📅 February 05 - February 11 | Weekly blog update

A new contract

My week was a little more stressful than I would have liked or anticipated. I teach at three different institutions, and at one of them, I had a difficult situation to manage with one of the students. This put a lot of stress on me and affected me to the point where I was unhappy with the situation that evening. I didn’t sleep well that night, and it took a few days to wind down fully. However, there was a positive outcome that will help going forward. As a teacher, I’m just trying to make a small positive difference in the lives of those I teach genuinely and sincerely. I strive to do that whenever I’m in front of a class or a group of professionals I train. Perhaps I’m a bit naïve.

I walked my dog on one of the afternoons so that I could free myself and decided to get some air. I always enjoy the time-out, but I don’t make the effort to do it regularly enough. I should make a pact and walk my dog more often. To be fair, she has plenty of space in our garden to wander around, and she has found or made a few holes in the fence to go for solo walkies all by herself, but that’s no excuse not to walk her when I can. Note to self: Walk the dog more often.

One of the positive things to happen this week was signing a new contract with a new client to provide my consulting services. I’m looking forward to working with digging deeper and providing value for money with my expertise in various topics. For the interests of confidentiality, I will not go into detail. However, I will say that I structure my contracts to make them affordable and manageable for those I work with. I set up a recurring monthly subscription rather than a quote and a one-off lump sum payment for work being done. This allows a lot more flexibility for the client and me regarding scope. One of the big problems in consulting and project management is scope creep. If we’d agreed on a fixed scope of work, it would get us into a difficult situation when we needed to negotiate the inevitable changes in the scope of the course of the project. With this method, we’re both open to change, and the project can change scope as and when the reality of the market changes without incurring further costs. I’m currently looking for more clients to work with, so if you’re interested, please reach out.

I spent a good five to six hours in technical training hosted by Microsoft on its new product, Copilot. It is definitely interesting how Microsoft has integrated the basic LLM functions into its core products, allowing users to save a little time here and there throughout their day. It will not completely revolutionise productivity, but it will give it a little boost here and there. Funny enough, during one of the demonstrations, the prompt given to Copilot didn’t end up with the desired result, and the trainer continued to try to manipulate the model into giving the answer he was looking for. After a while, it was clear that he should have given up and manually done the task, as it would have been quicker. I think this is a lesson we’ll all learn over the coming years when using these tools. Sometimes, doing it yourself without the aid of a Stochastic Parrot will be quicker, more efficient, and more accurate.

I caught up with someone I had worked with briefly over the last couple of years, but due to ‘circumstances’, we hadn’t really spoken or exchanged ideas, thoughts, and analysis on that. I think it merits a little more thought on whether there’s opportunity to work together in the future. 🤔


Where do I start? Honestly, this is one of the most challenging parts of this blog to write about, as I tend to read a lot of different things throughout the week using an RSS reader. I typically see over one thousand articles a day. What I have been reading has already been documented here previously, as I’m trying to finish Doppelgänger, which is taking a bit more time than I would have liked. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the book; quite the opposite. I have just had an excessive amount of work and reading to do for other topics that I hadn’t been in the right headspace to read more. That has changed, and I am nearly at the end of the book, having made time to read most evenings.

Other reading space has been taken over by the learning materials for the Internet Governance training I’m currently doing. There is so much to read and so much to look at and delve into. I’ve probably added about 30 or so papers to the reading queue.

Of note

Reviews of the Apple Vision Pro have come out, and there are certainly differing opinions. Some people feel this is the ultimate productivity device, and others the ultimate consumption device. I still don’t know where I stand on this, as I can see the glimmer of something that could be very useful. However, something keeps niggling me about the dystopian nature of extracting ourselves from the real world just to type or produce a few banal and ultimately useless emails, videos, podcasts, etc. It is probably why, despite loving listening to music, I much prefer listening through speakers rather than headphones. I do it, but I wouldn’t say I like cutting myself off from the world too much. There comes a point where I feel too removed and want to return to the space I occupy with others.

Have a lovely week.

Matthew Cowen @matthewcowen