Sunday, April 13, 2014

Things GDS doesn't tell you

Working at the Government Digital Service (GDS) changes a person. It’s not a thing we highlight; just acknowledge internally in furtive conversations. This post should expose a few truths about that.


Words are really important. A common effect of working at GDS is that large parts of the internet become unusable for you, since the writing is so poor. Caring about serial commas is the norm.

New ideas

Content design. User research. These are all things that were new to me, and it turns out they have a massive impact in creating award-winning web sites. Another portion of the internet becomes blacklisted since it fails to meet your minimum standards for user experience.


Working with amazing people every day has a horrible effect on an individual. Working with less talented people becomes very unattractive. This is a deliberate retention policy strategy, and seems to work very well.


Presenting well is a learned skill. Once you’ve learned it from one of the best there is, you start to notice things. Bad things. Powerpoint things. You cannot unsee these things.

If these side-effects repulse you, make sure you don’t apply to work here.

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