Week Notes - COVID19

What started as a fairly ordinary week, quickly transformed into something extraordinary.

Large swathes of NHSX were suddenly told to de-prioritise their day-to-day work and focus on COVID19 response. I probably can't talk specifically on what I've been working on, but it has been one of the most intense working weeks of my life.

As is customary, here are The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of my week,

The Good

We have an amazing team of committed professionals. A wide range of skills and experience - and a diversity of opinion - has lead to some incredibly creative problem solving. We're also lucky to have great contacts with private industry who have been selfless and generous.

Teamwork makes the dream work. A shoal of fish have formed into the shape of a large shark.

On a professional level... Wow. I've been advising people well above my normal level. I'm using my tech expertise in unexpected ways and - I hope - helping make a difference.

It's also good to know that I can deal with short-term, high-stress work without cracking. I've been self-medicating with Mindustry and just a little bit of comfort eating.

I work from home regularly - and my home working set up works well. My wifi is faster at home than at work - which makes video calls much more pleasant 🙂

The Bad

Skype for business just doesn't work. Or, perhaps, people don't know how to configure it. Jumping on to a call with one-hundred unmuted participants is painful. The best tools in the world are the ones where it is easy to get things right by default. Every Skype call I was on had atrocious quality and was badly configured. Contrasted with Zoom, Slack, and Hangouts - where things mostly just worked.

Some people would rather have a meeting than take an action. It is vitally important to understand everyone has a common goal, and that we all understand the challenges - but, eventually, a decision has to be taken an action must be performed. Parts of the system are very good at minuting the options available, without necessarily performing any tasks.

I couldn't be remote for most of the week. As well as the risk of travelling at rush hour, it was distressing to see the amount of corridor discussions which remote people were excluded from.

Working with lots of new people and many still hold out their hands for an introductory shake. Eugh!

A Far Side Cartoon. A human stands before a UFO. A group of hand-shaped alien exit the craft. The caption reads "Inadvertently, Roy dooms the entire earth to annihilation when in an attempt to be friendly, he seizes their leader by the head and shakes vigorously."

The Ugly

Never let a crisis go to waste, eh? The number of parasites calling and emailing me to try and sell snake-oil has been distressing. No, your AI-on-the-blockchain-pivot-to-video-wearable is not going to save the world. Go away.

So many back seat drivers on Twitter. It turns out that snarking about how simple it is to safely & effectively launch a national-scale service is a heck of a lot easier than actually building it.

It's likely I'll be working over the weekend - as all the tech events I was planning on attending have been cancelled.

And breathe.

Thanks for reading. Now wash your hands.

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2 thoughts on “Week Notes - COVID19”

  1. Paul says:

    Good luck. Ive honestly found it more frustrating watching the commentary and social media on this issue than I did with Brexit. It's felt like a massive demonstration of the Dunning Krueger effect. So many people convinced they know what should or shouldn't be done, and picking and choosing their experts to back up what is really a gut feeling.


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