META: What’s so interesting about a Technical Director anyway?

Fear of modern times

3 min readApr 15, 2018

FOBB — Fear of Being Boring. It’s a modern problem: everything that you do is so transparent: documented and published and curated a hundred times every day. FOBB is the inverse of FOMO — it’s the anxiety that accompanies the creation of content, rather than its consumption. Fear of being normal. Of being mundane, set against the tide of the attention economy.

Against this backdrop, I’ve been thinking about my own weeknotes experience again. Weeknotes have always been ambiguous for me — sometimes they’re my own scratchpad, not much more than my notes to myself. And at other times they’re closer to a Real Blog (tm) with Actual Points and Arguments, intended to Say Something. That’s when I get sucked into FOBB, when I’m trying to connect to people, other than myself.

Every blog is a TV channel

To be sure, I don’t think my weeknotes will ever be un-ambiguous. But I would like to work on the ‘connected’ side of them a bit more, and make them more useful to others. I’ve learned from blogging for years that Content is hard. But at the same time, it’s in publishing openly that we commit to our ideas, and that we come to be our own, harshest critics. Openness, and the mere potential for feedback, forces us to be honest with ourselves first and foremost.

Since simul-publishing on Medium as well as on Wordpress, I’ve really noticed the FOBB-factor. Highlights, claps, responses and all that. And the worst bit is I know it’s an addiction that capitalist tech deliberately put in place, to feed engagement stats back to their investors, to boost the charts. That feeling that we all want to be loved, distilled into Powerpoint slides. Was I happier when I was purely blogging without stats and comments? Would this post ever have even come about?

Who’d be a tech lead?

Either way, the question is in my head, and openness dictates I turn it into words.

So here it is — you, dear reader, what interests you? What do you want to know, about what it’s like to be a Technical Director, to build technology that feeds off government data, to bring together data, code and politics, to run a tech team, to exist as a working father, to work in the private sector, to use Jira without too much swearing?

Generally I try to cover some of the following, because this is what I’m working through currently and therefore find interesting — Medium readers, feel free to highlight particular items which make you happy?

  • The peculiarities of code, and how to make it a team activity
  • Helping teams work effectively together
  • Responding to crises
  • Balancing way too many diverse things and stay sane

But then, I’m also aware that there’s so much that I probably take for granted, like being able to knock together scripts, or sharpen up communications tools, or commute in to work with a bunch of amazing people. What am I missing out?

The next series of weeknotes is looming, and I’m going to try to make them fairly accessible — sketches, rather than oil paintings. Fragments I can replay to myself in a way that cements feedback loops. But I’d love to roll some comments in from yourselves, you hidden ghosts out there, you internet shadows lurking with thumbs.

What are you curious about?

Curios dog, natch

Originally published at Workweek.




Lead tech at OCSI, making data friendly for social good. Likes words. Doesn't really own a bowler hat.