Week Notes 18 - 24 March 2024

The Hills of California (curtain call)
24 March 2024

Lots of fun cultural stuff this week! Also some work, most of which was also pretty fun.

Work stuff

I spent some time this week preparing for a couple of workshops including a half-day OKR Jumpstart session I’m facilitating next week. We’ll be using chatterfall and live-drafting OKRs in both sessions. The half-day will also practice checking in on OKRs – my favourite part.

This week I had a great conversation about OKRs with a prospective client and she told me about the wonderful Rands Leadership Slack with 30k engineering leaders from all walks.

I was really impressed with how “operationally sound” (Rands’s words) the vetting & onboarding process was right down to the code of conduct. The process involved me emailing rands my favourite vacation spot and some evidence of my humanness.

Years ago I remember discovering and getting very excited about Rands in Repose. It was one of the first engineering blogs I started following. Unsurprisingly, Michael Lopp (the human behind Rands) is a really interesting thinker on building teams and leading technology organisations. I discovered this interview with him and really enjoyed watching it this week. Lots around giving people space to innovate, the role of product management, uncovering what motivates people, and generally some really great stories.

It continued some ideas I discussed last week around a reckoning in the product management and coaching space continued by the always insightful Joanna Rothman in this blog series.

Cultural Stuff

My wife had big plans this week but due to a bad cold they became my big plans!

I felt very lucky indeed to attend a brilliant play and a great dance performance this week.

Play: The Hills of California

While The Guardian wasn’t so impressed, I really enjoyed it – but maybe I’m an easy sell.

I’ve loved Sam Mendes since I saw American Beauty. Aside: am I still allowed to enjoy that film given Kevin Spacey’s crummy behaviour?

I also enjoyed Jez Butterworth’s 2017 play, The Ferryman telling the story of a Northern Irish family’s involvement in The Troubles

Dance: Assembly Hall

Assembly Hall was outstanding. Saddlers Wells is a hidden treasure in London. I’ve always loved dancing myself but only recently realised how wonderful dance can be to watch. Thanks to Saddlers Wells, I’ve discovered Crystal Pite and Akram Khan. I also enjoyed Anemoi / The Cellist at the Royal Opera House last year.

Seeing such amazing athletes working in such creative ways unleashed through electrifying choreography, incisive and richly nuanced sound design (or live orchestra), wonderful costumes, sets, and more is a great experience. This piece really made me wonder why I don’t drop everything and devote myself to creative pursuits.

Assembly Hall

On Saturday I met two friends to see some extremely thought provoking photography including a chilling audio installation of volunteer archeologists exhuming bodies of people killed during the Spanish Civil War, photographs from one of my favourite artists, Valie Export, and a photography and illustration colaboration about colonialism in India and its aftermath in the broader context of global classism and exploitation.

Gauri Gill and Rajesh Vangard
Valie Export - SMART EXPORT (self portrait)

DYI Synthspiration

After all of this week’s creative consumption, I spent some time Saturday noodling around with Super Collider, building and playing a DIY software synthesizer.

I did a little improv that got pretty experimental and semi-apocalyptic.

Check it out below!

peterkappus · Hashima (Demo)

That’s it for this week! Did you enjoy this rather narrative style or would bullets be easier to digest? Other comments? Let me know.

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