We are joined this week by Matthew Irvine Brown! Check out his portfolio. He’s primarily working on design for Ashdown, and possibly on Kendrick. That makes five of us in the room now, and our first meeting with the Ashdown team all together was fantastic: great energy. I’m beginning to see the path from design aspirations to product.
Tom Armitage is occupied with Ashdown this week, deep into scraping data. He’s editing a short article the blog this week too, by Georgina Voss, updating us about her ethnography on Silicon Roundabout. Matt Jones is on Ashdown, helping with the Bonnier project, following up a little biz dev, and is today at the RCA as part of his ongoing involvement in the Design Interactions brief on the future of manners.
Schulze is working with a little team on interaction design and video evidencing for Bonnier. Then he’s off to New York for a meeting or two and to speak at the Idea Conference. Schulze is away in Stockholm and maybe Oslo next week too, and it’s always tricky to have one of us away: it’s quite a delicate design sense we’re developing between us all here, and it’s one that’s fostered by working together, co-located, constantly pitching in, debating, sketching and sharing. That’s what makes it a studio I suppose. And it’s something I’d like to protect, especially in these early days, but there’s a balance to be struck. Travelling also means fresh eyes and new perspectives.
I’m liaising with builders to get quotes for the conversion of the new studio space, with accountants to answer queries on the year end and move to better book-keeping software, and researchers for: Ashdown; Silicon Roundabout; cybernetics. There are two contracts to chase and two proposals to complete. I know I say this every three months or so, but I’m busier and more productive than I’ve ever been. Last week we hosted drinks for our friends, in honour of Laika, and I got to say a few words about beginnings in general (and science fiction, of course). It’s exciting.
I want to say something about these weekly updates, which I have now tagged ‘weeknotes’ at the inspiration of Bryan Boyer who also writes weekly updates. Kicker Studio summarise their weekly activity; Six to Start are occasional diarists; and our friends at Stamen this week posted about their first week at their new HQ. I love these.
An active blog is like a green activity light in instant messaging. For those of us who aren’t habitual bloggers, week notes help the process become regular. But more than that, companies are so often opaque. I write here whatever’s going on and whatever’s on my mind, and make connections I didn’t expect with readers I didn’t know I had. Little doors open to empathy. Running a small company is both hard and the best thing in the world. These week notes act as a kind of diary of reflections for me – I find writing them personally helpful – but they also trigger conversations with friends in similar situations about what they’ve seen before and what they’ve learned. I’d love for more companies and studios like us to keep week notes. I learn a lot, both writing and reading them, and it satisfies my nosiness as to what’s actually going on.