When I was younger, so much younger, FA Cup Final day really was a day to cherish. Stop the clocks. Radio Times specials. BBC v ITV. A 3 o’clock kick off.

So much so that I can pretty much cite where I was and what I was doing for every final since 1984. Why 1984 — well that was the first ever game of football I ever watched. I have to ask, looking back, what was I doing for the first 8 years of my life?

1984 — Watford v Everton (I asked my Dad why our home high street was decked out in yellow and red and the resulting answer was me being perched in front of the TV). …


So just before Christmas I promised myself I’d walk home from work as part of my annual fundraising goal. I’d done so two years previously and found that the challenge was a nice way to finish off the year at JustGiving, so the walking shoes were dug out from the back of the cupboard once more.

So on the last working day before Christmas I tubed it in to work — caught up with colleagues and covered off a few emails and then around 1200, changed into my walking shoes and lightweight running gear, and with headphones charged to the max set off on the 22 miles home. …


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Two years ago in support of the charity Walking With The Wounded, I trekked home 22 miles from my work office in London to Watford. It seemed a fun, one off opportunity to raise some money for a noble cause and gave me a useful reminder of how lucky I am; especially at a time of the year when so many other’s go without.

Walking with the Wounded established in 2010 supports the employment outcomes of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women finding new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long-term security for themselves and their families. …


As a Product Manager it’s always a treat to occasionally get away from the scrum and the stories to attend an industry event or conference. This year I decided to take in Jam ‘17 which I’d heard many positive things about in the last year.

No stale coffee or air conditioning here. It’s out into the wild of South East London and to be honest the scaled back approach works well. No endless corridors leading to poorly attended talks here. One room. So so wifi and a raft of speakers. Simple. Time to Jam.

Customer research for rapid making

Fiona McLaren of Made By Many kicked things off focusing on the key steps to customer research when rapid prototyping. Establish what are the key learnings you want from research and set these as the absolute questions you want answered in each interview. Test in pairs as that avoids people lying (ha!). Translate outcomes from real people into real quotes and real statements instead of generic personas that quickly get forgotten. Use these to define the principles of how you approach idea generation. …


Pushing past 40 years, inevitably one’s personal fitness starts to come under attack. If it’s not your belt openly challenging you by asking “hey shall we go up a notch?” then it’s the knowing tightness you feel the day after you ran just 100 yards for the number 71 bus.

So yes I’m a new convert to running. So much so that I’ve signed up for a 10k in October and have brazenly set myself the goal of finishing in sub one hour.

It’s not a huge goal. But for someone who was medically advised to “not really run on hard surfaces”, it’s a goal I’ve been building towards with real relish thanks to the sheer amount of technology and socially engineered products that are out there to help motivate me off the couch and onto the tarmac. …


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I recently had the pleasure of talking with Susanna Paeväli who represents the Mind The Product community. We chatted in depth about a number of product management techniques including the art of shipping, the spirit of data driven decision making versus intuition and podcasts that inspire me…

He also listens to the long-running radio show Desert Island Discs — the 35-minute radio show where a guest shares eight songs that have in some way shaped their life. The guest can be from any background — technology, entertainment, government, the arts. “Because it’s different people every week, it reminds me just how unique we all are and how our take on the world differs. It’s food for the soul.

You can read it in full here.


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I’ve always been a sucker for an OST — or Original Sound Track to give it it’s full moniker. A life of loving film has meant that to me a film’s soundtrack is every bit as important to the enjoyment of the film as the players, the cinematography or even the plot. In recent years, there have been cases such as Inception, Gravity or more recently Dunkirk, where you could argue that the sound track plays the most important role in the film.

But to put it simply I’m here to talk about the Crocodile Dundee OST by Peter Best.

In 1986 the world went mad for Mick from “Down Under”. Queues formed round cinema blocks and Paul Hogan was the first guest on every chat show. Second to Top Gun as the highest grossing film of the year Crocodile Dundee is a classic fish-out-of-water comedy with an unconventional romance between the two lead characters Mick and Sue. In itself it’s an enjoyable film, but for me it’s impossible to dissect the film from it’s brilliant soundtrack. …


This time a year ago I cycled the Wales Velothon. Now whilst it was a great day, the main climb of the day — The Tumble — really threw me. Coming at around 50 miles in I was pretty spent and 3 miles of average gradient of 8.3% really made my legs turn to jelly. In the end I finished the climb but it really threw my confidence in climbing.

One year on, it’s taken some time to get that confidence back; but as good long time football buddy Aidy and I drove down to Portsmouth for our day long assault of the Isle of Wight, the confidence was starting to soar back. Last week’s 50 mile warm up had done wonders and it felt like there was enough in the tank for a round island route that had been on my wish list for some time. …


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It’s been a tough week. We all miss him greatly and every article I read, every interview I hear just reinforces what an incredible man Graham Taylor was. We were very lucky indeed at Watford to call him “ours”.

The 40 years since 1997 when Graham breezed into WD18 and changed the lives of the town and those that supported the club have been our greatest times. We have our place in the Premiership enjoying the luxuries that come with it because of the foundations he installed. …

About

Jamie Parkins

Product Manager + Football Manager

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