The building work on the new studio started Monday. There are walls going up. Earlier today Schulze chose where the new plug sockets go. I understand the internal glazing is going to look wonderful.
Things are underway.
Let me speak about that for a minute.
There’s a time, in projects, where you’re in the middle. You can see neither horizon. Last year, when I was running a lot, I used to hate running along canals. Time passed but I would have no sense of momentum. Nothing changed; bridges would take hours to arrive. Space was not being consumed.
In our Tuesday 10am round-up, I tried to put my finger on it. “There’s nothing in crunch,” I said, but that wasn’t right — Schulze is doing pretty much nothing but closing this phase of our prototyping with Bonnier, ahead of his travelling next week, and Matt Jones is spending a good deal of time with him too.
The crunch is pretty intense. We just postponed this evening’s Christmas dinner because three people need to work. Even with five remaining it would feel both lonely and, knowing other people were up against it, somewhat mean. We’ll re-arrange. I admit, it’s disappointing.
But as Kendrick finds its feet, and Ashdown uncloaks, and builders build, and pitches are pitched, one crunch is now only part of the mix.
So it’s the whole studio that is underway, and it has been for a few weeks. You don’t notice the forest till you’re in it. Our three main projects have pace. Business development has pace. Closing has pace. The general business of the studio has pace. And this is a different way of working. It’s not struggling to warm our limbs up or to build up momentum, it’s a new kind of feeling, a new kind of push. To maintain.
The hazard here is a kind of fatigue. I don’t mean tiredness. We’re alert, happy and joking, and working hard. The studio is a joy to be in. Little victories twice a day!
I mean there is a risk of a fatigue that manifests as a kind of loss of mindfulness. There are effects. When the studio rhythm is threatened, it is now harder to meet that disruption with welcoming equanimity… and we have to, because change is good. And it is harder to focus on longer-term, hard graft, self-initiated projects, because that, in a way, devalues the hard work and the great thump-thump-thump rhythm of what keeps the studio running. In a funny way it becomes as hard to see the big picture as when you’re right at the beginning of a start-up and living week by week.
This is a new kind of challenge, a different kind of mountain to the one we’ve scaled over the last quarter. I’m paying attention to it.
Maybe I’m projecting: It’s raining hard outside, I’m still behind on things and still tired from being ill last week, we’re in the run-down with Christmas with lots to do, I’m disappointed about not going out for dinner tonight with the guys, the studio has never been simultaneously so entertaining and productive, and everything is blossoming. It is tumultuous. Yet I feel impatient for the future, I want to show you things. There are things I want to add.
And, as Matt Jones has just pointed out, there is apocalyptic post rock with very long titles on the stereo, and that can’t help but contribute.
I mention all this here because this is life in week 234, and if you recognise what I’m talking about then I would welcome your comments.
1. Matt Carey said on 2 December 2009...
I certainly recognise what you are saying. There is a sense of feeling ‘where are we?’, even though you know the answer.
Don’t under-estimate the distraction of the new studio. We built our own (from scratch) this year and I became totally wrapped up in it. Look for space to breath and escape where you can.
2. Kars said on 3 December 2009...
“…it is harder to focus on longer-term, hard graft, self-initiated projects, because that, in a way, devalues the hard work and the great thump-thump-thump rhythm of what keeps the studio running…”
I recognize this from my time at big agencies. For some reason, self-initiated projects were never given the priority client work got. I don’t think it was just because of the money. Rather, I think it’s something to do with a studio being predisposed to one or the other. I always thought of S&W and now BERG as primarily a shop focused on nurturing internal projects (with client work serving mainly as sustenance). From what you’re writing here, I get the sense this has changed (or was never really the case).
I wish there were wise words I could impart that might be of help at this stage, but I can’t. I can only thank you for continuing to share these insights.