Last week at the Prince’s Trust. It’s been a turbulent two years for the Trust (not because I was there, there were other factors) but I feel like I always managed to maintain my even keel to understand what problems I’m trying to solve, treat all my colleagues with kindness, and help the org learn a little about being a more digital organisation. I received this Kudoboard from some of the people I worked with. It seems like a better testimonial to my impact than delivering any product.
My website has received 25,000 views and it only took six years.
The three most successful posts account for 21.23% of views:
- Schmenner’s Service Process Matrix – but for charities: 2,399
- Microsoft Planner vs. Trello: 1,399
- Case study on Amazon’s approach to innovation and competition in the knowledge economy: 823
The top ten posts received 9417 views, which is 43.27% of total, and is mostly from organic search traffic as they seem to be about things no one else has written much about.
The top twenty percent of posts account for 85.63% percent of the views.
317 posts have received 10 or fewer views, which accounts for 9.16% of total views.
Started setting up the ENS for rogerswannell.eth. Web3 stuff continues to divide people on Twitter (and the rest of the internet). There are so many perspectives. It’s really interesting to get a glimpse of how people think about things like this and the (usually unbalance) arguments they come up with to defend their position. I’m no expert but it seems that, for example, arguing that the cost of compute power makes web3 a failure when web3 isn’t trying to solve the problem of cost-efficient computing is like criticising candy floss for not being a good building material. Is web3 a scam? Well, yes, just like every other market that uses imaginary value exchange. And the Pareto principle always applies; a few get really rich and most get poorer.
🌍Top 0.000000052% of the population
The Irregular Ideas newsletter had a hundred per cent open rate this week. That’s not that impressive given that I only have four subscribers but I’m glad that after eight issues they are still opening it. Evan Armstrong wrote in the Napkin Math Newsletter, “Nothing about email or subscriptions fixes the problem of building a media company. Namely, it is just really, really hard to make interesting content every week and to get people to pay attention to it… Newsletters are here to stay and the trend won’t go away, but Newsletters will slow down as independent, focused businesses. Instead, expect newsletters to pivot into mutli-media companies because other formats are quicker and easier to create.” It’s a fair point. Newsletters are just a channel for expressing ideas, so firstly you’ve got to have ideas people want to know about and secondly you’ve got to provide them in the way people want to consume them. I’m not convinced that any idea/expression-of-an-idea can work on any channel.
🌈Red and yellow and pink and green
I completed module two of the BSL course covering numbers, colours and organisations. I know I’m still at the basics but I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve been able to remember the signs.
Futureskills email continue to progress very slowly. I really need to stop coming up with new ideas and get this one to a point where it can launch. I’ll try to make it my main focus over the few weeks remaining of this year.
I’ve been starting to work on what a playbook for my side-projects might look like. ‘Start with a domain name‘ seems like something that would be part of it. I haven’t always started all of my projects with a domain name but having thought about it, it seems like a good idea. Having a domain name for a project starts to give it an identity and some brand, which is useful however the project pans out. My current projects:
🤼Digital civil society
The beautifully written ‘Digital Civil Society: The Annual Industry Forecast‘ by Lucy Bernholz has some really interesting and forward-looking thoughts about the dramatic changes coming to a society near you very soon. The phrase, “Disruption is something well-resourced, valorized individuals and companies do unto others; discontinuity is done unto all of us.” caught my eye and summed up the wrestling that is going on between governments, corporations, civil society bodies and individuals.
🤷♂️Answering the ‘why’ and the ‘how’
Philippa Peasland wrote this brilliant reflection on driving digital transformation by adopting decision stacks. It’s really interesting to get some hint of how the interplay between a simple tool and the complicated organisational dynamics takes place. As Philippa says, it’s the conversations that count. Changes happens in the minds of the people before it happens in the behaviours of the organisation.
📉Effort and reward
Mark Manson talks about how we should “teach [our mind] to stop chasing its own tail. To stop chasing meaning and freedom and happiness because those only serve to move it further away from itself.” The lesson of the piece is thought-provoking enough, but more interesting is the relationship between the three graphs he refers to in describing the three types of tasks we all perform. He says when an “action is mindless and simple effort and reward have a linear relationship. Effort and reward have a diminishing returns relationship when the action is complex. But when the action becomes purely psychological—an experience that exists solely within our own consciousness—the relationship between effort and reward becomes inverted.” These bear more thinking about from a productivity and planning point of view.
🤝Project and Product
Product thinking is different to project thinking. No doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean they need to viewed antagonistically, that for one to be right the other must be wrong. Good things happen when project and product thinking are merged in ways that work for the environment and circumstances. Don’t identify by job titles, the team is the unit of delivery.
The more I think about it the more I’m convinced that timing is the single most important factor for the success of anything. Whether it’s a startup launching a product, a business delivering a project, or an individual trying to achieve anything at all, if you can’t answer the question, “why now?” then you’re just guessing. Validation efforts, then, shouldn’t just be about the idea, they should be about answering that “why now” question. Being too late, too early or on time is far far harder to understand, which is probably why we don’t really try to.
Good work provides choice. Office/hybrid/remote or synchronous/asynchronous, work should work for everyone. We should be figuring out how to create bridges between these things rather than arguing about which one will win. One small attempt I’m interested in using more is meeting notes. I think, done well, meeting notes can bridge between synchronous meetings and asynchronous work after the meeting. I just need to figure out what good meetings look like.
💻Working for the algorithm
This tweet by Aprilynne Alter got me thinking about the myth of how different solopreneur/indie hacker/creator work is to being employed by an organisation. I think they are more similar than they are different. The suggestion that this way of working builds a future of passive income doesn’t stack up. If you don’t keep producing then income will reduce over time. And scaling of income and progression prospects work the same whether you’re working for an organisation or the algorithm; the few get to the top and make lots of money whilst the majority are poorly paid. Some of the comments in Aprilynne’s tweet talk about producing more content based on what previously performed well, which is the same as being employed and . The same mechanisms apply to work whether you’re working for an organisation or working for the algorithm, don’t convince yourself otherwise.