Weeknotes: Noodling — Week 10, 2023

  • One of the trees outside my living room window went into bloom last month. This week it was covered with snow. I don't think this is how spring is supposed to start, but, for the few hours it lasted, it was beautiful.
  • Recently I joined a Reforge product management cohort: This week we ran through product strategy frameworks, and discussed the difficulties of translating internal-facing products into frameworks/structures, as many are designed for external-facing products with clear commercials. Strangely the industry prioritises growth over everything else. But improvements to organisational efficiency and efficacy (eg in acquiring/retaining users) "lowers the floor" in ARPU (annual revenue per user) which seems just as effective as growth. Maybe I'm unique in finding this exciting?
  • Excited about news this week that I'm taking on a new team, meaning that I will now oversee all of the engineering teams involved in showing journalism to readers. Have done this before (on a smaller scale) and it's always been a blast. Will be interesting to see where the overlaps are!
  • On top of vocab, Japanese homework was learning how to write out all the kana: It really matters which order you write in, making even two or three stroke characters difficult to remember.
  • Lots of noodles this week: Smack at Xi'an Biang Biang, Duck hearts at Koya and tori paitan at Marugame. You'd think I would order the signature noodles at Xi'an Biang Biang but like a fool I saw Chonqing Noodles and ordered that hoping for a sweet, sweet hit of that flower pepper. It did not deliver. Made up for by talk of emotionless bears, and, a metric ton of refined sugar in cookie-dough form.
  • Marugame opened yet another location, this time directly outside of Charing Cross called Strand (Why not "Charing Cross"?) and ran a mini-festival outside all day. They ran a contest to assemble a  haiku after collecting clues from three locations - the first 20 people to do so won a bunch of freebies. Unfortunately I completed the pilgrimage a shade too late. The haiku? “Pink blossoms unfurl; Spring breeze carries fragrant hope; Renewal bursts forth”.
  • Holy crap, season 4 of You is good. I mean, it's unsettling, and some of the twists (especially that one) are increasingly cliched. But it is very gripping.
  • Seem to be in slightly better condition now, so no longer sticking to overground trains anymore. Goes without saying that it's nice to take an underground train and not have the lighting set off a headache. But the real joy is being able to take the number 39 bus past PQ again: It makes me smile every time.
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© Alex Wilson 2024