August 2020

August sign with colour confetti. Vector paper illustration.

This has been a month of pretty severe ups and downs and I’ve had to take the last few days of the month off to try and recharge and take stock.

On the positive side I finally got out and went for lunch/drinks with two of my closest friends which was lovely, I’m still really enjoying my painting and am noticeably improving at it, we started a big new programme of work with Land Registry and I’ve been able to bring a couple of great folk in to help us with that, one of the team I’ve been working with at Essex got their permanent role after interview and the wider recruitment campaign looks like it will bear fruit.

On the negative side my physical and mental fatigue is becoming crippling. I don’t feel like I’ve really improved in aggregate for ages now. Every good day costs me several brutal ones. Even four days work (with the occasional half day off thrown in) feels like too much most weeks. I’m struggling to stay awake until 9pm most work days and my motivation to do anything apart from sleep, eat, work – and thankfully paint (which really is keeping me sane) – is the lowest it has been since all this began in March. I’ve just run out of steam…and fuel.

I know I have it better than most – I have a well paid, flexible job that I enjoy and am able to do from home even when I’m feeling a bit broken, I have my own flat with no caring responsibilities, a bit of a garden, family close by, every streaming service available and who knows how many other advantages. All that said I am feeling a bit sorry for myself more than I’d like.

I’m also going through a little bit of professional existential angst at the moment that doesn’t help. My work at Essex is coming to an end soon and it has got me thinking. I’ve really enjoyed my time with the team but it isn’t really something we do as a service at Notbinary. In fact a lot of what I’ve been doing since I stood down as Co-CEO and from the Board at the end of 2019 has been a bit of an outlier. I’ve been a bit of a ‘Digital Leader without Portfolio’ taking on a series of solo missions (from the companies point of view) and getting further away from the day-to-day running of the company. This wasn’t a strategy and with big things afoot for the business I’ve been trying to define a clearer role for myself in the next phase…but this isn’t proving easy as what the hell do I really do. It was never that clear and now it is a total smorgasbord of ideas, approaches, beliefs and connections wrapped in a folksy delivery style that is not to the taste of everybody. I’m a total luxury on a delivery team at this point and I’m not sure the world is ready for ‘digital consigliere as a service’ just yet. I’m sure something will fall into place – it always has after all. I’m excited by the changes for the company coming up and want to be a part of it…just not sure how just yet!

Haven’t blogged much this month until these last couple of days but the Top 10 tips and Testing the Top 10 tips posts have gone down well so far.

I really enjoyed the ‘Product and Society‘ online convening organised by Kathy Pham et al at Harvard. Three minutes is a tough timing for a lightning talk but there were a load of great ones – and those I didn’t like were soon over!

On the other had the launch event for ‘Teaching Public Service in the Digital Age‘ was a bit of a red herring. I’m still massively interested in this work but this gathering really didn’t add to my understanding of it. I’ll re-engage further down the line.

This post by Rachel was the best thing I read this month –> Scream If You Want to Go Faster! Why Government Technology Needs (Much) Better Governance

I enjoyed the second season of The Umbrella Academy (more than the first) and ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’ had its moments – both Netflix. I also watched ‘Good Trouble’ on iPlayer – this is the sequel to the most ‘woke’ show ever called ‘The Fosters’ that I watched when I was in the US last year and is this weird mix of hipster soap and very left-leaning politics – it helps everybody is spectacularly attractive.

Still not reading much but have caught up on a bunch of comfort food comics (Snyder’s Justice League) and have started on this work of art..

Okay I need to get out and do something. I am dressed in my best jeans, hoodie and trainers this morning in an effort to trick myself into going out!

Stay safe gang.


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