Week 76

Last week we spent some time thinking about when the time is right for hiring someone. Also, we have some updates for you on three events we’re involved in: Next12, Digitale Selbstvermessung and Ignite Berlin.

Thoughts on hiring

We’re not currently hiring. We might be at some point. In fact it’s crossed our mind more than once, but currently we’re three people plus X, X being maybe an intern or someone like the fantastic Maddie, who’s a trainee at VCCP and spends part of her time working with us.

That said, we regularly get job applications. We get applications from recent graduates, and experienced designers or strategists. Applications for internships, strategist jobs and partners. By email, contact form and twitter. And we feel truly humbled by the amount and quality of them all.

When I read through them, I can’t help but think how skilled and able, sometimes even over-qualified some of these folks seem to be, and wonder: What are the main driving forces at work here? Is it Berlin’s appeal, or working in a small shop, or a function of the struggling US economy? A tiny voice inside my head says it’s because the stuff of what we’ve done; rationally I know that’s only one small part of the overall story. I know that not just because it’d be over-estimating our appeal as an employer — which by definition we cannot even have yet, having never employed anyone — but also by just thinking back to the applications I sent out myself over the years. A good deal was for things I really, really wanted to do, often sent at a whim in the middle of the night. Some of these gigs I applied for because I wanted to spend time at one place or another, or because the topic interested me, or to learn stuff. It stands to reason that at least a part of the applications we get fall into one or more of these categories.

So I read them, and we talk about them, and sometimes it’s perfectly clear that one of the candidates would be a great addition to the team. This is the hardest moment: To realize there’s someone great, yet you cannot hire them at that point. And it would be just as unfair to tell them that maybe at some point in the future you want to hire them: If I was the applicant and received that kind of signal it might just throw me off balance instead of staying my course.

Am I complaining about getting applications? Absolutely not. Hearing that someone would like to work side by side with you is the nicest compliment. Yet, before we’re even near to hiring anyone, there are plenty of questions to consider beyond just economics. What type of personality & experience level would fit? How would another person on the team affect team dynamics? Should an extra person add new skills or increase the punching power in our current skill sets?

So no, we’re not currently hiring. But we might, at some point. Figuring out the who/what/when is exciting, as are the prospects for the coming years – but the timing is key.

Events

More details are coming together regarding the events we’re involved in. Over at Next12, the planning of our three stages is getting a final polish. Our joint event with Hybrid Plattform, Digitale Selbstvermessung is getting more concrete as we already did a location check. Hint: this is the view:

Location check

And last but not least, we found a location for Ignite Berlin. And not just any location, but one that has some truly excellent coffee – the baristas work with Portland’s finest beans, straight from Stumptown. Check out the site for more details & let us know there if you’d like to give a lightning talk.

What else is happening?

Our glimpse into the near future is still getting quite a bit of attention, as both stats and conversations tell us. We have some travel coming up and some interesting, but as-of-yet confidential projects in the proverbial pipeline. Johannes will be finishing up a series of in-house presentations at a client agency. Keep an eye on the blog and on Twitter for some blog posts and slides about the topics covered there. Igor will do a workshop with a favorite startup around here, and I’ll try to tick off a bunch of items on my todo list before leaving on a vacation next week.

In other words, exciting times all ’round. And we couldn’t be happier.

Week 74

Last week we released a forecast report, a glimpse into the near future. Also, we traveled a fair bit: Igor went to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Johannes spent some days in London, Igor and Peter did a presentation in Münster.

A glimpse into the future

Last Tuesday, we released the results of a little side-project of ours, an exercise in forecasting: A glimpse into the near future, subtitled “Insights, Expectations & Hopes for the next 3-5 years”. The idea was simple. We’d ask a few of our smartest friends what they a) expect and b) hope to happen over the next few years. The result is maybe the longest blog post we’ve ever written, and certainly the most fun one I had to write in a long time.

If you’re into embedding image-rich presentations, we have something for you too. We put more or less the whole blogpost as slides on Slideshare.

Again, thanks to the participants, I hope you all feel well represented!

Travel & workshops

Igor briefly swung by Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. While the fair itself isn’t all that exciting, more and more companies use this conference for their big mobile announcements. Well worth the trip. The day after, Igor and I went to Münster to deliver a final presentation for a client. I’ve really come to relish those wrap-ups: It just feels good to come full circle on a project, and to see the progress between start and finish.

Meanwhile, Johannes was in London for a speech at Ogilvy where he talked about the strategy process we work with most of the time. It has to a big part been informed by our experiences working with and for larger agencies, and shows what we think can be done better. We’ve been reflecting about this quite a bit recently and Johannes will cover some of that in his week note next week. And of course, while he was in London, he scooped up some nice freshly roasted beans by Has Bean, one of our favorite roasters.

Event updates

Preparations for Next12, Ignite Berlin and our as-of-yet unnamed Quantified Self event with Hybrid Plattform are coming along well. For the latter two, feel free to signal your interest on the respective websites. More updates on all three soon.