Weeknote #019

— 19 minute read

This week was fast and intense. It was hard to focus on work, honestly. Trying to organise my thoughts in writing helped me a lot. I wrote these notes Saturday morning, asked Rahel for a review, but I changed a lot during the weekend. Writing about emotional subjects isn't easy. In this edition you will read a little about work, and many rumblings about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Good things permalink

Sprint 3, Marie Curie permalink

DNA team rocket my boat again this week. Despite the immense complexity of the work, it is clear how much we evolved this week in terms of internal coherence. It was a joy to observe all things getting together, sliced and groomed in sprints. The next milestone is crystal clear: to improve access to our accessibility documentation for developers, designers and QA Analysts. To get there, we will revamp the Information Architecture and enhance the way we create and store content. I am thrilled about this.

In related good news, our component library was updated this week, with no breaking changes in production. And in our design system weekly meet-up, we had significant progress with design tokens. Excellent attendance and contribution from designers and developers and fruitful and structured conversations.

ZoomVJ permalink

Everyone is spending a lot of time in zoom meetings. I'm trying to make every meeting or workshop an opportunity for enjoyment. Is part of my learning journey on facilitation skills. My pillars are: enabling good conversations, practicing deep listening, creating structure and goal setting.I also think that facilitation role in inclusion and allowing space for authentic conversations is much needed. This week was positive, and I felt like I was doing a good job. I am also now measuring satisfaction on some of the ceremonies.

Next week I will share with the team a short talk about practical workshops. I am glad it will be an opportunity to share what I have been learning.

Unplanned 1–1 with Dr Hu permalink

Sophy Hu is a young, talented British doctor. I have a deep respect for her work. Like me, she is a generalist. She writes, designs and she gets AI in healthcare like a handful of people in the UK. We had a long, joyful conversation about work and many other things. Sophy's sense of humour is incredible. I always learn something new about Babylon when talking with her - she is one of the first 100 Babylonians. We talked about productivity, how doctors take notes, strategy and the best cities in the UK for hipsters.

Learned things permalink

Spotting the pattern permalink

The past few days have been very hard. Not only because of what is happening in the US, but also because of the scenario in my country. Just for context, a brazilian dies by Covid every minute and the government decided to stop updating the statistics. I caught myself worrying too much and crying sometimes.

The learning for me is that when I spot earlier my lousy brain trying to take over, It's easy to fight back. I am finding relief with therapy, meditation, exercises and talking with friends.

Place of Speech, Standpoint Theory and the Black leaders I follow permalink

In Brazilian Portuguese, we have an expression: "Lugar de Fala". The meaning is weakly represented in the academic circles in Standpoint Theory. Short version is:

A standpoint is a place from which we view the world that determines what we focus on as well as what we don't know. The social groups we belong to shape how we see the world and how we communicate societal inequalities generate distinctive accounts of the world

Interestingly, you will not find any mention or references to the Brazilian Brazilian Black feminist, journalist, and philosopher Djamila Ribeiro's original concept in the English wikipedia.

A shortcut to understand Place of Speech is to explore related concepts. The Spiral of silence is one that resonated with me:

Individuals have a fear of isolation. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions.

Many people will not feel in a position to talk about racism and Black Lives Matter. Besides being a person of colour, I don't think is my place of speech. I have too many privileges: I am a male, educated, employed and living in a posh neighbourhood. A few times I have been affected by racism. I have been offended many times, but never been beaten by a cop.

I am confused. I don't know yet if there is a right/wrong way of engaging in this subject. But complete silent is not an option. I am educating myself, donating and trying to keep my mouth shut. If you want to educate yourself I recommend following the amazing black women who are in the front lines of this debate and speaking truth to power on the web:

Tatiana Mac

Viviane Castillo

Antionette Carrol

Things that bring me joy permalink

Brazilian literature permalink

I've found a piece of article news about Machado de Assis and the successful launch of his book in the US. He is the most famous Brazilian writer. He was also the founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. That got me in a beautiful rabbit hole searching about his life. I found this paper about his work, racial identity and racism.

He was in a very shitty situation. He needed to protect his job and love for literature while writing about an unfair society:

Some of his contemporaries criticised Machado for not writing more openly about the evils of slavery. And yet, for the grandson of freed slaves writing for a predominantly slave-owning elite, we are left in little doubt about what a controversial and sensitive subject it was for Machado, or where his sympathies lay.

From the book The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis

Machado was so important and famous that he was not considered a black person by the elite. Until recently, his official photo was whitewashed.

I had a great conversation about his books and Brazilian literature with Leili. We both read many of his books. It was a joy to remember classics like Dom Casmurro and Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas.

Getting to know about my origins permalink

Bernardino - Picture of  a Brazilian, with a beautiful tie and nice moustache

I messaged my father this week to understand a bit more about my blackness. My raw question: "What about our ancestors?". He shared a picture and the story of my great-grandfather, Bernardino. Bernardino was a son of freed slaves, who joined the army to fight against Lampião. I am now really excited to dig his story with my father.

Healthcheck permalink

Weight: 97 kg
Food: 3 days of eating Deliveroo food. Some good bits. Too much sugar
Drinks: A glass of wine
Smoking: 15 Juul pods.

Quote of the week permalink

A champion is defined not by their wins, but by how many times they recover when they fall.

Serena Williams