Moby, not at all destroyed

While we are not in the music business and this is certainly not the place to get tips on the latest scoop on new releases, I couldn’t resist on pointing towards Moby’s newest.

Yes, we are certainly not objective when it comes to Soundcloud – many of our friends are employed by this up and coming startup -, but there is no doubt that they are gaining some well deserved attention. It feels almost as no day passes by anymore without a big new releases that is being powered by Soundcloud. Moby’s release is no exception.

While we are not in the music business and this is certainly not the place to get tips on the latest scoop on new releases, I couldn’t resist on pointing towards Moby’s newest.

Yes, we are certainly not objective when it comes to Soundcloud – many of our friends are employed by this up and coming startup -, but there is no doubt that they are gaining some well deserved attention. It feels almost as no day passes by anymore without a big new releases that is being powered by Soundcloud. Moby’s release is no exception. But in this case, it merges Soundclouds music quality with Instagram‘s passion for visual exploration.

Take a look at this album release page: http://destroyed.moby.com/

i don’t sleep very well when i travel. and as a result, i tend to be awake in cities when everyone else is asleep. that’s where this album, and the pictures that accompany it come from. it was primarily written late at night in cities when i felt like i was the only person awake (or alive), a soundtrack for empty cities at 2 a.m, at least that’s how i hear it. the pictures were taken on tour while i was writing the album. i wanted to show a different side of touring and traveling. a side that is often mundane, disconcerting, and occasionally beautiful – moby

The music is being powered by Soundcloud’s API, the photos are being aggregated from Instagram. Some are from Moby himself, but every Instagram user can add new ones by using #destroyed as the hashtag. Moby managed not only to release a new album, but create a completely different experience around his music by using the best and latest technology. Music, visual impressions and storytelling.

I’m very impressed.

Week 31

Seems like I broke the monday release pattern for the week note. Berlin is testing our resolve to stay focused and in the office these days. It’s warm, it’s shiny and it’s … well … Berlin. Still, we managed to accomplish quite a few things in this last week.

Seems like I broke the monday release pattern for the week note. Berlin is testing our resolve to stay focused and in the office these days. It’s warm, it’s shiny and it’s … well … Berlin. Still, we managed to accomplish quite a few things in this last week.

Johannes has been mainly supporting a local agency from Berlin with our expertise in social. There is, of course, a constant demand for this kind of knowledge. While some agencies – like BBH Labs – managed to adopt, not everybody picked up the necessary expertise to advise their clients. That’s where we come in. Coming from an agency background, we know the pain points and how agencies operate. While we do not provide the execution part, we do – like in this case – provide extensive strategic advice and conceptual work.

Peter was juggling a couple of things. One of our first clients is the Next Conference and things are getting interesting with the event happening next week where Peter will be moderating the Social Layer track. If you are in town for the conference and interested in a chat – we will be roaming the halls of the conference. Ping us!

Coincidentally we are about to finish up a project with Die Zeit. Fabian, who teamed up with us on this one and Peter will be presenting the results in Hamburg.

As for myself: I mainly concentrated on Cognitive Cities this last week. There was (and still is) some accounting work to be done. We created a little mess for ourselves with that one, but it’s a good learning process. Some mistakes will certainly not happen again. At the same time, we’re preparing the first Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam, which is now officially announced. With everything that is happening around CoCities, we decided to follow our guts and just experiment with the format a bit. There is no definitive version of how those events or the main conference will look like, but we are curious to learn by just doing something.

Travel schedule: Johannes is in Stuttgart on Wednesday and Thursday. If you are around, ping him. Peter is in Hamburg on Thursday and Igor is in Berlin for the whole week.

Post-something and pre-something else

Since the fourth of this month, Third Wave has officially been in business for over six months. Somehow the headline covers exactly the situation in which Third Wave is right now and – if all goes well – will always be. Ad Astra and beyond!

Vienna Air King

Since the fourth of this month, Third Wave has officially been in business for over six months. It’s probably a statement in itself that this review of the first half year is being posted almost a month later.

The title for this blog post is a quote by Benjamin H. Bratton. It’s from his Postpolis! LA talk. Somehow those few words cover exactly the situation in which Third Wave is right now and – if all goes well – will always be. If you have been following us for a while, you already know that we have always struggled with communicating what exactly it is that we do. That, of course, is the malice that comes with the luxury of not being one thing. We certainly aren’t, and we’re perfectly fine with that, too!

In the first six month, we had 20 different clients and 27 different projects in five different countries and on two continents. Our client roaster is a diverse as we hoped it to be. Agencies, publishers, conference organizers, car manufacturers, startups. Just as diverse was the work we’ve been hired for. Sometimes we’ve been experts who sit in on meetings and function as sparring partners, other times we’ve been classic strategists, social media guys, speakers, event consultants, curators and sometimes we’ve headed the pitch team of an agency.

In all those jobs, there is a common denominator: we’re good in what we do because we are not a single purpose agency with a clear focus. Our strength comes from looking deeper and broader, from connecting the dots or – as we like to call it – from pattern recognition.

All of that means quite a bit of traveling: On average, over the first six months each of us took 22 trips to 14 different cities. At least that’s what our Dopplr accounts tell us. They also remind us that all this city hopping leaves a certain mark on our environment. Our average carbon dioxide emission after six months was at about 3000kg.

With all that, we also attempted (and succeeded) to create a big conference about the future of cities. Which is really quite amazing, given that it took up roughly 40% of our total working hours during our starting up phase. Obviously, we regret nothing. To create an event of this magnitude and actually succeeding with almost everything we wanted to accomplish gave us not only self-confidence. We don’t mind the reputation boost either. Currently, we aren’t promising anything, but you should watch this space closely if you’re interested in our not-client related projects.

With that, there is not much else to say but: Thank you to everybody who supported us during this time. We got a lot of support and feedback before and while we founded our company and that hasn’t changed after the launch. As always, we are amazed and inspired by the people that surround us and couldn’t be more happy to have our base of operations in Berlin. Despite the fact that we actually spend fairly little time here.

Ad Astra and beyond.

Week 28

When we started out, traveling usually meant that a few of the must-do-things got postponed to a later date. But that just doesn’t scale for us. That’s why this week note is being written in New York City, more precisely in SoHo’s Bookstore Cafe. But enough with the coffee, why is it that Peter and I are in New York again I hear you asking.

If you, dear reader, haven’t noticed it already: we have a rotation principle for writing week notes and it’s my turn again.

When we started out, traveling usually meant that a few of the must-do-things got postponed to a later date. But that just doesn’t scale for us. That’s why this week note is being written in New York City, more precisely in SoHo’s Bookstore Cafe. It’s not only a good place to shop for some serious print, they also have barista skills. (At least if a La Marzocco machine is any indication, which it usually is.) After being coffeed up with the black gold from Blue Bottle and Gimme! Coffee I went for one of their home brewed iced teas. Also a very good choice.

But enough with the coffee, why is it that Peter and I are in New York again I hear you asking.

Sometimes we are more fortunate than even our confidence into our skills would account for. On our last visit to Gotham, we met up with many interesting people and potential clients with a clear goal: to extend our business beyond Europe. A simple goal, but it isn’t easy to establish yourself in one of the most competitive cities of the world as a Berlin based company.

That said, we were successful and got invited to be part of an amazing project. While we once again can’t really talk about our work (NDA), we can say that much: we are helping a very smart group of people shaping the beginnings of a potentially very successful startup. Our job is to shape the strategy, the product itself, give input on the social and mobile components of the business as well as prepare the European launch of the service.

Going deep into the core of the product itself is exiting and we enjoyed the two full days of working with the whole team a lot. We’re very exited about the things to come and it looks like we will be back to New York soonish as well. We will hang around in New York till Thursday morning before heading back to Berlin. There are some meetings scheduled – we will drop by the Urbanscale office today for example – but if you are interested in meeting up, ping us.

Last week was busy as well. We visited the Berlin based conference re:publica. It’s always fun to see so many geeks come to our home turf. Johannes joined the Seedcamp as a mentor on Thursday. From what I heard, there are some really exiting things happening in the European tech community.

That said, we wish you a great week.

Travel plans: Peter and Igor are in New York till Thursday. Johannes will be in Hamburg on Wednesday. Again, if you’d like to chat, get in touch.

Week 25

Before I begin with our first week note, let me get into the ‘why’ we decided to start writing those.

You may have seen those week notes at some of the companies we are mentioning quite a lot: Berg, Urbanscale, Nordkapp. If you are not familiar with the concept, take a look at weeknotes.com.

We like reading those, but we also see the appeal in writing a week note for ourselves. It gives you time to reflect on the week and talk a bit more hands on about our work.

Before I begin with our first week note, let me get into the ‘why’ we decided to start writing those.

You may have seen those week notes at some of the companies we are mentioning quite a lot: Berg, Urbanscale, Nordkapp. If you are not familiar with the concept, take a look at weeknotes.com.

We like reading those, but we also see the appeal in writing a week note for ourselves. It gives you time to reflect on the week and talk a bit more hands on about our work. It will – and that won’t change – not go into big detail, since most of our work is still confidential. But it will give you, dear reader, a better perspective of what we’re up to.


Tuesday was the first day in four weeks that all of Third Wave have been together in our office in Berlin. We are just six month into the business, but our travel schedule feels much more mature at this point. Nevertheless, we also enjoyed to be able to sit at one table and actually talk through some of the many things that piled up during our US trip. Being away showed us also where we need to polish our processes. Some things just slipped through, while we’ve been in a different time zone taking a huge amount of meetings and preparing for Austin.

A good portion of our time went to finalizing the financial part of the Cognitive Cities Conference. With so many people involved, it was somewhat of a hassle, but now that it’s done, we can actually finalize the project (if not the topic in general, stay tuned for more CoCities fun in the near future). But in general, we find ourselves still somewhat at struggle with the bureaucratic part of our job. This is hardly something unusual for a young company and we are very thankful to have an accountant that takes the time to walk us through those tasks. You’ve probably heard this from others as well: if you are about to start a company, get yourself a really good accountant.

The other things that have been buzzing around the office is the preperation for various client meetings and our trip to Vienna, where we will have day long workshop with our friends from LHBS and talk to a small bunch of people about very uncomfortable things. If you are around, join us there.

The travel schedule for this week: Johannes is in Mannheim on Wednesday. He will join Peter and Igor in Vienna on Thursday, where all three will be staying until Sunday.

On politicians and social media

Toute L’Europe and the Goethe Institute in Paris invited me to be part of a panel about the affect of social media on politics. While the topic in itself is certainly not new, I decided to go, because it was a good opportunity to dive into the French debate.

As you would expect, the Goethe Institute is a very gracious host and the organization is just as good. Still, the setup of the panel was … shall we say, ambitious? Six people is too many for every panel and for me it was especially interesting, since I was the only one who doesn’t speak any French. But first things first, here is the list of all the panelists:

  • Estelle Grelier, EU-Delegate (Faction S & D / EP)
  • Sandrine Bélier, EU-Delegate (Faction The Greens / EP)
  • Jan Philipp Albrecht, EU-Delegate (Faction The Greens / EP)
  • Alain Girod, Professor at the University Lyon II, Director of the Instituts for Communication Lyon II (ICOM)
  • Benoît Thieulin, Co-founder of Netscouade (Internet Agency, specialized on Social Web and Community)
  • Igor Schwarzmann, Co-founder of Third Wave in Berlin

Together with the moderator, we ended up being eight people on stage, since I could only participate in the discussion with the help of a translator. A new experience for me, but it worked out just fine. At least for the important parts of the discussions. Obviously, I couldn’t catch the small nuances, which made it a bit difficult to get into a real discussion. Then again, on a panel with so many people there isn’t much room for debate anyhow.

What discourages me to accept further invitations to panels about social media and politics is the lack of progress in the discussion. France – in this particular case at least – not different from Germany. The whole premise of the discussion is based on the wrong questions. It’s definitely not about the tools, services and platforms that a politician uses and it’s not about how those politicians need to find the exactly right tone without giving up too much privacy. That’s the boring part of the discussion.

We are living in a time, where we can watch revolutions unfold on the internet while our policy makers still struggle to understand the impact of it all. And more often than not, they seem not only very reluctant to dive into the topic, but actually are part of the problem. By making decision without any appreciation what has developed without their involvement, they only increase the overall impressions that most of them aren’t prepared to govern in the 21st century.

I ended up saying something that I read a couple of years on a blog of a social media consultant (imagine that!):

If your product is shit, it will still be shit on social media.

Same goes for politics, dear politicians. It’s moot to discuss if it’s important to be clueless on Television or Twitter, in the end you are still clueless. Start listening to what is being said and stop planing your next campaign and how you might or might not use Facebook for it.

P.S.: While I’m rather harshly generalizing the discussion, there are of course exceptions with a deep understanding. One of which was on the panel: Jan Philipp Albrecht.