Notes for November 17th 2023

Song of the week:

  • The geopolitical situation is really numbing right now. Putin & Xi appear to be teaming up to destabilise "the West" (America and friends) while Americans are split on a few key issues, none of which impact the daily lives of right-wing Trump supporters. Should Trump get elected, I fear there'll be no coming back to the lives we once knew. Israel/Palestine & Ukraine have been brilliant theatrical wedges for the introduction of Western dystopia. All while the Western lavish lifestyle with pseudo democratic ideals have failed people. In Ireland, getting a house as a young person is basically impossible and improbably expensive despite a broadly successful economic situation. I'm not being glib outright, but this is a messy situation and the more I read on it, the more I worry.
  • I've found out what my superpower might be in a work context. Nope, it's not developing careers (though I've done a lot of that over the last decade). Nope, it's not being really good at being technical/nerdy with technical products. Nope, it's not building relationships with stakeholders, customers, etc. etc. I've done all of that, and gotten pretty good at a lot of it, too. But I think the superpower that I have uncovered is taking difficult concepts and twisting them into a story.
    • I'm currently doing this with an enormous set of cross-functional leaders who each have their own stakes in the ground. Separately, they're all building little fiefdoms. Objectively, that's kinda true. But when I start (as I phrase it) getting the crayons out to draw the ideal world where cross-functionality is a feature, not a bug, and our go-to-market organisation is singing from the right hymn sheet, the customer experience is otherworldly. It's landing really well. Lots of devil appears in those details. But it's going really well and I think we'll tee the company up for a number of years of success.
    • Why is this my superpower? Because I actually just assumed that everyone knew this stuff, was able to do it and they just didn't see the value in it. Being a little older, a little more booksmart and a little more brash in a room (open your mouth and say what you feel needs to occupy the space) has been a surprising lesson learned over the last 18 months or so. Not everyone is thinking the same thing, and what you're thinking might not be correct, but it might open some doors to get to the answer.
  • I finally fixed up an old Tokyobike frame with new gear. Particularly an electric motor and battery setup. It was easier to fit than I first thought it was, and the mechanism of 'knowing' when I'm pedalling is a small piece of engineering genius. A fixed-point magnet waits for contact from one of a dozen magnets that spin on a wheel attached to the pedal arm. Then that tells the battery to shovel some power into the motor. I can control the power out with a little display on my handlebars. It's great. Works super well, is super fast and convenient on a light, small bike frame. By comparison, my Van Moof is a monster.
    • The only thing missing on my Tokyobike setup is a 'boost' button, which is an absolute godsend on the VanMoof when taking off from traffic lights.

  • I have a dual-fuel cooker in my kitchen. It's actually not used anywhere near as much as it warrants given the high quality and design aesthetic of it (it's a 60cm Smeg cooker that looks like a range style one). It was expensive when I got it a few years back, but I think I need to replace it with basically the same thing, but without the gas hob part. It's time to ditch the gas and go full-on electric. If I could replace the gas boiler for heating the house with something convenient, cheap and reliable, I would. But a heat pump seems prohibitively expensive right now. Not just to fit, but operationally too.