Weeknotes: Meticulous — Week 3, 2024

  • Each detail has been meticulously planned, every minute accounted for. Nothing can go wrong. It will all be OK. But today is the big day and now it feels real: Really real. Running a conference — seeing a room full of people and the more on the livestream — you can't help but think about how any mistake will waste everyone's time. It's heavy. Maybe that's healthy. But do your job and it will all be OK.
  • Notwithstanding me being on the organising committee, EngineRoom - FT's internal tech conference - ran relatively smoothly and to some pretty kind feedback (so far). We had guests from our sister and parent companies, and it's delightful seeing brand new bridges being built in real time.
  • Great talks throughout with several standouts — in particular I really enjoyed learning all about modelling the complicated world of theatre in a graph!
  • I took a more operational role on the day since there were lots of tiny things going slightly awry, ranging from reconfiguring AV and trying to pad out breaks on the fly. It meant being very "on", paying attention to both tracks and frankly running entirely on coffee and adrenaline. Walking away I have so much more respect for the people who do this at bigger conferences all the time, and I enjoyed the rush so much that I would love to do it again.
  • Near the end of the day, we had a panel of external guests talking about enterprise technical architecture - where I heard my favourite quote of the now, “When someone explains something to you, don't judge them, ever, because then you'll close them off from wanting to show you things.”
  • Everything else this week went OK, I'm finding timeblocking slightly challenging because things will come up that need reacting to. However creating focus on a single task means that I make much more progress with it at a time. This is quite helpful since I'm trying to learn about a particularly complex domain where there are no helpful shortcuts.
  • Relatedly though, now does feel particularly busy for a January. After the plates are spinning fast enough, circus performers need only nudge them a little to keep them going - hopefully soon I will only need to nudge things along a little too.
  • One of my newest and most exciting pet peeves is: Using tools like ChatGPT to extend notes into written prose. If you had a set of bullet-points to feed it, please send me that? AI generated fluff reads strange, and that's coming from someone infamous for saying overly-diminutive vague statements.
  • Overdue, since the start of the year I have also been reflecting on how I prioritise my time and my relationships: They are a two-way street, and yet I consistently underinvest in the ones that are most valuable, instead investing time and energy into many that feel exciting yet one-sided, and above all I always prioritise school/work/etc. Clayton Christensen's words are evergreen! This will take some doing.
  • M&S All Day Breakfast sandwiches taste even better with an employee discount. Maybe all their food should be this price.
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© Alex Wilson 2024