The back to work vibes were somewhat lessened as I worked inbetween Christmas and New Years. I used the time to check in with people and see how everyone is doing. Gven the slightly liminal nature of that short working week, it turned out to be a good time to take stock, clear the decks and think about what comes next.
Energy levels were pretty good this week. Better than expected perhaps considering how dark and rainy it’s been. Hope that continues!
The phrase ‘small tech’ has been bouncing around my head. I wasn’t sure if this was a recognised concept, so I took to Google to find out. I mostly found small tech companies, but I did find one that was both a small tech company but had also written a manifesto of sorts about what small tech is.
Small technology is everyday tools for everyday people designed to increase human welfare, not corporate profits
By coincidence, I recognised Laura Kalbag as one of the co-founders who I’ve followed on Twitter for a while.
Whilst this is mostly taking aim at the survelience capitalism of big tech companies, it had me pondering how this might apply to the technology we use for work.
In that context, it’s not survelience capitalism that needs to be challenged, but some of the anti competitive practices that impose artificial contraints in order to extract more money and keep customers from easily leaving. That’s of course a worse case scenario, but whilst there’s money to be made and shareholders to please, I imagine it’s a seductive option over and above making your products and services so good that people choose to use them and stand by them.
I’ve written (ranted?) previously that open standards and service patterns might be one way of challenging business practices that seek to divide and complicate. That’s part of it. I do also wonder whether ‘small’ implies some degree of simplicity.
I’m a bit wary of this as some things are inherently complicated/complex. So whilst we can strive to simplify and rationalise, we may not be able to make it simple, lest you take a shoehorn approach and end up creating a different set of problems.
What about sustainability too? Evergreen Tech is an attractive concept. How often do we discard the old under the assumption that newer is inherently better. Something to be said for mature stable tech as long as it’s not toxic?
I’ve managed to maintain my journaling habit this week, which I’m patting myself on the back for. It remains a particularly useful activity in the morning post dog walk when I typically have a lot of chatter in my head.
I’ve been less good at taking a daily picture to attach to a post, which I’m mostly attributing to the fact that my outdoor walks have been exclusively in the dark and pouring rain.
- Strategy pace layers and user needs: https://blog.alistairuff.com/2023/01/05/strategy-pace-layers-and-user-needs/
- Experiments in roadmapping at GOV.UK: https://www.mindtheproduct.com/experiments-roadmapping-gov-uk/
- We still want to be ‘a bit more agile’ in 2023: https://sarah-mace.medium.com/all-i-want-for-2023-is-to-be-more-agile-13eca2fbcefb
- Can agile and deadlines co-exist in perfect harmony: https://medium.com/awesome-agile/can-agile-and-deadlines-coexist-in-perfect-harmony-5018510ffcb8
- The traps of target operating models: https://public.digital/2023/01/03/the-traps-of-target-operating-models
- Local digital project – chatbots and AI: https://localdigitalchatbots.github.io/2019/04/22/project-completion-looking-at-what-we-ve-done