Evolution not revolution.
So as I had been hinting at a little in the last couple of episodes some changes about my role were announced this week. To (mis)quote Heraclitus ‘change is the only constant in [work]’ so it is neither unexpected nor unwelcome. I’ve already written a bit about what this means and what I’ll be working on but the condensed #weeknotes version is my role will become broader but a bit shallower (so much like me!) and that while I did get a new job title it isn’t a promotion just a reshuffle of priorities.
I’m genuinely excited by the possibilities of our ‘Democratic Commons’ plans though I still have loads to learn before I can be totally effective in my role. That said I have already got ideas bouncing around in my head for blogposts, talks and partnerships. I also have some thoughts on how to make sure the team doesn’t burn itself out in pursuit of such lofty goals as well. Should make for an interesting fifth season anyway!
Oh if anyone reading this runs meet-ups, conferences, or the like and wants to hear about an ambitious plan including open data, internet giants and political data infrastructure on a worldwide scale give me a shout.
I’m not abandoning my Better Cities work entirely though — this week there was a call and some follow on work with Blooming Rose which seems OK but I fear suffers a bit from some cultural differences and a need for some expectation management. They are looking for detailed plans and dates from us whereas we are just looking to get the access and data we need to just get going so we can see what needs doing. This is the peril of selling something as if it is commodity SaaS when actually each integration is bespoke. It is fine — they are a great team to work with but I need a way to satisfy what they need while not make it too burdensome for us.
There was also a long call with Monark Springs who are now using the product in a completely live situation end to end and due to this there have been a few bugs identified and a number of UX or workflow issues that don’t quite work for team members as expected in real situations. This is pretty normal but it needs to be dealt with. These are very much our case study customer and we need to get things right.
When I was off last week Zarino had put together a first run of a new promo video using a script Myf had written and some insights from Mark. Initially something about it didn’t quite click for me but I realised after watching it a dozen or so times I was getting distracted by some holding images in the first few seconds. I’m not going to lie I’m not great with video content. I’d always rather read about a product or a service but as smart people say — you are not the user 🙂 Anyway I jotted down some feedback and suspect Zarino will take my barely adequate notes and still create something brilliant.
Friday and Saturday it was LocalGovCamp at Bristol’s City Hall (or Council House for a certain generation). Funnily enough while I am something of a mainstay at UKGovcamp and other unconferences I realised I hadn’t attended a LocalGovCamp before. I certainly hadn’t done so as a sponsor.
We had a bit of a minimal viable stand to be honest — I wasn’t sure what to expect but the exhibitor space was quite salesy in setup. That said we had a steady stream of people wander over for a chat, pick up a few stickers and generally make nice.
I didn’t attend any sessions on the Friday — reverting to my traditional corridor conferencing (but this time with a stand) but Saturday I did attend, and even contribute to, a few sessions and really enjoyed the day. There was a lot of enthusiasm in all the rooms and the cynicism, while certainly apparent, was nicely balanced. It is always lovely to catch up with friends and put real faces to Twitter profiles but also just to get some insight into the struggles people are facing in councils and the opportunities they see. Well done to the organisers and to all the delegates who made it in Saturday morning after salsa dancing until 3am 😉
Busy one next week including a Board meeting and a trip to Leeds. Also need to (re)write a talk and find a way to download Lucy’s brain into mine (well at least the part of it related to Wikidata.).
I have lost 3.1lbs in the last 7 days — which included the first major milestone of my first stone lost.
I have (re)discovered Ryvita and it turns out I quite like it and posh soups have been going down well. I have tried this low calorie Cadbury’s hot chocolate to try and beat my sweets cravings but it is a bit rank. Still trying not to eat bread Monday — Friday as well as still no Coke*, booze, takeaways, sweets, biscuits or chocolate, Greggs, proper crisps. I also now have sweetener in tea.
Steps wise I average 7,700 this week. Down on recent weeks but actually the first full working week where I was mainly in the office for a while and about 2,000 up on the average for that scenario. I have some thoughts on how to boost things.
I also had my first appointment with the Diabetes Nurse this week. Got a ‘gold star’ for my lifestyle changes already. Just told to keep it up really which was nice to hear.
*Coke stands for any and all sugary fizzy drinks so for me I means my much loved Red Coke and Orange Tango basically!
Shoe Dog. This is the story about the founder of Nike. I’m actually listening to it as thanks to Carrie I discovered I could ‘return’ books on Audible and refresh my credit. Winner. Also thanks to reading this interview with Cal Henderson on Lifehacker I learned you could change the speed of the narration so I am just trying 1.5x at the moment. The book is interesting so far — albeit a bit fond of the ‘spiritual’ in its description of the journey.
Expanse season two on Netflix.
I struggled a bit with season one of this. Mainly due to the casting of the two main roles; Holden and Miller. I’d read all the books and as such I had clear pictures in my head of both and they were just miles from them. Made it hard to engage. I still have the same issues in season two — though now mainly just with the Holden character as somehow Thomas Jane seems to have made the leap in this one for me. Also while I wasn’t sure about the casting of Bobbie in this season (she seemed too small for the character as written) Frankie Adams is brilliant in the role.
Anyway it is great sci-fi. Exciting, smart with some fun moments and its share of darkness.
OK. What’s next?