• Weeknote 531

    January 25th to 31st

    To make space for new blood, we changed the layout in our studio. We gave up perfect parallelism and chose perpendicularity instead. We’ll see how that works out. We can now seat two more people and we are looking forward to welcome them next week.

    We’re making steady progress on the project we are working on. Arved visualised some more advanced features for the Product Field app, Michael realised that he needs and wants to code more (so he started doing that). And the rest (minus David who was on vacation) covered some more meters in the ultramarathon called Puichon. As usual, Aisha and Svenja did this and that and this.

    Friday was a day of travel: Michael and Christophe took an early train to the south of Germany to meet with a new potential client, while I was doing a quick stop in Berlin for project Puichon.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 528 to 530

    January 4th to 24th

    When we started project Puichon in the summer of 2012, it was just Christophe and me working on the same – or at least very similar – topics. At the end of last year, five people were involved, and the scope and complexity of the project required that everybody on the team worked on different and very specific issues. Although we were all working on the same thing, it became harder and harder to follow and understand what the others were doing.

    Now, with the beginning of the new year, we entered a new phase. We have to bring together all the different parts, so we switched our work mode. More communication, more collaboration. It feels good to see it coalesce.

    Michael and Arved were mainly involved with The Product Field. Michael spend a few days in a writing retreat with the other two Product Field masterminds. We’ll talk a bit more about the result in a couple of weeks.

Arved continued to work on the interface for the Product Field app. Also something we hopefully can present in a not too distant future.

    Svenja was busy with the 2015 accounts and other things to keep the studio running. So was Aisha.

    Christophe, Michael and I spend quite some time with new business inquiries. Since we usually work in long-term partnerships, we don’t have to explain ourselves very often. But all of the sudden we were talking to a handful of organisations we haven’t worked with before. And we realised that we weren’t perfectly prepared to present ourselves, so it took a few extra hours. But the inquiries come from a wide variety of industries, with very diverse and interesting challenges, so we are excited. A great way to start the year!

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 526

    December 21st to 24th

    Half a week with a third of the team. Christophe and I went to Mainz for a workshop. We didn’t have much information to prepare it, so we brought our tools and improvised. It worked fine. We are very curious what comes next. Or, to say it with the words of Special Agent Dale B. Cooper: “I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”

    Back in Hamburg, Christophe and I wanted to use the quietness in the studio (only Svenja was there with us) to produce content for our new website. But fatherly duties held us back to work full speed.

    Next: holidays, family, 2016. Enjoy all of it!

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 525

    December 14th to 20th

    Since a couple of years we made it a tradition to kick-off our christmas party with a visit to a museum. This time we went Wälderhaus (house of the forests) to learn something about the woods. Did you know that trees can communicate with each other? And giraffes try to trick them when they do?

    Back at the studio, our families joined us. We had a potluck. And a lot of fun. Arved made his very famous pasta salad, Sean wore his ugly sweater, four little boys between under the age of 3 roamed the office and Michael told us about his best worst christmas party experience…

    Earlier this year we decided to hold back a small part of the funds of our one-tenth initiative (donating 10% of our profits) so everyone in the team could choose a charity to support with that money. The christmas party seemed an appropriate occasion to talk about that. Everybody prepared a few slides to present the selected charity and explained why she or he picked it. Here’s what our team chose: uLizo, Seawatch, Zeit für Zukunft, Give Well, Mozilla.org, Migrantenhilfe Hamburg, Kinderkrebs-Zentrum Hamburg and two more initiatives that don’t have a name yet, because they are just starting.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 523

    November 30th to December 6th

    Svenja is back! Now that her son can walk, she’s ready also to take care of precious. We’re all very happy to have her around again. We are also very glad that Aisha will stay. Originally she was hired as a stand-in while Svenja was on parental leave, but we’ve found a solution to keep her where she belongs.

    Which makes us 9 people. Plus: another person signed a contract with her blood this week. Which will increase the headcount to double digits next year.

    The current issue of PAGE magazine arrived. We almost forgot about it because it's been a while since we designed the cover. If you wonder why it looks so … bare … well, it’s a kind of joke. It’s a HTML page sans CSS file. Printed full page, the “ugliness” of this unstyled website looks almost elegant. We like that. So actually it’s not really a joke.

    Michael, Sean, Arved and Silke locked themselves up for a product design sprint. Together with three more people from a client, they developed a prototype for a new product from scratch. Inspired heavily by Google Ventures, but enhanced with some of our own methods, this five-day process was pretty intense, but also fun and in the end very productive. At least that’s the impression I got. I didn’t dare to ask them, because they were so in the zone. I’m looking forward to see the result and learn about their experiences.

    As I mentioned earlier, we supported More Than Shelters as part of our precious one-tenth program (giving away 10% of our profits for social causes). The money we donated was used to make and install more of their DOMOs (housing system) in German refugee camps. To see what they look like in action, some of us went to the opening party of a new tea lounge – housed in four connected DOMOs at Hamburg’s largest facility for asylum seekers. The idea of More Than Shelters, as their name suggests, is not just to provide a roof over one’s head. In Hamburg, they use these shelters as social rooms where people can retreat. Which is absolutely necessary to avoid friction in a camp where 3000 people – many of them traumatized – are living in containers and tents next to a highway. If you also want to support this cause, check out More Than Shelters' website.

    Posted by Johannes.
  • Weeknote 522

    November 23rd to 29th

    I had to skip the last two weeknotes, because I spent most days at home, some of them in bed. Party aftermath. So I was really happy not just to be well again, but also back in the studio.

    Arved and Michael, with a little help from David, prepared and took part in an internal Product Field hackathon with programmers from mindmatters. Two days to kick-off the development of an app that will turn your results into insights.

    On Tuesday Michael had a few guests. One after another, six people came by to talk about a common interest of theirs. This interview-marathon was part of the research for a product design sprint we’ll do next week.

    Philipp and Nils came by to work with Arved on a new project for our long time partner Gruner + Jahr. Always a pleasure to have those lads around.

    Sean turned his stack of scribbles into an interactive paper prototype.

    Florie and I spend most of our time oscillating between the underlying structure and potential interfaces of a pretty complex app.

    David and Christophe, still working on the design system for Puichon, explored drag’n’drop behaviors and diagrams.

    Aisha wasn’t at our weekly all-hands, so I’m not sure what her main focus was this week. I noticed, though, that she bought flowers.

    Posted by Johannes.