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Post #7447

Week 383

It’s the end of the week and I’m late with weeknotes, which I was supposed to write on Tuesday.

Right now it’s Friday Demos and Andy has just phoned-in his demo in from a van on the motorway, where he and Simon are driving back from delivering all kinds of packaging and components to the Little Printer assembly team some hours north.

Honestly I couldn’t understand very much of what he said. Motorways and speakerphone don’t mix terribly well!

So, quickly:

I’ve spent this week in lots of meeting people, and dipping my feet back in a couple of projects I’m picking up from Matt Jones now he’s away for a couple months. Some cracking stuff. One mobile project, in which Alex is getting tarty with his design and Phil G is getting all motion graphics with his HTML5. The combo is powerful, that to-and-fro… When we were doing Mag+, the actual app development, it was conspicuous that the process of going from animations in After Effects to iOS code on the iPad was a real one-way street. Not so good, because the design of motion under your fingers is so dependent on the micro-experience of the moment, and you want that iteration. It’s lovely to see that iteration present in the animations and interactions in Alex and Phil’s work. They’re able to back-and-forth, design and build and experiment between them, make and try and iterate. Good. It makes for good work, that practice. A second project involves smartphone peripherals and a connection between the real world and the screen. And gosh – it’s been on whiteboard and then in diagrams and then on circuit boards and bench tests and now… seeing it all come together in demos, our first end-to-end, today was a treat.

I have to be cryptic until 2013, sorry!

Plus! Alice and I went to the Birmingham NEC yesterday to set up Little Printer at Grand Designs Live. Lots of fun! I like to show Little Printer to people, I like to see Little Printer in the world, and I like people in the studio – like Alice – to see Little Printer in the world too, especially seeing how people respond to it. It builds empathic connection with our customers.

Other big news this week is that we now have one of those spring door closers on the studio door, so the door closes automatically. OH HAPPY DAYS!

But mainly I’ve been enjoying Mark Cridge, our brand new Director of Consulting, properly getting his feet under the table and beginning to make some noise. It’s brilliant, provoking all kinds of thoughts and discussions about the next and upcoming unfolding of BERG.

Which means we’ve been having lots of strategy chats, and we’re all writing presentations and plans to have more discussion around, and the results of that are


or at least, currently. More on that soon! We’re doing our first annual reviews at the moment; once we wrap those we’ll give ourselves a couple of weeks to digest, then launch our latest plans. Internally anyway, externally the proof is in the pudding.

Plans are good.

The way you have to think about things is very different between, well, five people and fifteen going on twenty.

Hey, I was going through an old notebook the other day to find this, and I thought you might get a kick out of it too. It’s from back when BERG was Schulze & Webb and it was just two of us – Jack Schulze and me – and, if I remember correctly, we’d just decided to turn down any work we were offered that only used one of us. So we’d only work together and together we would change the world, yeah! And we imagined that the world would leap at us, you know, that we’d be drowning in work. And of course we weren’t, because nobody knew we were alive, and those who did didn’t know what we were about.

So I wrote a business plan, my first business plan, over six years ago now back in September 2006!

I don’t know whether the business plan helped us get work right there at the beginning. We got some great advice about marketing ourselves too, in a low-fi and very human but effective way, and yes things eventually worked out, and now here we are.

Some perspective: the iPhone was announced January 2007. A business plan from before the iPhone! Ancient history.

Disclaimer. I feel like an idiot sharing this.

And was it useful? Kinda. It made me feel like there was a plan.

Did we follow it? Kinda. I like to think it kept us on the same page. We’ve fallen off the end of it now. We are longer than the long term. Deep space.

Here it is.

Before this:

After this:

2 Comments and Trackbacks

  • 1. John said on 12 October 2012...

    Unlike any business plan I’ve ever seen and that’s a very good thing.

  • 2. Johannes said on 14 October 2012...

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. To follow the development of your endeavours has been a huge inspiration for us.

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