Monthly round-up: December 2016

After contemplating lumping this in with my upcoming end up year summary (a seemingly mandatory writing task for anyone working in the web industry), I decided that doing so wouldn’t quite give the month or the series the respect that it was due, and would be a lazy end to the year. In this post-Christmas haze of never-ending cheese, work from the start of the month feels rather a long time ago, but I shall do my best to time travel back…

_* commence Robbie Coltrane Blackadder’s Christmas Carol hand waving gesture*_


Client work this month was all about OpenActive, which is the banner we’re hanging over the physical activity open data work that I’ve been doing with the Open Data Institute and Sport England.

I wrapped up my work on the initiative for the year with a few key elements. Probably the most different for me was defining the Terms of Reference and putting together a call for Advisory Board members, which was blogged about on the ODI and OpenActive sites. We’ve already had some great support for the project and interest in this area, and I’m looking forward to the group officially being formed next year. Whilst the intention is for this to provide strategic decision making and direction for the initiative, we also have a forum for more technical details around the standards themselves. Towards the end of the month I joined a Hangout for this, the W3C Community Group my colleague Leigh is chairing, where I talked about some of the work that we’ve been doing to date. Finally, we held a session at Sport England to discuss some behavioural change research in more depth, to look at how we may be able to apply this to some use cases for the opportunity data, and to establish what this could mean for the standards being defined. This area is one that I find absolutely fascinating, and it’s very exciting to see the potential for the data beyond the obvious examples that people tend to jump towards. We’ll be publishing more on this in the new year.

As the team wrapped up for Christmas we all felt that there was some excellent momentum building. With the existing approach already in use, more people getting involved every day, training being given, research ongoing, and the initial formation of what we hope will grow into the first formal draft of the standards, things feel pretty good. I’d like to say a huge thanks to the rest of the project team who have all done incredible work this year. I’m very proud to be a small part of it.


Every year at Christmastime I gather with a bunch of friends/colleagues and our partners to celebrate what has come to be known as TSXMAS. It’s our Christmas party, a rare chance for everyone to catch up in the physical realm, and a good excuse to eat, drink, and make merry. After a Summer group gathering in Suffolk we branched out from our typical Christmas London meeting spot and instead spent the weekend in the region of our collective’s most Southerly dweller – Brighton. Needless to say an excellent time was had by all, and after quite some time away from that part of the world it was lovely to have a reason to return. Oli, Darren, and Paul, thank you for not only being amazingly smart UX and data people who are always a huge help professionally, but also for being excellent friends too.


I wrapped up the year with a long weekend spent in Berlin with my brother and his girlfriend, thankfully staying well out of the way of the Christmas market attack. My brother travels a lot with work, so it was a nice excuse to spend a couple of days together before he had to disappear back over to Asia again for several months. And, as ever, to rack up some more photos of hotel carpets. I’ve flown to 8 different places around the world this year, for a 50/50 split of work and life (although on all of the work trips I managed to get at least a little bit of exploration in). I’m hoping for more of that next year.

Which brings me nicely onto wrapping up. I’ve had a truly excellent year both personally and professionally, which I’m going to be documenting in a separate 2016 reflections post on my personal site. I’m still taking a bit of time off until into the New Year, but if anyone would like to discuss any exciting projects that you have on the horizon for 2017 emails are always open – hello at recordssoundthesame dot com if you’d like to chat.

Posted by Sally Lait

Sally is the lead consultant and founder of Records Sound the Same, helping people with digital transformation. She's also a speaker, coder, gamer, author, and jasmine tea fiend.