Week 28 - 13 July 2021

  • Hey friends
  • I went to volunteer on Nama Yasai farm a few weeks ago, where we planted Snow Radish and Shiso seeds with chopsticks in the morning and dropped Korean Mint into the field in the afternoon. I left with a big bag of vegetables. Ay carumba, I've never had chard that sweet!

On the canal

  • It was a day of hard, joyous work alongside an incredibly welcoming, gently amusing cast of characters. A sommelier from a top restaurant, a commodities trader from London, an interior architect who in-between days on the farm was designing a spa, and a hen that thinks it's a cat, amongst others.

On the canal

  • As for the secret to the rambunctious flavour - when watering the korean mint seedlings, I got nervous that I was giving them a bit of a thrashing. Their thin stems bowing under the weight of the water. I was told not to worry - that a bit of stress is what makes plants develop their flavour. It's why this kind of low intervention farming leads to the best crop. Which makes me feel better about my neglected traffic cone strawberries in the front garden.

On the canal

  • I visited Unearthed at Dulwich Picture Gallery a few days later. A real highlight was Albert Richard's x-rays of flowers. Richard practiced as a dentist for years before turning his equipment towards plants.
  • Whilst there I chanced on this fantastic painting of Walton Bridge from around 1750. This incredibly expressive design was born of a simple design constraint - to make sure that any single timber could be extracted and replaced without disturbing the rest of the bridge. I feel like we could do with more of this thinking today.

Walton Bridge, the first one

  • Over the last few weeks a few people have said to me 'have you thought about starting a business?' My usual response is 'maybe in the future' - but having this time off has made me wonder - why not now?. Scrolling through the projects on Indie Hackers, there's a lot of people who've clearly followed that old adage - “you can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes." By which I mean a fucking swathe of projects offering templates / courses / AI generated content walton/ growth hacking tactics / analytics.
  • I was finding it all a bit inward looking and depressing, until I came across the guy that sells onions. Peter's process of finding expiring domain names, and then building a business around them, is equal parts ridiculous and genius. It feels both like some sort of art piece and a task in the apprentice. But from it he's grown a bunch of incredibly fulfilling, sustainable businesses. Much more interesting than selling pickaxes.
  • The idea that's bubbling towards the foreground for me is a little hangover from my time at Farewill. I think there's space for an easy way to create an order of service to print at home. It's also taking a bit of inspiration from my experience organising my mum's funeral, when I surreptitiously printed stacks of self-designed order of services at the BBC offices. hehe.
  • There's lots of reasons this is a terrible idea. When you're organising a funeral you're stressed, have a million things to do, and dealing with the loss of a loved one. It's a time when a lot of people are willing to pay someone to take the task off their hands. It's also quite a technically complex project for me to pull off - certainly far more complex than anything I've made before.
  • On the flip side, 'funeral order of service template' is something that gets searched for on google a fair amount, it's a domain area I know a little about, and the competition is pretty weak. So I reckon I'll give it a go.
  • On a more macro scale, I reckon more and more of these kinds of tasks are going to move away from generic programmes like Microsoft Word and towards specialised websites. As the browser is swallowing software, why would you use a more generic programme when you could google your specific task and get it done in half the time? I reckon we'll see more mini apps like this cropping up over time.
  • Edit: 5 hours since posting this I've been gently informed that my contract with Farewill means I won't be able to work on this for at least 6 months (non-compete clause). I did have a niggling feeling about this, and it's fair enough really. Oh well! Onto the next thing.
  • Till next time - here's a photo of my cat being cute.

Laika being cute

Last update: 2021-07-13 12:00:00 -0600