Off the wagon

Three weeks of business travel, and a long Bank Holiday weekend has thrown me clean from the wagon.  I have a backlog of posts to write – from things I have watched, read and listened to on my travels as well as a blog review for April which will no doubt chasten me.

However, it’s my blog – I forgive myself.

But it’s time to get back on the wagon. 

Seen: A Quiet Place

This is a review of the film ‘A Quiet Place’ directed by and starring John Krasinski alongside Emily Blunt.  None of my reviews contain spoilers and only broad comments on the plot of a film.

A trip to the cinema to see A Quiet Place, the local Oden providing popcorn and pop along with this very unusual movie.

A Quiet Place tells the story of a family that is forced to stay silent to avoid the attention of alien predators in a post-apocalyptic America.  The story opens with a defining moment for the family and then continues about a year later as they deal with the aftermath and try to live a normal life.

There isn’t much ‘normal’ going on here, with sign language, CCTV surveillance and elaborate contraptions to maintain a running silence.  The aliens, seen a few times are terrifying in their appearance and their speed, as they react to sound with frightening consequences.

It’s an unusual film, with very little spoken dialogue, although some sections with subtitles and a very sparse soundtrack.  Your focus is drawn almost entirely to the visuals which are really well made.  The leads are truly excellent, with an understandable chemistry in some of the more intense scenes.

The story is kept taut, with a constant feeling of suspense – and there is one scene that kept me physically anxious for a good few minutes. The finale is excellent as well.

Support acting from the kids in the family is really good, and they contribute really well to the overall story.

Great movie – you really need to see this.

Overall. 9/10. IMDb

Sunday Six Pack #11

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. Previous editions here.

Compiled whilst listening to : RM Hubbert / Cockcrow

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Friday Customer Experience Pack #11

Every Friday, I 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.

  • Three key components of Customer Journey Mapping – Customer Experience Magazine outlines some good advice on Customer Journey Mapping – I especially agree with #3 – Take action on the things that matter. Quite often I hear about mapping exercises that gather dust as they seem more academic than getting in and actually fixing customer pain points.
  • Customer Think magazine has a great view on building a community based on your business – in my view, having strong relationships is going to be a key differential for businesses in the future. A community is one way to develop those.
  • How to make the perfect Chatbot – strong advice for anyone who is embarking on the Chatbot journey.  Have a purpose and design with personality seem like good starting points.
  • Ten great Customer Experience KPI’s – Zendesk play back the basics here, worth learning if you are building a new CX function.
  • The science behind customer satisfaction –  eight great tips as you think about Customer Satisfaction.
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What did I miss? Let me know the best Customer Experience writing you’ve seen this week in the comments.



Seen: Suburbicon

This is a review of the film ‘Suburbicon’ starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, directed by George Clooney.  None of my reviews contain spoilers and only broad comments on the plot of a film.

A rainy afternoon often leads to some channel surfing looking for a movie, having missed Suburbicon in the cinema I thought it would be good to catch up.

Suburbicon is set in the 1950’s American dream, a land of plenty with family values, picket fences and a utopian view of the world.  Underneath the surface, tensions are at play – with home invasions and race relations straining the idyll.

Matt Damon plays Gardener Lodge, who lives with his wife and her sister (both played by Julianne Moore), and as they encounter some serious crime – their world begins to crumble around them.

Suburbicon is a very dark comedy with some very funny scenes that send shockwaves through the picture perfect world of Lodge and his family.

suburbicon

I really enjoyed Suburbicon, the acting from Damon and Moore as well as the son played by Noah Jupe was really excellent. The movie has great cinematography and looks excellent on the screen, with overtones of early Mad Men or Stepford wives in the idealistic view of 1950’s America.

The broader casting is good, and the ‘bad guys’ are superb.  I thought the story was fun, and the tension at the end of the movie and the way Matt Damon’s character handles events is both comedic and shocking.

Overall. 7/10. IMDb

Working Out Loud Circle – Week Eleven

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.

We’ve reached the penultimate week of our WOL journey – although this circle is already talking about what is next, whether we’ll go again – and how we’ll stay in touch as a support group for each other.  We had a week off due to public holidays and tricky scheduling, but like the comic book heroes, we called #Mutanfall Assemble for Friday.

So what did we do this week?

I love the check-in part of our meeting, and particularly this week where we recapped what had happened since our last meeting.  The whole group had collectively had a surge of ‘execution’, with one of our number launching an amazing new website, another staging key meetings and events and myself getting involved in some new projects which look exciting.  I’d even had my photo taken by a rockstar photographer, very cool!

We then talked about the question in the check-in, the idea of making a significant change, and how that made you feel.  Given our achievements this week, it was no surprise that our collective wisdom was to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.  We talked a little bit about the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, and how we need to look past our ‘lizard brains’ and engage our thinking brains to acknowledge any fear, but move onto execution.

I was reminded of the book ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield (review / Amazon Link), which talks about the ‘resistance’ that people feel before a creative endeavour and proposes a number of ways to get past the roadblocks you might feel.   Summon your angels!

We then moved onto the key exercise this week – pulling together our various lists of tribes and looking at who is running these groups, and what they are all about.  It was really interesting to hear about the different tribes we have, and how differently they operate.  I am focusing a lot on WhatsApp & Telegram groups these days, finding that the higher level of curation and selection makes those groups more valuable to me.  As an aside, if anyone knows of a good English language group for WOL enthusiasts – I’d love to hear about – please let me know. 

Finally, our Working Out Loud Circle talked about the lemonade stand concept and how we could build that, in relation to the tribes we picked. This needs more work for me, as I’m not 100% focused on what I want to build to add value to the groups I participate in.

My key takeaways

  • Spend some time on defining and building my ‘lemonade stand’ – I have talked about doing some public speaking as part of my goals, so this might be my time to work on my subjects and the bare bones of some talks I could give.

What did I do after this weeks meeting?

  • Spent time brainstorming and mind mapping for my lemonade stand
  • Shared some links with my WOL circle