Week 341 was destroyed by jetlag after getting back from Japan. I just could not get into the grove of the timezone at all that week. Fortunately, I had some early morning Public Digital client meetings that forced the issue. I started to make plans for week 342, but I had to cancel a couple of social engagements and evening class, since I picked up a cough and didn’t want to risk it (especially just coming back from Japan).
But, since then the general advice has gone from “stay home if you feel sick” to just “stay home”, so that’s what Alex and I have been doing.
Alex works from home 4 out of 5 days most weeks, anyway, and I work from home most of the time, too, so it’s not a huge change for us. I’m definitely one of those introvert meme illustrations of “Oh no, I have to stay home? Quelle horreur!” But even I usually have reasons to leave the house, like work client visits or appointments or evening classes, but that’s all stopped for now. I should have been in Sacramento at the time I’m writing this, and a trip to NY in two weeks is postponed and another trip to London at the start of April is cancelled.
So, the week was pretty empty. I again had some early morning work video meetings, but not a lot else. I cleaned up the garage emergency preparedness stuff we have (we were already prepped, because it’s earthquake country and I sort of love doing it) and itemized foodstuffs in a new spreadsheet. I also did a bit of painting and a couple of friend video chats which have been nice for a bit of venting and sanity (I’m especially anxious about the UK’s current approach to the virus, and worried for friends and family back home who are likely to suffer for it).
I’ve also been making a point to sit outside on the back deck for at least some portion of the day (I’ve been teaching the scrub jays to come to a bowl in my hand for peanuts) and I’m back on Nintendo Switch Fitness Boxing for some physical activity. I’ve got about half a dozen 75% complete craft projects around the house that I might try and get to completion this week coming.
We’ve really got no reason to have to leave the house, so we won’t be. So, I suppose this will be the diary of a homebody for a while. Stay safe, everyone.
Just got back from 2 weeks in Japan. In week 339, we (Dana and I) were supposed to be attending the Ikenobo World Seminar with 4 days of classes, but it was cancelled due to Coronavirus outbreak, which is fair enough. We already had our Kyoto airbnb and flights booked, so we thought heck... let's go anyway.
Kyoto was lovely and much less busy than usual (both because lower season and little travel out of China) so we visited some of the more high-traffic temples that we'd have skipped before. We also took a day trip out to Hiroshima and a trip out to Nara (I petted a lot of deer!) and Osaka (fried food on sticks!). The JR railpass really is a good motivator to get out and about.
Second week was just me and Alex in Tokyo. He worked some of it. That was a much less busy week, mostly eating and shopping. We're thinking about doing 6 weeks in Tokyo this year or next, so we wanted to scope the new location for his office (they just moved) and get a sense of that neighbourhood, in case we decided we wanted to stay longer-term near there.
I took a day trip down to Tateyama by the sea, and visited one of our flower gang's homes there, as well as the castle and pier. It's very cute and highway buses are great.
I wrote this once, on mobile, and accidentally closed the browser and it lost everything. Computers.
336 was my last week at Netlify. Folks were generally very kind and nice about my leaving. I like those people.
Went to Sacramento
Hung out with Public Digital folks James, Dai and Stacy. It's basically GDS Goes Abroad.
Visited lovely California Alpha Gov team. They've got all that wonderful energy and I can't get enough. Particularly enjoyed the user research stories and show and tell.
Amtrak's great. No one takes it, the WiFi works and the scenery/nature is very pretty. I even saw kingfisher!
337 has been in London (I say "has" because we've not quite left yet). Alex and I have accumulated a lot of British Airways points and we managed to spend them on an LHR to SFO flight, so we just decided to last minute, so that meant...
Lovely birthday dinner at Pollen Street Social. Very cute special cake and clockwork music box presented for the occasion by the dessert kitchen.
Went to a Celebration of Europe party on Brexit night. Alex and I won the EU-topics quiz with the low score of 3/15, which might be presented as a possible reason why so many people voted to leave the EU.
Read some more library books:
Wilding Girls - has a very pithy short review by some as like Lord of the Flies-but-girls, but I did not get that take away unless you'd only read the first chapter. It's actually quite a lot more sweet and sentimental than that. I would definitely read a sequel if the author decided to do more world building.
The Procrastination Equation recommendation by... I forgot (remind me if it's you) and it is basically some common sense and thank you but can someone agree to be my accountability buddy for some un-time-constrained goals I have?
The Testaments. Alright but sort of contrived and it's all pushed into a certain direction because of the TV show, but it puts a neat bow on the whole Gilead thing.
The last half of Caliban's War and the first half of Abaddon's Gate. They're good sci-fi and I'm playing catch-up with the show still (The Expanse) but I'm determined to get ahead so I can be that smug git with the spoilers.
Visited the Public Digital offices twice. Once for actual work and once to take advantage of their printer. Good lot, though, and I'm happy that I'm working with them a bit.
Just generally lots of lovely beers and cups of teas with lots of lovely people. The main reason to visit London, really.
Had 3 Greggs vegan sausage rolls and they're great and will now be the main thing I complain about not being able to get in the States.
When I first joined Netlify over 2 years ago, I took over sprint planning for a while.
As many teams do, they were doing a sort of scrum-lite. They didn’t have an estimation scale and we all agreed at various times that the traditional scrum scales of t-shirt sizes or fun bucks didn’t really capture the concept of scoring complexity.
So, I came up with a scale I thought captured complexity better and used emoji. Fruit! The idea is that as the score increases, the complexity one might expect about how to prepare and eat the item of fruit increases. So, you declare a fruit for a task, and build up a fruit salad of a size the team can handle (eat!) for a sprint.
1 🍇 A grape. Trivial, very quick, no brainer.
2 🍏 An apple (green, specifically, so it stands apart from the tomato emoji). Most people know how to cut up or bite into an apple and eat it. You know generally what needs to happen for the task, but it might take a little bit of time.
3 🍒 A cherry. Pretty easy to eat, but sometimes has that troublesome pit in the middle you either need to extract or spit, and certainly try not to bite or swallow. So, you know most of what needs to happen, quite straight-forward, but there’s some unknowns.
5 🍍A pineapple. Does anyone really know how to cut up a pineapple? Cutting pineapples isn’t something I do often, so I’m a bit unsure about where I’ll start. There’s some parts of the task still to work out, no major unknowns, but it’s still meaty work.
8 🍉 A watermelon. OK, now this is a real wild card. Do I have to have a machete to cut one open? What about the seeds? Do they just get left in? There’s lots to work out, some unknowns, and it might get messy.
?? 🍅 A Tomato. Apparently you’re a fruit, but you certainly don’t belong in a fruit salad. Declare tomato when you really have no idea about the task and it needs more info/breaking down before it can be estimated.
🥑 An avocado. Also a fruit, but it goes bad really quickly. Work that’s not scope-able because it’s a chore or something that just takes a fixed amount of time.
The most notable thing about this week was that I gave my notice at Netlify after just over 2 years.
People assume you quit because you're mad or something went wrong, but sometimes it's really just that you're leaving because you feel like you've done what you can and want to do something else more now (more on that another day). That's where I am and that's OK.
Netlify was my first true VC-startup experience as a full-timer. I learned a lot about how these sorts of companies work (partially because I've been able to have a good friendship with the founders and they've been very transparent with me about the mechanics) and it's been very insightful. I think I lucked out with the team being so great more than anything, though.
Netlify taught me that I really like being a "fixer" moreso than having a stable, predictable, workload. Like, throw me any random operational problem and I will figure out how to solve it or do it or figure out who should do it. The generalist nature of doing that when a company is still small is really fun.
I don't know what that job is when a company gets bigger, but I'd be interested to find out if someone knows.
Other than that bombshell, I went to a Sketchfest show for the 20th anniversary of Galaxy Quest. Very good.
Saw 1917. Not really a war movie fan, but unsurprisingly for a Mendes movie, it's more of a character drama than an action flick. I found it very gripping and it's wonderfully made.