Seen: Downsizing

This is a review of the film ‘Downsizing’ starring Matt Damon and Christoph Waltz. None of my reviews contain spoilers and only broad comments on the plot of a film.

Taking a break from the Oscar-nominated movies, I decided on something a bit lighter this weekend and took in Downsizing, a social commentary/comedy starring Matt Damon.

The premise is clear from the trailer.  As a way of saving the planet, mankind discovers a way to shrink itself to just a few inches tall, thus reducing carbon footprint.  Matt Damon and his wife see this idea and see it as a solution to their lives.

The highlight of the film is the transition process from ‘big to small’, and then the obvious scenes where Matt Damon gets to grips with a life at 5 inches tall.  He lives in a ‘park’ environment and enjoys a very different lifestyle to his life as a normal size person.

Along the way, he meets some great characters – especially Dusan Mirkovic, played amazingly by Christophe Waltz – who steals the show as a mysterious, louche neighbour with questionable morals.

Udo Kier plays Konrad, Christoph Waltz plays Dusan and Matt Damon plays Paul in Downsizing from Paramount Pictures.

I found Downsizing a little bit of a letdown, whilst there are some funny scenes, it is not really a comedy movie.  The story device of shrinking humans is good, but I feel like we’ve seen it before, although the actual process is very funny. However, the film leans very heavily on the social commentary aspect and feels like it loses some fun.

It is a pretty long movie, clocking in at over two and a quarter hours – but doesn’t really move at pace and it feels like it could have had a bit of tightening up, both in script and editing.  Matt Damon and Christopher Waltz are excellent, and I love the interplay between their characters.

Overall. 6/10. IMDb


Working Out Loud Circle – Week Four

This is part of a series of posts documenting my journey with a Working Out Loud circle, as defined in John Stepper’s book; Working Out Loud: For a better Career and Life.  You can read the rest of the series here.

Friday again, and it was hard to believe we’ve reached week four of our Working Out Loud Circle journey. I’d had a particularly disrupted week, so it was great to regroup with my new friends and discuss how we’d got on.

So what did we do this week?

Once again, we started with our regular check-in. Which I find a good time to really reflect, out loud, on what has gone on during the week and what progress I have made.  It’s great to hear that my fellow circle members have made good progress.

We started with the exercises from this week, reflecting on ‘Inbox Empathy’.  Most of us had some good examples of people that had contacted us with zero empathy, and it was clear how it made us feel.

We then had a lengthy discussion about the tactics we use to create empathy in our initial connections with people inside and outside our network, and how we were going to use that to connect with people on our relationship list.

It was encouraging to hear that others share the same puzzles about reaching out and ensuring that you are adding value, but it’s clear that we are all going to attempt something this week.

My key takeaways

  • Connections with new people are often all about context – in the example that John Stepper gives in the worksheet, the winning paragraph is that he sets the context for the email. This demonstrates the ‘why’ of the mail – not just the gift.
  • We had a long discussion on the open, random, supportive approach to building a network vs the ‘screening’ approach that some of the circle use.

What did I do after the week three meeting?

  • I’ve sent email connections to all the people on my relationship list – with some resources I think they might find useful – now it’s time to wait for responses!

Sunday Six Pack #2

Time to relax, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy the Sunday Six Pack, all killer, no filler, just six of the best links curated from a week of reading.

Compiled whilst listening to Leonard Cohen


Remember: It is a glorious day here

Before Email, Twitter and Instagram, people used to send postcards.   I collect these vintage postcards, for their messages as much as their pictures.

Rydal Water

This is Rydal Water, in Cumbria – and the postcard was sent in 1908 to Lincolnshire.  I imagine the message is between sisters or friends, judging by the handwriting – the message reads:

Continue reading “Remember: It is a glorious day here”

Friday Customer Experience Pack #2

Every Friday, I’m going to round up the best Customer Experience writing I have seen during the week. Subscribe below if you’d like to receive this by email each week. Previous editions are here.


I saw this post by Bob Thompson referenced a few times this week, and rightly so. According to a recent study, 93% of Customer Experience initiatives are failing, and less than a third are demonstrating positive results.  It’s important because most companies believe that CX is the battleground on which they will win, and the ones that get tangible results are going to steal a march on the competition.

This older article on Event Driven Feedback from Mopinion really interests me, many companies still rely on the campaign driven survey to get feedback from customers – but using telemetry to ask discreet questions will yield very specific actional insights. This seems like an excellent strategy.

Tnooz focuses on the travel industry, but this article on key priorities for travel brands has insight that is useful in ANY vertical.  The idea that companies to move past silo-based thinking and align with company-wide customer goals is valuable advice.   This is the cornerstone of the work that Jeanne Bliss does in building the CCO role.

Finally – not Customer Experience focused, but great thinking for industries like the one I’m involved in. The World needs more modest, linear-growth based companies , so says DHH at  Signal vs Noise. I agree, it’s really easy to spend time looking for silver bullets that create hockey stick growth, but there is as much value in getting better one percent at a time, and growing sustainably as a result.

What did I miss? Let me know the best Customer Experience writing you’ve seen this week in the comments.