Monthnotes – September 2019

Monthnotes – September 2019

Having benefitted from a four week break from work this summer (thanks to the Deeson sabbatical scheme), I came back to work in early September with renewed energy and focus, as well as having had a chance to reflect on my place in the world of work more generally.

One of the commitments I made this summer was to get back to writing more about my work in digital and leadership.

From 2003 I wrote a busy blog about comms, marketing and digital on my website, but made a conscious decision in 2015 to retire that blog. My work had moved on significantly from the fields of marketing and communications which I had been writing about.

But I have always found writing a good way of refine my thinking and challenging myself to articulate ideas better. So “Monthnotes” is my new monthly round-up of news, observations and links from my world.

Despite having only been back at work as MD at Deeson for four weeks, we’ve packed a lot in. Looking back the highlights have included:

  • seeing the Deeson leadership team rise to the challenge of managing the agency during my time off. It was great to see things in such great shape when I returned.
  • two new senior hires at Deeson to help us continue to build our strategic and creative talent in the agency, including a new Head of Strategy (Martijn van der Heijden) and a new Associate Creative Director (Mark Ellis).
  • a day spent at the Disruption Summit Europe. Some fascinating presentations (personal favourite was Chris Sheldrink, founder of What3words), interesting potential client conversations and good to be exhibiting alongside fellow The Panoply companies too.
  • presenting at a Deeson breakfast briefing event about how to choose a web content management system. This is a topic that’s top of mind for many organisations as the end of support for Drupal 7 approaches in 2021 and as the world of CMS becomes ever more complicated.
  • concluding a digital strategy consultancy engagement for a major UK charity, helping them understand their current digital activities better and plot a strategic roadmap for their continuing growth over the next three years.

I was fascinated by Carrie Bishop’s piece about her role as CDO in San Francisco. It was good to read a genuinely honest and reflective read about the realities of digital practice in the public sector in the USA.

And as a digital agency with a strong open source focus, Owen Williams’ article about open source contributions also caught my eye this month. At Deeson we’ve always supported team members to contribute back to open source projects and it remains something I’m committed to us continuing to do in the future.

Looking forward to October, we’ve got an exciting new website launch coming up as well in a couple of weeks, plus we’re firming up some really interesting events spanning higher education, culture, arts and membership as well.

And there’s more thinking and linking in last month’s Deeson client and friends newsletter too. Enjoy!


I work with technology-centric businesses as an interim Chief Operating Officer (COO), consultant and advisor. I created the B3 framework® for scaling technology businesses and I write a newsletter called Build for leaders who are building brilliant companies.