When I was six, I would come home from school with fingernail scratches across my face. At thirteen, stones would be thrown at me and my friends in the school playground. At fifteen, I would be chased down the streets of suburban East London being punched and kicked until the attackers realised I was crying too much for it to be fun.

I never understood why, and it’s a fool’s errand to try and figure it out. All I knew was that it wasn’t fair, so I bloody mindedly stuck to trying to be fair and nice to everyone else.

It’s been 5ish weeks since my last pint, the day we were all told to stop going to pubs, but they’d still be open. I was seeing a friend who’s coping mechanism is to assume everything will be fine. His optimism is one of the many characteristics that I love about him, but at that moment it meant I had to be the doomsayer.

The pub was filled with people who had already lost their jobs, figuring out their next steps: give up on their career, move out of London, back home with their parents, yet again.

Others discussed the…

It’s a good job I didn’t call these weeknotes, seeing as it has somehow been almost a year since my last one.

I’ve had a cold this week, and the weather has been miserable, so I’ve barely left the house. Luckily it’s post autumnal equinox, so I had already set up the Minecraft server for the winter months (I shut it down on the spring equinox). This year we are doing All The Mods 3 — Remix. It takes up 8 gigabytes of RAM, and only occasionally makes my laptop have a kernel panic. But it has a lot of…

This post was written by Richard Pope and James Darling

10 years ago today was the first ‘National Hack The Government Day’, the first of a few Rewired State and Young Rewired State hackdays. We’ve reprinted some posters for those who would like one, but first, some reflection:

Hackdays had been done before, but none for Government, and possibly this was the first hackday that wasn’t connected to a company. Not that Rewired State was alone, It was inspired by UKGovWeb and there was also mySociety, OKFN, Guardian Open platform, the BBC/Yahoo Hackday, the launch of data.gov, …

No big developments this week, but lots of nice things.

Local Welcome

I spent a very nice afternoon at the Local Welcome offices on Friday doing some very high-level planning. We have a new Product Owner starting soon, who is really excellent, and was lovely to watch them run sessions that successfully pulled out concise agreement from a wide variety of viewpoints.


I hit a bit of a breaking point with membership last week, realising that I’m just trying to do way too many features with too many hats on at once, thinking about the technical architecture as well as design, UX…

3 weeks later, note number 2. On it.

I’ve been really enjoying being back in London. Travelling about this year has been great, but as always it also reminds me how much I love London. I’ve been mingling about, having fun and having as many chats with people as I can.


After various chats and mullings, I’ve decided to spend this free time I have to finally continue work on my membership prototype. My aim over the next few weeks is to get it to a place where it can be a hosted minimal viable product. I’ve kept it all…

Encouraged/bullied by Tom, and with a lack of other constructive things to do with my life at the moment, I’m going to try and post a bit more on the internet, seeing as I’ve pretty much given up on Twitter. Let’s try longer form again.

Burning Man

I’m having fun. Look at my hat.

I’ve just got back from my third Burning Man. Answering ‘How was it?’ is a bit tricky, seeing as overall it was a bit… meh. I think it’s quite an achievement to have a meh time at something as extreme as Burning Man.

Burning Man is a place that’s very hard to plan for. Trying…

We wrote in our previous blog post about how we arrived at cooking as our ‘puzzle’ for attendees to do. But why are we so enthusiastic about potato rostis?

You can’t crack an egg slowly

We’ve tried various recipes at different events over the last few months. The idea is that as you’re cooking you ask your partner a couple of questions about themselves.

Our first recipe was drop scones, aka Scotch pancakes. We picked these because they’re really simple to cook. Too simple, it turns out. One of the first problems was that cracking an egg didn’t take very long, not nearly as long as…

The title of this article is a phrase I’ve been saying in my professional life for quite some years now, and it feels like it’s become more relevant as time has gone on. It’s got to the point where it’s one of the main philosophies to my working life, so today feels like a good day to explain it a bit.

“So what do you do?”

I like the phrase as it’s an accurate description of what the software that I work on does, and by extension what I do. Of course this isn’t a very human description. It doesn’t make sense to most non-technical…

This is the story of why cooking is such an important part of Local Welcome. It’s about making mistakes, setting expectations, and making it easy for people to chat.

Finding a reason to get together

Local Welcome is based on the idea that social connections on a really small scale are the first steps to building a real community. Ultimately, we are building some digital tools that help people do that. But first we wanted to understand what might be useful, and what kind of event is a good thing to aim for. …

James Darling

Code, Digital Transformation & Politics. Previously @uklabour Digital, Corbyn leadership campaign, @justice_digital, @gdsteam, @berglondon, @rewiredstate.

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