Weeknotes 285

Photo of the week:

Looking west off the Pembrokeshire coast

This week I did:

Go time

This week has been super-focused on a single product that is launching next week. In four days we set up the product, configured all the options, tested it, learned how to use it, did training sessions for other users, got all the content in, and came up with the go live plan. I don’t mind admitting that I really enjoy this kind of time pressure, and I’m really looking forward to getting into figuring out how we should do continuous improvement for this and other product over the next few months.

Existential risk

Next week is the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Doomsday Clock so I made a little website to let people check whether the world has been taken over by AI. Other than perhaps a technology we haven’t invented yet, artificial intelligence is the technology most likely to pose an existential risk to humanity. As with most of the things I do, the website is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek and it was a chance for me to learn a bit of javascript, but it’s going on my list of projects to iterate on over time so who knows what might happen with it.

In progress projects

I had an idea for a personal learning management system that holds all the online courses that you do and helps you complete them. I set myself a challenge of getting from idea to landing page that could help validate the idea in three hours and to tweet about it in a #BuildInPublic kinda way.

Sent the 12th edition of Irregular Ideas.

Added more wise sayings to my #MakeMeWise Twitter Bot.

Reached 1,600 products in ultimatedigital.tools.

I didn’t finish the future skills email I’ve been working on because of all that stuff above.

And read:

Sinking ship

This brilliant article uses the metaphor of a ship to discuss different definitions of improving the world. and how people in different camps disagree about it. The five activities of rowing, steering, anchoring, equity, and mutiny to suggest five different ways to approach making the world a better place, and calls out how difficult it is to know which is the right approach without knowing where the world is heading. What it doesn’t mention is, what if the ship is sinking. Let’s just hope it isn’t.

Effective People Think Simply

And thought about:


The internet-era/agile/digital ways of working place a greater need of people to be more multi-skilled. The traditional/hierarchical ways of organising teams might have included a specific role of project manager who would have been responsible for coordination and communication, but in the shift from a project approach to a product approach for cross-functional teams those roles often get subsumed into being a part of everyone’s work. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but in order for those teams to be successful everyone needs to develop those communication and coordination skills.

Being human is going great

When anything new comes along, doesn’t matter if it’s Tamagotchi, Agile, or NFTs, it creates four groups of people. The biggest group of people is those how don’t know or don’t care about the new thing. The smallest group of people is those that find the new thing intellectually or creatively curious and explore it. And in between there are groups of people who try to make money from the new thing and those that hate on the new thing. This kind of behaviour has nothing to do with NFT’s, it’s just what humans do.

Wicked problems in product

I’ve been doing some work this week using Theory of Change and thinking about the approach of causally linking activities to outcomes to impacts. I completely believe that no product ever achieves an outcome for anyone using it. If success, a product achieves a behaviour change and a person might achieve an outcome from that behaviour change. An inclusive society is a wicked problem. There is no step-by-step guide for achieving it, so from a product point-of-view the questions are ‘what outcomes might achieve the impact’, ‘what behaviours might achieve those outcomes’, ‘what products might cause those behaviour changes’, ‘what activities could we do to create those products’?