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Post #1242

Week 236

I started writing this yesterday, waiting for an appointment at the bank. Forms to sign. The business specialist was double-booked — I had to wait and wasn’t in a good temper about it. Bad karma: I double-booked myself later, and didn’t realise I was supposed to be meeting Ben about cybernetics. When he phoned me, I was in a meeting about Kendrick with Nick and Matt Brown. We were sketching out the next rev of the UI. Actually, Nick and Matt were sketching. I was asking questions. Do you think this screen should transition into the learning room? Is that inconsistent with the quick play functionality?

I’m now writing with a mug of tea before heading to a meeting across town. I have a 10,000 lux Lumie lamp next to my kitchen table. It’s the spectrum and brightness of the noon desert sun.

We’re having an eventful last week before Christmas!

Our cooperation with Bonnier R&D is public: the Mag+ concept video shows a digital magazine that prioritises the reading experience. A video prototype like this is an establishing shot and it’s done its job. 79,000 views on Vimeo in a day (now 102k), and some astoundingly flattering write-ups. I’m proud of the team, their design, research, instincts, and aesthetics.

It’s four hours later.

Matt Jones and I had an early meeting near Waterloo – getting experienced advice about a possible major project – and then we came back to a very packed studio. Matt Brown, Tom Armitage and Nick Ludlam were all in. We’ll be sharing the Ashdown alpha with some friends and family and Tom is busy wrapping up development on that. He’s building a kind of fruit machine for data exploration. And Nick is rounding off a build of Kendrick today that we can install on our iPhones and use over the holidays. That’ll help enormously with the next round of design.

That’s three people. Our friends Andy Huntington and Tom Taylor were in too, working on their own things and hanging out. So with me and Matt back, and then Ben Griffiths popping in to deliver the gobs and gobs of data he’s been scraping (very elegantly! I’m impressed), well, it was pretty full of life. Crowded.

It’s our last day in this studio. We all got presents yesterday. On Tuesday we’re moving into the new place which we’re sharing with RIG. I can’t wait. Here’s a pic. It’s a great space, and you couldn’t want for a better firm or a better group of folks to share with. RIG are the folks behind Newspaper Club, one of our favourite things going on right now. This is going to be good. Energy feeds off energy.

I, on the other hand, feed off food. It’s lunchtime.

It’s two hours later.

Good lunch, and good meeting. Heading off a potential soft spot in the team first quarter next year.

I swung by the new studio on the way back. The builders are running a little behind schedule but we’re still on for Tuesday.

Gimme Shelter is on the stereo. I remember it from the soundtrack to Wild Palms (Oliver Stone/Bruce Wagner/1993). Wild Palms is about telly and holograms and is set in Los Angeles in 2007. In 1993 that felt impossibly future.

Other news this week: Shownar has reached the end of its life, at least in this incarnation. It’ll be rolled out across in various ways in the early part of 2010. It’s sad to see it go. This time last year we were tendering for the project. The docs were submitted just before Christmas, and we won the project just before the new year. At the time, the company was me and Schulze.

How far we’ve come!

And we’ve not reached cruising altitude yet. We’re not quite at the second act. Not quite. Give me a few more weeks.

It was a pleasure last night to see so many friends at the pub for impromptu work drinks. If you were there, thanks for coming! Standing outside in the snow with Matt Jones, drinking hot rum and looking back over the first few months of BERG, that’s what it’s all about. What a ride. What a ride.

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