in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #265 — Marika Hackman III

Stop. Stop. No. STOP.

Stop. Stop. No. STOP.

Another typically busy week with a huge amount of context switching. Monday morning started with a drive to an appointment with a medical consultant. (I’m happy to report that I have a resting heart rate of a measly 42bpm.) Getting back to my desk and starting work late morning left me a bit out of sorts, a feeling that I carried with me through the rest of the week.

This was a week in which I:

  • Had meetings with our senior business product leaders to try and understand their biggest pain points, checking whether the development work we are doing is underpinned by their needs.
  • Wrote up and published minutes from last week’s programme Steering Committee meeting and submitted an update to one of our Governance Committees.
  • Had the ‘page turn’ meeting with the landlord, architects, property consultants and AV/IT specialists for an office building that we are moving into later in the year. Office blueprints get detailed.
  • Completed the RFP process for selecting a furniture vendor for the new office.
  • Reviewed the financial forecast for the new office.
  • Met with colleagues in our Group Real Estate team to check in on our progress towards opening another new office.
  • Had the weekly meetings with our sister company on our office upgrade works.
  • Reviewed a draft operating model for our digital product team.
  • Tested out FigJam as an alternative to the collaboration whiteboard tool that we currently use, which is due to be shut down later this year. It looks as though it could save us in licence fees as it gives you the ability to temporarily open up a board to guests, so not everyone needs to have a permanent account.
  • Undertook acoustic testing of the meeting rooms in our office in an attempt to diagnose the various issues that we have with the sounds in each of them.
  • Loved hearing about a colleague’s 42-year career with our firm at our weekly Learning Hour meeting, ahead of his retirement at the end of the month. It was fascinating to hear what things were like when he joined the company in 1982 and the journey that he has been on since then. He had us laughing as he recounted his time in the Y2K ‘war room’ on 31 December 1999; at the exact point that the clock flicked over to midnight, one of the team turned the lights off and set everyone panicking for a few moments.
  • Enjoyed seeing Marika Hackman at the incredibly beautiful Church of St John-at-Hackney. We ate beforehand at The Square, Clapton, a lovely little restaurant with delicious modern tapas-style dishes. The gig was good, but I think I was spoiled by how electric Helena Deland was last month. I definitely have a strong preference for smaller, more intimate venues.
Marika Hackman at the Church of St John-at-Hackney, 21 March 2024

Marika Hackman at the Church of St John-at-Hackney, 21 March 2024

  • Had an eventful journey home from the gig. We missed the 2309 from Euston by a whisker, which meant that we had to endure the long, sad wait for the 2342. The later the train, the more likely it will be filled with people who have had too much to drink. And so it was. As my friend and I talked to each other, I could sense that something was happening a few people away from us in the carriage. From what I could make out, a couple of blokes were being rude to a woman who ended up walking away from them in tears. Things escalated from there. While people close by started getting into shouting matches, I texted the British Transport Police to let them know that things were going pear-shaped. I’ve never done that before. The service sends you a message back to let you know that it has been acknowledged and it was followed up by a constable getting in contact via text and phone the next day. Apparently there were three of us texting the BTP at the same time. They plan to follow it up as a hate crime.
  • Watched our driveway and front lawn get dug up and put back together again by UK Power Networks. Our neighbours want to be able to charge an electric car and found that in order to upgrade their supply, we need to be disconnected from them first. Apparently, the people who constructed our house in the 1950s made cost savings by ‘looping’ the power supply connection between neighbouring properties. Once the work is done, we’ll be connected directly to the street, 70 years after our house was built.
  • Had our annual boiler inspection.
  • Watched a significant chunk of our kitchen get dismantled, on our way to putting a new one in. With a bit of jury-rigging we’ve managed to keep our dishwasher plumbed in for now. Appliances and cabinets have been ordered, worktops have been chosen and we feel like we have all of our tradies in a row.
  • Enjoyed a Friday night and Saturday morning with my brothers and their wives at the Crazy Bear hotel in Beaconsfield. We’d all been treated to a night away as a Christmas gift from my mum and dad (thank you!) and as always it was fun to get together. The hotel is quite something. Spread across a number of old buildings in the town, each room has velvet-covered walls, draped curtains for en-suite doors and leather carpets. The bar looked and felt like a project commissioned by a Russian oligarch with some significant input from Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen. After an evening of laughter we wandered into Beaconsfield for a delicious breakfast at The Cape.
  • Rolled my eyes at my annual AA membership increasing from £250 to £350 with a note from them saying that I could get a better deal if I shop around. So, I’ll call them and they will either drop the price or I’ll become an RAC customer.

  • Managed to avoid any news about the F1 Australian GP qualifying or the race before I watched them on catch-up. After over 30 years of watching I’m still a committed fan, but a 4am start was not going to happen.



What I fear isn’t automation taking our jobs, but the bottom falling out of generative AI as companies realize that the best they’re going to see is a few digits of profit growth. Companies like Nvidia, Google, Amazon, Snowflake and Microsoft have hundreds of billions of dollars of market capitalization — as well as expected revenue growth — tied into the idea that everybody will be integrating AI into everything, and that they will be doing so _more_ than they are today.

If the AI bubble pops, the entire tech industry will suffer as venture capitalists are once again washed out through chasing an unprofitable, barely-substantiated trend. And again the entire industry suffers because people don’t want to build new things or try new ideas, but fund the same people doing similar things again and again because it feels good to be part of a consensus, even if you’re wrong. Silicon Valley will continually fail to innovate at scale until it learns to build real things again — things that people use because the things in question actually do something.



  • Bought Bad Writing by Baldur Bjarnason. I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I’ve been enjoying his writing and blogging on AI.
  • Picked up a copy of Tim Burgess’ The Listening Party from Oxfam for a few pounds. I never took part in any of the events but they seem to be in a similar spirit to our Album Club, putting time aside to listen with intent.

Next week: A four-day week that contains two Album Clubs.

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