..or how not to take a holiday
Not much to say this week as I took the week off…sort of…I didn’t do a particularly good job of taking a break so I do have a couple of things to cover and taking the second week off of the season seemed a little lazy.
At the beginning of the week I got confirmed as a speaker at FSCONS which is in Oslo in October. I’ll be doing a version of my openness and blogging talk that I did at OpenTech and blogged about previously but that I am in the process of reworking it to expand some of the ideas and to double down on the ‘open’ and also to say more about the rise of #weeknotes. I’ll be doing the new version for the first time at Agile Cambridge in a couple of weeks with a focus on how it helps teams whereas the Oslo talk I’m going to try and make it more international and open source focused.
I also spent some time working on a potential pitch for the Service Design in Government conference next year — the call for speakers is currently open and I’ve always fancied attending but it has been out of my budget previously. I’m never really sure what the hell ‘service design’ really is (and yes I’ve read all the books and understand the concept but it just seems like a set of tools to me and I’m just not bought in to it as a ‘movement’) and I haven’t really landed on a way of presenting the work I want to in the right way for this event — despite being pretty certain the audience would be interested. Hopefully I can come back to it with fresh eyes a little later.
Tuesday morning I ended up having to work for a couple of hours to sweep up things I missed on the previous Friday. Mainly some stuff for Blooming Rose but also some work with Golden Pond as we move one of their projects to another supplier which required a bit of scrambling as I had missed an email the previous week. I also had a call with Bec, our Head of Research, who basically lives her life on planes and who I picture as the female version of the George Clooney character from ‘In the Air’…this was just to give her an update on some of our Better Cities work as she has another round of conferences coming up in far flung places.
Today (Friday) I ended up working most of the day in a series of meetings in the ‘office’. I purposely left my laptop(s) at home which was probably a good idea as (a) it really pissed down on the way into town and I was drenched and (b) I would have had no time to open it anyway! I’m not really at liberty to share what it is about yet but I suspect next weeks episode will be essentially focused on it. It is good stuff though and I’m excited.
Which is good as we also received a pretty solid gut punch about Blue Heron this afternoon which knocked the wind out of me a little. It is far from over but it just got significantly more complicated.
More generally this week I’ve been thinking a lot about slightly opaque concepts like ‘evangelism’ and ‘storytelling’ as regards my work. A big part of how I got this job is my getting out there and getting my voice heard but I feel like I have fallen down on the job a bit at mySociety so far on this front. I hadn’t really tuned in to a coherent narrative that felt personal enough for me really to get out there with. I think I’ve got that now — and I was reading a bunch of Russell’s posts this week (and following links from them) to get a bit of inspiration of how to approach things. I’m feeling pretty charged up actually — I wonder if a month of healthy living is helping!
I lost 2.8 lbs this week — after a weird start to the week as I put on 2lbs last Friday it turned out. I’m pretty sure weighing myself every day isn’t the best but it is still trending down so yay!
As I had the week off I spent a lot of time out walking — until today (Friday) I had averaged just under 11,000 steps a day since Saturday. Today will bring that down with a bump though I think.
I still haven’t had any booze (a rare dry month), fizzy drink, chocolate or takeaway. I also haven’t had bread since Saturday.
Oh and I cooked a load of meals for my new freezer so I have no excuse for a takeaway when I am tired as I have a bunch of chillis, curries and ragus ready and waiting.
This speech from Martha Lane-Fox about the idea of digital ‘understanding’ rather than ‘skills’ is really important I think and I commend Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho (to give her her due — it was in the House of Lords after all!) and the Doteveryone team for raising the issue and pushing this agenda. I think it is something that gets lost in the (nonsense) ‘digital native’ and (annoying) ‘kids must code’ debates that using tools and understanding them are not the same thing.
I’m also reading Do Story: How to tell your story so the world listens as part of my efforts to find some inspiration for the next phase of my work. I’m finding it interesting so far — I’ve never really dug into the study of storytelling and I suspect this might be the first book in a bit of a rabbit hole for me!
Princess Nokia’s 1992 Deluxe — just first class rap mixing old school lyrical skills with hipster topics and attitude.
Narcos season 3. The rise and fall of the Gentlemen of Cali is not as compelling as the Escobar storyline of seasons 1 & 2 but it is still good stuff and also benefits from being less familiar. I’m keen to see them move forward to the Mexican Cartels and how that all came to be though.