Week Four – I’m Listening 

Well this week flew by. We are really starting to get under the skin of the Open Referrals work – seeing how it fits into the wider ecosystem of products, standards, policies, user needs and organisation requirements. Not to mention taking a good look at the ups and downs, wins and losses of other open (data) standards in the public service space because ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

If you are interested in the OR work we’ve started to share weeknotes and from next Thursday we’ll have open Show and Tells every two weeks. You can sign up for more information here.

This week was also the first one where my open calendar experiment kicked in. In the end I had nine 30 minute conversations with different people, from a range of backgrounds and at very different stages in their careers. The two consistent elements were I didn’t know any of them previously and they were all at some kind of professional crossroads – or at least could feel themselves approaching that. Not surprisingly one way or another they were all interested in the public service digital space and my role mainly turned out to be someone independent but knowledgeable enough about their environments to understand their perspectives and maybe – just maybe – offer up some hard earned advice, make a useful introduction or just utter some reassuring words. 

It is hard to tell if I was actually helpful or if it was anything more than unqualified counselling but I got a lot out of it and I had some nice emails from a couple of folk saying thanks so I’ll keep doing it for a while longer I think.

Book a slot if you are so inclined.

In a very me move I also volunteered to be part of the panel for the recruitment of my replacement at the Department for Business and Trade so at the start of the week I was sifting CVs and writing up feedback as part of that process. CVs really are a terrible way of working out whether someone is a good fit for a role and too few applicants take the time to write a targeted cover letter – it really is a powerful option if you want to stand out.

Somehow I seem more impressive in French →

L’expert en produits de service public @jukesie rejoint la cohorte de mentors de cette année à #FWD50, juste à temps pour aborder certains des défis les plus difficiles de la transformation numérique. https://t.co/vYF4Ewkh7H pic.twitter.com/qfdzBbAz3Q

— FWD50 (@fwd50conf) October 12, 2023

Like many people I found myself watching – and enjoying – the Beckham documentary on Netflix. Those peak Beckham years were probably the last time I was massively (drunkenly) interested in football in a deep way. I still watch MOTD and all the big tournaments but it has been a long time since I was all-in. Back then though I really was and watching this – especially the way Beckham was treated in ‘98/’99 particularly makes me a bit ashamed of myself. I wasn’t hanging dummies or anything but I was definitely shouting abuse at TV screens and laughing along at horrible songs about Victoria Beckham. There was a lot to love about the 90s but looking back now much of it was pretty brutal – so much for all those pills making everyone ‘loved up’!

A couple of other things about the show – 

Ferguson, Capello and Carlos Queiroz came across as total control freaks with a nice line in ass covering. Queiroz especially came across as an ass and one without even success to mitigate it…but not as bad as Hoddle. He got a deserved kicking!

Victoria Beckham came across really well – I’ve suspected she was pretty cool for a while now but she really made this doc work for her. Now of course it was very much ‘authorised’ by Brand Beckham but I thought she was funny and likeable.

Beckham clearly has OCD, was remarkably selfish for a man who talks about family so much and it is easy to forget just what a brilliant player he was – I think that gets lost a bit.

Anyway it was very good even if you suspect that even at four hours it managed to skip some hard stuff.

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