Week 27

How do you communicate what you do in an environment that changes more quickly than the terminology can catch up? This question is a big part of why every three months we go on a two-day retreat, as we did last week.

How do you communicate what you do in an environment that changes more quickly than the terminology can catch up? One popular way in our industry is to rely on buzzwords. This, of course, isn’t the best plan as buzzwords tend to be stripped of meaning. The other way is to find a more abstract description, and concrete examples to make your work more tangible. This question is a big part of why every three months we go on a two-day retreat, as we did last week.

So we carved out Tuesday and Wednesday and headed to Caputh, a tiny town just outside of Berlin. (Claim to fame: Albert Einstein had a summer house here.) These regular strategy days are really quite important for us as they give us time to determine not just how things are going, but why. Where we stand compared to our goals. What to adjust and what to focus on next.

I won’t go into too much detail, but there are a few things that might be useful for you if you’re also in the position of growing your young business.

Communication is key, and it’s not easy. In our case, a big chunk of our client work is under NDA and we can’t talk about it. That means we don’t have much to show for publicly. It also means that the stuff we do outside our client work is all the more visible (think CoCities).

Between last week’s visit to our friends LHBS and our strategy retreat, we’ve come another step closer to being able to tell you what you can actually call what we do:

It’s not so much digital strategy, it’s rather strategies for a digital world.

Bud Cadell: Digital Strategy

We’re taking a cue there from Bud Caddell – he certainly knows what he’s speaking of. As our work evolves, we’ll keep tweaking that description, too. (We don’t expect to ever finish this one, though: If we could ever pigeon-hole ourselves, we’d be doing something wrong.)

Wording aside, here’s a rough sketch of the basic working model we’ve had in mind since we launched:

Third Wave: working model

There’s also some cool stuff coming up. It’s not quite concrete yet, but expect some Friday afterwork meetups soon, and potentially a cross-company-plus-freelancers hackday, Google 20% project-style. It was an idea that came up while sitting outside in the sun with our coworker Fabian Mürmann and our good friend Jens Nikolaus Pentenrieder: There’s so much potential and so many ideas, all we need is to make some time to hack away. Not sure when this might be happening, but I’m really looking forward to it.

That said, it’s going to be a busy week. As this goes live, I’m headed for Hamburg for the day. Wednesday to Friday, Republica will lure all of the German geek scene to Berlin (make sure to say hi). On Thursday, Igor and I will be headed back to New York for a week while Johannes is mentoring at Seedcamp Berlin – if you’d like to meet up in New York or you are in Berlin and want to have coffee, ping us!

Image by Bud Caddell (some rights reserved)

Author: Peter

Peter is a digital strategist who enjoys connecting people, insights and ideas. Before founding Third Wave he worked as a freelancer with clients like ARTE, Wolters Kluwer, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Google, SPD, Tumblr and several public broadcasters. He organized events like TEDxKreuzberg, atoms&bits and Likemind. Peter holds masters degrees in Communications and Media from Freie Universität Berlin (MA) and The University of Sydney (MMP). Peter has lived in Berlin, Sydney and Washington, DC.