[S05 E05] “No Place Like Home”

Five by five


It has been a bit of a week. Proper rollercoaster territory. I had an amazing time at Thought Bubble in Leeds last weekend but by early Sunday evening I was having a full on anxiety attack related to a mistake I’d made at work that had come back to bite us. I couldn’t shake it until I sat down and documented it all and emailed the colleague who was having to clean up after me. It meant I could calm down enough to sleep but it was a restless evening.

It was such a stupid thing and it really bothers me that I made the error.

It got resolved thanks to the amazing Abi and her perseverance in the face of procurement bureaucracy madness but it took a lot of effort.

Monday was a bitty day as I basically spent the morning on back to back Google Hangouts in my hotel in Leeds (I am in two teams now so attend both ‘stand-ups’, one of the teams had sprint planning and there was the fortnightly CHUMPS* meeting) and then just before check out time I rushed to the train station to get myself to Birmingham and another Premier Inn and more Hangouts. This included my final handover conversation with Lucy 😦 She will be much missed at mySociety — I’m just realising just how much she has done in her brief time with us. ThoughtWorks are very lucky to get her.

Tuesday was our occasional face to face team meeting which is why I was in Birmingham. These meetings were more regular but over the summer they slipped and with our team now extra dispersed with a team member in St.Andrews I need to think about the cadence.

It was a pretty relaxed event as usual — it is basically just an opportunity for people to see each other, thrash out some big picture stuff and fill in some of the gaps that Slack can’t quite manage. I always find them useful — I come away with an energy boost each time but I think they need to become a bit more structured with more actions. Unfortunately the venue was a bit of a let down with real connectivity problems throughout the day. Lunch at the Warehouse Cafe was lovely again though.

I had to join a couple more Hangouts at the end of the day — one about our comms planning and particularly the FixMyStreet Pro marketing content we’ve been producing (the new website and video Zarino have done are really great and there is more to come.) Then I was an observer in the retrospective for our recent work with Facebook around the German elections. This is a project I am being eased into before it likely becomes a massive part of my working world in 2018. It was an interesting retro — it had clearly been a tough gig with some real challenges. Some of these were self-inflicted, some were client-inflicted and some were just unexpected (the lack of quality, open data in Germany was a bit of a shock!). Despite all this though the team delivered and delivered impressively. They really pulled together and think they needed to step back and see just what a success they’d pulled off in difficult circumstances.

After this though things went a bit pear-shaped. I needed to get to Cambridge to speak at AgileCambridge on Wednesday but unfortunately it was a bit of a catalogue of disasters. There was a fatality on the line which led to an almost three hour delay. Then when I got to Cambridge my hotel had given my room away and it took them two hours to find an alternative (by which time it was 01.45). The hotel they found for me was 30 minutes away. In the end I got 3 hours ish sleep before heading back to Cambridge to give my talk.

God knows how it went. It is all a bit of a blur. It was an update of my openness/blogging talk but I went off script and even did an unscheduled Q&A. It was filmed so maybe one day I’ll watch it back!

I took the rest of the day off to travel home without feeling the need to work as I was broken.

Thursday I caught up with email and support in general. Had a catch up with Tony about how I’m actually going to help out the EveryPolitician project now Lucy has gone and with Gemma about some ambitious ideas for some Wikidata related events we want to run.

Also I had another video call (for a change this one was using BlueJeans not Hangouts) this time with the Facebook product manager for the work we are doing in New York just to be introduced really. A couple of us are heading to New York to meet with the Facebook Civics team soon (another trip to NYC is not something I am going to complain about) to talk about our ‘democratic commons’ idea and our ongoing relationship with them. I’m really excited about this idea — it is really coming together quickly now. It isn’t quite real yet but I can see the pieces and the vision is just the right kind of crazily ambitious.

Some of Friday was sorting travel and accommodation for this. Some was listening in on planning calls for the next project and making sure we get the balance between contributing to Wikidata and the commons and supplying Facebook the data they need right.

Not much travel next week — maybe just a day in London. Can’t wait.


#weightnotes


This was a tough week for my diet/exercise. I was away from home for five nights and basically ate out each evening. However I didn’t drink or have anything sugary so that felt like a win (it wasn’t easy). I ended up losing just 1.4lbs in the week but at least it still trended down.
Over the weekend I did 3 days in a row of 12,000+ steps but then I spent too much time on trains or sleepwalking and it has been rubbish.


#no-life

Watching:

The Good Place is now on Netflix — with all of season one and the season two being show weekly. LOVE this show — it is dark, weird and subversive in quite a light way and is just genuinely funny with a great cast. Watch it.

Wasn’t impressed with the new Star Trek. Just seemed misjudged and the acting really grated. I’ll keep watching though as Fuller is a great show runner and well it is Star Trek.

Reading:

Haven’t read these yet but this is the list of comics I came away from Thought Bubble inspired to get hold of:

The Motherless Oven
The Can Opener’s Daughter 
Shade the Changing Girl
Mother Panic
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Harrow County

Listening:

Well not much but Gerard Way was at Though Bubble — he writes comics and I like some of them so I went to a couple of his talks — but I was only vaguely aware he’d been in a band. Turns out it was a bit of a big deal and there were LOTS of young people there to see him!