Digests: Running & reflections

#weeknotes  #digests 

I’m going to try and stick to week notes for a while. Bear with me 🐻.

I’ve been making small, fiddly changes to this website, and found myself going down a nostalgia train, back to my early, other-life posts on digital and email marketing.

Scrolling way back to my first post in 2006, I realised a few things:

  1. I used to write a lot more often
  2. I used to write a lot more openly (much more so than I have done recently)
  3. I used to really enjoy writing

In scrolling back I found a post from 2012, where I announced the birth of my youngest, in and amongst other ‘work’ news (I was freelancing at the time). It was a reminder that a personal blog can act as a diary as much as network builder and knowledge sharer.

In a bid to further cement ‘why week notes?’ I found Steve Messer’s great post, aptly titled Why I write weeknotes. I wholeheartedly agree with Steve that writing is a reflective practice.

More recently, in another Design Better podcast episode (see below), I agree with Scott Berkun that writing is in fact both a design problem and process. Writing week notes can be like showing the unfinished, WIP components, screens and 'cutting room floor' bits and pieces that we're so accustomed to hiding from sight in a bid to look faultless.

So — time allowing — I’d like to treat week notes as a mini retro per week/chunk of time, and go from there. But let’s start with baby steps.

Wordpress db hacking

I used to have my site on Wordpress. In doing so I used the built-in ‘more’ tag to pull the blog snippet into an indexed list.

Little did I realise that when I ported my content over from the ashes of my last Wordpress several years ago, it only took the pre-more content, leaving a majority of my old posts as intro snippets only.

So I spent an evening forensically opening my old WP MySQL database in Sublime text, and running a monstrous find/replace to remove all escaped slashes, then eyeballing the text and copying, pasting into my current site.

Painful, laborious, but oh so worth it. Especially if you’re interested in reading my opinion on image-only email marketing campaigns. Or better yet: my hot take on rich media email marketing. I’ll bet you were waiting for this.

Judy Wert and navigating career changes

I rarely have the time to listen to podcasts, but when I do I’m reminded that I should do it more often. I have dabbled with the Design Better podcast by InVision. It’s a great source of learning with some excellent guests. Last week on a run I listened to Judy Wert: Navigating career changes - DesignBetter, with a lot of head nodding and mm hmm’ing.

Firstly the jump from pixels to people (aka IC to manager) is such an underestimated shift for designers. I’ve got a longer blog post in the works on this topic, as I’ve found this transition to be unbelievably challenging. I often reminisce at how simple life was when I was pushing pixels, compared to running an agency through the maelstrom that was (is) Covid.

Secondly there’s the timely topic of knowing when to move on. As the host eloquently suggests, the pandemic has ‘disturbed the soil’ on which people grow professionally.

When the pandemic was at its worst (lockdowns, winter) people hunkered down and adapted. Coming out of it into something different has given rise to what’s being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. It’s something we’ve seen first-hand at Clearleft, as have many other organisations both large and small. People naturally rethink what they want and what they’re doing after serious events, and the Pandemic is no different.

The podcast touches on other aspects that I’ll be sure to write about another time, but I found the entire episode to be really refreshing and reaffirming. Take a listen:

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