superlifter Week 1

This is week 1 of writing weeknotes, not doing what I’m doing, or being alive. Let’s see how long I can keep this going. The last time I did anything like this was (checks notes) 13 years ago. Wow.

This was an entirely non-typical week. On the move, not at home in Edinburgh: a weekend family trip to Peterborough, three days pottering about in Hertfordshire and London, then three days in Brighton. Phew.

So, London. I managed to get to Magma for the first time in years. There are some wonderful bookshops in Edinburgh, but none scratch that design book itch in quite the same way. I picked up What is Post Branding?, ordered Flexible Visual Systems for delivery (way too big to carry around) and flagged Universal Principles of Branding for future investigation. All driven by the realisation that our UI work often involves brand and brand identity but I don’t have particularly strong foundations in those areas. Also, books are good.

Cover of Flexible Visual Systems: The Design Manual for Contemporary Visual Identities by Martin Lorenz in Magma bookshop

I also spent a day with my Measured co-founders Chris and Scott, working through our business strategy. We hadn’t realised that the coworking space we booked is overshadowed by the BT Tower.

A view over the rooftops of Fitzrovia to the BT Tower

Having the massive physical embodiment of an ex-client floating in our peripheral vision all day was quite motivating.

Anyway. We’ve been around for 3 mostly-reactive years. This feels like a good time to get intentional. We’re pretty sure we know what we’re doing after talking for a day, but not yet in a way that’s easy to explain. Our next step is to undertake the entirely straightforward task of connecting our vision with the needs of actual customers. I see a workshop in our future.

Next, Brighton, with all of Measured. We’ve been trying to shake off pandemic-ingrained habits and get together in person regularly. We’re also trying to get to more meet-ups and conferences. We even have a tool to keep track of events we think we might attend. This works wondefully well for us, yet somehow I’ve managed to go to things in London and Brighton but not Edinburgh. I should probably fix that.

So after a day together, we went to Async’s pre-ffconf International Show ‘n’ Tell 2023 edition meetup on Thursday and ffconf itself on Friday. The standout talk from both events was Maggie Appleton’s The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI. We spent most of our breaks talking about this, and I’ve spent most of my thinking time since then trying to figure out what implications a web flooded with generative AI content will have in general and for our business.

I saw people in Brighton I haven’t seen in person for many years, and some I had never met in person. That was good. I think we need a reason to go to Brighton again, so we’ll try for Patterns Day in March 2024.

Other things ticking along in the background…

  • IP lawyering: we’re attempting to trade marking things. It’s quite a long process. I need to figure out whether it’s sensible to talk about this while we’re doing it.
  • Content: we’re working with an ace content professional (hi, James) to do more formal comms. This is a surprisingly fun and rewarding activity.
  • New client proposals: early doors. I’m enjoying putting on my consultancy hat after a fairly long time mostly thinking about operations.


  • Book: I finished The agile comms handbook. Brilliant. Hoping to write a brief review later. Extra dimenson added after seeing Maggie Appleton’s talk at ffconf.
  • Article: We’re sorry we created the Torment Nexus, a great deconstruction of the TESCREAL ideology by Charlie Stross.
  • Soundtrack: Louise Chen’s Emovember Vol. 1 on NTS: sad guitar music.
  • Social: I’m testing out Bluesky and going for a 2006-era Twitter style (strong preference for mundane, occassional dry nonsense, little to no biz). Meanwhile, colleagues continue to mock me for spending too much time on LinkedIn.