Monthly Archives: August 2019

Weeknotes 29: 22 July – 28 July 2019

Client work

Not a lot to report, I was doing a lot of updates and bug fixes while catching up from the time lost last week due to a migraine.

For one client I had a Google Ads account review with their new “Account Strategist.” This is basically going through your account with someone at Google who is very good at Google Ads (Adwords) and them showing you things that need to be fixed or can be optimised more. It was a semi-useful experience this time as a few things I’d missed were brought up, and I have been neglecting the account we were looking at while working more on the client’s SEO recently and having limited time to do both.

Unfortunately, the new Account Strategist is one of the rather pushy ones, and here we hit a problem with the way Google runs their publicly facing staff at Google Ads. Bluntly, money talks when it comes to Google Ads. Spending a lot in their system? Get senior staff who are very meticulous. Pay less? Get a more junior, often pushy person who’s more interested in you turning on a feature that helps Google more than it helps you. Spend little? Basically get a full on pushy salesman who will try to make you turn on YouTube ads all the time, or at worst someone you can barely understand who appears to have never seen their interface before.

I was feeling rough on the day of the review and when I pushed back on doing things like writing a new advert and putting it live in the middle of the phone call (which he was late for, as is often the case for the lower down staff) he acted incredulous, and the same for me not wanting to immediately trigger changes which I know will cost the client more money for little return, as we’ve tried the same feature in the past.

I’ve been handing Google Ads for clients for a lot of years now and I’ve learnt putting things live during a call generally does not work out well for me – they are changes I haven’t properly thought through as I’m in the call rather than considering all the implications of my actions. It is always worth pushing back in these circumstances.

The attitude of their contact people reminds me a lot of the recruiters I’ve worked with – the better ones tend to listen and understand when you don’t want to be rushed and they tend to end up running high value accounts, the ones who top out in the middle of the ranks are always pushy. Fortunately Google tends to rotate all their contact staff every 6-12 months, so you don’t have to put up with the ones you don’t like for long. They rarely seem to make notes though, so you always have the same initial conversations whenever you change Strategist. I’d have thought Google would have a cracking CRM tool for the part of the business driving most of their billions in revenue, but apparently not.

My Projects

Very little on my projects as I was catching up with work that did not get done last week, and trying to not fill every minute of the day as I didn’t want to trigger another migraine.


Two things hit my productivity a lot – heat and politics. The heat I partly managed to solve by working a few days at The Skiff, where the air conditioning is brilliant and meant I could work properly. Boris Johnson becoming the new Prime Minister in waiting was a big distraction, and I’ve become so fed up with everything he says being leapt on by people on Twitter that I’m trying muting several phrases for a week. Twitter will not show any tweets containing the words you have muted, and lets you mute them for a week or more – very handy for trying things out.

I have muted “no deal”, “johnson”, “boris” and “brexit” for a week to see how it goes. So far, my timeline is a lot shorter, but also less stressful. I’m not ignoring the news, I listen to a couple of political podcasts and check news sites, but I’m doing it more when I want rather than it dominating social media when I’m interested in what my friends have been doing. I muted “farage” and “trump” a long time ago and feel I’m much better off for it.


Again, no progress on 30×500 apart from a little work on content for the Farm site.

New meet up

I went to the inaugrual Brighton Indie Hackers Coffee Meet, run by Rosie Sherry. I both like Rosie a lot and have a hell of a lot of respect for her too. She’s built her success through an enormous amount of effort, building a community where testers can get the respect they deserve.

The best bit of the meet was hearing what she’s been doing recently, which sadly has been burning out on her own project and taking a step back. I hope she can get over that quickly and find something new that she’s as happy with as she has been with MoT. One of the things she’s doing now is be community manager for Indie Hackers and they couldn’t have made a better choice for that.

The meet up has got me to try out the Indie Hackers podcast and check the site out. I hadn’t realised how big Indie Hackers had got, I was only aware of it as a site which seemed to be content marketing aimed at the Hacker News crowd, and I kind of forgot about it when my interest in HN petered out a couple of years ago. So, Rosie’s community management is going well on a very local level!

The Farm

Once again held at the Caxton Arms. Only 12 people along but summer can be very up and down as people do things with their families. My notes were…

  • Live mobile app work
  • Airflow – Apache’s batch system
  • Trying to get people on big teams to understand the consequences of actions on other projects
  • Building a local setup to match a client’s weird setup
  • Dealing with the heat
  • Creating Downs-land in town
  • Wildflowers
  • Boris Johnson
  • Affluent reactionaries
  • Moasic demographic: low horizons
  • Will there be a general election soon?
  • SD card aging
  • Long lost relatives
  • Photography with film vs digital
  • Star Trek: Picard
  • DNA testing
  • and the Church of the Latter Day Saints
  • Sockmaggedon


During the weekend I took Tom out to Worthing, where he enjoyed a playground and playing some Pokemon Go, and I enjoyed an American car show – lots of massive old cars I usually only see on Roadkill episodes.

Tom and old Chevy pickups

Reading: Continued Titan by John Varley. Also started Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann. I’m reading Super Thinking on the train to and from The Skiff and so far I’m only a little way in and it’s… a bit disappointing. A lot of stuff I already know and a lot of repeating that the book is going to change the way I think. I’d be much happier if it got on with that changing rather than telling me it was going to do it, but I guess that is a business book kind of thing.

Writing with: a Uniball Eye Needle Fine, a good rollerball I’ve been using for my Farm notes as it’s good for using in a small notebook. Good for a big notebook too!

Writing in: a Beechmore Books A5 dotted notebook. I got this at a good price from Amazon, it has nice paper, smooth paper which is coated so fountain pen ink works well on it, although it takes a while to dry. Part of the notebook has a slight binding problem so the paper isn’t completely flat, I’ll have to wait and see if that’s a problem or whether using the earlier part will flatten it out. For £4-5 cheaper than a Leuchtturm1917 notebook, it is a very good choice.