Week 9 of 2020 brings COVID-19-WFH, short-term gym memberships, Naomi White, Nicholas Parsons, new old tech, The Stranger, George Benson and iPad banter.


This week, we took a number of key technical, product and commercial people off-site for a brainstorming workshop on upcoming work, to validate ideas and agree the prioritisation of work. It was a great opportunity to understand the different skills and personas in the team but also for me to flex some facilitation muscles keeping people focused, productive and accountable to the day’s goals. Pro tip: a physical countdown timer (as featured above) really helps organise this.

With the growing fear of COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) across the globe, it’s at the back of everyone’s mind what that means for co-located teams in London. Our colleagues in Hong Kong and China have already been adapting to remote working (which I gather is not as normal in Asian markets), we’re starting to see more and more people across the tech teams being put into domestic quarantine. As someone who constantly encourages face-to-face communication but also appreciates the occasional day of remote working, it’s going to be a challenge to ensure teams are collaborating and delivering but also managing expectations with stakeholders with contingencies around estimations and delivery dates.


After an unsuccessful second visit to the new gym, I’ve now cancelled my membership. It was a combination of intimidation and capacity that confirmed my actions. I don’t like to be beaten that easily but I wasn’t tolerating unsociable behaviour (from other members mostly) and reality is I’ve just not got the energy at the end of long days in London. I do need to sort something else out though before dad bod takes over.

Further training for the Jurassic Coast Challenge continued this weekend too; a relatively mild 10km around nearby villages but, this time, accompanied by The Boy. He was definitely lagging as we approached the “pub stop” in Swinford so we agreed to call it a day and get a taxi home. Worth noting Uber is not a feasible service in remote villages; the “nearest” driver was over 10miles away in Leicester.


Make Life Work started again this week with Naomi’s episode going out on Monday. Early numbers are promising although I’ve not had much feedback yet. I’ve continued to push comms across socials this time, not just limiting it to Twitter but trying Instagram and Facebook as well.

The first part of the Making Of video series is also a channel I’ll be trying to improve engagement but that might be more of a slow burner. I’m also considering publishing all the series archives to YouTube in a batch once it concludes for “binge listening” (and archiving purposes).

I’ve also tried setting up a Patreon page to support the Make Life Work podcast. This is not with a commercial angle but an attempt to raise more funds for Mind charity as I drive that publicity out. The only package available at the moment is early access (24 hours before release) but I will be exploring more ways to encourage patrons that aren’t too expensive, maybe shipping out stickers.

In producing Make Life Work, I’ve also observed a technique that I thought was worthy of an actual blog post, The Nicholas Parsons Technique. Scarily enough, it’s nearly a whole year since my last proper blog post but it does beg the question; do WeekNotes or podcast episodes count?


iPhone 4 is back in the house! Mrs J’s iPhone 6S Plus has been randomly burning up without any usage so, following a quick assessment at Carphone Warehouse and fun syncing as much as possible with iCloud before overheating, we’ve initiated a service with Apple Care. In the mean time, I picked up a second hand iPhone 4 from CEX for £30 so she could stay online. Certainly a simpler experience on the original screen size. I’m quite amazed that Messenger and WhatsApp both still work on the old specs of iOS 9 though (despite me trying to avoid them both).

After struggling to focus on some decent literature away from screens, I’ve decided to take the plunge with a Kindle. I desperately want to get more reading under my belt – that 10 book 2020 goal on Goodreads is looking very unlikely so far. With the upcoming trip to Bali, I’ll have plenty more time to relax with a book plus I don’t fancy lugging around loads of printed material (although I do prefer the feeling of paper and dog-ears over digital).

Our Jurassic Coast Challenge donation page has now been “merged”; after speaking with Justgiving support, they suggested we either try joining them together with Teams (no joy) or just cancelling one and adding the funds “offline” to the main one.


The Stranger on Netflix is an interesting thriller series with so many twists and turns to keep you thinking. The production value and acting was really annoying me though; most of the roles just didn’t seem believable (except the brilliant Paul Kaye). I wish I’d read the original novel instead.

Glitterbox Radio Show had an amazing episode last week when Melvo managed to bag an interview with the legend, George Benson. Hearing his stories about some of his classics was delightful and a reminder that not all music artists are as disposable as nowadays.

Adapt podcast with Federico Viticci and Ryan Christoffel caught my attention on Twitter this week as they try to “explore new ways of doing things with their favourite device” – the iPad.