Weeknotes 311

Photo of the week:

Driving down into Borth just after sunset with Snowdonia national park in the distance.

This week I did:

Learning to test test and learn

There are some pieces of work that don’t require a full development process and can achieve their goals by focusing on small specific problems. This week I’ve been working on learning how we can run more tests to answer questions about delivering small specific solutions. It means being strict on goals, and using them to help you draw boxes around what you need to do to make the test happen, what you should do because it’s just good to do, what you shouldn’t do because you want to keep the work small and not interfere with the test results.

Lots of info, loosely held

This week’s irregular ideas was about information overload, and how we can deal with by keeping an open mind about the information we receive and being prepared to accept other information that changes how confident we are in what we think. I’m up to 45 subscribers, which is more than I ever thought I’d get.

Timeline of digital work

Because I’m a digital geek, I’ve been making a list of ideas, practices and technologies that created our idea of modern digital work. It includes obvious things like the invention of the Internet and the writing of the Agile manifesto, but also less obvious things like the introduction of API’s in 2000 and registering of the first domain name in 1985. I might merge it with TimelineOfModern.work or just turn it into a blog post.

And I thought about:

Non-competitive strategy

I wonder about the underlying assumptions of lots of strategy thinking and almost all the models as being in competitive environments. The Hidden Brain podcast had a episode about how people behave in groups and included some research about how, once in groups, people automatically feel competitive with other groups. And what is an organisation if not a group of people that tries to bind that group with culture, contracts and organisational boundaries. So, maybe competitive strategy is a reflection of human tendency. Perhaps best to think about strategy description rather than definition then, and use descriptions like Rumelt’s ‘a cohesive response to a significant challenge’, which in itself doesn’t imply a competitive environment.

Ways to think about problems

I’ve thought a bit about how we think about problems, and want to try to make it make sense enough for a blog post (not that any of my blog posts make any sense). Ways to include are ‘wicked problems’, the difference between problems that are difficult vs hard work, and puzzling puzzles where you can’t see what the solution looks like.

And read:

Charity Digital Skills Report

The 2022 Charity Digital Skills Report came out this week. It’s an interesting read (if you’re into that kind of thing, which I am) about the state of digital in the charity sector. There are so many things for charities to improve to be more digital, and so many ways for them to do it. Taking a strategic approach is impossible, there’s just too much complexity to create any kind of cohesive approach. Stigmergy is the only answer.


Emotionraising: How to astonish, disturb, seduce and convince the brain to support good causes, was recommended to me and it’s a good source for my 21st century charity module on donations. It starts with the science of emotions about giving, which is really interesting. So much goes on in every single donation to a charity, from the motivations of the person to the convenience of the experience.

Learning Morse

I found an old pamphlet about learning Morse Code. It’s interesting to see how a lot of the ‘build in public’ creator economy on Twitter has a long history of people believing in their tools and creating ways to share their passion with others.