Week notes #198

This week I’ve been doing:

Go Manchester

Our new website went live, and very smoothly if I do say so myself. 

The only issue we had was with how third party analytics services handle cookies and being GDPR compliant. I’m clear on my stance for any product I work on that GDPR compliance is more important than tracking so I made the decision to remove the tracking scripts until I can figure out how to implement them in a compliant way. It wasn’t a popular decision but I strongly believe in adopting a stance of putting our users first, and if we can’t reliably give our users the means to choose whether they want to be tracked then we shouldn’t track them. Given how many websites implement cookies correctly ( I read it was somewhere around 11%) and that the ICO isn’t proactive in fining websites for it, this decision isn’t even about avoiding a financial risk, it’s a moral decision about how we treat the people that come to our websites for support.

Show & Tell

I did a show & tell for a new educational product we’re developing. Show & tells always reveal lots of things. This one showed that the requirements aren’t really the requirements, or maybe that in addition to functional requirements there are expectations and ideas people form that are never implicitly communicated. Helping people verbalise them and be open-minded about how to approach things is a challenge. Next week we’ll take the PoC into a research and development phase (if there is such a thing as phases) so that we can begin testing it with users to understand where it is and isn’t meeting their needs. I’ll also start working on a go-to market plan to help figure out some of our questions about adoption and place in the market.

Notes on a second brain

I turned what used to be the Reading section of my website into a Notes section to collect more diverse ideas, off the back of The Building A Second Brain podcast. I deliberated between using Notion or WordPress as the tech bit of my second brain. Notion is better as a database for things like my books, but WordPress is easier to add to and the Tags work better as a means of connecting things. Anyway, for the time being I’m using WordPress and have started posting more to the Notes section, including my daily journal entries as private posts, tweets I like, links to websites I’m using for research, etc. 

This week I’ve been studying

I missed this week’s lecture on the nature and characteristics of digital and information goods but read through the slides.

And I added a little to the framework for my assignment. My assignment strategy is the go through all the slide decks for the lecture series, pull out any references, models, useful info, etc., into each of the sections of the assignment, then find references to Shopify’s pricing model, revenue performance, etc., and then link them into some kind of coherent essay.

This week I’ve been thinking about

Collaborative working with myself

The majority of the tools I use seem to be built for teams and collaborative working (e.g. Teams, Planner, Trello), which makes me wonder about previous tools that were for individual working (e.g. Word) and how such tools would be built today.


The idea we need most for re-shaping a more resilient near-future society is that systems can (and given what we’ve seen throughout the coronavirus crisis, should) be built with less dependency on each part. The more loosely coupled the different parts of the system are, the easier it is to route to other parts of the system if one part becomes overwhelmed and replace parts that fail. This applies to all kinds of systems. After decades of globalisation and optimisation, the supply chains of goods being manufactured and shipped around the world are tightly coupled. How this can be changed to accept more variability and quickly replace one part with another will be essential in the new world. 

Information networks for alignment 

I think organisations set up communication in the same way as power, and I think this is what makes it difficult to achieve alignment. But enabling and allowing communication networks rather than enforcing hierarchies offers a better means for reaching alignment. 

This week people have been tweeting about:

Wardley’s Doctrine 

Simon Wardley tweeted about his doctrine: universally useful patterns that can apply regardless of context. It’s almost like having all the modern practice thoughts on one place, things like ‘move fast’, ‘be transparent’, ‘there is no core strategy’, and ‘listen to your ecosystem’. What seems to read as the most advanced is ‘design for constant evolution’, which is at the same time the biggest challenge and most essential focus for any organisation. There is still far too much industrial folly in what and how orgs build everything that presupposes the project mindset, fixed timescales and some ambiguous notion of done.

Communication is fundamental to good product management 

Bhavika Shah tweeted about the most important artifacts product managers use to communicate, and it’s a really interesting list. I wonder how those artifacts are received. Communication being a two way thing, I think there is lots of education required in interpreting each of these.