Week notes: 18 – 24 March 2024

Baguette with no bread, accidental 3/3/3, cool jobs, elastic band handgun.

A tradesman in Michael’s caff (near Joel’s saturday class, where I’m drafting this) just ordered a bacon and egg baguette “but with the bread taken out, just the baguette” cos he’s body sculpting. Builders have changed

Hope he knows his building regs better than his boulangerie.

Work, work, work

A lighter meeting schedule meant I kind of did the 3/3/3 method from Four Thousand Weeks without realising: roughly 3 hours each day on a chunky thing, 3 shorter tasks (including meetings) and 3 maintenance activities.  

Even so, I only got through a third of what I’d hoped to because …well, hope is a planning fallacy and other stuff jumped the queue. ‘Twas ever thus. 

I’ve also noticed a pattern of hitting my peak flow on Fridays and wishing I could carry on. But I’m committed to weeknoting, Cyberpunking, and parenting this weekend. And mustn’t model bad long-hours culture in front of the team – it’s a good excuse, that one!

My 3-hour meaty chunks included:

  • Reviewing a mega spreadsheet of all BFI business plans. Its mere existence is a breakthrough: our first step towards more holistic planning to tackle dependencies, gaps, blind spots and excess ambition. Progress!
  • Putting thoughts on paper about alignment and prioritisation ahead of Exec away days mid-April to do just that. (Themes: shared objectives and aligned autonomy, cross-functional teams, WIP limits for better flow).
  • Reviewing reports from consultants on cybersecurity and SAM. Big new needs emerge from both to feed into the above prioritisation hopper. 

Shorter things included:

  • Coming up with words to say, then saying them, at our directorate all-hands. Mostly year-end reflecting aided by Dune 2 gifs. The show & tell was cracking, including a demo of neat changes Joe is doing to clean up our cinema ticket journey within the constraints of the system. 
  • Reviewing a report from Dom on the IMAX projector fault that meant the first five Dune 2 houses were digital not 70mm as advertised; and what mitigations are in place or possible.

Maintenance tasks included regular 1-1s on where we’re at with stuff. Teams hit major year-end milestones this week including getting new MVP BFI Player TV apps shipped for Android TVs and Amazon Fire (pending approval). Exciting!

Spidey senses are tingling that we need to articulate much more clearly what the org’s long term digital and tech transformation journey looks like in practical terms for services, platforms, ways of working and culture. All sounds a bit abstract to colleagues atm. Might pick Russell‘s brains at our next breakfast.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

BFI Player jobs are like buses. We’re imminently advertising 3 seriously cool jobs to help steer our fantastic streamer to new heights: Lead Product Manager (cos the amazing Margo is relocating to France); Programme Delivery Manager (going out for the perm after covering it for a while with a great interim); Features Product Manager (new). Spread the word!

I’m also hiring for a new executive assistant (coordinator in BFI lingo) to support me and my leadership team. 

It’s not all work, work, work

The BIMA 100 Tech Pioneers judging was mercifully efficient – a chat with folks from diverse companies then privately scoring submissions. Wasn’t bowled over, but some standouts. 

Ran 5.8k, aiming to get back up to 10k. 

I got refused a decaf by a passionate barista. Fair enough.

Dylan is swotting hard. 

Joel had a school trip to Romeo and Juliet. He returned with a dozen wooden forks in his pocket – his reason? “I’m guy forks”.

He bought this elastic band wooden handgun so I built that with him on Saturday – and it’s really cool! He just came in and shot me with it, so technically I’m parenting and weeknoting. But not yet Cyberpunking. 

🔎 Found, interesting 🧐

Is it kind? Is it cool? Principles to live by

A digital maturity framework from Brani Milosevic. I haven’t got mature(!) opinions on the pros and cons of such frameworks and would be interested in hearing yours – but this looks good and useful to me, and I often stick this one from Futuregov (TPXImpact) on a slide.

This talk by The Daniels at SXSW is well worth your time if you’re into tech, film or both. Includes stuff on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Ikigai, stories as compression algorithms for human experience, and applying user centred design methods to make films audiences connect with. 

It was Services Week. Some of the BFI team dipped into sessions.

This is a great edition of Creative R&D from Chris Michaels, rabbit-holing on DIY docs about internet rabbit holes themselves.  

Governance as a service and a reading list on the same. 

A most interesting talk by BFI colleagues on promoting film seasons.

Via Matt, I was inspired by Ian Ames reflecting openly (using Ikagai) as he thinks about his next move. I’d snap him up if I could! 

I am not a typo – shocking that 41% of UK kids’ names get red underlined🤦‍♂️

New F1 boss appalled by reliance on Excel

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Neuralink is actually working?

Listening, watching, playing, reading

📽️ Blackberry. Loved this! Lots of relatable stuff about tech culture and org growing pains. Nostalgic too – I was given one at BERR (the gift of 24/7 email alerts!) and, for reasons clear in the film, it felt quite the status symbol.

📽️ Steve Jobs. Showed this to the kids as a companion to the above. We’ve previously done Turing, Zuck and Hidden Figures. (Idea for a BFI season?)

📽️ Love Lies Bleeding. Audacious, stylish, not to be missed, but I struggled to fully tune into its comedy-fantasy wavelength.

📽️ Valkyrie. Chris McQuarry’s Oppenheimer?  

📽️ Commitment to Life. Moving and interesting doc on how the HIV/AIDS crisis played out in tinseltown. (My 3rd and last trip to BFI Flare this year. The song in the fab Flare trailer has been stuck in my head all week! Flare really is a arvelous thing, as Ben says here)

📽️ Immaculate. Nun out of 5 stars. (Actually one or two, but that doesn’t work as a pun). Sydney Sweeney is a talent. Someone needs to put her and Mia Goth in a film together – like a scream queens/final girls equivalent of Heat

📺 Bring the Drama. BBC acting contest. I’ve got my faves after 3 episodes.

📺 Ghosts S1. I’m late to this and you were right, it’s great. 

🕹️ Monument Valley 2. Out since 2017 apparently, I only just noticed. Did I mention I’m also playing Cyberpunk 2077? 

🎧 This podcast interview with Col Needham, founder and CEO of IMDB. I’ve got to know Col a bit through BFI events, and he’s a diamond. Plus this bonus ep of Things Fell Apart, feat. Dr Buckles


Agile battleships 

Unofficial LEGO sandworm [Instagram]

Two dishwashers [TikTok]

Alien: Romulus teaser trailer 🤔 and Beetlejuice Beetlejuice teaser trailer 😎 and new Furiosa trailer 🤩 

If you’re wondering, this week’s featured image is of a 1952 film magazine supplement I spotted in the cinema tech office. Presuably “sub standard film” means something technical and not “shit films”. Must ask the team!

That’s the end of this now, well done. See you at Easter!

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