I spent part of ‘Twixmas’ working through my open tabs in Chrome and thought what better way to ease in to the new working year than to share a few highlights.
Amplitude’s North Star Playbook is a really interesting read. It is a spin on the ‘one metric that matters’ approach but is really good at explaining what good looks like and wraps a lot of the Vision driven approach that I am prone to using around the metric. Having a ‘north star’ that is clear and understandable, actionable, measurable and not based on vanity metrics is a powerful thing and this playbook is a really practical guide to getting that done.
Another interesting ‘Playbook’ that is worth a read is the Government as a Playbook work that Richard Pope published. This is the culmination of Richard’s time as a Research Fellow at Harvard and usefully (re)defines the oft used ‘Government as a Platform’ phrase and then backs it up with practical examples and approaches.
Ethan Zukerman wrote a great essay about Building a More Honest Internet (albeit the sub-editor meant better web!) about what a more public service minded web (and particularly social media) might look like. In some ways it is a shame that Wikipedia remains the one big example of this – as it has done for years – nothing else has really emerged in a way that it has reached the wider consciousness.
Anil Dash also touched on a similar theme in his post about The People’s Web. Talking about the editorially curated sites still out there that we used to call ‘user generated content’ he says;
“the existence of dozens of massive, collectively-maintained, curated and organized libraries of communal culture are still something like a miracle of the web.”
On a similar topic Rachel Coldicutt wrote a post/talk about ‘Just Enough Internet’ that made the (powerful) case that public service digital services needed to start thinking about things differently – less focused on mimicking the approaches of the Internet-era giants and more on what is better for society.
It might look like collecting less data. Just what you need at any given time.
It might look like automating with care, and sometimes not at all.
It might look like zooming out from the task at hand, and understanding the wider social consequences of your decisions.
It might look like a policy of Sufficient Technology: just enough to make it work better for the people that count.
Which might also be the best thing for the planet.
Into the web multiverse from Christian Heilmann is a more technically minded post on the theme of ‘saving the web’.
I’m a big fan of the work that Citizens Advice do and have been really impressed with their approach to ‘digital’ or as this post explains how they moved beyond ‘digital’ and how that opened up new opportunities for the organisation and their ambitions. I also love their commitment to working in the open.
Cassie Robinson and friends dropped this guide to good grant making just before Christmas and it is an incredibly useful piece of work. A set of practical advice for funders who are looking to fund things in the ‘digital’ space. This post from Cassie provides some additional context.
Whether you are a football fan or not this clip of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp talking about his leadership style is inspiring –>
This is absolutely brilliant from Jurgen Klopp. 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/knWk5HtgaQ
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) December 14, 2019
The Joy of Missing Out… on building things
We talk a lot about prioritisation within product – which feature or project is higher value, which is more effort. We adjust our roadmaps – and communicate the change as features slip up or down a place in priority order. However something I don’t see people doing is saying what they’re not going to do.
Making digital content even more accessible
Recently I wanted to share an English podcast with my mother. She doesn’t speak fluent English, so I started looking into ways of translating it into French for her. During my search I found an old article that that highlighted my challenge, “72% of (non-English speaking) consumers spend most of their time on a very, very small fraction of the web”
How to win at hackathons
Hackathons traditionally involve tech and, if you’ve ever tangled with tech — from writing code to setting up a new phone — you’ll know it can turn into an infinite rabbit-hole.