Although the meetings have started to thin out, it was another busy week. There’s still plenty going on in the run-up to Christmas. Some big gaps opened up in my calendar which felt like suddenly vacant spots in an otherwise rammed car park in which I’ve been driving around in circles. I still didn’t have enough time to finish all of the things I needed to, so had to spend some time working on Saturday to catch up.
On my way into work on Monday I started to get a sore throat and thought that I was about to get properly sick. Thankfully it never materialised. There are so many coughs and colds around at the moment and I’ve even seen a couple of colleagues take time off with bronchitis and pneumonia, so it felt like a lucky escape.
This was a week in which I:
- Hosted the third and final workshop to review the status of all of the components that make up the core services in our offices. The next steps are to fill in the blanks and to use the data for scoping some of our projects for next year.
- Joined a Generative AI workshop with a well-known vendor. I’m really struggling with the cognitive dissonance between a company having ’responsible AI principles’ but basing their technology on a model that is opaque about its training data and uses low-wage workers to train it. Generative AI can be incredible, but I am in ‘full skeptic’ mode as I think we’re still at the ‘peak of inflated expectations’.
- Spent a lot of time discussing the architectural plans for a new office. We joined that office’s all-hands meeting to present the drawing and the thoughts behind it to the whole team.
- Met with the project team from a sister company who are coordinating internal building works in our shared office over the next couple of years.
- Met our COO and CIO to discuss our approach to the shared spaces within our office, as well as some relatively minor changes that we plan to make.
- Reviewed a document that is intended for our division’s executive offsite meeting in January in order to kick off and frame the year ahead.
- Put together my half of a slide deck about the ‘Digital Immersion’ that a colleague and I attended in October and presented to the department at our weekly Learning Hour session.
- Had the monthly vendor call with the analyst service that we subscribe to.
- Fed back to a potential vendor that we will not be signing a contract with them.
- Joined the weekly project meeting for opening an office in a new country.
- Prepared an outline for how I think we should move forward with the management of unstructured files across our division.
- Attended an interesting Gartner webinar on The Basics of Product Management in IT. The poor presenter told us she wasn’t feeling well at the start of the session and seemed to be melting in front of our eyes as the webinar went on. We had to let her know through the Q&A that we were rooting for her. She managed to get to the end while keeping it engaging. Very impressive.
- Was interviewed by two Year 11 students about diversity of people in Technology as part of a ‘Business Insights Programme’ being run by a sister company.
- Enjoyed a ‘Christmas’ lunch with a big chunk of the team from our London office. I hadn’t been to Ping Pong in some time so I was excited to go. Our fabulous colleague who arranged it could only get us a table at 2pm, a little late for lunch, so treated us to a ‘social’ from Ole & Steen.1
- Walked past Caroline Lucas and a small Channel 4 TV crew as I walked from my office to the train station. I thought I recognised her but I wasn’t sure; I stopped and stared for just a bit too long for things to be comfortable. They were set up in a weird alcove just off of Holborn Viaduct, which is why it took me some time to process. Looking at the video I can see that it’s a pretty good spot, with Amazon’s headquarters in the background providing a ‘random central London location’ vibe.
- Enjoyed bumping into a friend from Album Club at the train station. It’s not often I see people I know on my commute, probably as a result of most of us not going in as much as we used to.
- Had a great Saturday morning bike ride, my first outdoors for many weeks. The cycling club organised their annual Mince Pie Ride which had us all meeting up at a local cafe for a free coffee and a pie at the end when we were done. It was so lovely to get out again.
- Met up with my family for our pre-Christmas Christmas at my mum and dad’s. They cooked a fabulous meal for everyone. I felt like the cliched uncle who kept remarking on how my nephews and niece have grown. (But they had!) After having been able to spend lots of time together on holidays over recent years, half a day with everyone felt way too short. Hopefully we’ll see more of everyone in 2024.
- Tried getting a doctor’s appointment three different ways, all of which ended in failure.
Next week: The WB-40 podcast Christmas meetup, seeing some very old friends and going to see a friend drumming at a local gig.
- Such an unassuming name. This ‘social’ has to be one of the top five things that I’ve ever eaten. Ever. Absolutely incredible. People were standing around, nibbling them to make them last longer, all agog at how good they were. ↩