Week twenty. Give or take that is 100 working days. It has been a long time since I felt such a steep learning curve but I’m starting to feel like I am getting somewhere. Maybe I’ll take the time this weekend to write a retrospective of my time so far? Maybe.
If I was drained last week I didn’t really do a great job of filling the tank this and it shows. I felt myself being snappy and ill tempered earlier in the week. Former colleagues will recognise it — I’m rarely outright rude but my dick settings get turned up a fair bit when I am fried. At least I am self-aware enough these days to spot it early on. I need some down time but I’m not sure New York next week will provide — but fuck it it is New York!
On Monday I decided to ignore the Bank Holiday and headed into the office to stop myself Netflixing the day away and found myself in an empty office with those automatic ceiling lights that turn off without movement — not spooky at all 🙂 Honestly I could have done with the extra rest the Bank Holiday offered but there is no denying I really powered through my to-do list with four hours with zero distractions. Being out and about so much in (s4e19) had left me on the back foot on a number of projects so I was get back on steadier ground.
I revisited the FixMyStreet marketing pages and copy. After Mark had pointed out some of the weaknesses last week coming back to it I found I could see what was needed clearly this time. Not sure what was causing my blind spot before. I hacked away at it and massively cut down the wall of copy, simplified things and reorganised the flow of the page. There is more to come but I’m pretty happy with it and very thankful to Martin for turning my scrappy, copy and pasted Frankenstein document into a well designed page I’m pretty proud of.
Next week is really the kick off for all our ‘product marketing’ activity and I also found myself drafting a couple of blogposts on Monday and later in the week researching and writing the first edition of our upcoming Better Cities newsletter. Thank god Zarino has some Mailchimp template chops as it will look lovely if nothing else. You can sign up here if you are curious.
The newsletter is going to be monthly — which is just as well as it is a pretty intensive process at the moment. I skimmed something like 400 blogposts in Feedly to select just half a dozen links I liked enough to share. Then I tried to write a bit of a narrative around them rather than just provide a list of links. I enjoyed it but it takes a lot for now (it will get easier as I understand which sources I can reply on..).
I did some content publishing for Red River Landing which was a nice step back in time to my early days as a web editor. Seriously though only developers would think Github makes sense as a CMS!
We were successful with a recent proposal for work on a FixMyStreet spin-off — we’ll call it Hindostan Falls. I spent some time reading contracts due to this and then fretting about IPR issues. Thankfully a colleague (thanks Paul) was able to dig up some precedent which helped frame my response to the client — it isn’t unusual for us to have to go through some back and forth due to the open source nature of our main products.
I bashed out a high level statement of work proposal for Golden Pond and got the green light to go ahead which is a nice tidy piece of work that should keep Stuart out of mischief before he moves on 😦
Product videos have been on my mind this week a fair bit as well. We need one and as video isn’t my most natural format I have been looking at a lot of other ones. There seems to be two types. Really slick, professional looking videos with voice actors and smooth animations and really none of those things! The gap between the good and bad is huge. The thing is much as I want to avoid the ‘bad’ I also thing many of the ‘good’ are just a bit too slick. A bit over produced. We need to find a level that is good but also…I don’t know…authentic? Anyway I’ve left a few idea percolating.
Elsewhere I have been working on Andre. One day I’ll tell you about Andre but not today and not tomorrow. One day though and it is an interesting story I promise.
Flying to New York Tuesday so I imagine the panic will start sometime Sunday. Really looking forward to Personal Democracy Forum but also my street art tour and my first ever visit to Coney Island.
Listening: hopeless fountain kingdom — Halsey (Seriously I love this and her first album — my most listened to non-rap artist. Weird.)
Reading: Walkaway — Cory Doctorow (Well I am trying anyway. It is basically a bunch of ideas in search of a storyline and I don’t much care for any of the characters. Will finish it.)
Watching: The Wizard of Lies. (A HBO movie about Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme starring Robert De Niro might not sound like must see TV but it is really amazing and De Niro is brilliant — as is Michelle Pfeiffer.)