Series 1 - episode 3 - Work

I keep my side of the street clean.

When the rubber hits the road. Two weeks, two kick offs for St Giles and St James. Late last week, a bit of unexpected work showed up, so new it doesn’t have a code name yet (St Luke? Q3s theme is accidentally Catholic saints; why not lean into it and canonise another project?). Is this thing on? If you’re feeling in control, you’re not going fast enough.

We’re starting to find the things that don’t scale. Two people is different to three, and three is different to five or six. Stuff has started to break. Can’t skip standup and forget to tell anyone when it’s not convenient anymore. No more to-do lists in Google Docs, we’re all on Linear now. Back to enjoying the sensation of putting things in the Done’ column.

We got warned off from starting a consultancy last week after taking nascent ideas to a trusted third party for some advice. You only start a consultancy if you’re tired.” Maybe, but nah. There are things I’m tired of in the world of work but I don’t think I’m tired, objectively. More hopeful, actually. Being small enough and nimble enough to make things like Arts Funding, knowing enough people to spin up a team on St Luke within 24 hours. We don’t know how to describe what we do in a way that scales, and that feels ok for now. The first 8-10 projects are pure experiments as far as I’m concerned. How we work, what work we do, who we work with. Iterate our way to a strategy by following our noses. I trust that we have good taste, so that’s the really hard bit sorted. Following our noses works if the bills still get paid, and for now, we’re good on that front. Just have to make sure that revenue isn’t the only thing we measure. Easy to go that way. Harder to pull yourself out of it.

While this is all accelerating I’m trying to make sure I watch out for some things, quietly. (Remember Paul Ford from Postlight’s brilliant blog post, Irony doesn’t scale? He introduces the concept of quiet alert’. That’s me.) How much attention do we really have? How do we ensure we do the work we really want to do, not just the work we have done before. Which bits are about to break, which bits do we need a system for.

Christmas wasn’t on my radar at all and yet suddenly it’s in every conversation I have. This is what we can do before Christmas. It’s X weeks until Christmas. I don’t think your team will be working over Christmas, so we’ll ramp down our effort over that time too. The coward’s way out of saying, sorry pal, we’re downing tools for a fortnight. Q3 imminently over. Someone pick a better theme for Q4s projects, please.


November 29, 2022