This weeknote doesn’t carry much about the work I am doing. I was finding my weeknotes about work probably worked better as their own standalone blog posts. If I write any work related blog posts I will link out to them from my weeknotes.

  • Ah. That Darkness Christmas song has gone away, finally.
  • On Saturday’s run I was passed by the Brownlee brothers, who I didn’t really recognise at first. It wasn’t the first time they’d passed me over the past few months; I’ve seen them along the canal a couple of times now, and learned they run along there a bit. Maybe we need to reclassify the canal towpath now though, to Olympic training level standard or something. Should suggest it to the Canal & River Trust or Bradford Council. Must be a plaque in it at least.
  • I do a lot of cooking but not usually snacks or cakes or stuff like that. I love flapjack so thought flapjack would be a good one to do every weekend. Assumption: 1. It’s quick to make, 2. It will be tasty. A shout out on Twitter and I’ve three recipe suggestions to test: numbers 1, 2, and 3. Blimey that’s a lot of sugar move-away-from-diabetes-me whispered, so a spreadsheet was useful to compare the recipes’ make-up. Baked number 1 anyway. Quick to mix the ingredients together, 15 minutes to bake, done: Assumption 1 was proven. They were delicious, very mellow: Assumption 2 was proven. Recipe number 2 this coming weekend.
  • I’ve been trying to finish some things I started. Watched the remainder, the bulk of The Dawn Wall (currently on Netflix in the UK), which seemed more a study on mental health than climbing. Excellent viewing and if you don’t know the story beforehand makes for a couple of twists you possibly wouldn’t expect. You could easily look up Tommy Caldwell on the internet or you could watch this film. I say watch this film. Something something storytelling something something.
  • Watched a video about doing a 100 mile running week. I mean that sounds a lot of running. Even 100km in a week sounds a lot. Still though, thinking when I could have a go…
  • Saw JoJo Rabbit. I gave it 6 out of 10 on the way out. It is really good, but there’s a moment towards the end which I am not sure if it was a laugh or not. As a laugh it was very very very dark. Just seemed a misstep, jarringly. And then I started to unroll a couple more things in the film, wondering if the storytelling tone is uneven. Some of the shot framing is very precise, all centre lines, right angles. When the shot has diagonals it stands out. I’ve been thinking on it since watching it (which is rare for a film these days), and think it’s more an 8.
  • As part of don’t listen to quite as many podcasts I’ve had the Beastie Boys Book audiobook playing. And it is just great. The book is great too, but this is another way of telling the story. I’d recommend you read the book and listen to this. Just so gosh darn entertaining.
  • Completely surprised by the reaction to my Running in 2019 piece. A few public shares, but some lovely chats off the back of it and I’ve been asked if I can do a talk about running, something I have never talked exclusively about. Thank you to everyone who has read it and been in touch. Feedback is a thing I rarely get but still good to get, even if it’s “this is shit work, mate”.
  • I had a late-planned catch up with a mate. A good three hours chatting, batting stuff back and forth, working stuff through, and having a sensible sized meal. It’s healthy. The chat that is, not just the size of the meal, not something I did much of the last couple of years. Coming into this year being very focused on do this and don’t do that means having more of those chats is good. Regular reviews, working stuff through is good.
  • Also had loads of really good chats with people a lot more further afield too. Slack messages, video chats, Twitter direct messages, text messages, emails, all played a part. It’s good to talk stuff through. So many Twitter DMs felt very 2011/2012. Not a bad thing.
  • Another week, another cold call about a service design opportunity. Tied up on my current contract for a few months late. But another cold call another wondering about whether to “scale the business”, build up a bit of an office that specialises in designing well, specialises in good design, building up a bit of a team, culture and all that. But then I remember been in the looked after four-to-sixty people wondering at the start of the month if there’ll be money in the bank to pay them all in four weeks’ time situation for too many years before — and why I freelance and work “alone” these days. Also easy to slip into basically being a recruiter that places people and skims a percentage and… I never want to be like that. It is about the practise and the practice. But also I know when my current contract runs out and… gotta keep an open mind about stuff.
  • Nine full days into 2020 and I am 40 kilometres into that 2000 kilometres target. Not a great week either. Had a three night stopover in Newcastle and didn’t do quite as much as I liked. Hoping an lighter running week means my legs are a little more settled so I can get my head down now and push towards the 170 kilometres for the month. A good 20km over the weekend will feel good.
  • Just realised it’s Bradford Coder Dojo next weekend. Do bring your kid(s) along if you live nearby and want to let them have some time coding. It’s free. People coming along and getting something from the dojos more than makes up for the time we give to running them.

Decent reads

An interview with Dan Hill, who is laser sharp on the difference between different forms of design.

Our Neophobic, Conservative AI Overlords Want Everything to Stay the Same

Speed Kills: Startups Scaling Too Early are the Wrong Thing for the NHS and its Patients

A thread on Twitter on how they design the New York Times cover

Frank Chimero’s burnout list

No more requirements

Systems, mistakes, and the Sea

2020: A new decade of service, which is a smashing reminder of the point of services from Joel Bailey. Thanks for writing it, Joel.

ps. Scott Smith. You are fucking great.

Did you like these weeknotes? Maybe looking for some that are better? Give these a try: Mark Boulton, Mark Hurrell, Matthew Solle, Chris Thomas.

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weeknotes, 2020 weeknotes