A second one-off never-to-be-repeated Acts Not Facts weeknote

09.29, Monday 13 Nov 2023

The reason to cosplay someone who is good at writing weeknotes is there are benefits i.e. marketing and productivity BUT not at the cost of taking forever to write them.

In which spirit, here’s a second weekly update about what’s been going on at my micro product invention studio Acts Not Facts, an update that I claimed I would never write.

Oh those benefits of weeknotes:

  • Marketing: being present leads to conversations. Proof point: someone I’ve not seen for a few months dropping me a note last week to suggest lunch.
  • Productivity: reflecting on work for 15 minutes each day makes you 20% more productive, reports the BBC. What you could do in 4.8 days now you can do in 4.

But the cost!

If i burn that 0.8 day dividend by doing what I did last week, tapping these notes over the entirety of Monday, then it’s not worth it.

So there’s something about writing, and other processes, is that it’s about 10x faster if it’s what you’re thinking anyway. Which is sometimes an unfathomable alignment.

Which means that my meta-process for setting up a new process is to cosplay it for a bit and see if it sticks.

But without attachment. If it works it works! If not no biggie.

Leading me to see if I can whizz through these weeknotes on my Monday commute. Being, today, the train to Victoria and the tube up to Finsbury Park, my regular train having been cancelled.

It’s raining and there are wet leaves on the pavement and the platform.

Ok on the tube now.

Coming up this week

  • PartyKit – filling out the go-to-market while nudging the adjacent possible. Which sounds fancy but really means: cranking the handle on a new website and hacking on an opportunistic proof of concept because it might unblock someone in the community, for example this code about using websockets and PartyKit to have real-time multiplayer interactions in an iOS app: phone-party-ios (GitHub).
  • The Client That Can’t Be Named Until We Pass A Related Comms Gate – the project is to help the team set up the AI experiments pipeline. There are now three strong candidate experiments on the table, so if the first run of the pipeline process fails then at least in the fallback position there’s still work to be done. There’s a second workshop this week to add to the top of the funnel. And it’s about time that I talk out loud about portfolio approaches and why this is important etc, so there’s a deck to make.

Hey a common theme! With both projects I have a vivid picture in my head of a future process, but strong opinions weakly held, you know, it’s a picture which evolves. Then I’m running steps of it when an opportunity arises. Then perhaps a step can be made a ritual, and perhaps the ritual sticks without pushing water uphill, and then it’s a small lift to glue them all together…

Which is the same as my meta-process to establish writing these weeknotes, right? Only as part of a team rather than on my own.

Low attachment fictional process cosplay. I would call it ops pathfinding if this were LinkedIn.

Media last week

None that I remember specifically.

Though I’m building with the Astro web framework rn and I happened to go to the page in their docs about adding an RSS feed. It was a delight to discover, at the bottom, a link to my explainer site AboutFeeds.com.

Also in my in-tray

The AI Clock production quote came back – not quite what I wanted but there is confidence that it can come in on budget with a little work. Which means I need to finish off the rest of the Kickstarter campaign collateral…

…and goodness knows when I’ll make time for that.

I fantasise about having enough time in the week. It’s not that you gain more time, magically, when you work with a team, by some kind of Adam Smith division of labour topological unfolding. It’s that the week is more predictable. Time is so bursty.

I really need to find commercial projects that I can run with more than just me. I should work backwards from that, as the critical path.

My tribe - or at least one of my tribes - is the Future of Coding community. There’s a Slack group full of people figuring out the future of computing and user interfaces by making and demoing, with regular computing history deep cuts.

The London chapter is particularly puckish (where else would you find someone introducing Vannevar Bush’s Memex as Notion as furniture?) and last time round the demos at the meet-up went from gasp-inspiring mathematical pedagogy to a choreographer who presented by typing her slides into the browser’s JavaScript console and displaying them with innerHTML.

Amazing convener Maggie Appleton put together a demos thread on X/Twitter.

There is no other community that gives me such warm fuzzies, together with a combo of oh-that-makes-me-think-of and grr-I-wish-I’d-done-that. Folks I’ve got your scenius right here.

Anyway the November meet-up is coming up on Friday and I cannot wait.

At my desk. That took about 20 minutes longer than I wanted. Must practice being more concise.

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