Week 101

Igor continues the line of thought about change, unpredictability and the attempt to deal with those situations.

For the first time since we launched Third Wave, I wasn’t involved in daily business for more than two weeks. Going on vacation after the changes of the last few months seemed at first to be bad timing, but also very necessary. Being exhausted helped plenty – I had very little trouble disconnecting. This works the other way around as well. After ten days, I couldn’t keep myself from checking mails regularly. In the future, I might iterate a bit and just go on two shorter vacations instead of a long one.

Floating around a new territory, as we do these days, is and can be challenging. It is also a nice way to change the pace, adjust the focus and just do things differently. Being so close to our second birthday, it is actually quite fun to see that none of the excitement of actually running a company faded away. We learned many things – I’m falling in love with looking at finance sheets and data. But, if our work taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know what we’re going to face next. Acknowledging this is hard and most people struggle with that. If we choose our vision with wisdom, gravitas and the ambition to make things just a little bit better every day, it will still be very unexpected and hard, but it will also be manageable and gratifying.

Looking for new office space

With that, we can also announce that we are looking for new office space. We had a great run with our friends from Gidsy and the Makers Loft is an amazing space, but it’s time for a change in that regard as well. We are not completely sure what we are looking for, but if something for us comes to mind, please reach out and let us know.

Travel plans

While Johannes is on his well deserved vacation in Portugal, I will be mostly spending my time here in Berlin on picking up where I left off before my vacation. While it’s almost bothersome, it’s really quite good to see that nothing actually stops working when one is not around the office. With that knowledge, I will leave on Sunday for Amsterdam where I will be attending the PICNIC conference. If you are around, let me know and let’s catch up.

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!)

Week 45

A week of straight work and the announcement of our PICNIC workshop.

There are these weeks, where you put some dope music on and jump head on into work. No time for big thoughts, just full concentration on the work at hand. Last week was one of those.

Peter and Igor started the research work Igor mentioned in the last week notes. It’s one of the nicer aspects of this work: diving into a new client, learning about the products, the culture, the office politics, the communication etc. Everything is interesting when you’re developing long-term strategies.

My week was focused on the pitch we’re currently involved in. It’s the first pitch I’m working on since leaving Neue Digitale / Razorfish. This time I’m calling the shots and trying to learn from past experiences. So I’m taking a much more planned approach, not starting in Keynote, but creating the storyline before with post-its, scribbles and notes. It’s not really an agile approach but it avoids the presentation being shaped by Keynote too much.

In more exciting news, we are collaborating with the great David Bausola (@zeroinfluencer) for a workshop on Quantified Cities at the PINIC festival in Amsterdam in September, which shapes up to be an amazing event on everything cities.

What we’re planning:

There are two bodies of data in a city. The physicality and the people; both are generating huge amounts of data that is being shared publicly.
Using methodologies from the Quantified Self community and city planning to examine this phenomena, we shall be blending the self and city together in a special hands-on workshop to produce a working model of this situation.