Weeknotes 374

This week I did:


The most interesting thing from this week was an opportunity for a partnership with a global digital brand. The question is, can we reprioritise effectively enough to make the most of it? This is why having good guiding principles for prioritisation is so important. Principles that consider sunk cost fallacy, avoid dependency and focus on value. I just wish I knew what they are.

The second most interesting thing from this week was looking at how projects are changing. Some are nearing completion, some are changing shape, some new ones are starting. I’ve been trying to understand the drivers of change and how intentional they are. I think this might provide a signal about organisational stigmergy.


I completed 44 tasks over four days across 12 projects, averaging 11 tasks a day. The average over the time I’ve been tracking is 9.4. The project I was most focused on had 11 tasks (25%) and the least focused had only 1 task.

I set myself four goals for the week. I partly achieved three of them and didn’t even get close on the fourth. I think this shows the same old story of doing too many different things and not having time to do the bigger things. But at least, at the task level, my efforts are going where they should be.

Websites in the first person

I got a little obsessed with websites speaking in the first person, mostly starting with “Hi, I’m…”. I don’t know why, but there’s something weirdly interesting about websites doing it that doesn’t seem to apply to social media or email. Writing in the first person on those platforms seems completely normal.

Vaguely connected, I also thought that ‘about’ pages on websites could become ‘about prompts’ which ask an LLM to provide info about the person. Then, as the info about the person online changes, the LLM will provide a different answer.

I read:

The content strategy of charity blogs: a study

Apart from the fact I love studies like this, it’s really interesting to learn more about charity blogs from an expert. “Build it and they’ll come is a myth for any type of website content – you always need to think about the distribution and findability. But this is especially true for blog content.” Can we get this written across the sky for everyone to see?

The End of the Subscription Era is Coming

But not. I thought this piece might have something to say about the economics of subscription businesses, which have interested me for years, but it just seems to go into the basics of how some things are more popular than others, which on Substack means most people can’t make a living. That doesn’t mean the subscription era is coming to an end.

Influence, Not Control

Some nice, “this, not that” ideas on leaders developing influence rather than control.

I thought about:

Kind and wicked learning environments

I thought about whether professional development occurs in kind or wicked learning environments. So, when managers create professional development opportunities that have abundant, immediate and accurate feedback, they are acting as if the learner is in a kind environment. But if actually they aren’t, and in reality work is a wicked learning environment where feedback is incomplete, delayed and unreliable, then creating the illusion of a kind environment isn’t helpful. We’re talking about situational feedback here, not a manager giving spoken feedback based on their experience and opinion, but signals from the world about what effect happened from something the learner did.

So then, perhaps the better approach for managers to take in helping the learner navigate wicked learning environments is to focus on the two questions suggested by Hogarth and Soyer (the behavioural scientist and cognitive psychologist that propose the idea of kind and wicked learning environments). They said, we should ask, “Is there something important missing from my experience that I need to uncover?” and “What irrelevant details are present in my experience that I need to ignore?” If our answers are that there’s lots missing and lots of our experience is irrelevant, that tells us we’re dealing with a wicked learning environment. And think that’s pretty much always.

Influence and expertise

Great work comes from having expertise and influence. Influence on it’s own is all talk. Expertise alone doesn’t get listened to.

Two by two matrix showing how influence and expertise are required for great work to happen.