in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #259 — Fake eyes

Pre-pandemic levels of congestion on the way into Euston Square tube station

Pre-pandemic levels of congestion on the way into Euston Square tube station

There’s so much work going on. I feel the stress when I know I have a pile of work to do but my calendar is forcing me to do something completely different instead. I ended up working late into the evenings as well as most of Saturday afternoon, when all the meetings were done, just to ensure that I’m keeping things on track.

This week we had our annual two-day strategy meeting with all of the technology leaders in our division. Most of the 80 attendees gathered in a conference venue in Johannesburg. Last year I joined them, but this time I stayed at home. Although the 7am starts were a little painful, I was grateful to be able to dial in, saving the financial and environmental costs of the trip. The format of the event was mainly a series of presentations and conversations with senior leaders across the company; there is much less reason to be in the room than if it was a workshop.

This was a week in which I:

  • Was sad to see that my usual train was still missing in action on Monday and Tuesday, meaning that there was no time for the 40 minute walk from the station to my office. The overtime ban should be done for now so normal service should resume from next week.
  • Had to switch to a helpdesk role on Monday morning as many staff found that they had trouble connecting to our Wi-Fi. The team found the root cause and fixed it, but it was a bumpy start to the week.
  • Held a meeting with my newly formed team to talk through our structure, where we fit into the organisation, what we do, how I think we should work together.
  • Had meetings with our technology design vendor. We looked at their draft ideas for a new regional office that we move into later in the year as well as taking a walk around our meeting room spaces in London. We’ve started to imagine how we can improve the experience for everyone that uses the rooms, whether they are in them or they are joining remotely.
  • Reviewed the draft service request for the technology design vendor work.
  • Joined the ‘design development’ meeting for the new office. Our Head of Marketing and Communications was there in person, looking at colour and material choices for the fit-out.
  • Completed the RFP process for assistance with real estate/facilities project management, shortlisting and meeting with two vendors before finally agreeing our intent to move forward with one of them.
  • Met to discuss the approach we will take to RFPs in our regional office that we are moving later this year.
  • Had the weekly meeting with our sister company to discuss mechanical works that we are undertaking together.
  • Met with our sister company to discuss upcoming changes to the technology in spaces that we share.
  • Reviewed a proposal for how we intend to share documents with a product-aligned team so that our staff do not need to spend lots of time moving files and folders.
  • Took part in our Information Risk Steering Group meeting.
  • Had the weekly meeting with my product delivery management team.
  • Stocked our Kanban boards with lots of cards relating to our core ‘hard deadline’ projects, for items that are due in the next week or two. It was great to get these things written down and on the right team boards.
  • Felt very frustrated with yet again being the only person that had their camera on in a large working group meeting. I channeled my frustration into reposting a polemic on why I think this is important onto our ‘All Company’ Viva Engage channel.
  • Enjoyed the latest Teams Fireside Chat session, this time with Michel Bouman. Every time I join one of these sessions there there seems to be someone in the room that is demonstrating new technology. Michel was using NVIDIA Broadcast software to ensure that his eyes were ‘fixed’ on the webcam lens. The effect was very convincing, but people in the chat called it out after a while. There’s a debate about whether the eye contact increased or decreased engagement on the call; my view is that it was pretty unnerving. I value the authenticity of seeing people’s faces and expressions without AI augmenting them.
  • Enjoyed the weekly cycle club ride. It was possibly the wettest ride I’ve had where it wasn’t actually raining. We passed through four or five major flooded roads. At one point I got my foot caught in my front mudguard and thought I was going to go down into the lake that we were travelling through, but managed to save it just in time.
Double puncture stop, very early into the ride

Double puncture stop, very early into the ride

  • Needed to replace my cheap Bluetooth sports headphones. I tend to do this every year as they seem to stop working after a while. This time a particularly sweaty bike ride meant that I lost sound in one of the earbuds. I picked these up on Amazon and am blown away by what you can get for £16. They are quite amazing.
How can these be just £16?

How can these be just £16?



  • Enjoyed this twopart series on the careers of the B-52’s and REM.
  • The Microsoft Teams Insider podcast is essential listening for anyone working in the AV/IT space. This week’s show features an interview with Mark Licinio, the Service Owner of Video Conferencing and Teams Devices at BP.



  • My youngest son and I finally finished the third (and hopefully not final) season of The Orville. What started out as a kind of slapstick Star Trek turned into something beautiful. More than once, the show moved me to tears. If they don’t make any more episodes, I’m going to miss those characters like crazy.
  • Continued with For All Mankind season two and are having to force ourselves to stop watching as bedtime approaches.

Next week: The start of Learned League 100, plus an album club.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Related Content by Tag