Weeknotes 321

This week I did:

Getting ready

Quite a lot of this week has been about getting ready for the next quarter in two ways; one getting to information we need about the work we could be doing so we can make the right prioritisation decisions, and two deciding which process experiments we want to do, documenting our hypotheses and how these experiments fit into our overall system. One of the interesting things I’ve noticed in this is more of a shift towards problem-oriented thinking, which is great to see.

Building on top of what went before

This week’s Irregular Idea was about how we probably don’t think about what we build nowadays in ways that mean we create something others could build on in the future. We tend towards replacing things, but maybe that’s because those things weren’t built to be built upon.


This week’s reading list included things about the Internet, social capital, digital reading, artificial intelligence, innovation & waste.


I’ve been gradually working on developing a canvas for exploring opportunities for charities and am now starting to put it into action. If anyone wants to use it, give me feedback on it, adapt it, please go ahead.

And I read:

The Invidious Hand

James Plunkett’s essay on social justice in the age of control is a really interesting look at platform products and how they have a different set of rules that we aren’t entirely familiar with yet. There isn’t much to disagree with, but something I strongly agree with is that the current institutions based on centuries old thinking, and the mechanisms they have for controlling companies, aren’t fit for purpose when it comes to regulating platforms. It makes me want to get back to my thinking about charity-as-a-platform to resolve the conflict of how platform business models don’t fit charities so those models are about reinforcing growth and charities are trying to reduce the problem they are tackling.

Agile comms

I started reading Giles Turnbull’s Agile Comms Handbook about faster and more flexible ways to communicate. I know I over-think and over-write when I’m communicating so maybe this will help me learn some other ways.

The third Climate Change Risk Assessment

I stumbled onto this report when looking for other things on the Internet, but it’s a really interesting read. The upshot of it is that, based on earlier plans, the UK’s response to climate change was to adapt (rather than act to reduce climate change) but this report shows that the national adaptation plans are failing and the gap between the gap between the level of risk we face and the level of adaptation underway has widened. My conclusion? Put your own adaption plans in place.

And thought about:

Who’s objective is it?

Where there is any tension between how to achieve a goal, the question shouldn’t be, ‘Who is the decision-maker?’ but ‘Who’s objective is it?’. Asking who the decision-maker is, is vague when the decision relies on expert knowledge from . For example, a product manager working with an internal stakeholder should either be trying to achieve their objectives or the stakeholders objectives. They should present all the relevant information, make recommendations, etc., but if it isn’t their objective to achieve then it isn’t for them to make the decision. They should disagree and commit.

How long is data useful for?

The cells of our bodies are replaced every seven years, and yet in some database somewhere is a record of something I did on the internet twenty years ago. Is it still relevant data? How quickly does data go out of date? Temporal knowledge graphs are a way to think about these questions.

In the future, when we have digital twins in the metaverse, how the data stays up to date is an important question. We can’t even explain for ourselves how our current decisions are based on past experiences, so it’ll be interesting to see how our digital twins maintain an up to date representation of us.

Long-term incentives

I had a brief chat about the issues with how companies approach talent acquisition, and after giving it some thought, I think the root of the problems is short term thinking on the part of the company. When hiring, the aim is to find the person best suited to the role. But being best suited comes from systemic privilege, which means the person who isn’t best suited has fewer opportunities. And we know that privilege is more available to certain types of people. So, the more companies focus on the short-term benefits of hiring the person they think is best suited to role, the more inequality they drive in the labour market and the smaller the pool of people who are judged to be best suited becomes. Perhaps, companies that are able to, could do more to recruit people that they judge to not be the best suited and help them develop to become better suited in the future. The more companies that take this long term view of creating a better future labour market, rather than the short term view of what’s best for them in the present, the stronger the labour market will be in the future. Viewing talent acquisition as a competitive advantage is harmful to society and increases inequality. I want to reread the literature on the Resource-Based View of the firm and see how that does or doesn’t fit.