An Interview With Simon Morley

Simon Morley blogs at Testers Headache and is @YorkyAbroad on Twitter.

Do you leap up or lie slumbering?

I slumber. I try to squeeze in every extra minute I can.

Occasionally I get the youngest sitting on my face with a pee-filled nappy – then I leap up!

What time do you get up?

Hmm, usually between 7 and 7:30.

Just recently we were in a cottage with a bumble bee “problem” – and they were getting busy when the sun came up – so a few times I was up at 4 herding bees out.

How many hours of work to do you do a day?

It varies – maybe between 7-11.

I do a chunk of work out of the office so I might be working before breakfast and in the evening at home.

Do you take holidays?

Yes. But not always often enough – usually a long break in the summer.

Just had a 7 week break – although I was online quite a few times – but the absence from the office and committments was the main thing.

Where do you live?

Stockholm, Sweden.

Surrounded by lakes and nature – most of which bites me.

Where do you think?

Wherever I am with a quiet or detached moment.

Recently in the summer whilst swimming alone in the lake (and getting bitten.)

If I’m travelling to work by bus or tube (and not getting bitten.)

Out walking – used to be when I was on parental leave and the youngest had dozed off then I’d start thinking (it was like my subconcious was saying, “ok the kid is asleep for a while here’s a couple of things I’ve been saving up for you to process…”) Then I’d get the notebook out and start jotting.

When I’m slumbering – pre-nappy-in-face-attack that is.

What are your three greatest pleasures?

  1. The family.
  2. Getting to listen to music I like.
  3. Reading an interesting book, especially when combined with something nice to drink.
  4. Achieving something in my work – even small bits of progress.
  5. Not conforming to rules or expectations – like this list of three!

Do you like money?

Like? Hmm, not sure. Yes, no, maybe.

Are you happy?


Lots of challenges (professional and personal) with lots of opportunity to learn and make a difference; and that’s good.

How many hours do you sleep at night/day?

Maybe 6. Usually not enough.

I’d love to introduce a siesta now and then…

What are you reading at the moment?

I usually have about 5-6 books on the go at any one time – the recent holiday allowed me to polish off some interesting reads (The Devil’s Chaplain, Why We Make Mistakes, Think! Before It’s Too Late, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science). The ones I’ve currently got onging:-

Shakespeare by Bill Bryson (a lesson in what you can’t deduce from non-evidence and only hear-say… See a testing analogy yet?)
Being Indian: Inside the Real India (Very interesting insights)
Can a robot be human? (Philosophy puzzles)
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (Excerpts from great 20th century scientists)
Gödels Proof (A non-specialist’s aid to understanding the famous proof)

Actually, I can see testing slants in all of these books.

I’ve got a bunch in the post coming on Evolutionary Psychology…

What have you been thinking about?

Communication. Different types and why tester->non-tester communication breaks down and the muddles that testers sometimes end up in.

Quality – the word “quality” – it’s mis-conceptions and mis-understanding; it’s over-use and wondering whether now is the time to stop using it – it’s a word with a use and meaning that will be very difficult to have any sort of consensus about “across the board”. People are primed by it in different ways so using the word in communication is potentially problematical.

Do you have any heroes?

No, too many influences to pin down a few for me.

A couple close too being up there might be Richard Dawkins (a great evidence based scientist and communicator) and Douglas Adams – amateur scientist and wonderful communicator.

Any advice for young people?

Don’t think that leaving school/college/university is the end of learning.


Remember: Learning doesn’t just happen in schools!

Having said that remember to have fun too! If you can combine the two then great.

Do you like to go a-wandering?


Sometimes, sometimes not. When the bug bites, I like going to new places and observing (and meeting) interesting folk. Oh, the stories I could tell… (There’s a NASA shuttle support crew I bumped into out there that still owes me a favour!)


I think of myself as a divergent thinker and emergent learner – so it that sense I’m always “on safari”.

What is paradise?

I have very simple pleasures – making the kids laugh is great, getting them to think is cool. Eating something nice – whether home made or eating out.

I don’t have a place that I’d call paradise just now – there’s always some drawback or some element of rose-tinted perspective. But a place I’m fond of is Gotland – Swedish island in the Baltic; and the high coast (Höga Kusten) region; both very cool in the summer.

What inspires you?

Openness. People who listen, think and are willing to keep an open mind (sometimes quite difficult.)

Good communicators – someone who can get their message across and make it look simple!

What Tester Type are you?

Well, going on my previous nicknames I guess I’ve gone through The Comedian, Chuck Norris, The Sage and most recently The Boss (although there is an Intellectual trying to break out – but hey, with all those other personalities it’s tricky!)

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One Response to “An Interview With Simon Morley”

  1. Simon MorleyAugust 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Cool! You gave me a composite picture! Thanks!