March 25, 2022

Narrative Logs

Carrier bags and courses: Making the SEO MBA log

When you know where you’re going it’s easy to navigate. When you don’t know where you’re going… well obviously steering is a bit harder?

That’s why working with the garage door open or thinking in public is a powerful tool for research projects, startups and new ventures.

I’ve long been inspired by Matt Webb’s weeknotes from Berg - if you’re not familiar he talks about them in his pre-history of weeknotes:

My habit at BERG, for some years, was to go to the studio on Saturday mornings and reflect on the week. One of my most rambling, longest, personally-most-enjoyable weeknotes was Week 315 and it came from a morning like that. It’s a series of notes of whatever was on my mind, and word-sketches about studio life.

As I begin to transition into running the SEO MBA as my full-time thing, my daily and weekly rhythms are all new. The tempo and cadence of building a course is very different from doing client consulting work and I’m still adjusting and finding my feet.

So I’ve started up something between a ship’s log and weeknotes, the SEO MBA log:

I don’t need another blog place to write, but I am enjoying keeping a record of what I did, how I felt and what happened. It’s as much for me as anyone else. I don’t know where I’m going but the least I can do is show where I’ve been.

It’s already useful - for example I can see that it took me about 3 weeks between starting to shoot video and the course being live.

The design and format was inspired by Doubleloop which is a kind of tool for documenting and creating narratives around strategy. They’ve pivoted slightly away from the initial product but I love their public changelog idea.

Maybe if you’re working on a project and don’t have a clear idea of where you’re going but want to increase your surface area for serendipity you should consider some kind of weeknotes/ships log.

After all, if blogging is all about boat stories then you need a ships log:

We of the twenty-first century are bloggers first, and book writers second. We don’t do dragons or carrier bags. We do boats.


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This post was written by Tom Critchlow - blogger and independent consultant. Subscribe to join my occassional newsletter: