2021 Week 4: Leaving Oxford

It has been a week of change: from a relatively settled state to a much more transient one. Eating imaginative combinations of the last of stocks in the pantry, blind drop-offs of possessions that exceed the luggage limits, and handing house keys over to new tenants. While I will miss Oxford, there’s an energising sense of adventure to hitting the road again, on a long journey to Auckland, New Zealand. While it is sad to be leaving so many good friends behind, in these video-call filled hours of the UK’s pandemic lockdown, there’s a very good chance that communication will be sustained into the future.

2021 Week 2: Plans

I’m moving to Auckland in 2021! Blog post content will suffer while I wrap up my work for ONI and organise the logistics of moving myself and my possessions to the other side of the world in the middle of a pandemic. A couple thoughts from the week:

Angela Duckworth’s plot of Phone location vs Grades quantifies what we already intuit: phones are really powerful distractions.

Packing the array of mildly useful objects I’ve collected over the past 3.5 years in Oxford is a huge source of decision fatigue. Packing things into boxes is relatively trivial, but attempting to vaguely optimise the set of possessions is an incredibly complex task. Moving objects to New Zealand by freight comes in at approximately US$0.5 per Litre, but in 1000 L units. How much are those old running shoes worth now? Postage stamps are “value dense”, but how do you recapture that value efficiently? As a technology hobbyist, a range of electronic componentry has hardly any value in the abstract, but if it can be used to fix something can be hugely valuable.

2021 Week 1: New Adventures

I have some exciting plans in 2021, but personal news is subsumed by a raging pandemic and an unprecedented series of events in global politics. More details in next week’s post.

Photo from the Week

2020 Week 53: Reflections

Weeks in a Year

A quick note on week numbers: Typically when asked how many weeks are in a year, 52 is a good answer. Keeping time is a little more complicated, and this week we are still in the 53rd year of 2020. Interestingly, this can cause issues in systems like GPS if the unusual 53 week year is not accounted for.


It has been an unusual year, one filled with new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. I enjoyed a friend’s suggestion to use Year Compass to direct some personal reflection. A few things to share:

Building things other people use is very satisfying.
2020 was the most productive year I have had in terms of programming, oddly brought about by moving into a People Team role. Compared with cutting edge research, the smaller challenges of automating office applications provided an opportunity for me to see a project from start to finish, and learn a lot along the way.

Overcoming hesitation is a way to get more done.
Trying to keep pace with ONI’s founder has been a wonderfully challenging growth opportunity. One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away is that hesitation is a barrier to getting more done. I’ve tried to push harder to overcome my activation energy and been rewarded with more productive days.

People will talk if you ask nicely
Thank you to the people who spoke with me this year. Working in Talent Acquisition led me to (virtually) meet many people over the last few months, and it has been a pleasure to gain insights from people across the world with a diverse range of experiences.

Photos from the Week