Week notes #211

This week I did:

You can’t learn without launching 

The pilot of our Online Learning Hub went live this week. I love pilot go lives. I love how everyone seems to think it means job done and to me it means we can finally start learning. And I learned loads. I made sure I was part of first line support helping young people and volunteers solve any technical or usability issues that came up. 

User research can tell you what problems people are facing but the only way you can learn whether your product can solve their problem is to get them using it. Maybe this is the hill I’ll die on.

How rad is Wayne?

Wayne asked for recommendations for website builders, with the replies including what people use for their sites. I realised I’d never done a comparison of Wix, Squarespace, WordPress.com so I quickly created three websites to let people know just how rad Wayne is. I found Wix the easiest to learn and quickest to create a site with. SquareSpace wouldn’t let me publish without paying them. WordPress was probably the hardest to use (even though it was most familiar to me) (and Jonathan did Webflow). I did think about writing up the comparison so it could be a useful tool for whenever anyone else asks the question Wayne asked, but Irealised that I’ve never be able to keep it up to date as all those platforms are constantly changing.

Tech ethics 

I became very interested in charity tech ethics and quickly blew my mind with all the stuff I read, podcasts I listened to and chats I had with quite a few people on Twitter (more than I ever have, including Hera Hussain and Rachel Caldicot, who are kind of heroes of mine).

I started a doc with some questions about charity tech ethics which I’m hoping some of the people I spoke to on Twitter will contribute to (although I’m sure they weren’t expecting four pages of my rambling thoughts when they offered to help).

Something I noticed about how some people talk about tech ethics is that they really just mean that they don’t like the ethics of a big tech company like Amazon or Facebook. I don’t get the impression many people have got any further into tech ethics than the obvious dilemma of charities using big tech to work with people knowing that those companies are using those people’s data in ways the charity might not agree with, but the charities feeling like they have no choice as that’s the tech all of their beneficiaries use. I find the ethics around charities using decision-making technology, and tech ethics in general, fascinating so I’m keen to spend some time understanding it better and maybe write a blog post with some guidance for charities thinking about implementing decision-making technologies.

Digital business exam

I scored 80 on my exam (my highest score), which takes my average to 67.

And thought about some stuff:

Solutionising or outcomes

When doing discovery work, writing use cases and requirements I often hear the phrase, “Don’t solutionise at this stage”, which I agree with, but sometimes wonder if we get confused between what looks like a solution and what is actually an outcome we’re trying to achieve. I’ll look out for more examples and think about some more.


I’ve been thinking about improvements for email newsletters. Email is a great delivery mechanism, and if you’re using a newsletter app then consumption is pretty good. Where there is space for improvement is in collating and curating content. Currently each email newsletter is the work on a single athor. If there was a platform where authors could upload articles and subscribers could subscribe to topics, then the platform could send the subscribers email newsletters with articles from a range of authors but about the same topic. 


hancock.lighting is an interesting concept, taking a physical world thing and making a digital version. I wonder what else in the real world could have a digital equivalent and how you’d make the connection between the two.

And read some tweets:

Writing about writing

A small collection of tweets about writing:


Shane Parrish tweeted: Superpowers you can have:

  • Ability to change yourself & your mind
  • Not taking things personally
  • Not needing to prove you’re right
  • Careful selection of all relationships
  • Staying calm
  • Being alone without being lonely
  • Being ok being uncomfortable
  • Thinking for oneself

And Dickie added:

  • Laser focus on one task at a time
  • Easily spotting bottlenecks and leverage points
  • Creating tight feedback loops

I find the kinds of things on lists like these interesting because they have no clear means of learning. They are wisdoms; knowledge + judgement, only gained through experience.

Expressing a strategy 

I tweeted: A strategy needs to express:

1. Where we are now and why we can’t stay here.

2. Where we want to get to and why it’s the right place for us to go.

3. How we’re going to get there and why this is the right way for us to do that.

I’ve since been thinking about a fourth question, something like “How will we know we’re heading in the right direction and what would cause us to change?”

I think it was probably my most successful tweet ever, not because of its contents but because James Gadsby Peet replied, which got it noticed by his followers, and so on as things do on social media.