We’ll meet again

myWeek (s4e24)

So this is the season four finale for my weeknotes. Still on track for ‘six seasons and a movie’ (well more likely a short book.) The plan is to take the rest of the summer off and return on, or near, the 1st September with the premier of season five.

The fact that there is a growing band of fellow weeknoters is something I am really proud of…it was far from my idea but I like to think I’ve played a little bit of a role in encouraging the recent take up (even if that was mainly by encouraging Dan Barrett who inspired everyone else!).

My plan over the summer is to write a couple of broader posts about my thoughts on Govtech and ways of working based on my new experience but also to see whether I can finally get some version of the ‘Web of Words’ event I’ve wanted to do for years to happen. It feels like there is an opportunity to at least do a GovBlog+ type of event but maybe there is a bigger opportunity?

Despite what it might read like occasionally in my notes I love my job at mySociety — I’m just prone to introspection and this job seems to bring that out in me more at the moment as I am frequently less sure of myself than I was in the civil service. It has been the most consistent fun I’ve had at work since the ONS Alpha project which remains my career highlight.

I’m learning everyday in this role. About sales and marketing. About working in a remote team. About working in a developer driven organisation. About client relationships. About things like cash flow spreadsheets (albeit slowly there!). Sometimes it is a lot. It is always interesting though and I never feel stuck like I did in my brief time at Defra.

One of the notable changes in my life post civil service is my days have ceased to be organised around a consistent stream of meetings. They are generally much rarer and much shorter these days.

This week was an exception.

  • Had a weekly catch up with Monark Springs just sweeping up loose ends as we near what will be the first complete end to end instance of FMS Pro.
  • Slightly odd experience of essentially eavesdropping via Google Hangouts into an otherwise face to face meeting at Gainesville while dropping in talking points and clarifications into a Slack back channel.
  • Tough call with Kickapoo trying to resolve the issues that continue to plague this project. There is a chasm between their expectations and our capability to service the project at that level. It was a good, professional conversation but I’ll be glad to get this off our slate.
  • Caught up with Darwin Peltan to have a chat about how things are going at Pilot.Works and to share some of my experiences from my public sector days to fill in a bit of background for them.
  • Great catchup with Sarah Prag (over a very nice burger). Sarah remains someone I very much consider a peer/mentor — her perspective is always valuable to me and I very much hope we get to work together again sometime.
  • Leigh Dodds was in Desklodge this week so had the opportunity to catch up with him about what he is up to these days (this is prior to him becoming an award winner with the Bath:Hacked project!)

  • Thursday we had our team meeting at the lovely Impact Hub Birmingham — it was a little strange as it was the penultimate day for Stuart Harrison and Rachel but guest appearances from Louise, Martin and Zarino and a lovely lunch at the Warehouse cafe and then later observing some truly terrible pinball playing at Tilt lifted spirits and we also had some useful work conversations — including a helpful 1–2–1 with Mark Cridge (my boss) about upcoming priorities. 
    I tried an experiment by letting the team co-create the agenda and then we prioritised it with a little dotmocracy — went down OK I think.
  • Friday I got to catch up with Andy from Delib. Long before I knew mySociety I was already doing stuff with Delib so one way or another I have known Andy a long time now. It was really good to have a catch up and a natter about a bunch of govtech-y community thoughts he had on the simmer — the cross over with my own plans were considerable so things might emerge!

I also spoke at the ‘business day’ at DrupalCamp Bristol on Friday. It was at the Watershed so was a home fixture and I enjoyed doing a talk at the same event a few years ago so was happy to do a repeat performance. I did a version of my ‘The Wrong Users’ talk and it seemed to go down pretty well. It really is a nice audience and they asked some good questions so it was fun. The talk is coming together as well.

Listening: Run the Jewels live at Glastonbury — love these guys. Rhymes and beats for days. Great stage presence and just genuinely seem like top blokes! The Stormzy set is great as well.

Reading: Finished Shattered. Decided to shift to fiction for a while so just started The Force by Don Winslow — Power of Dog and the Cartel are amongst my favourite books and I also loved his Boone Daniels, surfing detective, novels.

Watching: Baby Driver. Believe the hype. The best movie yet from Edgar Wright — more car chases than all the Fast and Furious movies and a better musical than La La Land.

Right — that’s all folks. See you on the other side 🙂

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