Week 49

A busy week of workshops and strategy work is behind us, so we move into a week all about the future of cities. Also, an overview of the events and projects we’re contributing to over the next few weeks: PICNIC, Social Media Week, People in Beta and Chefsache.

I couldn’t have asked for a better start into a week full of discussions on the future of cities: Right now I’m on my way to Frankfurt to visit the Audi Urban Future Summit which I was kindly invited to. The conference boasts quite a line-up of speakers including Carlo Ratti (MIT Senseable Cities Lab) and Chris Anderson (WIRED). Later this week Igor and I will be headed for Amsterdam to do a workshop with David Bausola (Weavrs). We’ll be prototyping concepts for mashups building on two huge bodies of data: human data (think Quantified Self) and city data (think Cognitive Cities). You can follow our progress on this QuantifiedCities tumblr, and we’ll be sure to follow up in next week’s weeknote.

What were we up to last week?

Johannes took part in a workshop about digital magazines at one of our clients. He provided some market overview and explored the continuous struggle of publishers to let go of their print heritage to embrace their customers’ new reading habits. Many publishers are still in that stage where they think about simply transferring their print content to new devices, but haven’t developed an understanding of how their customers actually use these devices. Fortunately, we can work with clients who are getting the hang of it.

I spent two days in Hamburg, both on client workshops and to meet up with a whole bunch of lovely people. It’s always great to be in Hamburg.

We also presented the social media strategy for a strong brand we all grew up with – internally for now, but maybe we can follow up on this more publicly soon.

Also, our friends Freunde von Freunden celebrated their international launch: Congratulations again!

In other news, we’re getting ready to move offices. Our office neighbors Gidsy need more space and so do we, so we’ll expand a little and set up our new HQ over the next few weeks. We were lucky: our address will stay the same.

So what’s up next?

At Social Media Week Berlin I’m looking forward to hosting a panel (Social Media Strategy and the Future). (Disclosure: I’m on the advisory board of SMW Berlin.)

On Saturday, Johannes will give a Pecha Kucha style talk at Chefsache Meets Berlin about how to cope with information overflow.

Betahaus invited us to be part of the People In Beta Festival (1 Oct 2011), which combines the best of maker, coworking and startup culture. We’re glad we can pitch in (among other things, Johannes will give a more in-depth presentation on information overflow, too). More on that soon.

Our travel schedules this week

Johannes will be embedded at a client most of the week. I’m in Frankfurt today. Igor and I will be at PICNIC in Amsterdam from Tuesday to Friday. (If you’re there, ping us!)

Cognitive Cities, Amsterdam

Sometimes, in a quiet moment, when nobody is watching, I do ask myself: why are we so successful with Cognitive Cities?

It has been months since we organized the conference and still, wherever we go, this at-one-time little project that became an international conference, seems to open all kinds of doors for us. It became a brand in itself. It can be a bigger brand than Third Wave, potentially.

Which is fine. We are encouraging it, too. That is one of the reasons why we decided to diversify and, instead of sticking to a once-a-year conference format, do a few smaller events that are scattered around the world. We at Third Wave are perfectly comfortable with the idea of creating things that will be more recognizable than our company brand.

Alas, the first Salon. The decision to go to Amsterdam for the first iteration was an easy one. It is a city full of dedicated people in this field, many, many bright minds. On top of that, we loved the idea of working more closely with Juha from VURB (he is involved in many other projects as well). He was one of the speakers at the main conference and he has an almost intimidating infrastructure in place. So, in essence our investment – time wise – was very limited. Everything was just … there, waiting for an event to take place.


Every new event format is an experiment. The main conference was one and the Salon as well. We knew from others that Salons usually work very well, but we never organized one ourselves. But as always, the main receipe is: curate the best possible speakers and you will do just fine.

While we didn’t record the talks of Kars Alfrink (Hubbub), Katalin Gallyas (City of Amsterdam), James Burke (VURB) and Edwin Gardner (Volume Magazine) on video this time, we’re happy to point towards some reviews of the event. And if you ever get the chance to see them speak live – Kars for example will be at dconstruct -, do use it.

In that sense, we continue our journey with Cognitive Cities, it has been a smooth run so far. For now, thank you Amsterdam for being so kind to us.

Week 31

Seems like I broke the monday release pattern for the week note. Berlin is testing our resolve to stay focused and in the office these days. It’s warm, it’s shiny and it’s … well … Berlin. Still, we managed to accomplish quite a few things in this last week.

Seems like I broke the monday release pattern for the week note. Berlin is testing our resolve to stay focused and in the office these days. It’s warm, it’s shiny and it’s … well … Berlin. Still, we managed to accomplish quite a few things in this last week.

Johannes has been mainly supporting a local agency from Berlin with our expertise in social. There is, of course, a constant demand for this kind of knowledge. While some agencies – like BBH Labs – managed to adopt, not everybody picked up the necessary expertise to advise their clients. That’s where we come in. Coming from an agency background, we know the pain points and how agencies operate. While we do not provide the execution part, we do – like in this case – provide extensive strategic advice and conceptual work.

Peter was juggling a couple of things. One of our first clients is the Next Conference and things are getting interesting with the event happening next week where Peter will be moderating the Social Layer track. If you are in town for the conference and interested in a chat – we will be roaming the halls of the conference. Ping us!

Coincidentally we are about to finish up a project with Die Zeit. Fabian, who teamed up with us on this one and Peter will be presenting the results in Hamburg.

As for myself: I mainly concentrated on Cognitive Cities this last week. There was (and still is) some accounting work to be done. We created a little mess for ourselves with that one, but it’s a good learning process. Some mistakes will certainly not happen again. At the same time, we’re preparing the first Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam, which is now officially announced. With everything that is happening around CoCities, we decided to follow our guts and just experiment with the format a bit. There is no definitive version of how those events or the main conference will look like, but we are curious to learn by just doing something.

Travel schedule: Johannes is in Stuttgart on Wednesday and Thursday. If you are around, ping him. Peter is in Hamburg on Thursday and Igor is in Berlin for the whole week.