Photo of the week:
What I did this week:
Safety by design
Digital safeguarding is an important part of my work. I’ve been working on creating an accessible identity verification system recently, will be doing more on the Age Appropriate Design Code soon, and am thinking about how we might turn the principles behind the Online Harms Bill into products and procedures that keep people safe online. As part of this work and interest I watched an online safety tech event that described the emerging SafetyTech sector and how gaming companies are leading the development of safety technology in virtual spaces because it’s clearly demonstrated that people don’t want to spend their time in virtual spaces where they feel threatened, so safety drives engagement, which is good for business. As is always the case for emerging trends, there is a lot of interplay between the technology, people (both creators and users), regulation and policy, and commercial and market mechanisms, which make it a fascinating part of my work.
My first NFT
I received my first Non-Fungible Token. Of all the dates from 1/1/1 AD to now, I own my date of birthday. It’s part of learning more about NFTs and figuring out whether I want to turn stiles.style into NFTs. To me, with my interest in how the physical and digital worlds meet, stiles (each of which is unique and handmade) would make great collectible digital assets But as collecting and owning NFTs depends so much on hype, I’m not sure anyone else will see why they would want a stile.
First dollar on the internet
There’s thing in the creator economy about how making your first dollar on the internet changes things for creators. This week, The Ultimate Digital Tools List had it’s first sale. It hasn’t revolutionized my life just yet but it’s an interest step into being a creator and making my projects more than just things that interest me.
Fractal task management
I’ve been using nested kanban boards in Notion for a while and found it to be a really good way to manage tasks at any level and be able to focus on work within a project (including for Fractal task manager). So, to see if anyone else might find it useful I set up a Notion template that anyone can duplicate and use. I don’t know if anyone has started using it but I’ve had some feedback that it’s an interesting idea.
Do I need a writing habit?
I decided I wanted to try to write more often. So I set myself a target of writing a blog post for each day of October, so 31 blog posts (I’ll just check the maths on that… yes that’s right). What I learned wasn’t how to build a writing habit but that writing random things in order to hit that target distracted me from working on other things. So, I’ve written and scheduled ten short and mostly pointless blog posts and I’m going to stop there.
What I thought about:
I was thinking about how the ‘lessons’ we really should learn at school are the bigger ones that continue to apply throughout our life, so I did a little Twitter thread of my thoughts. Imagine if education was clearer about levels of lessons to be learned. Imagine if teachers said, ‘Today we’re learning about this poem, but really we’re learning about how to communicate ideas, and the poem is just the vehicle for that bigger lesson.’ And imagine if education attainment was measured against those bigger lessons.
I’m a big believer in feedback loops. I think they are fundamental to a digital mindset. But I also worry that every diagram of a feedback loop shows it going back to where it started rather than moving on improved. And I wonder if this creates a lack of understanding about how feedback loops are supposed to work.
There are two ways to compare a number of things. You can compare them against an external measure (absolute), or you can compare them against each other (relative). And then those comparisons can be approached in qualitative or quantitative ways. And that’s before you even get into designing the actual evaluation. So there is a lot of underpinning work to have in place for evaluating anything robustly. But one aspect that appeared this week was how any system that uses competition as a mechanism for choosing one thing over another will always include sub-systems that conflict with each other. I have an image of gears that don’t fit together being forced to mesh and resulting in some spinning faster than they should, others tearing apart, and some generating heat and other inefficient byproducts.
And what I read/listened to this week:
Foundations of Humane Technology
This Foundations of Humane Technology course looks really great. I haven’t started it yet but I’m signed-up and looking forward to it.
Seth Godin’s podcast is always good, but the episode on project debt was particularly good. More work requires more coordination. Knowing this and reducing the linear growth of debt against the increase of work is important for . This comes from saying no.
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is based on the idea that GDP isn’t the best way to assess and measure a country. Apart from the reports being really interesting themselves, the reason I read some of this is because I have an idea about how charities should measure their impact through a Theory of Change model that has globally agreed essentials for achieving quality of life (for all living things, not just humans) at the top which charities feed their work into. So, for example, if financial stability was one of those essentials, then a debt charity and a employment advice charity could both show how they contribute. I’ll write up the idea properly one day.
Growth area for this week:
I’ve been trying to be more succinct in answers I give to questions whilst also providing relevant context and what the opportunities, consequences or actions might be. It’s kind of a past, present, future for every answer. I don’t really know if that does make my communication clearer, and there’s nothing to test it against but if it at least stops me from rambling then that will be a good thing.