Monthnotes — January 2023

Simon Wakeman
3 min readJan 31, 2023
Sunrise bike ride, Reculver, Kent, 31/1/23

This month marked a new chapter for me at work.

On 3rd January I opened my laptop and began work as an independent consultant — after spending all 24 years of my career so far as an employee.

I made the move because I wanted to have more flexibility and variety in my work.

And so far it’s working out well.

I’ve spent a lot of time this month meeting people to talk about their work and mine. I’ve met so many supportive and helpful people — without exception they’ve shared experiences freely and honestly. I’m very grateful for that as I embark on this new adventure.

One thing I wanted to do more of this year was writing.

So I’ve started an email newsletter about building businesses. Four issues in and the subscriber numbers are well above what I was aiming for at this stage. I’m getting lots of really helpful feedback and encouragement as I tweak the content, format and style each week.

Topics so far have covered organisational design, power, friction and pace in business. You can sign up to get it by email each week here.

I’m also working on an exciting book with a co-author. We’ve been learning a lot about the book publishing process and working hard to wrangle our thinking into a coherent and interesting book proposal.

I’ve also spent some time refining my consultancy and fractional COO propositions. I’m continuing to iterate them based on what I hear, learn and deliver in my work, but it feels like they’re reaching a steady enough state for the time being.

I’m also helping organise a series of Kent meet-ups focussed on sustainability — a topic that’s very close to my heart. People Planet Pint is a nationwide initiative from Small99 that’s aimed at business owners and professionals working in the net zero, BCorps and sustainability fields.

Working with Maria Soleil and Danielle Ward we’re running monthly events in Kent, rotating between Canterbury, Thanet and Maidstone. The first one is in Canterbury on 23rd February. Free registrations here.

Away from work, earlier this month we said goodbye to our 18 year old as he headed off to the southern hemisphere for 3 months on his gap year travels.

It felt like quite a milestone for us as parents and one that we faced with mixed emotions. We experienced real sadness at him leaving but also pride in his confidence and maturity as a young man.

I also empathised more with my parents who must have experienced similar when I travelled aged 18, especially given how different global communications are now compared to 1993.

Music this month…

As a dance music lover growing up in the 90s, mix tapes and CDs were the thing. So it was with great excitement I found The Classic Mix CD Series on Soundcloud, with 1000 mix CDs from back in the day. Check out volume 1 (1–500) and volume 2 (501–1000).

Podcasts this month…

Been enjoying the Second in Command podcast. Once you get past the hierarchy-laden title, it features some really interesting conversations with people in COO or similar roles.

Reading this month…

I’ve spent a lot of time this month really trying to get into Post Growth: Life after Capitalism.

It’s a topic I wanted to understand more about before taking a view on whether there’s any validity in the concept. But despite a lot of persistence, I have given up with the book.

It fails to land any real coherent arguments for the concept of a post growth era, instead taking overly long multiple page diversions into semi-relevant metaphors. Too often it draws links where there is little evidence to justify a link.

I’ve downloaded a couple of other books that explore sustainable growth and the relationships between finite resources and uncontrolled growth. Let’s see if they offer a more coherent look at this important debate.

Running this month…
41.2 miles.

Cycling this month…
225.4 miles.

Originally published at on January 31, 2023.



Simon Wakeman

Consultant, fractional COO and non-executive director for scale-up businesses. NED @ National Support Network CIC. Trustee @ Caldecott Foundation.