What we read this week (21 Sep)

Dystopian nightmares about the future of travel, Apple’s changing their maps software based on strategy and not user experience, hardware investment is on the rise, a futuristic motorbike that can’t fall over and a look into cities are all in this weekly reads.

Quotes of the week

It sounds about as crazy as it can get, but maybe that’s what we need more of in this world. Kim also machined his own spectacle frames from titanium. What can’t this guy do?

Peter Ha

 We’re not at a point where the government is going to go digital for any of that stuff, I mean, I’m not even allowed to laminate my Social Security card.

Neil Hughes

Articles of the week

  • CNN: Apple’s secret plan to join iPhones with airport security
    In an effort to ease the various time-consuming security routines at airports, Apple seems to be lining up a technology that comes very close to a digital passport and sends your data to whomever has the authority of demanding it. However, the project is still quite far from being put into practice due to major concerns with verification, universality and infrastructure.
  • Anil Dash: Who benefits from iOS6’s crappy maps?
    The release the of the new maps-app with iOS6 has caused a lot of noise in the short time it has been available. Anil Dash goes in depth to say why it is a worse product and what this could mean for the future of the company post Steve Jobs.
  • TechCrunch: The Mobile/Social/Local/Cloud Land Grab Is Over
    In a glance over the shoulder to the tech world of 2006 when most of what is now part of life was just getting started (Twitter, Dropbox, iPhone) TechCrunch’s Jon Evans cleans up the rubble cluttering up everyone’s view and draws a keen prognosis on the next boom.
  • TechCrunch: Lit Motors Will Shake Up The Electric Vehicle Market With Its Two-Wheeled, Untippable C-1
    From afar it looks like a boring copy of the BMW C1 – motorbike. From close up it’s a high-tech non-tippable, electric driven transportation project. Creator Danny Kim is quite sure that he is going to bring some disruption into the market with this vehicle as it solves the main problem of any motorbike: it’s safe.
  • NPR: Odd Things Happen When You Chop Up Cities And Stack Them Sideways
    Armelle Caron is French and has a passion for cities. Between 2005 and 2008 she took to some of the more famous ones like Paris, N.Y. or Berlin and ‘restructured’ their ground structure.

Week 72 + 73

Two in one. This week note comes with updates about week 72 and 73. And there are plenty of them.

Last week was the first week we didn’t publish a week note since we started writing them. Sorry about that. Nothing tragic happened, it was just a hectic, very output heavy week and the week note just fell through the cracks. We will try not to make it a habit.

Business

I actually started writing a week note last week, but never got to finish it. Mostly because those last weeks I focused on business development. We are always trying different things. That’s necessary for a company that works at the intersection of agency, consultancy and think tank. It’s easier to other companies who are trying to fit the already known formats. So we try to be as aware and helpful to our current and potential clients as we can.

This been a lot on my mind. We are finally at a point where we became profoundly secure about the message that we are communicating to the outside. In a few weeks, we will update a few of the descriptions on our website and the usual slides that you have seen from us to give you a better understanding of what I’m talking about right now. We laid our eyes on a designer who might be helpful to help us shape the message even better.

Events

There’s not just one, but three events coming up.

Next12 is getting really underway. The International Program Director Monique van Dusseldorp had to dial down her involvement in this year’s Next a bit. Monique and the Next team kindly asked us to step in for her. While the cause isn’t a good one, we’ll try to make the best out of the occasion and fill her proverbial big shoes – after all, Monique is easily one of the best curators out there and extremely experienced in what she’s doing. 

So as Peter takes over her role, finalizing the program for the big keynote stage falls largely to him, which is somewhat of a conference geek’s dream. While sorting through long shortlists (sorry, bad pun) and a stack of emails, this allows us to invite a wide range of excellent speakers. As you know, this is how we usually try to fill up conferences: We invite all those people who we’ve always wanted to see present, and get to know. Usually this method turned out pretty decent results.

So between Peter and me, and with plenty of indispensable input from Johannes, we curate three tracks at Next: the International Stage (aka keynote stage), Arena (best of the speaker proposals plus demo area) and Experience (hot emerging topics). It’s a lot of work, and great fun. Also, it’s amazing to see the input from a half-dozen curators and the Hamburg-based team come together from first brainstorming several months ago to a final program and speaker roster. 

We’re also in the final stages of organizing a Quantified Self event of some sort together with our friends over at Hybrid Plattform. Hybrid Plattform, for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with it, is a joint research center run by Berlin’s University of Arts (UdK) and Technical University (TU). While the details aren’t finalized, we already know it’s going to be two half-days, it’s non-commercial, size-wise intimate and it’s going to be good. There’s a little bit more information and a preliminary tell-us-if-you’re-interested form here.

Last but not least, together with our good friends Claudia and Yasmina we’re putting together another round of Ignite Berlin. This is largely a private endeavor, but since it might be interesting to you I’ll include a link to the little information we can already announce as of yet > here.

Our travel schedule this week

Johannes will be in London for an internal company talk. I will briefly swing by Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday/Tuesday. If you want to meet with one of us, ping us. On Wednesday, Peter and I will be off the grid for a workshop in Münster, Germany. The rest of the week we’re back in town.

Week 52 – One Year of Third Wave

Third Wave turns one today. This is one of those blog posts that makes all three of us look back, scratch our heads and wonder where time went. Instead of pathos, let me throw out a few numbers and lists and thoughts, a couple of shout outs, and ideas for the next year.

Third Wave turns 1 today. This is one of those blog posts that makes all three of us look back, scratch our heads and wonder where time went. But we’re not big on pathos, so I won’t go that route. (Even if it’s tempting.) Instead, let me throw out a few numbers and lists and thoughts, a couple of shout outs, and ideas for the next year.

(Fuzzy) travel stats

Half a year ago, Igor put together a whole slew of statistics about our first six months. I’m not going to expand much on the travel stats, but: we’ve worked with some 30 clients altogether ranging from big media outlet to startup to agency to bank. Within the last half year alone, we had some 25 projects, which (according to Dopplr) between the three of us brought us to Amsterdam, Bonn, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, London, Hamburg, Vienna, New York, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Zürich and Caputh (it’s a real town, look it up). Already lined up are trips to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Bonn, New York and San Francisco.

We like conferences

For us, conferences & other meetups are more than just duty. They’re an important part of our lives in many ways, and we’ve always been involved in events even before we founded our company. So we’re all quite happy we got the chance to be involved at a number of great conferences besides our own, including SxSW, PICNIC, Next (disclosure: clients of ours), TEDxKreuzberg, re:publica, SIGINT, as well as a number of smaller ones. What’s more, we were kindly invited to join a number of advisory boards and juries, and we’re all glad we get a chance to give something back (or rather pay it forward) that way.

It’s not as easy as we thought

Along the way, we hit speed bumps and made mistakes. Some would have been easy to avoid, others we had to make ourselves to really learn the lessons. In many, many case we were able to avoid mistakes thanks to our fantastic friends and colleagues. Thank you. (You know who you are.)

It’s easier than we thought

Other things worked out much easier than expected. Take group dynamics for example – even under pressure, things between the three of us have been working out well, and we still push each other to the next level. We managed to establish a stable client base and feel lucky to work with a bunch of really smart people every day.

In the only pitch we did under our own name (ie not for a client), we set for the tough and risky road and proposed what we thought was the right thing to do – some heavy lifting and internal changes – and beat some of the biggest agencies in the country. This came as a delightful shock to us, particularly since initially we almost decided to not even take part.

We don’t know what we do, but we know what we’re doing

Ok, that sounds a bit silly. But as avid readers of this blog you know we’ve always struggled a bit in describing what exactly it is we’re doing – or rather: slapping a label on our work. We managed to break our activities down in several formats, or lenses, that depending on your viewpoint describe what it is that we do. To name a few of them: Third Wave in 7 Slides, Reclaiming Social Media, our services in detail, Translation Layers.

So, we might not know what it is we do; but we really know what we’re doing.

What’s next?

As if we knew! The near future looks as exciting to us as it does to you. There are a few fix points: Some major new client projects are coming up, we have invitations for a few very cool conferences, and we have a few trips lined up. We’ve been looking closely at a few emerging topics we’ll be exploring further. And if things work out, we’ll have a couple great collaborations coming up.

But most importantly, we’ll keep exploring new paths of all sorts, and embrace serendipity.

Thank you all for your support & for the great ride.

Mrs Landingham! What’s next?

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.

We’re on the road…

…want to meet up? Our headquarters are in Berlin, but we travel a fair bit. And that’s always a good occasion to meet up and bounce some ideas. So when’s the next chance to have a face-to-face chat?

…want to meet up? Our headquarters are in Berlin, but we travel a fair bit. And that’s always a good occasion to meet up and bounce some ideas. So when’s the next chance to have a face-to-face chat?

Johannes is in Amsterdam right now, and he’ll stay until 8 Feb, before heading over to London for another week. Igor will be in Paris on 10/11 Feb for a talk. I’ll be in Frankfurt at the same time. And all three of us will have a few days of stopover in New York (5-11 March) before heading over to Austin for SXSW Interactive (11-15 March). More trips might come up on short notice, but those are some fixed landmarks.

If you’d like to chat, get in touch!

ps. We’re also delighted to welcome a big crowd of great participants at Cognitive Cities Conference in Berlin on Feb 26/27, so if you’re around, why don’t you swing by?