Weeknotes S6 Ep06

Building the grid at our Local Digital Roadshow


On the road…

This week the Local Digital Collaboration Unit had 100 attendees at The Bartlett School of Architecture, Here East, Stratford to talk about the Local Digital Declaration and hear some case studies, and have an unconference… so not much really.

That was Wednesday and it was a busy day; even though I feel like I didn’t do that much in the grand scheme of things really. My team have managed to get this organisation down to a quiet art. It looks effortless but it’s not, not really, just well practised.

Nearly all of my team (Linda B is hiding behind Rich and James)

I was presenting a really short (5 minute) section about how people are working in the open, which I felt fine about until I saw the room.

A big lecture theatre used by UCL AT Here East.

Impossible not to feel daunted in that scenario I think, which hammered home the usefulness of seeing a venue before you speak. I’d say this is good to remember ahead of SDinGov which is coming up soon, but in reality our session is one of the first so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have — eek!

I also acted as notetaker for a number of sessions and it was good to hear the discussions about the future of the movement and learn more about what Local Gov needs.

On Thursday I worked from home which was lucky because my little one turned out to be ill and I had to pick him up from school, which would have been very stressful if I’d had to rush back from London. but the team edited all of the notes from the roadshow sessions and then did a remote affinity sorting session using Trello which was actually really good. So while the little one dozed and watched Finding Dory, I could still work and contribute, which was great.

As a pleasing aside fellow weeknoter Lizzi made it along to the roadshow, so it was really nice to catch up with her about websites and accessibility and WACAG. She also took some lovely photos around the Olympic park which I include below for your appreciation:

In the evening everyone had some drinks in Stratford to say goodbye to Frances and Corinne who recently left the team. (I bailed, again, which I’m worried is becoming a thing, but I mention it because…) Corinne recently moved to Croydon Digital Service and is working as a Content Designer, which she will be awesome at. She’s also started writing brilliant weeknotes which I strongly encourage you to read and support:

View at Medium.com

What else?

On Wednesday evening when I was busy bailing on drinks, I had also bailed on meeting with Steve and Hattie to talk through our presentation for SDinGov (but only because travelling back across London seemed a little silly and a bit too much like hard work).

To make up for it I spent my Tuesday evening setting up our slide deck and started fleshing it out. I think it needs a little more practical advice so I’m going to spend some time this weekend thinking about that, and hopefully meet with Hattie to chat about it this week.

If you’re interested in our presentation it’s here:

Thank you to Steve for this absolute gift (below) which is definitely going into the presentation, and to fellow weeknoters Ian and Cate for letting me use quotes from their weeknotes too. In fact, special thanks to Ian for the twitter DM convo and keeping me company as I worked, Ian is a top bloke.

On Tuesday I met Antonia from my old team for lunch which was really nice, she is excellent and I’d love to find her a mentor who works in product management or similar, so if you are one please let me know! I also saw Olivia from my old old team briefly which was lovely.

And that’s my week pretty much.

Oh yeah…

Here’s a thing. I went to the Dr (finally) about feeling anxious and low. She offered me medication and I’ve just started taking it. Sertraline, which is apparently the most common antidepressant taken in the UK.

I was in two minds because it felt like a really big step, and despite being open about my mental health I know there’s still stigma about taking medication for it, which, I guess, is why I’m writing it here. I’ve never taken anything before. I know it won’t be forever (probably 6 months to a year) which makes me feel OK about it.

A gif of a cartoon person with a moving squiggle above their head

The hardest part about starting to take someting, was that I was worried about where the me of me started and ended. If I took away my anxiety who would I be? I didn’t want to change myself really, despite everything. I was worried it might make me less good at stuff or dull my brain in some way.

I’m glad to say it hasn’t.

I’ve been taking it for a week now and I don’t feel different, though the initial sickness made me seriously consider packing it in after just three days, and I had a pretty special migraine aura yesterday (it was sparkly and pretty, like tiny fairies around my peripheral vision) thankfully it didn’t last long.

Grown up and sensible is not usually a way I would describe myself, but hey.

Anyway, I don’t want to be quiet about getting help. It feels like the grown up and sensible thing to do rather than reaction to a crisis. An acknowledgement that I just haven’t been feeling my best, and a hope it will start to sort itself out in good time.

If I write it here other people might feel more inclined to recognise that this is a totally normal set of circumstances, so as I often say if you’re going through it, you’re not alone.

And finally…

I was looking at the Afrotech fest website and wanted to go but didn’t want to stop anyone else from going to it because I know it’s not for me, but I also want to educate myself.

I didn’t realise they did a donation ticket, so I think I might buy one, it’s probably the least I can do… maybe you want to do it too?

I absolutely loved this post by Manuel:

I was also reading about student loans in the US which seems like an absolute shambles (long read):

View at Medium.com

And it goes a long way to explaining why many people were so up in arms about this:


I read this post by ian which talks about the talk that Tom gave at Mind the Product:

View at Medium.com

There’s been a bit of disquiet on twitter about one particular photo from it which includes a slide with the quote:

If you’re not fearing you might be fired, you’re probably not being bold enough.

There have been a few hot takes on that, mostly around that it’s a luxury to risk losing your job, I get that, and I get Tom’s sentiment too. The bigger issue I have is that this single picture has been shared and shared and shared again without context.

And I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the context that this was used. But this unsettles me because there’s a sense of hero narrative about it. It’s not about individuals, it’s not about one person, for me it’s about people collaborating and working together to share responsibility, work in a networked way and implement change. Anyway, I suppose that’s my hot take, rightly or wrongly. I’d like to see a transcript or write up so I can get that context and discover that I’m completely wrong, plz, ta.

Thought this was an interesting article and coincides with organisation of the One Team Gov bureaucracy hack coming soon.

View at Medium.com

This by Steffany Brown is excellent:

View at Medium.com

Andrea shared this which is bound to be useful:

Oh and I loved this article about artist Gretchen Andrew:

I realise that I haven’t mentioned my working pattern at all this week, which might be an indication that it’s felt better. I chatted with some colleagues about it on Monday so maybe I’ve just lifted the weight on it by talking, who knows.

Finally, here’s my playlist this week. Which I’m affectionately calling the “stinky fake smells” aka the “Typical girls” playlist. Byeeeeeee!

[1] An easter egg, so soon? Why? I know its a tenuous link but I’ve had this in my head for a few days as a result of organising a roadshow, so sorry about that.

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