Annual review 2021

2021 in summary

  • Became a digital nomad and traveled around some of the coastline of England and Wales.
  • Completed my MSc in Business Innovation with a Distinction.
  • Learned about the creator economy and started a few side-projects.
  • Took on a new role as the Product and Delivery Lead at RNID.

The happenings

Worked remotely

Embodied my philosophy of what good product management looks like in charities using my interface, integrate, iterate thing. Launched a new product at the Prince’s Trust, supported colleagues to do good work and improve their practice, and learned a lot about the use of digital in charities.

I did some voluntary product work for a few organisations in the charity sector. I really enjoyed being a kind of critical friend/opinion provider, even if at times I felt like I didn’t have a clear offer to provide.

Joined the RNID digital and innovation team to build products that make life more inclusive for deaf people and the those with hearing loss or tinnitus.

Explored emerging trends

Got into web3 a bit, learned about NFT’s and created some of my own. Of all the divisive opinions on Twitter, anything related to Blockchain, crypto and NFT’s seems even more divisive. I think everyone is right, and emerging trends need all opinions to help reach the dominant design in order to become mainstream. My opinion, in general, is that what people miss most about web3 stuff is that it isn’t for the humans, it’s for the machines. For example, an NFT isn’t about art, it offers a way for a computer to understand ownership, and a DAO isn’t about running a business, its about providing a means for a computer to understand contractual conditions. These things become clearer when you look with a post-human point-of-view (which is another trend that interested me in 2021).

I became interested in the creator economy and the use of nocode tools. I think it shows the trend of diversified income and micro-businesses that will extend the long tail of companies even further, and we’ll know that creators and solopreneurs have jumped the curve when one disrupts an industry in the way we’ve come to expect startups to. I made my first £ on the internet (as a creator, I’ve selling stuff on the internet for over a decade) which is considered a bit of a threshold point in the creator community. Started ultimatedigital.tools and futureskills.info as nocode info products.

Learned specifically

I finished my masters in Business Innovation with a distinction. My dissertation was about innovation and new product development practices in charities and was lots of fun to write. I felt a little lost for a while after finishing it because I’d been so focused on it.

Took a Service Design course and started learning British Sign Language.

And I read lots on Twitter and on other websites, and listened to quite a few podcasts, and even tried to read a couple of books.

I learned to write better, to think more critically, and to accept a wider range of opinions.

Learning is one of my three lifelong goals, and I divide it into three sections; formal learning and qualifications, practical project-based learning, and reading and reflective practice. This gives me a useful balance, keeps me engaged and makes tracking progress towards the goal easier.

Traveled slowly

Between the end of the lockdown in May and the end of the year I traveled around the coast of England and Wales between Southampton and Pembroke. Along the way I visited 230 amazing and beautiful places, swam in the sea, even with a seal once, and saw dolphins.

The digital nomad lifestyle suits me perfectly. I can work remotely during the day, and go for walks and work on various projects in the evening. The simplicity of the physical life makes room for the complexity of the mental life.

The numbers

The lessons

  • I’m at my happiest when I’m exploring, whether that’s new ideas, projects or places.
  • Learning new things every day inspires and excites me, although it often leads to too many new things to explore.
  • Even if I never finish anything, that’s ok (but I should improve my processes to try to finish things).
  • Realised that mainstream is not for me. Life is better on the edge.