The wheels on the bus

myWeek (s4e22)

It was a short week for me as I returned from New York on the overnight flight Sunday/Monday and as usual didn’t get much in the way of sleep rendering the Monday a bit of a blur! I had booked Tuesday off as well though did end up working part of the afternoon due to an interesting call.

It was, however, a good week.

Since I started this job I have had a consistent feeling of anxiety about bringing in sufficient work to justify my role (and the whole team really.) As I’ve said before I am no salesman and a lifetime in public service has not really honed my entrepreneurial skill set! This week though things started to change.

A whole bunch of work has started to come in for this summer. Some expected, some hoped for, some out of the clear blue sky really. It is the classic case of no buses for ages and then they all show up together.

This means the immediate challenge has shifted from worrying about finding work to worrying about delivering it! The ‘strategy is delivery’ after all. That said Marlo was right — “sounds like one of them good problems.”

It was good to have a proper catchup with Dave to discuss all the incoming work and what help we might need with Stuart’s departure imminent. He came over to Bristol and while Hangouts etc are fine there is a lot to be said in just having a morning to shoot the breeze in person and see where the conversation takes you.

Zarino and Matthew finished the first phase of the new Borsetshire demo version of FixMyStreet and there is some amusement in the team as to my excitement levels about this! For me though I see this as the cornerstone of a whole bunch of the product marketing artefacts that we need to produce. New screencasts? Use Borsetshire. Training materials? Screenshot Borsetshire. Flyers for Councils? Base them on Borsetshire. Images for blogposts? Well you get the idea.

Just making a few tweaks to the UI will make it work as a standalone demo for people (particularly people at Councils) to try out and help us identify leads. This current burst of projects needs to be maintained after all!

There is work to be done. Not least creating a whole bunch of demo reports, providing all the context to make it usable without someone from our team demo-ing it and working out how you access it from the marketing pages for FMS Pro. Still it is really close now and I am excited and I don’t care who knows it!

In a nice coincidence this week Giles published this great blogpost about the power of stickers and how useful they are beyond just the ability to raise a smile (though that should not be ignored) on the same day I was chatting to Zarino on Slack about wanting stickers for FMS Pro and wanting them to be more than just a logo — something that was more of a conversation starter. Personally I like the idea of doing something with the new report pin icons Zarino did recently for a client but I’m no designer which is well established!

The conversation was spurred by us agreeing this week to sponsor LocalGovCamp which is in Bristol which should be a fun couple of days.

Elsewhere Red River Landing is in danger of becoming our version of the ‘Neverending Story’ — it feels like it is teetering on the edge of finishing but has done for a while now. It is crawling towards completion and I’m not sure how to just give it the nudge it needs. The lack of a hard launch deadline hasn’t helped as well as a changing cast of clients (all of whom are lovely) but it needs something. I’ve been a bit of an absentee project manager in recent weeks which has meant Zarino has been stitched up fronting calls and doing most of the work — if nothing else that needs to change.

We also found ourselves with another project popping up with some pretty unreasonable deadlines to be honest. Lets call this Kickapoo. This is another US based client and it is for a conference website — how we found ourselves supporting conference software is beyond me. They are a demanding client — professional and focused but demanding and I find the work frustrating as it seems so far out of our mission as an organisation.

Still this week the good far outweighed the ill and in another week where tragedy struck I’m not sure my well being could have taken a professional hit on top of the general sorrow that the whole country seems to be suffering.

Listening: Taylor Swift (well she is back on Spotify after all!)

Reading: Black Hammer. A really strange and wonderful comic that has roots in quite traditional superhero fare but goes in a totally different direction.

Watching: Orange is the New Black. Most I’ve enjoyed this show since season one I think — it still struggles a bit now it tries to focus on so many characters but it got the balance better I think and the story arc was more coherent.

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