in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #232 — 70th

My lovely dad (who I know reads these weeknotes — hello dad 👋) turned 70 this week. On Saturday we headed to my aunt’s house — she also hit 70 this year — for a double birthday celebration. The weather on our drive down was atrocious with torrential storms and flooded roads, a big worry for a party that was due to take place outside. But soon after we arrived and the band started to play, the rain stopped.

We had such a lovely time. It’s wonderful to get together with lots of family and friends like this, particularly after the COVID years. As the sun went down, the party continued indoors with some impromptu microphone-free YouTube-powered karaoke. It’s going to take a couple of days for my shredded vocal chords to recover.

Our birthday present to dad is a long weekend trip for him, my two brothers and I to Berlin later in the year. After our brilliant holiday with all of our families last year, I realise how much the best gift is just being able to spend some quality time together.

This was a week in which I:

  • Appeared as a panellist at an internal event, discussing large language models and generative AI. The whole event was excellent, with an impressive keynote speaker in the form of Mushambi Mutuma and a good, diverse panel.
  • Continued work to on-board a vendor and get a contract in place for delivery of an interesting new capability for our firm.
  • Agreed a contract with an external vendor to deliver ‘clear writing’ training to our department towards the end of the year. The content needs some customisation, but if it can be anywhere near as good as the training I attended some years ago it will be well worth the effort.
  • Had a walkthrough of our software development team’s proposed strategy for delivering against one of our strategic objectives.
  • Joined colleagues in meetings with individual representatives for our programme on unstructured data management.
  • In response to feedback from the team in that we aren’t having as many fun, inclusive events anymore, I prepped and ran our team meeting with a couple of exercises. In the first one, each team member had one minute to try and sell a bizarre object to the rest of the attendees, before nominating who would go next. We also played a variation of the game You Think You Know Me which translated quite well to an online format.
  • Watched an excellent Learning Hour session, led by a colleague who gave us an update on our CRM system and a conference that she recently attended.
  • Attended a security programme steering committee in place of our CIO.
  • Took part in our monthly risk review meeting.
  • Had my mid-year review and completed a half-year self appraisal on the system.
  • Tentatively agreed to presenting at a town hall event towards the end of the year.
  • Attended a webinar on The CIO’s Evolving Role in Supporting Digital Products.
  • Joined a Gartner meeting on the topic of ‘the future of the office’.
  • Went for a rare dinner with some of my colleagues from work. We had such a lovely evening, with great conversation and lots of humour. We don’t do it enough.
  • Had a lovely Sunday lunch out with my wife.
  • Didn’t get out on my bike over the weekend, due to the rain, social commitments and being generally knackered (in that order).

Next week: A couple of weeks off work for the summer. I’m trying not to make too many mental commitments of all the things I’ll get done during this time, so that I don’t end up disappointed with myself.

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