[S05 E11] “Bend & Break”

In the land of the blind the blurry eyed man is…

A couple of hours ago now I had some drops put in my eyes for my diabetes eye test and basically the world is now an out of focus mystery. I am typing this directly into Medium in the browser with zoom at 200% so as accessibility tests go it is pretty useful. Why am I doing this when I clearly should be resting my eyes? Because I am an idiot and have a blogging streak to maintain — more on that later though.

Last week I was off work so my last #weeknotes were the tough to write episode 10. I’d hoped to use my week off to clear my head and think things through in a way that would shed some of my recent anxiety and let me really hit the ground running again. Unfortunately though my body had other ideas and I was really very unwell — it was just a bad case of man flu but for 3 or 4 days I was basically housebound and then it shifted to a bit of a chest infection. Anyway most importantly for these notes there was no head clearing and instead more moping. Unhelpful.

Things move fast at mySociety and as I had actually switched off email and Slack for a change I returned to quite a bit of news. New hires, new clients, proposals moved forward and meetings scheduled. It was pretty overwhelming to be honest — in a good way mainly but also in a way that made me aware of how little my input was required!

There was a lot of email to get through and catchup on and that wiped out much of Monday. Tuesday I had a couple of calls — including another one with Facebook — but also had a bit of backwards step with my recovery from last weeks illness that slowed me right down. I also spent some time answering a bunch of questions from a client that had been floating about for a while.

Wednesday morning I joined a call to welcome a new colleague who is actually based in Australia (I’m just copying Louise Cato now!) which was really good — he is a civic tech veteran and well known to mySociety and will be a great addition to the Democratic Commons team. Then I rushed to London for an afternoon of more detailed planning on what we could/should/would do for the Democratic Commons project in the last few weeks of this year. This was really useful but quite hard work. I left it feeling like we achieved more than I maybe expected but also pretty knackered (so much so I bought an upgrade to a less busy train home on my own dime!).

Thursday I mainly did some writing — pulling together this months Better Cities newsletter and a few more client calls. I also had an email forcefully reminding me I had dropped the ball on something I had promised a client a few weeks ago so I scrambled a bit in the evening to make up for that.

Today I spent the morning mainly working on re-jigging a big project proposal based on client feedback and getting myself in a terrible tangle on the financials before I headed off for my appointment.

It felt like a hard week if I’m honest. I don’t feel like myself at all. The smallest things cause me anxiety at the moment and my imposter syndrome is in overdrive. Unfortunately it is all a bit self fulfilling — anxiety begets anxiety.

On the other hand I had a really good week of just writing and publishing ‘stuff’. I decided to spend a week or two basically spewing my thoughts onto my blog with even less filter than usual 🙂 This is day eight of my blogging streak which includes:

  • This thing of ours — about using the mafia as a metaphor for digital
  • The Howard Hawks method — about not being afraid to keep telling the same story until you get it right
  • The method behind my madness — about how I produce my weekly jobs newsletter
  • Nimble? — my thoughts on what is wrong with Agile and why maybe we need a new term
  • Proper job — a few words about the new Google Jobs search and how it is a game changer
  • Take the high road…map — introducing the new GDS guidance on product roadmaps and some links to posts that have helped me in the past.

I also saw my request for a bit of Twitter promotion of my newsletter lead to 30ish new subscribers which is brilliant. More than 400 sign-ups now.

Not sure about what is ahead next week — I haven’t really looked.


I’m a bit stalled at a loss of around 2 and a half stone at the moment and I’ll be honest when I was ill last week sticking to the diet was hard. For the most part I did so though — certainly no big cheats but I think I am eating to much bread again and have fallen back on takeaways a couple of times (albeit much smaller options than in the past.) I also haven’t been exercising (well walking) as much since I’ve been ill.

I’m determined to have lost 3 stone by Christmas though (actually 3 stone and 4 pounds!) so I intend to recommit from tomorrow.



Thor: Ragnarok. It is bloody brilliant. 
Brawl in Cell Block 99. Unexpectedly good in an old school, hardcore action kind of way. 
Fast and Furious 8. Uninspiring but diverting.
Stranger Things 2. Wonderful. 
Mindhunter. Slightly overrated I think. 
Star Trek: Discovery. Undecided but final episode was very good.


IQ by Joe Ide — slightly generic detective fiction benefiting from hip hop style setting.
The Mighty One: Life Inside the Nerve Centre by Steve MacManus — biography of the original editor of 2000AD about his life in comics.


Stranger Things 2 soundtrack has scored my blogging this week.

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