News & Media for the Lab - 24 July 2020

Paul Cartmel

The foreword word

This week I wanted to discuss something that has resonated HARD with me over the course of my career. I first discovered this simple venn diagram in the book Linchpin by Seth Godin (and Rogan and Charl are probably bored of it now). Seth describes a Linchpin as somebody in an organization who is indispensable - who simply cannot be replaced because their role is just far too unique and valuable.

If I was going to take one key concept away from this book it would be summed up by his diagram below.


The diagram is quite self-explanatory, basically if you have Charm, Talent and Perseverance you are most likely a Linchpin. But what if you have one of the facets missing.

  • Charm and Perseverance without Talent = Princess
  • Charm and Talent without Perseverance = Prodigy
  • Talent and Perseverance = Frustration

I think it is an interesting question to ask oneself… where do I sit in the venn diagram? If you’re a linchpin how central are you? If I had to label most people I have worked with in my career they’re either linchpins or frustrated i.e. have oodles of talent and lot of perseverance but lack charm [hint I think everyone at NML is incredibly talented]. Charm is possibly the wrong word here, I’d rather say ability to connect and with connection sell. Sell him/herself. Here’s the cool thing though of all those skills charm and ability to sell can be learnt, perseverance can be “hacked” but talent is something you are born with (IMHO).

Onward to ubiquitous linchpins.

Bits & Bytes

Your monthly highlights from the leadership team!

Charl Marais

10x DB Split project deployment and notably few issues! We have automated timesheet reminders in place for those of us who are a little forgetful. Finally, daily dad jokes are now on the HighFive morning update.

Sue Tolson

Big things happening on BroadReach... we're about to deploy the Profiles Map to prod which visualizes health-related data mapped to a specific geo-location. We've just started working on a 3rd map for them so Miles and Carson's geography knowledge is at an all-time high.

A SHOUT OUT TO: Rogan who is a phenomenal team lead. You're such a driving force on the team, thanks for everything that you do!

Remy Brecht

Roles and responsibilities completed and reviewed. Wonder wall and Doc site looks stunning

A SHOUT OUT TO: DB Split project went live. Great job. Kyle, Angus and Janine. Shout out to Justin for the awesome design on the wonder wall and doc site #JustinKeepingItFresh

Rogan Flitton

It has been quiet on the ARL and Aurecon front this month, however that doesn't mean the teams aren't hard at work. The ARL team is working towards a big deployment in August!

A SHOUT OUT TO: I'd also like to thank Kweku and wish him well on his future endeavours as he goes off to pursue greener pastures. Thanks for all your hard work on ARL the past couple of months (and the years before that on other projects before you joined the ARL team), its a pity we never got you into the ARL offices in Joburg as planned (Lockdown put a spanner in that plan). Good luck and don't be a stranger!

And another SHOUT OUT TO: Alison and Remy for taking over QA so well on ARL and Khanya for assisting so well with the handover. And Sue for seamlessly taking over from Eugenie this month and keeping us on the straight and narrow!

Claudia Peinke

Ticking some big boxes on the leadership Trello board. After all the effort it feels as if we are making some headway.

A SHOUT OUT TO: ALISON ALISON ALISON! Blown us all away with her dedication and testing capabilities.

Justin Slack

Getting the Wonderwall and NML docs site designed and live.

Isobel Ringrose

Aurecon Release 4, SHA Release 5, NGI Single Site Sprint 8 & 9

A SHOUT OUT TO: Miles and Nicole and little Samuel John Barnett - Well done!

Appreciation Station

NGI team

A few shoutouts went to the NGI team so I thought this would be an excellent feature for the appreciation station. This one is from Miles to the team.

"A massive thanks to the Team and their hard work to get a successful sprint 8/9 deployment done this past weekend. Even though it's the norm for NGI starting at 6pm - ending at 4:30am it is always a mammoth task of effort and concentration especially after a full day of normal work. Well done to Carson on handling 3 Broadreach projects simultaneously while I have been on leave / busy with NGI!"

Celebrate good times, come on!

I know you all sang that. Some key miles stones have been celebrated this month, let's dive deeper into a few of these.

Meet Baby Sam!

Sam was born a month early and faced an uphill battle but came out strong and healthy and is finally at home with his parents now. We are so happy for the Barnett family.

Big congrats to big daddy Miles on the birth of his baby boy!

Happy birthday Khanya!

This month on the day of the 21st (Tuesday) Khanya celebrated her birthday.

Khanya took some time off, went to the spa for a few treatments (we all love a little beauty therapy every now & again) and then spent the day relaxing and getting back to neutral.

All that Other Stuff



  • Gravity - George Gamow
  • Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Netflix & Chill


  • Clauds daily morning drive to work song is by Hugh Masekela - Heaven in You. (Her baby kicks when she plays it- not sure if that means she loves it or hates it but it gets a reaction)
  • Remy has recommended this song mostly because Moolman, sorry Edwin, is obsessed with it and plays it every hour on the hour in the office

And we end with a quote for our devs to appreciate...

Code joke