘learn about acupuncture’ but don’t actually want to be punks.”

Sometimes when I say, “Hey! I have an idea!” I can practically hear everyone else thinking, Oh God.  In this case, though, lots of other people thought it was a pretty good idea too. And as Carmen and I went through endless iterations of the POCA Tech budget, the line that said, “income from video subscriptions” did indeed improve our outlook, along with POCA Tech’s bottom line.

This was last year. And every time I thought about the online videos, I knew in my heart  that it wasn’t going to be that easy. I knew that making paid online video content actually happen was undoubtedly a big project in its own right, and here I had just cheerfully dropped it into the mix of what was already the biggest project I’d ever contemplated. The kindest word for that is “foolhardy”.

 Nonetheless, I couldn’t let it go. I loved the idea of making POCA Tech classes public. So many punks had already said wistfully, when they heard about POCA Tech, “Wow, I wish I could go to POCA’s school.” I was in contact with so many POCA employers who were struggling to retrain their punk employees. And of course, every other day I would hear from somebody who was interested in acupuncture school, or thought they were. From being in the field this long, I know full well that a huge number of acupuncturists ended up with crushing debt just because they had the bad luck to get interested in acupuncture school. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to find out whether you really wanted to learn this stuff before you signed up? A video subscription to classes, why doesn’t any other acupuncture school do that? I know, I know, ACAOM doesn’t accredit distance learning; I’m not talking about getting a diploma via  distance learning, I’m just talking about making the class content transparent to prospective students. Come on, tell me that’s not a good idea!

We tried really hard to avoid the 6-months-to-a-year bureaucratic sink that is the process of getting POCA Tech licensed by the State of Oregon as a private career school. I really, really didn’t want to have to go through that. But now that we are going through it, I’m convinced that it’s one of those things like being forced to brush your teeth as a kid. You might resist initially but in the long run it’s emphatically for the best. While we’re laboriously putting together our application, and the State of Oregon is laboriously processing it, we’re getting the opportunity to get our act together and get some things done that otherwise would have fallen on our heads like a ton of bricks once the school was open and we were already overwhelmed. One of those things is developing the curriculum to what Robert Hayden calls “ACAOM bomb-proof standards”. (Stay tuned to see the 100+ page work of art that is the overview of our POCA Tech curriculum, coming soon.) And another thing is POCA Tv.

POCA Tv is the forerunner and the ultimate platform for the POCA Tech video subscriptions. And the good news? We just got the damn thing set up and ready to roll. And wouldn’t you know, it turns out we needed it anyway, regardless of the POCA Tech content. As we were putting it together, it became clear that POCA Tv would make many things easier in our collective life as a coop.

I said in the keynote speech, because I believe it: “So this is what we’re trying to do with each other: as acupuncture patients, we’re trying to ensure a stable, reliable supply of affordable acupuncture for ourselves and everyone we care about; and for acupuncturists, we’re trying to build a collective patient base that is big enough to support all of us to make a living.”

A stable, reliable supply of affordable acupuncture means well-trained punks in well-organized clinics. Wouldn’t an easily accessible source of training videos be a godsend in training punks? I am always amazed at how many people get POCA clinics going right after graduating from school, often without the benefit of being around any other acupuncturists to help them learn how to do acupuncture. The fact is, when you are a brand-new punk, you are learning everything: you’re learning to needle in the real world, you’re learning how to treat all sorts of conditions you never saw in the school clinic, and on top of it all you’re running a business! I know that people struggle with getting their numbers up, and I have to say, given the steep learning curve, I think new punks should feel great about getting anybody through their doors at all. It’s much easier for new punks in a BDC, for example, especially one like WCA where it’s possible sometimes to overlap shifts with more senior punks -- just so you can see how someone else does stuff. To some degree, that situation is what we want to try to reproduce with POCA Tv. We can’t all work in the same clinic, but at least we’ll get to see how other punks do stuff.

And for big clinics themselves, POCA Tv could also be a godsend. In fact, WCA has already signed up as a POCA Tv sponsor and gotten ourselves an account. My plan is to send out an email to all of our staff with the access codes for our account and say, please go watch all the videos that pertain to your job. If it’s a little slow at the front desk, watch a video -- some of them are under 10 minutes, and very inspirational!  When we hire new punks, their first task will be to watch everything on the “Punk Skills” channel and on the CA 101 channel. I feel overwhelming relief in thinking about how much that will help with getting new staff up to speed. Training takes a lot of effort, and I’m always worrying about what I might have forgotten to tell someone.

And if we’re building a shared patient base, wouldn’t it be great to make videos that would appeal to our shared patients? Not to mention those shared patients who are prospective POCA Tech students; what better screening than to ask them to watch the Punk Skills channel? Yes, acupuncture is fascinating; but this is what goes into providing it.

After putting on two rocking POCAfests, we have discovered a trend: POCA folks in the west go to POCAfests in the west, POCA folks in the east go to POCAfests in the east, and POCA folks in the Midwest go to whichever is closer -- except for the truly hardcore, who make heroic efforts to go to both. There wasn’t a huge overlap in the attendees from our two POCAfests. So it’s clear that POCAfests have to  move around,  but wouldn’t it be great to share the content with all the folks who couldn’t attend? We filmed as many breakout sessions as we could in the last POCAfest, and we’re editing our way through the footage now.

We got very lucky in our timing in that Vimeo came out with the platform that we needed just a couple of months ago. So one reason we haven’t been able to do this obviously necessary thing before was that there was no easy program to do it with. But the other reason was that it turns out that setting up video on demand and making and editing videos is a lot of work. It’s so much work, and some of it’s so technical, that it’s not a realistic undertaking for volunteers alone. POCA created two half-time positions (me and Wade; we both dropped acupuncture shifts) to get POCA Tv off the ground: but it will only continue if it can pay for itself. So we really hope you like it and we hope it does what POCA needs it to do.

This story was posted on July 1 2013 by Lisafer.

Comments

  • July 1 2013 at 3:02 PM
    alexa writes:

    So exciting! I just signed up to be a sponsor, which will be incredibly helpful since our clinic just hired 3 new punks. The value of all this content far exceeds a mere $15/month. Thank you POCA!!!

      4 likes
  • July 1 2013 at 3:15 PM
    Andrea writes:

    This is so awesome!  Great idea Lisa.  Looking forward to reading through the POCA TV stuff this afternoon between pokes.

      3 likes
  • July 1 2013 at 10:58 PM
    michellecoxri writes:

    This is so exciting! I am a patient and am looking forward to learning even more about this movement. I have been so impressed with the collective humble genius that is community acupuncture - it’s made a huge impact on me and the way in which I feel I can contribute to and affect the world around me. Not to mention that the needles are awesome too smile

      4 likes
  • July 1 2013 at 11:09 PM
    HelenHillebrand writes:

    I’ve just subscribed to all 378 minutes of POCA Tv—may not get any sleep tonight!  I’ve been going to Little Bird Community Acupuncture since fall of 2010 on a pretty regular basis.  Watching the videos on intakes makes me see that all those times I’ve sat in the chair I’ve been passively learning a new language without realizing it—I can understand it but can’t “speak” it—yet! POCA Tv is a wonderful companion to POCA Tech!

      3 likes
  • July 1 2013 at 11:19 PM
    Lisafer writes:

    Thanks, you guys, and welcome, Michelle and Helen to punk-speak. smile We are hoping to have more videos specifically geared to patients soon—but also, I am really happy to know that patient members are going to be watching all of the POCA TV content, including the videos we made with punks in mind. I think it’s going to make us an even better multi-stakeholder co-op.

      3 likes
    • obnicole
  • July 2 2013 at 9:20 AM
    Spartacus writes:

    I can never express how much I love POCA, but I can say it grows every single freaking day. I am so fucking honored to be working with you all. Thanks for this awesome new POCA Tv!

      4 likes
    • Lisafer
    • spitfire
    • sizzlek
    • melissa
  • July 3 2013 at 9:42 PM
    StillpointCA writes:

    Signed up, gonna be a sponsor. Count StillpointCA IN!

      1 likes
  • July 4 2013 at 12:34 AM
    midwest jessica (jvh) writes:

    I’ve been procrastinating digging deep into the videos, but i did use the “so our goal today is to see if you like coming here” line a few times today and it was like watching a lightbulb go off in peoples’ heads…so valuable, so useful, seconding Kim in saying how incredibly humbling it is to just be here, and one of these days i’m going to figure out how to give more back to the fractal.

      2 likes
  • July 4 2013 at 6:21 PM
    Lisa B. writes:

    Brilliant. Can’t wait to watch some of these with the other punk!

      1 likes
  • August 18 2013 at 1:35 AM
    HelenHillebrand writes:

    I have a question regarding retention of POCA TV subscribers. 

    Is it technically possible to send email notices to subscribers to remind them their subscription is coming (or has come) to an end?  I think this would be a really good practice; emails can remind people to stay engaged when life may distract them.  I’d really welcome such notices!

      0 likes
  • August 18 2013 at 11:15 AM
    Wadelp writes:

    I actually just did that a day or 2 ago.  Unfortunately it is a manual process because Vimeo doesn’t allow us to see a list of folks who have made a purchase from us.  I will send out a notice to folks a couple of times a month but only if they are on my tracking list.  How to get there?  Send me the receipt that you receive when you “Buy All” each month.  Send those receipts to techsupport(at)pocacoop.com and I’ll send you a reminder if you haven’t renewed.

      0 likes

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