I mentioned back in October that we’d fallen off the end of our business plan. Well-regarded consultancy, prototyping products with major clients? Tick. Our own products? Tick. So when we shipped Little Printer, I’m not kidding it was the oddest feeling – I felt like we were done.
Actually, we’ve just begun.
Since I got back from vacation mid January we’ve been working on a new business plan, one that takes us right into the idea of BERG Cloud as a platform. Over 2012, our consultancy focused more and more on connected products: In 2013, we’re actively prioritising collaborations that use and build our technology. In 2012, we shipped our first consumer product. Now, we’re working on on-ramps to the platform for everyone. Dev boards are in progress!
The network is the new electricity. Connecting products is the electrification of the 21st century. And we want to be a big part of that.
But announcements of our work in these areas are to come. Sadly, we have some other changes… Two of the team are moving on.
Way back in 2005, when this place was still called Schulze & Webb Ltd, our first client was Nokia, our first project was Continuous Partial Attention, and the fella who hired us there was one Matt Jones. Then, in 2009, we joined forces. A little later the company became BERG, and we built the awesome, inventive, ambitious, fun, consultancy-and-product-hybrid that is the studio we have today.
BERG has loads to thank Matt for. The consultancy business is a reflection of his insights and practices, and a good part of our intellectual foundations also come from him — our abiding interest in computer vision, “be as smart as a puppy,” immaterials… And, personally, I simply love his presence in the room.
Circumstances change. Last year, Matt started a family and became a brilliant dad. And then he was approached about a terrific job that fits incredibly well with his plans for 2013 — I’ll let him say more about that elsewhere. Long story short, at the end of March, Matt Jones is off to New York City. We’ll miss him! But we’re not letting go entirely…
Matt’s keeping an involvement in the company, so we’ll still get the benefits – albeit less frequently – of his smarts, energy, and vision. So we can have that as consolation! We’ll continue to be fellow travellers.
Simon’s been with us for two years, initially as our very first project manager – his remit was to invent the “BERG way” of running projects – and over time he’s taken on involvement in pretty much every part of how the company functions: Sales, budgeting, ops, supply chain and fulfilment, and more. Latterly he’s been Head of Little Printer, and he’s steered our first product from factory-ready to factory gate, then onto prioritising and launching features with the team, bridging product and marketing.
Simon is creative and energetic — his first love is music, and he’s off for a new journey into that. We wish him the best of luck!
We can’t replace Simon, just like we can’t replace Matt. We’ll each take on part of their old jobs, but I know there will still be something left undone… And I think what we’ll find is that whoever we bring in will have their own uniqueness, and they’ll fill that gap but do much more besides, and we can’t guess what that’ll look like.
The secret of the name BERG is that it’s an acronym: the British Experimental Rocket Group. I said once that our experimental rockets are our people and that I’m always proud to see what BERG alumni move onto and accomplish. My aspiration is that at BERG we learn to think big – to invent culture! – and one day we’ll have a PayPal Mafia all of our own.
So I’m proud, yes, of Matt Jones and Simon both, excited to see what they’ll do next, but it’s bittersweet because we’ll miss them!
I’m prouder still of what the team is creating here at BERG. There are always opportunities in change. Our 2013 strategy is a corner-turn, and we’ll be able to grow in new directions from this. We’re moving premises, too, at the end of March – to somewhere higher up, somewhere with carpets instead of concrete floors, somewhere quieter with double glazing, a place for making and building. So that’s a geographic accompaniment to the changes. It’s a new chapter for us.
Matt, Simon — I raise a glass to you both! Thank you for being with us on this journey, and all the best for your own new chapters!