[2024] Week 11

I write this with tired eyes and fatigued fingers after a week of spreadsheeting and statement of work drafting. Tuesday was definitely a record for time spent glaring at Google Sheets and angrily clicking in cells.

Trackers and calculators and balance sheets as far as my ageing eyes could see. Copy and pasting, format fixing and forgetting not to use ‘we’ or ‘us’ in the contracts, or to spell out acronyms because I am blind to them at this point.

Keeping track of availability of individuals across multiple professions for multiple teams to make sure we land the right people in the right place to set everybody up for success.

…basically doing the job I was hired for, am good at and am very well compensated for but sometimes all the more painful bits hit all at once and I look on with envy at product people who get to actually run product teams…but I know that isn’t me anymore and there was plenty this week to balance things out.

There were more interesting ORUK chats this week and things are really coming together. Roadmaps exist, people are being recruited into the team, priorities are emerging. We are also thinking about how this model might support other open standards as well as about the services and tools that ORUK enables and how we can engage there. It is all very exciting.

I was part of a really fun workshop thinking through some of our comms and marketing plans and ambitions for ‘24/25. Inevitably I tend to have a bit of an unstructured approach to this kind of thing (calling it agile would be unfair to Giles and his very thought out Agile Communications approach!) but I do enjoy talking through how we share and influence in a way that fits with our culture and that of the people we want to speak to. There are some fine lines to tread but also space to have some personality and opinions I think.

One of the first changes to come out of this workshop is our meet-up series has had a bit of a rebrand – so come along to the Digital Forum on the 25th April in Whitechapel. The talks are always interesting, the sandwiches are lovely and the drinks are free – what more could you ask for!

I had a great chat with Katy on all manner of things but especially the recent uptick in chat about the idea of a Local Government Digital Service spurred by James’ blogpost and Theo’s response [and now Mark’s thoughts!] I have my own lukewarm take on all this but am keeping my powder dry for now – let all the big brains have their say

What else this week? Well I was reminded that it was nine years since I went to SXSW to give a talk – that flat-lined – but I saw Jessica Alba, Hulk Hogan, RZA, Christian Slater, Al Gore, Run the Jewels, the first screenings of The Expanse, iZombie and Mr Robot which was fun. Generally though it was like Spring Break for people who thought the Silicon Valley TV show was aspirational. When I told people I was a Civil Servant (as I was at the time) many people literally just walked off or looked disgusted. It was a weird scene!

Here are the slides from my talk and the links I shared.

We launched the tickets for our latest Product for the People unconference in London last weekend and we’d ‘sold out’ by Monday. I suspect we could easily triple the attendance for the London edition venues permitting. I don’t think we (Debbie, Steve and I + the community) want to go BIG but maybe we should think about going Bigger

On the topic of product and community I joined a growing gang on WhatsApp that Scott has set up. It is a wonderful collection of people and I can already see it is going to be a lovely addition to my professional life – but my god I am clueless with WhatsApp! I never really engaged with it – it always seemed like something driven by parent groups or neighbour watch types and as I am neither it kind of passed me by and I’m feeling like all those people I told to use Twitter as it was easy in the old days!

I enjoyed American Fiction – the relationships, especially the siblings but also the friends and colleagues, were so finely drawn and beautifully performed but I have to say the main plot device, while funny AF on many occasions, felt like it was from another movie or an SNL sketch. Still it was a great watch.

At the very other end of the Hollywood experience I also watched Anyone But You. Honestly it felt like the only reason this movie existed was to keep Sydney Sweeney in a bikini and Glen Powell shirtless for as much of the runtime as possible. Honestly Sweeney in particular deserves a lot better – she is very beautiful for sure but she is a great actor and seems like a really genuine person in interviews – this was junk.

Death and Other Details is a pretty fun show on Disney+ that is a ChatGPT* mash-up of Poirot, Only Murders in the Building and, as Rachel pointed out, White Lotus. Mandy Patinkin is especially fun in it. I think it falls apart towards the end but the first half or so was enjoyable.
*I suspect very talented writers worked on it but it really feels like a mash-up

Leave a Comment