Weeknotes: ManHou — Week 12, 2023

  • Started the week with a workshop introducing our new technology strategy to the tech-leads and senior engineers working on FT.com. After Anna ran through the strategy and its background, and the other technical directors added their insights, we split out into break-out groups to discuss the the two most impactful areas of the strategy. I think it went well? Although, I struggled a bit with facilitating because we spoke a little more about process than I was prepared for.
  • In less interesting news I finally made a small tweak to this blog to improve bullet-point spacing, which should make these imminently more readable.
  • Wrote a product release this week for the first time since 2020, and people have been rather nice about it. I've got another one in-draft but am struggling with narrative. This is why you write your product hypotheses before building anything folks!
  • Friday brought many of my old colleagues from various Nikkei programmes to the office, and it was really nice to catch-up over a spontaneous long lunch & various coffees during the day. Complicated & difficult projects like these forge a special kind of friendship much deeper than normal working relationships, and sometimes I miss these connections. But I don't miss crunch.
  • We were in the office to say goodbye, over dinner and drinks at a secret cocktail bar, to Joshua who oversaw work between FT & Nikkei - and is now moving to Tokyo to lead a new editorial team. It was a bittersweet affair and a broad spread of journalists and managers showed up: I was the only technologist there.
  • Friday also marked the five-year anniversary of my first trip to Japan. After landing on Friday and being unwittingly fed fugu for dinner, I spent that and the next few trips doing off-piste yet deeply meaningful work in Nikkei's newsroom, and exploring what Tokyo had to offer. Then in a Twitter thread in August, I drunkenly declared to the entire world that I wanted to live and work there.
  • That thread is long gone, but my dream isn't. Some people promised me a pathway there - several times - sadly, none ever materialised. So, this next five years is about making my own one. (Starting with the lessons!)
  • What's with contractions in Japanese? ドンキ sounds cool, I get it, but マンハウ was a struggle. マンハウに行きましょう?
  • In unrelated news, I started and finished watching the Fantastic Beasts series over a few evenings this week. Quoting directly from my journal: “I don't understand the point of Fantastic Beasts”. Wouldn't recommend.
  • On a whim I did watch Margin Call and despite a cast that hasn't aged well, it was fantastic. I loved it. The cinematography was great and the story was compelling. Another perspective on the events of the 2008 crash, showing just how flawed and human all of the people involved are, as well as the slight dysfunction of large companies.
  • This weekend I've been (slowly) powering through the Udacity Data Product Manager nanodegree. Previously I did the Product Manager & the AI Product Manager programmes and really enjoyed them, but this one is a sharp contrast. It's really not fun? It isn't difficult but in the interests of trying to simplify work for a credential, lots of things have been crammed into Google Sheets and Google Docs that you'd normally do in a Jupyter notebook or with a database.
  • Anyway: Days are now ever-so-slightly longer than nights, meaning good vibes coming soon™!
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© Alex Wilson 2024