• Weeknote 478

    January 19th to 25th

    Every week, usually on Thursday afternoon, we do a weekly review. Everybody gathers in The Box and presents what she or he has been working on in the last days. We experimented with different formats and lately it has evolved to this: three keywords/hashtags and three slides that describe the week, one learning, two minutes time.

    I missed this week’s review, but I had a look at the slides on the dropbox. Here are some hashtags that safe for work and don’t violate our NDAs:

    ContentCreationism, #sliceanddice, #ErstdieNasedanndieBrille, #überüberüber, #ThinkingLessComplicated, #TAGSTAGSTAGSTAGSTAGSTAGS


    That's what we did this week.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 477

    January 12th to 18th

    We have a new temporary team member: Luna is doing her high school internship at precious. For two weeks she will be in our studio to get a glimpse of what it’s like to make digital products – and design her own smartphone app!

    It’s interesting to have a true digital native around. Usually we work with people like ourselves, who experienced the olden days, when you had to drive to a store to buy music and dial in with a modem to receive emails (around 1 to 5 per day). It’s refreshing to listen to someone who doesn’t think about the iPhone as a piece of magic, but as something as trivial as tap water. It also makes you feel a little bit old, though… (No, never heard about this latest chat app, but hey, I was among the first 50.000 people on friendster!)

    Part two of our soul searching sessions: this time we talked about what kind of “impact” we want to make with our work. We didn't came to a conclusion during our 2-hour workshop, but it was great to listen to everybody’s thoughts on this topic. To be continued.

    Projects: nothing new, we are all still busy with the same projects as last week.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 476

    January 5th to 11th

    It’s been a long time since I wrote the last weeknote. After my return from the Pacific Northwest, where I spent three months on parental leave, I dived right into a project that demanded at lot of my presence with an external team. I spent more time at betahaus than our studio, which disqualified me for writing about the activities of the rest of the precious team. Thankfully Christophe carved out some time to prevent the weeknotes from withering away.

    Before coming to the main act – week 476 – a few more words on the recent weeks.

    Three month is a long time. And although I wasn’t completely out of the loop while away, a lot happened which I wasn’t aware of. When I left in the summer, we couldn’t complain about a lack of work. When I came back to Hamburg, I was kind of shocked – in a good way – how busy the place was. I said goodbye to a handful of people before leaving the country, I said hello to almost a dozen in November when I returned to the studio. During my absence, some familiar faces started to work on projects with us again, new people joined the team and a few freelancers supported us. Actually so many people worked there, that I didn’t even have a desk on those few days when I wasn’t at betahaus.

    I can only imagine how intense the time must have been for Christophe and Michael. They did a terrific job, because the company was doing better than ever. Despite – not because – my absence they assured me. Phew…

    Fast forward to last week, which started yummy. Louise cooked for the whole team to celebrate Michaels birthday, which usually doesn’t get too much attention in the studio, because he shares it with this guy who was supposed to be born 2014 years ago (give or take).

    More food was brought in on Thursday. Florie introduced us to the French tradition of Galette des Rois. David was appointed king and had to wear a crown for the rest of the day.

    Between all those meals and cakes and the usual cappuccinos we even managed to get a significant amount of work done.

    Jan worked on a search algorithm, which in itself is a small new project, but could be the basis for a more extensive one. Unfortunately this was the last project with us for a while. After supporting us for about 5 months, he will pursue another endeavor for the time being. But we hope to get the chance to work together in the future.

    David, Michael, Marcel and Jan finished a prototype of a news app that will be tested with a couple of hundred users in the coming weeks.

    Marcel, Amanda and I, together with a developer team from mindmatters, kicked off the next phase of Malakwa. After a month focusing on conception, prototyping and evaluation, we now entered the production stage.

    David and Christophe worked mainly on Puichon. I would love to give you some more info on it, but it’s kind of hard to describe it in a few sentences. I hardly understand it myself, although I was very much involved in the project at some point. But it has evolved a lot. It’s crazily complex, but somehow they managed to get a grip on it.

    Florie has worked on the same overall project, but in a totally different way. Her output was research findings and scribbles related to a type of application we all use on a daily basis.

    So much about our current projects. To get a better idea of the type of work we want to pursue in the future, we had an internal workshop with the whole team. We explored what makes a project worthwhile for each of us personally. I won’t go into much detail this time, because we will have some more follow-up workshops about this topic. Once we get a clearer picture we’ll share the results.

    Happy new year!

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknotes 472 + 473

    December 8th to December 19th

    The last two weeks of 2014 have been pretty packed: with final spurts for ongoing projects, many lovely people in the studio and some christmas festivities. And there's also sad news: Chiara, one of our design interns left us to go back to Venice/Italy to finish her Master degree in Design. Thank you so much, Chiara, for having been part of the precious family for the past 6 months, for bringing in your talent and skills, your valuable time and your dry humor. We hope you learned something and we'll stay in touch. Ciao e a presto!

    On December 11th, we started our precious xmas bash around 13:00 in the studio – with 15 people involved this year for the first time! Our wonderful cook Louise was here and prepared another delicious meal for everybody, including a very photogenic dessert. After our (not so) secret specialty food Santa and the first appearance of our collaborative xmas playlist, we all took the bus to the Hamburg Museum for 1,5 hrs of Hamburg history injection with our highly amusing guide Frank (if you need an english speaking Hamburg city or museum guide: hire him!).

    Since the Winterdom was already closed, we took a walk to an en route Christmas market to enjoy some sweet and sticky Glühwein. We ended the night at cozy Café Leonar with a relaxed and tasty dinner. Over there, we've been welcomed by a nice drink and Nis playing a blend of diverse pop songs on the grand piano (identifying "Where is my mind" by The Pixies was the hardest I think).

    On December 18th, parts of the team working with our beloved client and partner NumberFour took the train to Berlin to spend an afternoon and evening of preparing, cooking and eating together with more than 40 people at Bio Lüske. It was another great chance to meet and interact with the full team, and although my personal main cooking activity was drinking red wine, I really enjoyed it. So thanks again for inviting us!

    I hope we'll be able to give some more insights and reflection about our project activities again in 2015. So far I would like to close with a heartfelt Thank You! to everybody we worked and spent time with this exciting and eventful year 2014. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you and your families – we're looking forward to see you all again soon.

    As promised, here are the last few missing precious #teamselfies:

    David

    David
    Designer

    David joined precious in 2010, when we were just 3 people and still in our old studio. Almost everything he touches turns to IxD-and-UI-gold. He's the only High German speaking person in the team and his High Sketch skills are unrivaled.

    Michael

    Michael
    Co-founder & Designer

    Michael is a designer who thinks like an engineer and likes to use the tools of a programmer (when he's not currently running a design workshop). Joining precious as a partner in 2012 is one of the best and most enriching things that could have happened to this company.

    Johannes

    Johannes
    Co-founder & Designer

    Johannes co-founded precious together with Christophe in 2005. At that time, the two were already running a record label together, with a lot of attention on design and novel music business approaches and products – a business they eventually turned into a design studio. So what's next?

    Christophe

    Christophe
    Co-founder & Designer

    Christophe played the drums in a punk rock band, which was "discovered" and signed by Johannes' first record label venture in the late 90s. This was the beginning of a very long-term partner- and friendship and the rest is history, as they say.

    Over and out. See you in 2015!

    Posted by Christophe.
  • Weeknotes 461-471

    Weeks 39 to 49 (September 22nd to December 5th)

    I have to admit, this weeknote somehow stretches the concept of weeknotes: it took nothing less than 11 weeks to come up with something I would call a catch-up of the major events and activity around precious design studio. Next week I will post the last few missing team selfies and I hope Johannes will take over again on a more regular basis in 2015.

    Week 39 (September 22nd to 26th)
    We had our first workshop with a wonderful mindmatters crowd on Wednesday. On Friday, we gave a Design Studio Workshop for PAGE Magazine in our studio, which was a lot of fun and as far as we heard, it was of value for most participants.

    Week 40 (September 29th to October 3rd)
    We published Design Studio Kit, which is all about „why we do design studio, how we do it, what we learned so far & the material we use“. We will for sure update the repository over time, feel free to ask questions or contribute.

    Week 41 (October 6th to 10th)
    The bigger part of the Puichon design team spent three intense and very enjoyable days at an offsite session at Schloss Weissenhaus. At the end of the week, Sean and David attended Push Conference in Munich, where they also had a blast with old and new friends.

    Week 42 (October 13th to 17th)
    New blood: very good news from Svenja, who is currently on maternity leave. And by the way: we miss you. See you at our xmas bash next week!

    Week 43 (October 20th to 24th)
    First official 040x040 meeting at Hamburger Botschaft. 040x040 is an exchange program bringing together digital entrepreneurs from Hamburg and Malmö, Sweden. Also, Marcel's last GitHub commit on October 22nd for a novel content consumption prototype we conceived and developed for a client; it will be tested in late January.

    Weeks 44 + 45 (October 27th to November 7th)
    Very Malahat and Malakwa intense weeks, which usually means a lot of people and productive energy in the studio. I'm not deeply involved in these projects and it's always a pleasure to observe how things grow and evolve. Diligent crowds spreading across the studio also shows we need to make our studio space improvement ideas happen anytime soon.

    Week 46 (November 10th to 14th)
    The first edition of Wine Thinking („a perfect blend of Pretentious Design Thinking and Nerdy Wine Tasting Conversations, led by a professional Sommelier“) took place in our studio. It was a lot of fun and we’re already conceiving Coffee Thinking as well as Wine Thinking II.

    Week 47 (November 17th to 21st)
    Johannes is back from his three months parental leave in the US and Canada. He brought back a stress-relieved self, many inspiring thoughts and impressions as well as good coffee. Florie participated in Meng To’s Hamburg incarnation of his Sketch workshop series.

    Week 48 (November 24th to 28th)
    Another 040x040 meeting, this time in our studio – first great ideas coming into existence. Also, one of those very productive and informative Puichon Wednesdays and Thursdays in Berlin.

    Week 49 (December 1st to 5th)
    Two times vegan lunch with Louise this week! Also, Florie signed her employment contract and is now an official member of the precious family. Triple-bliss-week.

    Footnote
    Places I had a look to stimulate my memory for this catch-up: my brain, our shared studio calendar, emails, Slack channels and conversations, GitHub commits, Dropbox, our internal weekly all hands folder.

    Posted by Christophe.
  • Weeknote 460

    September 15th to 19th

    Here comes another pretty short weeknote – but this time a bit earlier than the last one. I'm currently sitting at the TV Hackday in Berlin and our next stand-up will be at midnight.

    We did a lot of Design Studio workshops, but I've never been satisfied with using slides on a projector when introducing the method. It just doesn't feel appropriate: Design Studio is about making not talking, about sketching, about creating plenty tangible results in a short amount of time. So if introducing the methodology is supposed to set the right mode of the day, it should follow the same principle.

    In a workshop yesterday, I did the introduction slide free for the first time – just paper on the wall, some pens in my hands and a couple of props I had prepared (thank you very much for super valuable advice, Anna Lena!). I think it is much better this way – this is how it looked like:

    Slide-free Design Studio Introduction

    And here's another person at the studio for the next few months (he's the "fourth person" I mentioned in weeknote 458):

    Jan

    Jan
    Developer

    The first project we did together with Jan was the mobile website for Financial Times Deutschland, just before the newspaper closed its doors. We liked the collaboration a lot and are now looking forward to work with him more extensively!

    Posted by Christophe.