Stardate S02E23

Mood: 👌. Thankful for the circle of team life, and for what the next cycle is bound to bring.

Surprising accessible to get to Norwich quickly from London — I think I’m starting to take trains for granted

🌹 What am I grateful for this week?

I’d said to a few folks this week that I was sad to see the Talent Compass* team ramping down after 12 weeks, but thinking about it more this weekend I’m grateful for the way teams come and go. It’s the circle of life in a work sense — as each great one rolls into the sunset, a new one is on the horizon waiting to be born. You get to keep the memories and experiences from each that you’ve been on, and bring them to the next. So is it really worth being sad about?

The upticks coincide perfectly with our writing — 13 posts in 12 weeks!

Our final presentation was killer, but I’m especially proud of the team blog that we can look back on — it’s not since SPD that I’ve been part of a team that all contributed to getting the word about their work out.

For Red Badger’s blog, I also penned a new post snapshotting the LinkedIn event from a couple weeks back, and am happy to continue putting in the reps on the content front.

🍀 What surprised me this week?

The team had wanted to get together for a team social for ages; it’s no surprise that we finally achieved critical mass on Friday. What was unexpected though was our good fortune in many other Badgers being in Old Street and up for joining us for some unplanned social time (which ended up taking place on a nice patch of grass in Finsbury Square). Gathered in a circle after a quick Tesco run, chattering and laughing against the din of nearby construction — it brought a glimmer of those elusive normality vibes.

🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?

It was my turn to host the Badger Biz this week, our informal staff meeting for everyone in our Cell. Our agendas are usually built around project, sales and people updates, and I worry I was trying too hard to not make it dry that I might’ve come across as off-putting to those who don’t know me as well. I feel like I used to calibrate myself better with the body language in the room — it’s much harder to judge when folks are free to mute and turn off their video.

🔮 What do I still need to take care of?

With the whole circle of life thing in mind, I’ll be refocusing myself on Cell leadership next week and continuing to gel as a directors team, thinking about how we can play to each others’ strengths. I’ll also have new folks to look after on the bench, to balance alongside the usual business development.

💡 What do I need to remember?

I’m reminded with the 20/20 of hindsight that our 12 week timeline for product strategy rehearse is, at its core, about building a business case for your client, and should be treated as such by the team. Because you’ve already completed a rinse sprint, and have early signs of heat in your market, you’re not building it with a crystal ball, like you might if the business case was required upfront to fund any investment at all.**

But where I may have led our team astray is thinking too much about building a lean product when instead, it should’ve always been about collecting the right data (which sometimes requires a product to be gathered, but not always) to garner further investment. And while we got the ethos to “experiment forward” right with our assumptions backlog, we probably didn’t test viability nearly as much as desirability or feasibility. Viability in this case was a stand-in for future funding, and I suspect it could’ve come to light sooner than via our pivot.

Beware conflating building a lean product with gathering data for a business case. They overlap heavily, but aren’t the same activity.

📚 What did I discover?

Ever wonder why reliable, relevant sources of leading indicators are so hard to find on the internet? This is a decent case for why they’re (a) bespoke and (b) scarce enough that you can only get them from a highly paid consultant 😅

Courtesy Kim, here’s a critical look at one of our beloved metaphors in computing — the skeuomorphic desktop/file/folder paradigm. But even though much of our computing now lives in our open browser tabs, is that interface not borrowing from the tabbed notebook? Not sure about the counterproposal of ‘fragments’ but it’s hard to imagine what a better approach looks like when you’ve been thinking inside the box for much of the history of GUIs!


Do you really never forget how to ride a bike? I was genuinely concerned heading to Battersea Park this weekend that yes, I had actually forgotten because I simply couldn’t remember the outcome when I was younger. I remember failing at first, and I remember having a scooter that I can remember going around the neighborhood with (and once along Lake Elizabeth). I don’t know that I ever had or used a bike regularly, and I certainly don’t remember enjoying the feeling of riding one 😬.

So I was both relieved and stressed to find out that, after a few minutes of practice with Lisa, I was able to bike again at a leisurely pace through the park grounds. Relieved I wouldn’t need to start from scratch, but stressed from the darting and weaving to avoid little children who had already mastered this skill but had yet to master awareness of their surroundings.

*Old habits die hard — I should be writing Skills Compass, or Open Doors, or even SoMo. We tried our hardest but couldn’t close on our product naming tickets by the end of our sprint. Who knew so much went into names?

**The old strapline for product strategy went something like: in the time it takes to write and research a business case, we’ll experiment our way to multiple investable propositions at a fraction of the cost. The irony I see is that we eventually still get to the business case eventually, but the big difference is that we “write” it empirically as we go.



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Sean K. Gabriel

Aloha (🤙。◕‿‿◕。)🤙 big on building teams & lean products. Author @ Thinking aloud with #weeknotes. Works best when caffeinated ☕️