Week notes: 20 – 26 May 2024

Genny lec, TV apps, Big Yinema, Miller made it epic.

I’m not a civil servant any more but the BFI is an ALB of DCMS, so pre-election comms rules apply. That officially kicks in from the dissolution of parliament on 30th until the genny lec – so I’ll be saying less about work here in June.

Work, work, work

A few final facts while I still can, then (and all emphatically politically neutral).

The BFI Player team shipped new apps this week for Apple TV (live now) and LG TVs (pending approval). Those come hot on the heels of Android TV, Amazon Fire and Android mobile (and we already had apps for Samsung TVs and iOS). These are beta versions, expanding access to the BFI’s offer with core functionality we can iterate on. Lots of scaling and refactoring is happening behind the scenes too.

The Cinema Technology team is getting rave reviews for the spruced-up NFT3 (legroom! sight lines! cup holders! fancy lighting!) and the remastered release of Big Banana Feet, a 1975 doc of Billy Connolly touring Ireland during The Troubles. I went along to its launch screening, showing some love for Doug “film ferret” Weir and team – it’s really good, see it!

In our Digital Services and Products team, I frequently glimpse thoughtful, GDS-quality work and culture from their sprint notes and Teams chatter, but I’ve been too tied up lately to get as close to it as I’d like. We had hiccups with ticket booking this week which were not of our making and belied the user-centred improvements the team is progressing both short term (tweaks) and long (overhaul). Hate letting users down, and cringe at their derision as they vent on socials. But we will get to a better place.

(Related: my heart goes out to teams at Merlin dealing with refunds, rebookings and crisis comms about Hyperia closing a day after launch).

I’m working closest with the Corporate Technology team atm. Well I say close, but I worked from home all week, conducive to the writing-heavy tasks I needed to get done – on cybersecurity mostly. It’s super interesting work and I couldn’t be happier with how diligently all teams are working on this, in mine and other parts of the BFI. Our current focus on cybersec is partly due to the British Library (so close to home) but also a planned consultant check-up we were doing anyway. 

By stepping more into SRO-mode for that, I’ve been neglecting some other things. I’m eager to turn my attention back soon onto optimising conditions and getting organize-ized. (A little callback there for my regular readers!)

In particular, I’m eager to nail:

  • having a reliably omniscient helicopter view (being “across” everything but “out of the weeds” and other clichés) while still getting to see and influence the tangible things
  • technology spend control, standards assurance and demand management – dovetailing with (emergent) org-wide processes for prioritisation and investment. Basically, maturing the bits that feel a tad undefined (like that null process article last week).

It’s not all work, work, work

Except when it is!

🔎 Found, interesting 🧐

Just one link this week because it’s gold: A framework for thinking about team memory, joining up and serendipity in hybrid organisations

Watching, listening etc.

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa, on his knees in the desert withi his hands behind his back. Caption: "do you have it in you to make it epic?"

In cinemas:
🎬 Furiosa at the IMAX. Extraordinary brilliance. Miller absolutely knows how to make it epic.
🎬 Big Banana Feet (in the Big Yinema)

At home: 
🎬 The Secret in Their Eyes (original Argentinian) on BFI Player.
📺 Catfish cont. Ghosts cont. Location x 3 cont.
📺 Binged 4 EPs of Red Eye. Came for Jemma Moore, stayed for the twists.
🎬 A Quiet Place. With the teens, ahead of the new one. I liked it more this time.  
📺 Started showing the kids Friends from S1E1.

📓 Started rereading Vurt but it’s very 90s.
📓 Also started The Face of Evil: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert Black.
🎧📓 Strong Female Character cont. Fern Brady is interesting about ASD, but I’d forgotten I can’t bear autobiographies. I can’t recall my own past so fuck hearing about someone else’s, frankly.

🎧 Beth Gibbons’s debut solo album is special, especially Reaching Out
🎧 Target Lock by Basic Rhythm and Tim Reaper.

🍳 A chicken lentil masala (meh) and tuna pasta bake (also meh) from this questionable low cholesterol book 


RIP Doge. Register to vote. Byeeee! 

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