Cate Blanchett is my spirit animal

Recently people have been asking me about my ‘brand’. Other than flinching, I don’t have much of an answer.

But I can tell you that Cate Blanchett is the spirit animal of Rebecca Industries. This is because:

  • When you see it’s a Cate Blanchett film, you know it’s going to be a quality product (code for: hiring me should not be a risky decision for my clients)
  • She is cool but not as avant garde as Tilda Swinton, the other front-runner candidate for Rebecca Industries Official Spirit Animal (code for: I don’t want to scare people off with my weirdness)
  • She does a good mixture of big-budget, indie and theatre work (code for: I’d like to work with all sorts of clients)

Of less significance but still important:

  • She wears amazing clothes
  • I bet she is fun to spend time with

Rebecca Industries weeknote #7

This week I have been getting stuck into Public Health England.

I’ve been uncovering some of the great digital stuff they already have going on. There’s the Public Health Matters blog and the Longer Lives product.

And then there’s the fact that PHE is one of the first agencies (maybe the very first?) to move their main site onto GOV.UK. I’ve been up to the PHE office in Colindale to meet the very welcoming Online Services team who are behind (and many other things).

And last but not least I’ve used all 150 PHE websites. Phew! Favourite acronym: INHALE (INteractive Health Atlas for Living conditions in England). Favourite call to action: order a radon risk report. Right, I’m off to get one for Rebecca Industries HQ.

Rebecca Industries weeknote #6

Lots to report! Job title, first project, first collaborators.

I just got back from a week in New York and Providence, Rhode Island, visiting wonderful friends and attending a beautiful wedding (hence no note last week). My UK friends helped me come to the conclusion that Rebecca Industries was the right name for my company. My US friends helped me with my job title – Rebecca-at-large. So now I have a company and a job title. Thanks for the support ladies!

I do also do things that don’t involve the word Rebecca though, like…

This week I started my first project. I’m working part-time with Public Health England to develop their digital strategy, rationalise their web estate (150 sites!) and design their future digital capability. I’m grateful for how welcome they have made me. I’ll be writing more about what we get up to here.

Last but not least I have my first collaborators. I’m delighted to be an associate of DSRPTN, a merry band of awesome digital people. Can’t wait to cook up some schemes together!

Choose your own adventure – advice on starting up

I’ve been really lucky to have some guardian angels helping me with setting up Rebecca Industries. But I’ve noticed that some of their advice is contradictory. Here is a selection of the advice I’ve been given on starting working for myself with my prediction of what I might actually do. I’m interested to see how it turns out.

The first project

  • take anything you can get for your first project
  • don’t take anything you can for your first project – wait for a good one

Fortunately, I’ve so far only come across potential projects that sound really interesting. I’m in with a chance of pulling off the ideal scenario: don’t wait, but do get a good one quick.


  • give your ideas away for free
  • don’t give your ideas away for free

Prediction: I expect I’ll give ideas away for free because having ideas makes me excited, and when I get excited about something I find it hard to stay quiet about it.

Doing free work

  • do stuff for free
  • don’t ever do stuff for free

Prediction: I’m already doing some pro bono agile coaching so it looks like I will be doing things for free.


  • work like crazy, especially over the first few months
  • don’t work too hard

Prediction: I’m going to try to stick to working 5 days a week.

Rebecca Industries weeknote #5

This week I left GDS. It’s true, Kathy said so in the weekly video.

I’m really grateful to my brilliant former colleagues for giving my such a lovely send-off. Don’t worry folks, I’m drafting my version of the traditional ‘here’s what I learned at GDS’ post.

I’m also really glad that on my last day Kathy and I hired some excellent new people for the assisted digital team, so I left knowing that it is going to get bigger and better despite my absence!

I’m going to be quiet for a bit now but I’ll back once Rebecca Industries is in full swing.