Week 51

Last week sucked, at least for me. Simple reason: I was sick. Knocked out by the flu and a heavy fever. I guess, my body finally threw the towel and said “enough is enough”. Good news, though: We moved into a new, huge space.

Last week sucked, at least for me. Simple reason: I was sick. Knocked out by the flu and a heavy fever. I guess my body finally threw the towel and said “enough is enough”, time for a break.

Exhaustion is a difficult topic, especially in young companies and with a small team. There’s just no time to take a break. You feel the pressure to keep going or the business might fail. I don’t think that there is an easy way out of this problem. If you found a business, you will have to continuously work on it for the first year or so. At Third Wave, we try to compensate this at least a little by creating smaller “vacations” in our every day life. Good food, decent coffee and some fine cocktail bars are the main ingredients for this approach. An Old-Fashioned won’t replace a week off, but it can at least take your mind off that difficult project for just a night …

As Igor mentioned last week, we won that big pitch that I’ve been writing about throughout the last week notes. This has truly been one of the major highlights of my professional life so far. Feels very good to see the hard work appreciated. Now I can’t wait to dig into the first projects with this new client.

We’ve finally moved into our new office space. And boy, is it a big space. If you’ve seen our old space and desk, you know how happy the question “Where do I want to put my desk?” makes us. In case you wondered, we moved one house over and a few of floors up. We’re still Kotti by heart. We’ll let you know when the space is ready for a proper party.

Peter will be working for an agency in Frankfurt all week. Igor and I will do a little bit of traveling, too. Next Saturday, the People In Beta festival will happen at Betahaus in Berlin. I will give a talk on how to cope with information overflow and Igor will sit on the jury for the Betapitch. Make sure to come by.

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 39

A frustrating pitch experience and a great time in Amsterdam with the first CoCities Salon and fine coffee.

Pitch Frustrations

The last two weeks have been frustrating for me when they should have been the opposite. I was supposed to work on a pitch with some of my favorite people from an agency. I knew the client pretty good as I’ve already worked with them. It could have been a great project with a good chance for the agency to win that pitch.

Unfortunately, the client had another idea. First some disagreement with the agency delayed the pitch which gave me some strange “in-between” time where I all of a sudden had nothing to do but also knew that I could be thrown back into full pitch hassle anytime. I’ve learned from these days that I should always keep a list of little tasks that I can do wherever and whenever I find the time for them. As the pitch was finally about the start, the client canceled the whole thing one day before as they had already decided to go with agencies they already knew. Classic.

For a super-small company like us, the cancelation of a full-paid 14-days-project is a big deal. Hopefully, I can make the best of the time that is all of a sudden available and pick up all the inquiries that I had to put off until the end of July. And fortunately, we’re also involved in another pitch that feels much better from the start. It’s well paid, with a decent amount of time and a proper pitch briefing. I’ve not given up hope that just once, after 4 years in this industry, I will experience a nice pitch with a fair end.

Amsterdam

#cocities salon #cocities salon by Johannes Kleske / (CC) BY-NC-SA

The good part about last week was our trip to Amsterdam. We were there for our first Cognitive Cities Salon and had an amazing time. Fortunate for us, our CoCities speaker Juha van’t Zelfde was our local support and did a fantastic job setting the whole thing up. We were happy guests of Trouw Amsterdam, a location introduced to us as the “Berghain of Amsterdam” in an abandoned newspaper printing facility. We didn’t have much time to promote the event as our main sponsor took until the last minute for their decision before they jumped ship, so we had around 40 people attending which made for a cozy atmosphere and enabled a nice round of discussions.

James Burke James Burke by Igor Schwarzmann / (CC) BY-SA

The best part for us was that this time, there was nothing to do through the evening so we could listen to our speakers Kars Alfrink, Katalin Galayas, James Burke and Edwin Gardner. And boy, did they deliver. If you have the chance to see any of them speak, make sure you can attend.

Photo by Johannes Kleske / (CC) BY-NC-SA

We spend most of the next day in our new favorite café (very careful here to avoid calling it coffeeshop when in the Amsterdam context), the Two For Joy Coffee Roastery at Frederiksplein. Super friendly staff, a very “gezellig” atmosphere with comfy sofas and free wifi and decent freshly made food. But the best (and for us most important part, obviously) is their coffee. They have it all Australian-coffee-culture-based Espresso beverages, all the pour-over hype stuff like the Chemex. And they take the time to teach you how to prepare and enjoy the coffee. A place after our heart.

After the travel craziness of the last weeks, it looks like we’re going to spend some more time in Berlin in the next weeks. Good to be home for a change. See you on Friday at #FatSIX.