Pete's September 2022 update
Springtime sunshine and snow
Baby sealion alert!
This is where we live now
The other morning it had snowed overnight, we saw a fogbow (a rainbow caused by fog) on our way home from the beach, and then got home to watch lambs being born in the paddock opposite our house.
This is where we live now.
I can see the sky from inside the house. A lot more — green hills, water, trees, birds, sheep! — but even just being able to see the sky is a delightful novelty. In Newtown we were surrounded by other houses and rarely saw the sky through the window. Now I can look outside and I’m amazed how big the sky is.
As with all things there are trade-offs to living where we live. But when life gives you lambs…
We’re expecting snow again this week. Maybe not at our house like last time, but definitely on the hills nearby. We can’t completely rely on the weather forecast here because our weather is different to Dunedin weather, but yesterday it was 0 degrees when we woke up so… ❄️🏔️☃️
Accurate or not, our weather service does good tweets.
P.s. New photos added to Nutmeg’s photo site.
A bit of Fry and Laurie + mix tapes
Part of being a nerd (or maybe just me?) is going above and beyond the normal way of doing things.
When I was a teenager I made mix tapes for the car and for friends. But rather than just mixing different songs together, I’d hook the VCR into the tape deck and record snippets of audio from movies and TV as little interstitials between the songs. Audio stings, quotes and short sketches.
“I don't get bananas. They're green for about a week, then they're ripe for about 12 minutes before going brown and mushy forever. Sometimes I can't go out because I'm waiting for my bananas to turn ripe and I don’t want to miss them.” — Hotel de Love
I suspect I got the idea from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, or maybe Romeo & Juliet. Both included dialogue and the timing is about right.
This process required some thought around what quotes and stings fit with the surrounding music. And I just realised this is a skill I’d use again and again in different contexts: directing sketch comedy; curating variety shows; performing in improv shows; editing startup demo day highlights videos and promos. My band’s first ‘album’ was a mashup of home-recorded demos, jams, and the band joking around, that I stitched together in CoolEdit audio editor. Even adding videos, gifs and activities into classes and workshops probably uses the same part of the brain as making an enhanced mix tape.
All of which is a long way of introducing A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the tv sketch show from one of my favourite comedy duos, and who featured often in my mix tapes of yore. This sketch came up in my Youtube feed recently, and I hadn’t seen it before. The subtle wordplay mixed with silly characters and clever/absurd premises still delights me.
This was nice: an ex-colleague said I was “the master” of influencing at work.
Racing deadlines this month at work. It hasn’t been the best time in terms of stress and balance. We’re launching a bunch of stuff in October. A bit exciting. I’ve sent a bottle of scotch to our developer in Spain — unfortunately our timezones are twelve hours apart so it’s unlikely we’ll be having a celebratory whiskey at the same time.
I’ve been getting more active in online startup communities — Giants and Earlywork, in particular — and doing some micro-advising that way. Helped a founder with some Airtable formula troubleshooting which let them launch something very quickly.
I’ve been playing with AI image creation using Stable Diffusion. Super cool! Now I want the equivalent for audio!! 🎵
I made a list of personal projects I want to work on. I feel like I’ve only recently picked up fun stuff again, building some things. It’s satisfying. Need to do more.
I’ve thought of myself as a professional generalist for a while now. Another idea has been brewing in terms of how I fit into a team / organisation. How I add value. I’m mulling over the idea that I’m a multiplier. I can do stuff, execute etc. yes. And I think I add the most value when I’m amplifying: how others work, how they think. I think that’s why I enjoy advising startups — I get to guide them, show them the way around obstacles, add ideas or tactics or strategies. (Yet I also enjoy working on things on my own — see “personal projects” above. I like the ideation, the creation, and the polishing. Just not doing all of those things on the same project — I get bored. More reflection required on this…)
I gave an impromptu speed workshop on pitching. Twenty minutes notice. Jotted down these four prompts and had a lot of fun delivering it on the fly.
Zoom in / Zoom out
A pitch is a prototype
App #2 is live: What’s in the freezer?
Last year Lucy asked me to create an app so we could track what we had in the freezer and when things needed to be used. I had grand plans to build it last year when I was mentoring at a Startup Weekend, but my downtime between helping founders ended up only being a few hours. In that time I managed to build a basic prototype in Airtable. Came home and showed Lucy, but she wanted something that could be accessed like an app on her iphone.
As far as I knew, publishing something as an Apple app was a bit of a hellish process and expensive to boot. So it sat unused.
A few months ago I saw that Softr was launching the ability to publish something as a web app. I played around with it and made our Midsomer Murders app.
This month I dug back into the freezer app and added new functionality on top of the MM app — to track freezer items. So now, boom, App #2. I was going to launch it as a separate app but I’d need to upgrade to the super duper paid plan at the cost of thousands of dollars a year. And I’m cheap! So a single integrated app it is!
Stable Diffusion generated this logo for me.
Softr is okay. It does things but only just. Functional. Good for a first version of something but it’s hard to make something that’s loveable. It’s not nearly as powerful or customisable as I want it to be. So… I guess I need to learn to code next? Or find another no/low-code platform that is more powerful and can publish as a progressive web app.
[Long read] “In a disaster, the most important part is just showing up. You either start running for that bucket or you don’t.” Fascinating long read about a “disaster”-themed endurance bike race in Portland, i.e. one that simulates the kinds of obstacles and tasks you’d need to do after a big earthquake. I’m pretty sure Lucy sent this one to me. That’s how we roll: “Here’s a thing about the end of civilisation. Dinner at 7?”
This piece is very well written. I could copy this structure and approach and make good things.
[Read: 4 minutes | schadenfreude] This is a pretty good takedown of tech bros who texted Elon Musk with ideas and bootlicking after he announced he was buying Twitter.
[Read: 5 minutes | work horrors] Two magazine editors started a game of emailing each other with panic-inducing subject lines and emails. “Paul heads up re: your snapchat use”. I don’t know why Medium’s algo served me this article from 2015, but it knows me well. I love the premise, and the insight into what gives media folks the chills.
[Watch list] We’re on a good streak of movies and shows. Some recent highlights:
Kleo (netflix): a quirky spy revenge series set in Berlin after the wall came down. Reminds me of Killing Eve in tone.
Morning Wars (apple tv): a morning news show drama. Gripping. Lots of drama, even though two of the leads are comic actors (Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell).
Finding Vivian Maier: fascinating documentary about an unpublished photographer who was ‘discovered’ after her death when a box of her negatives was bought at an auction.
Two Popes (netflix): A nice little character interaction between two popes.
Jasper Jones (netflix): A pretty good Australian movie, based on a book that was described as Australia’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
[Watch: 15 minute short film] Laboratory Conditions. There are a few clunky lines in this but it still works. And by ‘works’ I mean ‘gave me goosebumps’. It makes me wonder if the whole script is clunky but great actors make it (mostly) work, or if it’s just a couple of lines that needed a rewrite.
(How does this channel make money? The production quality is really good. Youtube is stingy. 🤔???)
The only thing these dogs get is me monotonously saying,
“We don’t have a doorbell,”
— Jared Bouchard, Can We Stop With Doorbells in Commercials?