Photo of the week
Did this week:
I’ve been in my role a month now. Although I don’t yet feel like I’m up to full speed and still have lots to learn, I’ve written my objectives and I feel focused on achieving them. I have a mid-week session with myself to ask, ‘What have you done so far this week to achieve your objectives, and what else could you do?’
This week’s side-project was a roadmaps template library. It only has three Notion templates so far but I’d like to add different types of roadmap using different platforms, including Airtable, Google Sheets & Docs, and Miro. This project also made me question a lot of stuff about roadmaps, mostly about how they show certainty and uncertainty.
Continued being irregular
Sent another Irregular Ideas newsletter and gained my eleventh subscriber. This week’s was about accountability and whether people or machines can really be held accountable, and how we might hold systems accountable.
Future skills? I need skills now
I managed to motivate myself to finish the seventh Future Skills email and start the eighth. Of all my projects this has been the longest to get to launch, but I’ll keep working on it and hopefully it’ll all be worth it.
Project ideas coming out my ears
My ‘ship a project every week’ thing is starting to get out of hand. I have three projects I’d like to start this weekend, but will try to be disciplined and only start two. The first is a small community of side-project creators who give each other feedback on things they’re working on. The second is a tweet printing service so you can create stickers out of inspirational tweets. And the third is a charity searching service to find those in your area that offer the support you’re looking for. So obviously I bought some domain names.
Most days in January in Wales are a bit wet and cloudy, but one day this week was perfectly clear and sunny so I made the most of it with a long walk along the coast. As I watched the sun go down there was another old guy doing the same and we both looked at each other with a speechless shrug as if to say, there’s nothing to say.
I joined an Open Makers Community session on Airtable and it completely opened my eyes to how useful Airtable can be and left me inspired to explore how I might use it for some of my ideas.
I don’t know if it’s just my little bubble but recently it feels like the digital transformation of the charity sector is picking up momentum. I see it in conversations I have with people, the things I read on Twitter, the number of people there are out there providing support for smaller charities. I wonder if others see it too.
The downsides of the great reset
The Great Reset, as it’s been updated to when we realised the The Great Resignation might not be factually true, represents the greatest shift in power between workers and employers since the labour movements and unionisation of the 1980’s. But whereas the proponents of remote working speak about it only in terms of the power shifting in favour of the workers, I think we’ll see a counter shift for those workers who can’t do their jobs remotely to where they have even less power.
The argument for modern knowledge workers having more power is that it is becoming skills that are the prize, not time and availability. Whereas employers used to hold more power because they could use physical location as a means of control, now the highly skilled workers can more easily change companies without it impacting on their lives, because they are still working from home.
At the other end of the scale are the “low-skilled” workers who are increasingly having their working lives ‘app-isized’. This means that those working as delivery drivers, care assistants, etc., interact with their employer through an app where the first person to accept a request gets the work. This seems like it makes work more convenient, but it results workers never communicating with other workers and takes away the opportunity for coordination that is required for action such as increasing wages. Employers distributing work through an app can drive down how much they pay for that work because every employee knows that if they don’t accept it someone else will, and they’ll be left with nothing.
So, whereas technology is shifting power in favour of those workers who have jobs society considers to be “high-skilled”, it is shifting power away from those who have the “low-skilled” jobs. I think we’ll look back on The Great Reset in decades to come and realise how much more inequality it drove in the labour market. The pandemic taught us nothing about how essential those jobs are for keeping society running.
Theory of change for civil rights in a digital age
I read Hivos’ white paper on putting civic action, justice and responsibility at the heart of our societies. It’s interesting to see theory of change in a different context (but why still with the PDFs?). I’m still trying to understand the scope of assumptions that make up theories of change. Clearly a theory of change can’t have an objective chain of causal logic because of the complex things it deals with, but then how far can you go in stating assumptions about how certain activities will lead to outcomes? If a butterfly flaps it’s wings…
People Prefer Moral Discretion to Algorithms
I read a paper that explores aversion to the use of algorithms in moral decision-making. It suggests that people would rather have other people making decisions than algorithms, even if they are both following the same rules. Do we think people might be on our side whereas algorithms don’t take sides?