Week 50

Last week was very good to us. Very good indeed. In Amsterdam, we gave a prototyping workshop on Quantified Self at PICNIC with our co-conspirator David Bausola, and on the way there we got some fantastic news.

Last week was very good to us. Very good indeed.

While Johannes stayed in Berlin, Peter and I went to Amsterdam for PICNIC11. Together with David Bausola we gave a workshop on Quantified Cities. We introduced the audience to city and quantified self based data, gave them our perspective on it and let people prototype services that would improve life in a city. Since time was an issue – we could give every group only 30 minutes to develop an idea and write it down – it was very important to us not only to get everybody in the room on the same page, but also give a very accessible toolset. So we handed out different data sources on paper – be it Foursquare data, Runkeeper data or Governmental data – and let people come up with ideas. You can take a look on our tumblr for the results.

Needless to say we had fun and happy that our workshop approach worked so well. The Quantified Self Conference, which will happen in November in Amsterdam, invited us to do something similar. Don’t miss to sign up and join us there.

While we were boarding the plane on our way to Amsterdam, we got great news. I would love to tell you all about it in detail, but unfortunately this will have to wait a bit longer. But let me put it this way: We worked hard and it paid out. Big time. A big client coming our way with work for at least 18 months. We have been hired to do research, develop a strategy and do some re-organization. It’s a nice present to ourselves for the upcoming first anniversary of Third Wave.

Week 48

A few thoughts about a recent pitch presentation and some more food for thought available.

Boy, what a week. Wednesday was the big presentation of the pitch I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks. As much as I despise long presentations as a form of working with a client or presenting to a possible future client, it felt great to actually go in and lay it all out. I think I was never better prepared for a pitch. The deck was finished by the end of the week before and we actually did a full rehearsal on Tuesday. Something I never did in my time at Razorfish where I once finished the last slide in the taxi 200 meters away from the client’s office.

It worked out pretty great.

In our industry you have to present all the time. Sometimes you really belief in the ideas, sometimes you hope the client doesn’t see through your thin reasoning. Presenting our social media strategy approach for a client is always a very passionate thing for us, so this was definitely one of the first category. And it looks like we were spot on. The first feedback was some of the best I’ve ever heard in my career so far. Not because it was especially nice, but because they really got what was one our mind and what our vision for them is. We always take a risk with our approach of not going for the easy “Here’s what you should do on Facebook” tactics. It’s really encouraging when a possible future client appreciates this.

On Thursday and Friday, I stopped in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden to talk with one of our agency clients and visit a startup which we’re helping to create its big communication strategy.

In other news: we’ve added a new category to the blog and the newsletter. It’s called ‘What we read this week‘ and will feature our favorite articles from the interwebs. Every Friday, we will provide a few links that should make for some fine weekend reading and will give you an even better idea about what’s on our mind. If you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter yet, make sure to sign up over here.

If you’re still looking for more inspiration, head over to Put It Perfectly. This is a little tumblelog we’ve started some time ago where we collect our favorite quotes from the articles and books we read. It’s a great tool if you need to spice up your presentation or if you need some food for thought.

A slight change of plans: I will hand over my speaker spot at PICNIC to Peter. He’s our expert on everything Quantified Self but wasn’t available before. If you’re in Amsterdam next week, make sure to say hi to Igor and Peter.

Peter will be in Hamburg on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and will stop by the Audi Urban Future Summit in Frankfurt on Monday. I will be in Cologne on Friday to give an internal talk about the current market of digital magazines. Igor will work away at the office all week and will be happy to brew some coffee for visitors.

Week 47

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Some thoughts on Google+ and some more information about our involvement with this years PICNIC festival.

Crazy Week

We rarely can go into much detail about our work, but last week is especially hard to describe. All of the projects are at a stage that just makes it impossible to discuss them in public. That said, there will be a point when we will be able to reveal more about thm.

Just for the scope of things: we are currently on three deadlines. Two of them are this week, one is next week. The clients roaster is quite diverse: a bank, a media company and a startup. For two of those clients, we are developing the underlining social strategy with all its repercussions. Meaning: we are going deep into the structure of both companies, talking not only about the choice of the right platforms and tools, but also about some re-organizational stuff, polishing processes, making suggestions what people to hire, etc.

Additionally, we’ve been commissioned to write a concept for a product. Based on our concept, the client will decide whether to take the next step and prototype an app. It was our suggestion to approach the project in a highly iterative manner. The client had a great idea for a potentially very interesting product. Our job is it to determine if it can become something more. This requires a solid evaluation of the problem that we are trying to solve and how large the potential market is for what we are trying to do. Our work also includes some preliminary evaluation of the technical requirements.

Google+

Google’s new wunderkind attracted quit a lot of attention in a very short period of time. With so many attempts to get social right, Google surprised even the biggest skeptics with a surprisingly polished product. After many failed attempts to create a social layer for its products, Google approached the creation of Google+ with a different team- and processes structure.

While the user count skyrocketed beyond the 25m mark in less then a month, we are still hesitant to suggest our clients pour a lot of resources into Google+. After Marcus Brown told me the truth about the internet, it is hard not think about those services and platforms as children (with all the repercussions). Jokes aside, Google+ is certainly interesting and it is probably here to stay. That said, it is still very raw and if a client inquires about our opinion how to handle it our answer for now is: watch and learn.

PICNIC 11

We already mentioned that we will be doing a workshop at this years PICNIC festival. A couple of days ago, we also launched a small tumblr where we will collect bits and pieces out of our preparation of it all. Expect some unfiltered, weird stuff from David, Johannes and myself.

Additionally, I’ve been asked to be an adviser to the festival and I accepted gladly. PICNIC is an internationally renown conference with a great track record and I’m humbled to be contributing to its success and to be part of this exceptional list of people.

Here’s more on the PICNIC Festival, including a code for 20% off the ticket price.

PICNIC Festival 2011

PICNIC Festival is an annual three-day event that blurs the lines between creativity, science, technology and business to explore new solutions in the spirit of co- creation. And we got a 20%-off-code for you.

PICNIC Festival 2011

As we mentioned in our week notes, we’re going back to Amsterdam (after our CoCities Salon) to give a workshop at the great PICNIC Festival 2011. We’re getting really excited about this. Not only about the topic, but also about the festival in general. This is shaping up to be a great get-together of smart minds thinking about the future of cities and connected topics. Among the line-up are such people as:

  • Media artist Scott Snibbe, lead developer of Bjork’s ground-breaking app album Biophilia
  • Doc filmmaker Lucy Walker (“Wasteland”)
  • Leading authority on urbanization Saskia Sassen
  • Benoit Jacob, head of BMW-i Design, looking at emission-free mobility
  • Journalist and technologist Ben Hammersley
  • Robin Chase of BuzzCar, leading the car-sharing revolution
  • Lemz co-founder Mark Woerde, how brands can be a force for good

Here’s the skinny:

PICNIC Festival is an annual three-day event that blurs the lines between creativity, science, technology and business to explore new solutions in the spirit of co- creation. This year’s theme is Urban Futures, with a focus on sustainability, infrastructure, society, design and media. PICNIC Festival 2011 takes place from 14 to 16 September at NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam.

We’ve joined forces with David Bausola (@zeroinfluencer) for our workshop on Quantified Cities, which will be held on Wednesday, the 14th at 1:30pm. We’re collecting material for our workshop on this tumblr. Here’s the official description:

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. For example, buildings broadcast their energy efficiency much as a human records their sporting achievements.
But where these data dimensions overlap produces a space that could be a cause for concern or an opportunity to sculpt.
Who and what is an occupant of a city of data? Are we facing the creation of data ghosts in the city of data?
Using methodologies from the Quantified Self community and City Planning to examine this phenomena, we will blend the self and city together in a special hands-on workshop to produce a working model of this situation.
Three 10-minute introductions to the topics will be made by the team at the start of the session and then we dive into the workshop for an hour. We’ll be recording the process as a video – so come an be part of the exploration in the new frontier of urban living.

We would love you to join us in Amsterdam. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, use the coupon code 3rdWPIC20 at check out.

Disclosure: Igor is on the advisory board of PICNIC.