Weeknotes 371

This week I did:

Impact and reach

Did some prioritisation work across multiple products to see how they fit together and prompt discussion about how they contribute to the wider organisational goals of increasing reach and deepening impact. It was a useful dimension to look at all the products because it takes them above the goals each product has.

The next iteration, in my head at least, is how mapping features by impact and reach (or whatever the goals are) shows how they alter the strategic positioning of the product. Maybe a bit like how a Wardley map shows how things move from genesis to commodity, this would show how delivering a feature that increases reach pulls the product further along the reach axis. It might be a (very blunt) way of showing how a feature contributes to maximising a product’s impact and reach.

Products for change

I took part in some research for a case study. The interesting thing it revealed to me is how much implicit knowledge I have about how the digital products and services we create contribute to the organisational strategy and social change mission. It’s easy to think of products as being just about doing something for the individual user, and much harder to think about them as redefining an entire space within society. Maybe this is part of the move from user-centred ways of thinking to system-shifting approaches. Amazon redefined ecommerce with technology products. Uber redefined personal transportation in cities. I reflected later that perhaps the three things that get in the way of charities using technology products to redefine a market is lack of investment, lack of knowledge, and lack of vision.


I completed 48 things this week, averaging 9.6 a day. My busiest day was Tuesday with 14 things and my least busy day was Friday with 6 things. I haven’t made any progress on my ideas about how to improve my system yet.


Monday was the busiest day on my website. My post on systems thinking for product managers is still bringing lots of visitors from a product management course. Is this some validation for product managers being interested in systems thinking? Does it mean there is an audience for my ideas on system-shifting product management?


Not the digital type. The button fell off my shorts. I got a needle and thread out of my go bag and sewed it back on. Being prepared for the little problems as well as the big ones is what makes a good go bag so special.

I read this week:

What makes a failure intelligent

Tanmay Vora’s post about Amy Edmondson’s book “The Right Kind of Wrong – The Science of Failing Well”, goes into the five characteristics of intelligent failures, and comes with sketchnotes too, which tells us that “masters of intelligent failure are driven by curiosity, experiment fearlessly, and make friends with failure.”

Inequalities for disabled people

Published a couple of weeks ago, I got around to reading the research briefing on UK disability statistics: Prevalence and life experiences. The definition is disability is “whether they have a physical or mental health condition or illness that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more, and whether the condition and/or illness reduces their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. A person who answers yes to both questions is considered disabled.” So, the definition contains both the medical model of disability and the social model. If society becomes more equal and it gets easier for people to carry out day-to-day activities, they are no longer disabled, even if their physical or mental health condition or illness hasn’t changed.

The Automattic Creed

I read a bit about Automattic, the company that built WordPress and came across their creed. What’s kind of nice about it is just how uncrafted and unpoetic it is. It’s like the first try from a group of people who have never done it before. But it’s good enough for them. To me at least, that speaks to where they focus their efforts.

And I thought about:

Personal websites that introduce someone

I thought a bit about my website’s home page and what it’s purpose should be. I looked at a few personal websites, particularly that say stuff like, “Hi, I’m…. I do this and that.” My home page has always been about the things I’m working on or writing rather than about me. Maybe that’s an introvert thing but I’m hoping it’s because my audience is more interested in knowing about my projects and thinking than about me.

The half-life of things

Conceptual things like relationships, reputation, skills, etc., have a half-life. They degrade over time if not maintained. Maybe it’s like the opposite of compound interest. For something like skills, the aim might be to add new skills more quickly and than old skills fade away. That way the total of your skills is always increasing.