Week 40

Week 40 since starting our business is over, which means that we’re already headed for our first anniversary. Insane! Time is flying. It’s these small occasions that trigger the urge to take stock: Where are we, where do we want to be, what do we have to do to get there? It’s time for a strategy day, which we’ll have tomorrow.

Week 40 since starting our business is over, which means that we’re already headed for our first anniversary. Insane! Time is flying. It’s these small occasions that trigger the urge to take stock: Where are we, where do we want to be, what do we have to do to get there? It has become a bit of a tradition for us to discuss these questions outside our regular (hah!) work setting – it’s time for a strategy day, which we’ll have tomorrow.

Without giving away too much, here’s one of the questions that I’ve been mulling over recently: How to find the sweet balance between diversification and focus? There are so many open doors at this point – tempting, tempting doors ranging from our core business (consulting) to product development to events and publications – that it becomes increasingly clear that we have to shut some of them to focus on getting everything not just right, but as best as we can. This is a post-college moment for our company: so many options! Which path to choose! It’s also very much a first world problem. And we’re enjoying making those choices. The overall goal is clear: To make all our efforts feed even better into each other, in other words: to create an ecosystem where our various engagements and activities inspire and pollinate each other.

So that’s one thing we’ll talk about tomorrow. You know us – we’ll publish some of the thoughts and results here soon.

Also, we were invited to pitch on our own account for a major company, along with some of the big players. Not something we’d usually do, but the fact that they invited us and that it’s about something really interesting made us change our mind. Sadly, since this is ongoing and very much NDA’d, this is all I can say at this point. Suffice to say we feel flattered to be invited, and I’m curious where this will lead.

Where to meet us this week: After some crazy travel time over the last couple of weeks, we’ll all be in Berlin for the rest of the week starting tomorrow.

Week 36

We’ve been thinking about diversification a lot, we had a BBQ, we’ll visit London and there’s a Cognitive Cities Salon coming up.

We’ve been thinking a lot about diversification recently. Let me give you a few words of background to put this into context. From the very beginning, we’ve worked with this quite basic model:

pattern recognition and output channels Image: Sketching our basic business model / the waving cat / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

We analyze how technology changes human behavior (“pattern recognition”) to help our clients understand and adapt to these changes and create a game plan for all things digital and near future. This output part would take, on a basic level, three different shapes: (1) Consulting, the most straight forward of all three; (2) Publications, which could range from a simple blogpost to a trend report or a book or anything in between. This part has come a bit short so far, but (teaser!) we’re cooking something up as I’m typing this; and (3) Events, like Cognitive Cities Conference earlier this year and the upcoming CoCities Salons (#1: Amsterdam, 30 June). Basically, consulting would be our bread & butter whereas publications and events would give us the opportunity to explore the more cutting edge stuff that’s not directly client work-related but important for us nonetheless.

Those are three categories of work that have served us well, but it’s not the only way to categorize what a business does. You could also sort out work by time frame (short vs long term), by client type (startup vs agency), by topic (advertisement vs innovation vs media), type of work (strategy vs concept vs execution), your company’s role (service provider vs network hub vs owner) or any other way that fits the framework you’re working with. We try to be very diverse in all of these categories – mono culture is never good, and diversity isn’t just more fun but also helps us leverage our network and skillsets by connecting the dots between different fields of operation.

Long story short: Over the last few weeks a whole bunch of doors have been opening, with many fascinating opportunities behind them: Some short and some long term, some solid and some cutting edge stuff. We’ll try to work out which of those opportunities to explore more in-depth, and which to give time to let simmer for the time being. These are exciting times for us. Hopefully you’ll keep accompanying us on this trip.

Friday at Six BBQ #fatsix Image: Oha. #fatsix / the waving cat / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Also, very concretely we’d like to thank all of you who showed up for our spontaneous BBQ on Friday, and Team Gidsy for co-hosting it with us. We had a blast, that’s for sure. Hope you enjoyed it, too. After a month or so of these Friday after work meetups I think it’s safe to say that we’re not the only ones who like to get out of the office and be social on Friday afternoons. Join Team Gidsy and us at any of those upcoming Fridays at six o’clock, usually at Luzia. Watch the hashtag #FatSIX for updates.

And last, but not least, Igor is in the final stages of preparation for the Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam (30 June), the first of hopefully several evening events about the future of cities and technology.

Our travel schedules this week: Johannes is Johannes and Igor are in Frankfurt this week. From Friday to Sunday, all three of us will be in London for Interesting 2011 (which looks fantastic!). If you’d like to meet up, ping us!