Weeknote 21: Substances derived from food, and other new words

A sign on an empty card rack in a shop: "We're getting ready for Christmas. We apologise for any disruption whilst we make these changes."

Photo of the week: seen in WHSmith. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

The last few weeks have made me think about the things I like about being self-employed.

1. If you’re not well, you don’t have to see anyone.

I’ve had a cold but working from home means I can pace myself and I don’t have to worry about spreading germs.

2. You learn lots of new things.

Working for a variety of organisations means I’m always learning new things  – and new words. Here are some of the new words and phrases that I’ve enjoyed recently. Read more ›

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Posted in Reading

Weeknote 20: Sustainable development, tech in Oxford and why you need subeditors

"Lifeguard Service" poster on beach. Words include: "RNLI Lifeguards and the 'orange' Seafront Advisors operate on this beach during the summer season. Lifeguards on duty when red and yellow flags are flying."

A job title I haven’t heard before: Seafront Advisors

Things I’ve done since my last weeknote:

1. Started work for two new clients

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent research organisation that focuses on sustainable development. That’s right up my street, so I was happy to be asked to do some web editing for them.

And I’ve already learnt a lot: how agroforestry can build climate resilience, the growth of impact investing and how clean energy can ensure cleaner air in rapidly urbanising countries.

I also learnt a new word: ‘purposewash’ (the new greenwash). Read more ›

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Posted in Communications, Journalism

Weeknote 19: Being nice is good for business. And scaring people is not.

Wallingford Bunkfest: a festival atmosphere with families, flags and stalls in a park with a blue sky.

Wallingford Bunkfest: a celebration to mark the end of summer.

It’s official: being nice is good for business.  A bunch of bosses from big American corporates have put out a statement telling us so. According to the New York Times, the Business Roundtable has declared that the responsibility of business is no longer just to its shareholders: now, there must be a “fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders”. That means employees, suppliers, the environment and so on. Read more ›

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Posted in Business

Weeknote 18: Cold emails, hot weather and a new tech magazine

Didcot power station's cooling towers, looking beautiful in the dawn light.

Looking beautiful in the dawn light, just before demolition. I’ll miss them.

I’ve never sent a cold email, but like all small business owners I’ve received a few. There’s one in my inbox at the moment with the subject line ‘1st Page On Google Ranking’. Yeah, right.

So if ‘Yeah, right’ is the common answer to a cold email, how do you do it differently? Read more ›

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Posted in Digital marketing

Weeknote 17: Mostly about pictures. And books.

A shelf of books in a bookshop, with a label reading 'Memoirs' made of Scrabble tiles.

A bookshelf at Mostly Books in Abingdon, in honour of Book Lovers Day.

Why do all articles about internet security have to be illustrated with pictures of young men in hoodies? Well… they don’t. It’s about time that changed, and someone’s doing something about it.

Part of it is to do with what’s available in stock photo libraries – there isn’t much else but the clichéd hoodie picture or rows of green code.  And part of it is that it feels like an abstract concept that is hard to illustrate. But now someone is doing something about it. Read more ›

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Posted in Communications, Websites