Week notes: 10-16 June 2024

Huge if true, are we the baddies, father’s day.

I’ve been poorly with a cold, feeling rained-on, but ploughed on regardless cos I’ve got too much to dooTISHOO.

Work, work, work 

I spent about a third of this week on that same issue that’s been dominating of late, but turned some attention back onto prep for running our first digital advisory board, and getting team goal-setting and reporting rhythms ship shape (or ship-shapier) for Q2. 

I did a bit of reflecting (in the bath, if that’s not TMI for you freaks who can picture things) on the need to spend my time more wisely on the value I can uniquely add to my teams and the BFI, rather than whatever is most pressing to help move along. Sent myself an email about it – which is some kind of action isn’t it? Am hopeful for a bit of a reset on my work habits when Martha (our new leadership team coordinator) starts mid-July. Not overnight, but as she settles in and we get into it.  

My former (best eva) PT, Greg, used to ask “how committed are you to this goal right now?” but his real question was always the next one: “and what would change that to an 8 or 9?” (Like the five whys, but for coaches). I think I was maybe 5/10 committed to the thing in the previous paragraph when I emailed myself, but writing it in public here brings that to a seven. Weeknotes FTW!

Are we the bad guys?

This article about people craving real things resonated – I have a growing nostalgia for the things we lost. That, in combo with enshittification, gig workers, culture wars, ruined creative business models, the high carbon cost of AI… working in tech increasingly feels like being in that Mitchell and Webb sketch, doesn’t it?

Switching metaphors but in the same vein – what if the dystopia we’re building is less Skynet and more The Cube, each bit designed in ignorance of the others but creating a whole that’s far worse than the sum of its parts? “Nobody is in charge. It’s a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan” – Worth, The Cube

Not us though, right? Public sector digital folks are making things open to make things better. Right?

Not all work, work, work

Someone told me a GDS rumour. Huge if true.

Dylan’s preferred sixth form just revealed they can’t run a Computer Science A-Level next year cos they can’t get the staff. Pre-election comms rules mean that’s the end of this paragraph. 

I went along to record a play reading on Monday afternoon (which Joy arranged, getting a friend’s script on its feet) and it was proper excellent. Funny, moving, sexy, raw, truthful. Got legs. 

Father’s Day weekend. I had a massage from Urban (more TMI, sorry!) and a Xacuti from Yak & Yeti, but not at the same time. The kids picked me some pick’n’mix in a father’s day gift box from the new local sweet shop Sweet Child of Mine. I sent my dad some postable chocolate and a card (one of the rare ones from Scribbler where the “joke” isn’t you’re old, you’re a wanker, or this card is deliberately shit).

🔎 Found, interesting 🧐

Via Steve Messer, I love this pithy post on the fragility of trust in digital services, which nails why the premature bundling of gen-AI into everything feels so ruinous. 

Can’t remember where I saw it but Dirty Feed is an excellent niche TV blog. Love this series of posts about the effort that went into Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era (which I can quote in its entirety having worn out the VHS in my late teens/early 20s).

I am jealous of Alan Wright’s GTD review rigour.

Fun post from Steph on avoiding accidental Partridge when you’re on the back foot.

This alternative to RACI is oddly nautical but I like it. 

Just came across John Peart’s blog – I worked with him at GDS, he’s a superbrain (and Eurovision superfan). Here’s a great one on broadcasting his philosophies at work (but have a poke around, loads of good stuff). 

Mission: Possible and the growing discourse on mission-driven statecraft. Something is going on.

I’ve been enjoying the Brave New Work Wednesdays newsletter – it’s email only, so sub and see if you agree.

Cultural consumption 

🎬 28 Days and 28 Weeks Later for the kids’ film studies pre-Years
📺 Finished Ghosts. Will miss them all (apart from Lady Button).
🎬 Monster on BFI Player. Captivating, well worth a watch,
🎬 Govan Ghost Story. Was on our list but don’t know why tbh. 
📺 More Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Think Vic & Bob meets Adam & Joe and David Lynch, but make it deliberately cringe. Highly recommend streaming a few of these – it’s on 4.  
🕹️ Galacticare. Fun. Hooked.
🗑️ Catfish, Location x 3, Love Island

Books on the go:
📓 Vurt re-read, nostalgic for 90s/my early 20s
📓🎧 So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
📓 The Devil in the White City – this has promise

Distractions

That’s the end of this now. Out of 10, how committed are you to coming back next week, and what would make that an eight or nine?

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