Week 6 - 24 November 2019

So week 6 is actually weeks 6, 7 and 8. I’ve been in Japan for with just a couple days work either side. I’ve found it really hard to get back into writing but here goes

Three things I saw in Japan that affected me

Teshima

A pair of Islands - Naoshima and Teshima are two islands where artists and architects have worked together to craft ‘art’ experiences. Seeing a set of Monet’s in a building designed by Taodo Ando was the first time I’ve literally had my breath taken away. Renewed my appreciation of art and architecture and life.

Nakagin Capsule Tower

A building - The Nakagin Capsule Tower is One of the only built expressions of the Metabolists, an absolute failure of a building from the 70s with utopian ideals at its core. Most of the residents want it demolished, but fans are pushing for it to be saved. I’m not sure what I’d do with it - but there’s probably a solution in between.

Don Quijote in Osaka

A ferris wheel - You’ll find the world’s only oval ferris wheel built into the side of the infamous Don Quijote branch in Osaka. You board the ride inside the store - so you have to climb through three stories of cosmetics, kitkats and sex toys to get there. One of my friends cried and another pissed themselves from fear. Never again.

And then it was back to work - where I was hit with a serious case of jetlag and post-holiday blues. This was compounded with a set of changes to processes that I didn’t feel needed changing (like 121’s) that I’m naturally inclined to be skeptical of given my time at big, process-laiden orgs in the past. But having chatted through the changes, they all feel worthwhile and like they’re going to improve things. And my mood was boosted by a series of interesting challenges on my desk, too - like allowing people to select Farewill for their funeral when writing a will with us.

The other thing we’re thinking about is planning for next quarter. As Clare’s been ramping up user research at Farewill, we’ve uncovered an absolute heap of stuff that could be better with our wills product. I’m concerned (and I think others in the product team share this feeling) that our current ‘DIBBS’ planning process won’t let us capitalise on our new knowledge, and is far too rigid for us to respond to new things we learn. I think it’s also led to teams that are feeling run-down as we approach the end of the quarter, as they’ve had to plough through pre-agreed work from the beginning of the quarter. I’m glad we experimented with it, but I’m also looking forward to finding a more healthy balance next year.

Despite a tough couple days, it feels good to be back at work. Working with disgustingly lovely people makes all the difference. I’ve also been reading A New Program for Graphic Design, which is the kind of book that reminds you why you love something. Onwards

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