James Mead by James Mead

Week 285

We spent the vast majority of the week trying to make progress on the credit union front. After Monday, in an effort to retain momentum, we made a conscious effort to avoid working on admin tasks before 4pm each day.


Although this worked reasonably well, I think it worked best when we came up with well-defined tasks in our credit union Trello project. When the next tasks were less well-defined, I found it more tempting to go and work on the well-defined GFR admin tasks.

It’s easy to think that time spent writing up tasks and prioritising them is wasted or somehow less efficient than actually working on tasks, but this was a good reminder of the importance of considering the bigger picture and recognising the value of these internal “planning” sessions.

Credit union

We’ve continued to keep daily notes on our progress:

It was good to revisit our motivations for working on the project and to make our requirements for a minimum viable account more explicit. It also felt like a positive step to send off our application to become an ABCUL study group, although it’s rather disappointing that we haven’t heard anything back from them yet.

Although much of the time it has felt like wading through treacle, it does feel as if we’re gradually homing in on what’s possible.

Day notes

Writing the daily notes has been an interesting experiment. I think it has been a good way to keep ourselves honest and focussed, but I do wish it didn’t take me quite so long to write stuff for public consumption!

I have been getting better at it; or at least I have been getting a bit faster, but I still find it more of a struggle than I would like. Hopefully practice will make perfect…


Tom Stuart was away at the end of the week attending the Practical Object-Oriented Design course run by Matt Wynne and Sandi Metz (author of the POODR book).

We were pleased to have the company of Chris Lowis on Thursday. Chris very kindly gave us a couple of chilli plants which he’d grown from seed. Hopefully we can keep them alive long enough for them to bear fruit!

Venture capital

Chris also reminded me of a conversation we’d had a few weeks ago: it’s my contention that the standard venture capital model of funding start-ups is broken, at least in the context of a truely lean start-up

The traditionally VC funding process feels very “big bang” and almost diametrically opposed to the ideals of an agile/lean approach. We pondered whether a GFR-flavoured credit union might be able to address this by offering lighter-weight, shorter rounds of “funding”.


It also was nice to take advantage of this week’s lovely weather and meet-up with the likes of Murray for some enjoyable outdoor lunches.

I remember an interesting discussion about static websites we had one lunchtime - I’d forgotten that Murray is running the original vanilla (as opposed to vanilla.rb which we use on this site) on his personal website and it was interesting to learn a bit more about its origins. In researching this a bit further I’ve also just stumbled upon James Adam’s introduction to vanilla.rb which is well worth a read.

Murray’s in the process of switching another website over to use Middleman, so we’ll be interested to hear how he gets on with that.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

– James.

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