It’s Sunday evening. I’m a bit all over the place after getting off a plane late last night – flying to New York to start a new job, tomorrow, at Google Creative Lab.
Yep. It feels strange to write that. I’ve talked about it before a little bit; but have only just found the breathing space to get something a bit more long-form down. As well as finishing a job I loved, I’ve also just got married, been on honeymoon, and am selling up and moving out of London. It’s been a crazy few weeks.
So, some history.
It’s only been 15-months since I joined Stinkdigital; I honestly loved being there and it stills holds a very special place in my heart. I was surrounded by a bunch of talented and fun people. I learnt loads. I made some mistakes. We did great work. We did it with a smile on our faces. I was slightly in awe at the quality of the place when I joined – I still am now.
So, why did I leave?
I’m a lover of creativity and technology; I’ve always thought Google is one of the most exciting and forward-thinking companies on the planet — and that Google Creative Lab is doing some of the most amazing, ambitious, and interesting work out there.
I could get all wordy about it, but you don’t pass up an opportunity like this.
I spent a bit of time with a few members of the team last week, taking about the work. They’re so switched on it’s unbelievable. It’s also exciting for me personally to be part of a team at Google that already includes some amazing people.
Iain wrote something when he joined that really struck a chord: “Everyone I’ve met who works at Google and Google Creative Lab feels like they’re part of a company that is both a great business AND can change the world for the better. I’m overjoyed to share their beliefs and look forward to joining them.”
That’s the feeling I got when I spent time there.
When I talked with Kevin about things he casually dropped in: “This place is a bit like the Butterfly Effect – everybody who joins has the opportunity to make a difference.”
I hope I can make a positive one.
So it’s been an absolute joy to be part of the unfolding Stinkdigital story; I loved every minute of it. And here’s to the a next adventure with Google. I’m excited by the future that lays ahead – and that’s all you can ask for, right?
TweetFuel is an Arduino-controlled experiment that uses the Nike+ FuelBand to measure the health of our Twitter account.
This is something I meant to write about a long time ago. I also wanted to write a detailed and smart post about how and why the project came about, what it’s meant to say about Stinkdigital, how we had to get Nike onboard because we do a lot of work for them, maybe share some details about how and why we simplified the site design to make it feel less like a ‘product’ launch, how we used HTML5/JS, Arduino, Python, and the coverage we got in FWA, FastCo Create, FastCo Design, and lots of other magazines and blogs.
But time has passed, it’s was launched almost 3 months ago now…. so all you really need to know is that we got it from concept to working prototype in 5 days.
Whenever someone follows, RTs or mentions @stinkdigital, our custom made motorized kit spins a mounted Nike+ FuelBand.
So far the video has had 24,100 plays — and I’m still super happy with it as a piece of work.
(Some not very good photos of Stinkdigital London)
I’m 1 month into my new role as Exec Producer: here’s 10 things I’ve noticed.
We work direct with brands and in partnership with agencies.
We get lots of enquiries.
We are lucky enough to be selective about the work we take on.
We have a core of fulltime staff backed-up by a pool of trusted freelancers.
We run the business on Google Apps. (Gmail, Google Calendars, Google Docs)
We use Google Talk in the office and Skype for international calls.
We use shared docs and collaborative editing… a lot.
I haven’t opened MS Office since I started.
I have 2 regular meetings a week (one at Stinkdigital, one at Stink) and a call with NYC.
The meeting room is usually free.
The thing I’ve really noticed though is how fast things move. No I mean it…. really fast. It’s built into the DNA of the place. Part through necessity, part through planning. Obviously that brings it’s own subtle challenges; but on the whole it’s been really refreshing.
Apart from how we work; the actual work is pretty great too.
The annual social clean-up is in progress. I’ve already shut down my Posterous and Tumblr accounts to focus on my blog. Now it’s time to deal with Twitter.
I love Twitter. It covers such an incredible spectrum of information; but recently it’s begun to feel out of control. The signal-to-noise was wrong and stuff from people I cared about was being drowned out.
I started by unfollowing a few heavy/active users. But I enjoy a lot of the stuff they share so it didn’t feel massively practical. Then @sermad suggested I made more of lists. I created a few and moved a bunch of people over.
Great! But my timeline was still too noisy.
I tried unfollowing a few more people but couldn’t create a clear mental criteria in my head.
Take my friends and ex-colleagues at glue as an example. I don’t want 180+ people on my timeline, but once you start to add a few, you’re into a strange mental world of… If I add X, I should add Y, because we did X together. In the end I was trying to do something ridiculous like:
People I worked with for more than 4 years + that I regulary went out for beers with + that use Twitter regularly + but not so much that they drown everyone else out = Following.
It wasn’t working. I got frustrated.
So I went BIG and unfollowed everybody.
It might’ve been a bit impulsive but it’s democratic and I can slowly add people back over time.
I have a nagging doubt though. It’s counter intuitive. Lists guarantee I see peoples stuff; but they think I’ve unfollowed them. Not great really. But I needed to wrestle control back of the timeline so I’ve taken the plunge.
I’ve been meaning to write a proper post for a long time now as this poor old blog was starting to look horribly neglected.
Truth be told; when I first started blogging I used to take the time to craft each post, there was thought and detail put into it, and the writing was much more personal.
However, over time, it slowly became something more like to a “glorified Pinterest’ of cool stuff – mainly because my job changed. And that’s all fine; BUT the site was missing the thinking that went along with all that cool shit. It’s not that the thinking wasn’t there, I did it… but time was short, and I struggled to keep it short and make it coherent. So in the end I sacrificed it.
But, as those of you who follow me on Twitter may know, after 6½ years fabulous year at glue, I recently decided it was time for a change and resigned in October 2011.
I was going to post something a bit more longform then, but to be honest my head really wasn’t in the right place. And, whisper it, but I actually quite enjoyed switching off for a bit.
So it’s January 2012, and refreshed and re-invigorated I’ve joined the super talented team at Stinkdigital. I’ll probably talk about a few of the reasons in another post – but my focus has shifted a bit. I want to reflect that here too.
In summary then… I’m back!!
All I need now is a shiny new theme.
LETS KICK THINGS OFF WITH A PROPER INTERNET VIDEO!!
You may have heard classic tunes recreated on barely functional pieces of electronics before, but this is a really impressive effort.
All made using:
a. HP Scanjet 3P, Adaptec SCSI card and a computer powered by Ubuntu v9.10 OS as the Vocals. (hey, the scanner is old)
b. Atari 800XL with an EiCO Oscilloscope as the Organ
c. Texas instrument Ti-99/4A with a Tektronix Oscilloscope as the Guitar
d. Hard-drive powered by a PiC16F84A microcontroller as the bass drum and cymbal