Stardate S02E21

Mood: 🌻. Feeling a renewed focus. Must be all the vitamin D.

Putting a Monday off to good use at Three Cliffs Bay

🌹 What am I grateful for this week?

It’s already feeling bittersweet that we’ve come to the end of our tenth week on Talent Compass (soon to be Skills Compass, part of the Open Doors platform) as many members of my team have expressed their gratitude for the positive, productive and creative vibe we’ve been able to establish. There’s plenty to be learned and done better next time, of course, but also so much we’ve managed to pioneer as a team within Red Badger I can’t help but be proud about.

I’d love to carry on past week 12 and bring an actual MVP to market, which we’ll hopefully be in a position to do in the future. But three months has genuinely flown by when it comes to the product work we’ve been doing.

🍀 What surprised me this week?

Listening in to Harriet, Manny and Cain’s panel about Mission Beyond during Thursday’s lunch, Cain continued to be generous with the credit of where the initiative found its origins.* He did so again at Friday’s company meeting and I appreciate how thoughtful he was to mention the names of who’s been involved, even though he’s now doing all the heavy lifting to secure the initiative’s future direction. Sharing the spotlight with other names is such a small gesture and yet one that gets overlooked so often, it’s really nice to see.

🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?

Next month’s company meeting will be past the end of our team’s 12 week window, so I’d been hoping we had enough ready to go into this month’s meeting and present. I initially signed us up for a slot but we postponed on the advice of the team, wanting to make sure we had everything fully baked and in a demoable state that everyone could get behind.

On the one hand, I was concerned if we didn’t do it now we’d miss the opportunity altogether, and that perhaps we weren’t thinking lean and letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But I came around and thought, well, actually, I should be letting them lead on this one. I don’t want to be the type of leader who dictates and that means not always getting things exactly as I’d want; I did get their assurances that it would be prioritized for next month and I’m happy to trust them on it.

So even though I picked my battle correctly in the end, I suppose I would’ve liked to have that mindset from the get-go, rather than pushing and needing to be pushed back against. That said, a bit of give-and-take is healthy, and builds strength. So many nothing needed to go differently there?

🔮 What do I still need to take care of?

Another bank holiday means a shorter week for the leftovers from this week: ongoing sales activities, blogging, and Badger Prime deliverables. On the Prime front, since joining the team in May I’ve still yet to get a card across our Kanban board to done on my own steam, but I do appreciate the catchups that we now run like stand-ups to help keep me to account. If a full-time team does daily stand-ups to maintain its focus and productivity, it seems right that a 10%-time team would only manage to do weekly stand-ups, and that would be the best use of synchronous time together, no?

💡 What do I need to remember?

It sounds silly to say, but I think I’ve finally figured out a social media strategy for myself. Too many pundits online write about the growth hacks to generate a massive following — and oh, the notoriety that follows! — while too few write about the value of tight-knit communities and intellectual buddies.

I’ve come back to Tom’s post on small-b blogging a few times and I’m realizing that the same logic applies equally well to social media. We can optimize for interesting exchanges rather than transactional following. For dialogues with few rather than an audience of many. Extensions like DK’s Hide Likes help rid social media of those insipid signals that cater towards the latter, obscuring the former.

I’m also rubbish when it comes to hot takes, having zingers, or being the wittiest. So why struggle to play a game that I’m not sure I have any business playing in the first place? By embracing my nature, and just being kind to those I encounter, I’ll hopefully foster those interesting exchanges I’m actually in the game for, and not get distracted by the rest of it.

Followings are overrated. Intellectual buddies are much more interesting.

📚 What did I discover?

Here’s another handy guide from Julian, whose handbooks I first came across in April. I think there’s already enough value in part 1 that you don’t really need to give up your e-mail for part 2 (which just reinforces that you should participate actively in LinkedIn’s content ecosystem e.g. commenting and fine tuning that all-important bio).

Love how this article highlights the correlation between enablement, humility, and saying “I don’t know.” It’s never easy to admit when people expect you to already have the answers, but to foster collaboration and teamwork, it pairs nicely with “so let’s figure it out together.”


Geeking out a bit in one of the Cardiff arcades

So if the old joke is that it never stops raining in Wales, I feel like I missed the punchline getting a good 2.5 days of sunshine out of a 4 day long weekend. Living in London and Seattle didn’t set too high a bar, either.

I could’ve easily spent the rainy Tuesday in this retro games store and messed up our schedule back to London. Good thing Lisa was with me to keep me from getting sucked in! All my old twitch reflexes are out of practice anyway, having left behind PCs, consoles, arcade cabinets and emulators to the halcyon days of my youth.

*As the story goes, Joe, Mara and Ben all attended an Economist event in the fall of 2019, and heard Mariana Mazzucato talk about mission thinking. This inspired me, Joe and Andreas to think about what it would mean for Red Badger to work this way. Mission Beyond was a primarily an event series in 2020 as we tried to find our community, establish coalition norms and figure out how to turn words into action. A ShareThyme and ESMA site later, we came up with the concept for Talent Compass and we’re now through 10 of 12 weeks of product strategy for it. More to come later this year! 🤞




Reflecting through #weeknotes. Learning what works.

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Sean K. Gabriel

Sean K. Gabriel

Kindness first. Lean product aficionado tweeting @skaulana, web @ Finds you interesting. (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ

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