Week notes: 5 – 11 February 2024

Mostly intentional, drowning in post-its, 7 Keys at SXSW, Raynaud.

Writing this in unassuming airbnb in Nelson, which we’ve come to for reasons. 

It’s Saturday morning (as I start drafting) and the kids and I are all on laptops at the dining table. Joel: making pixel art for a game idea. Dylan: playing The Binding of Isaac. Me: this. 

Work, work, work

Ended the week feeling a tad overwhelmed and out of control (more on that in a sec) but actually, looking back over my diary it was a week of mostly good, intentional things.

Highlights included:

  • A session to introduce OKRs to the corporate tech (aka IT) department heads which went really well. I love how open they are to new ways of working, because that’s not a given – folks schooled in ITIL can tend to look upon agile with suspicion and vice versa – but we’re past that point here now and there are mutual learning exchanges happening that are just lovely to see. 

[Quick aside on OKRs: some folks I know aren’t so keen but – as those who worked at GDS and Croydon can attest – I find them to be brilliant as macro user stories to articulate mission briefs for shared clarity and aligned autonomy. We’ve been incubating good quarterly OKR practices in parts of our directorate – helping teams to plan, focus and reflect – and the next step is to plan further ahead and get the whole directorate using them, both for our own benefit and as a model for other BFI teams to copy if they want].

  • A (to-be-continued) workshop with my 3 trusty directors and delivery supremo Samir on our much-trailed new digital advisory board. We’re keen for it to be as useful as possible without pulling too much focus away from outcomes we’re (over-)committed to achieve. 
  • A Q&A with 6 of our 9 product managers, organised by Margo. Our PMs have grown in number due to right-sizing (funding products not projects) plus the investment to grow BFI Player, so it’s about time we got some meetups going. This was a fun first session where I got to share what I remember about being a PM in the 2010s. 
  • An uplifting Digital Donut Time (all-hands show and tell), focused on BFI Player. 
  • Feedback sessions on intranet and our recent design sprint on cinema listings and ticket booking. Such incredible work, being shared with wider colleagues next week.
  • A useful chat with procurement about partnership arrangements for resourcing, anticipating we’ll need to flex capacity while delivering Screen Culture 2033.

So far, so planned. Over the top of this – of course – is a frenetic hubbub of all the moving parts I’m across, and incoming stuff including 2 big moments in late Feb/early Mar up with our Chair and board.

By the middle of this week I felt like I was drowning in post-its, lists and notes on various platforms – and that my personal productivity system has never been more chaotic – so I spent some time on Thursday trying to regroup.

For now I’m playing with One Note (leaning into the Microsoft ecosystem – if you can’t beat it, join it) to close all my open loops, and applying a bit of Eisenhower analysis to get real about what I need to do, delegate, schedule or drop. Of course, I didn’t get there… I need about another full day or two doing just that. When though?!

It’s not all work, work, work

A film poster, for a film called 7 Keys by Joy Wilkinson, with laurels for SXSW festival 2024. The top billed cast are Emma McDonald and Billy Postlethwaite. The artowkr shows a night sky with stars and the lights of cityscape, and a knife-like key dangling over a woman's face. The tagline is "Unlock your fantasy. Face your fear."

It’s official: my wife’s fantastic debut feature, the sexy London-based thriller 7 Keys, is in SXSW in their Visions strand. I can’t wait for the world to see it. (Sadly I won’t be joining her in Texas – am needed here).

I have a new niece, Evie. My avuncular remit now numbers 5 souls. Yet to meet but looking forward to a cuddle.

A close up on a hand, showing one finger tip that is yellow
My hand 😲

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed my fingertips occasionally going numb and losing colour, which at first I put down to just being cold. This week it’s been more frequent, more severe, on more fingers and longer-lasting, and I’ve figured out it’s Raynaud syndrome. It’s pretty uncomfortable when attacks occur. The real bummer is caffeine is a possible cause.

I cooked that baked ziti. It slipped down a treat (carbs, cheese and cream, pure evil). 

🌈 There was an amazing rainbow over Lancs and I took bad photos of it. 

✉️ A nice thing came in the post from Russell and I took bad photos of it. 

🔎 Found, interesting 🧐

Eminem’s notes – this is brilliant. His (visual) mind works nothing like mine but the messy chaos of his notes is relatable.

A stand-up deployment or just another bug hunt – mostly a satire of digital delivery, mostly. 

Enjoyed Steve’s post on how far we’ve come – which features a quote from an old blog post of mine he’s done very well to find! (One day I plan to resurrect my best bits from the wayback machine…one day).

It’s okay to start with a stakeholder’s solution. Just don’t stop there (and this companion post from Steve)

As Bluesky opens to the public, CEO Jay Graber faces her biggest challenge yet – a great interview, and exciting that BlueSky is open to all now. Please join! 

Timely for my personal productivity stocktake, via Emily: Closing Open Loops for Better Personal OKRs

Talking about OKRs made me refer back to one of the best pithy primers (despite its provocative title): Are You Sure You Want to Use OKRs?

Amused by this quote below from Pushing Buttons (the Guardian’s games newsletter) because, when I had the office printers in my remit in Croydon, I found out just how cross people can get about them:

Imagine Streets of Rage crossed with the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down and you have Rising Up, a pixel-art brawler about an office worker losing it when the printer malfunctions and going on a destructive equipment smashing rampage. 

A few from Dave’s newsletter and notes:

Via OliverHow To Foster Zero To One And One To N Team Culture (these are new words to me and I like them) 

I note (with intent to listen to) Giles Turnbull and Kate Tarling on a podcast.

Watching, playing, listening, reading

Robot Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, with the caption NEED MORE INPUT!!

📽️ Big screen: nothing again, keen to rectify.


  • Bobi Wine: The People’s President – another incredible, gripping doc about astounding bravery against a corrupt oppressive regime (after Beyond Utopia the other week).
  • My Sole Desire on BFI Player because it’s popular with our subscribers (as this kind of sauce often is!) and it’s leaving the platform soon.
  • Showed the kids The Founder on Sat, went to McDonald’s on Sun.

📺 TV: Charlie Brooker was on WILTY so to explain him to the kids we put on some old Screen Wipes. I miss Screen Wipe.

🕹️ Gaming: none 🥺

🎧 Listening: On the drive north, all of 1999, Around the World in a Day and Batman. 💜 

📓 Reading: The shortest of short stories: The Evolution of Human Science by Ted Chiang, which was great. And the new issue of Sight and Sound mag with a fantastic Christopher Nolan interview. 


Greg Wallace’s day is perfect accidental Partridge and Tom Hollander’s is the polar opposite [Twitter/X]

J-Lo’s still keeping it real. To her it’s like breathing.

Horse master 

Thanks for being interested and reading all this, you lovely human.

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