It seemed Google has taken designswarm off of its index as they seem to be finding spam hidden in one of the pages. No idea what to do and I’m now invisible to the outside world…if you can help, please catch me on Skype!
One way to level up in European immigration as a foreigner is to have an italian parent (my father in this case) as since the mid 90s Italy recognises citizenship for people with parents or grandparents who were born in Italy. This now means I am pretty much free to live in Europe for the rest of my life if I wanted to which makes me extremely happy and makes customs a total breeze as opposed to a semi frantic experience peppered with little white lies.
This is what happens when you’re in love. In love with where you live. You go through 2 days of Tube strike, you watch the city you love not even make it to the top 50 most liveable cities and generally go to shit with the economy. But it doesn’t matter to you, love is blind and you simply shrug and agree with Orson Welles and the Londonist.
I’m moving to Brixton next weekend after more than 2 years in Hackney. That fact may seem banal to most of you but if you’re a Londoner, changing boroughs that dramatically almost means social hara-kiri. You might as well be leaving the country. It means that I become one of those people who live “saf of the river”, a sort of social outcast for those living north of the Thames. Its funny how we like our divides. North vs south, this team versus that, this part of the country versus London.
Hackney is fantastic and more recently I’ve discovered its hidden nightlife. But in the past 2 years it’s become the borough of the “well off mid-30 something with kids”. That’s not me. I went to walk around my new place and didn’t see anyone above 35, saw lots of people trying to sell you crack and lots of strange run down shops. That’s more me at the moment. And I’ll have a garden, a luxury I’d last experienced in Amsterdam. Excitement is in the horizon regardless.
But that’s not the challenge nor the point really.
The point is I’m leaving an area of town I know well, that I’ve also called home and so I’m filled with nostalgia I don’t know what to do with. I find myself wondering now: “how am I supposed to say goodbye”? Should I spend the next 2 weeks going to all the places I’ve ever been in or enjoyed knowing the likelihood of going back often will be very limited? Should I be trying to tell people I’m moving and having “one last drink” (nevermind the fact I hardly see them even if they live around the corner)? Should I say goodbye as if I were moving to Timbuktu?
It’s a strange feeling and I don’t think any social networking service could ever help. The city forgets us but we never forget it.
- SHOW ME THE MONEY
Money is important. When you start your own company, (i’m talking normal company here and not web2.0. There is no angel, VC or other convenient fluffy forms of funding here) you’ll realise how much cash flow rules your world and every decision you will ever make. Want to do r&d? Where’s the money coming from? Want to make stickers, buy a printer, pay people? Where’s the money coming from? Get an accountant fast and get one who cares about your business. If you’re around 10 people, get a part-time CFO, just a few days a month will do, you’ll need someone to be the bad cop with money, otherwise, you’ll end up spending your days chasing after people.
- EDUCATE & LEARN
Don’t fool yourself, the types of people who understand what you do are few and far between. You will spend 80% of your time explaining to people what you do and trying to make that come to life for them. Be prepared. The fact that there are over 50 schools around the world that teach interaction design and physical computing does NOT mean that there is an established industry to settle in. You’re the weird kid on the block. Hang out with people from the advertising industry, they will teach you a lot. Learn about what people who are high up in companies need to hear and what their comfort level is. Make yourself understandable and flexible enough to not seem too risky or threatening. Otherwise, people won’t know what to do with you.
- FORGET CHILDREN
When you start a company, it becomes part of you in (i’m assuming) the same way a child does. Weekends are a write-off, you’ll work every evening and time “away” will be hard as you try to grow a business that eventually doesn’t need you to feed it everyday. That will take years. I’m not there yet.
- DON’T GET BORED
Never forget what motivated you to do this, if you start sounding “bored”, then you’re doing something wrong, stop right now and get a regular job.
- PEOPLE MATTER
I’m blessed to be surrounded with the absolute most wonderful, talented, creative, weird people I could imagine. You’ll spend more time with these people than with your significant other, so choose them well and build a team you can rely on. This will be crucial when times get rough and you’re running out of steam.
- CHOOSE YOUR CLIENTS
Having a good relationship with our clients will matter A LOT. Choose them as carefully as you would choose a girlfriend/boyfriend and remember that good business is when there is a benefit for both parties. If you’re being bullied, something’s gone wrong.
- CREATIVITY TAKES A BACK SEAT
As a creative person, if you decided to be at the head of a company, you’ll have to quickly accept the fact that your creativity will only be required 5% of the time. The rest, you will spend paying bills, meeting clients, handling invoices, sending reminders, arranging meetings, going to conferences and other things that will inject life into your business. I spend more time on Powerpoint, Excel and Word than I do using any creative suite. It’s part of the game, and you’ll learn to enjoy it. It makes the creative times that much more intense and precious.
So there. I’m sure I’ll think of more later, but I these are probably the most important things I can think I’ve learnt in the past 2 years.
I dusted this off of the old Ivrea archives and thought of posting it as the plethora of mapping services and geo locative stuff these days still doesn’t seem to have addressed some of the thoughts that Didier and I were having over the spring of 2005.
The idea was simple: if you’re a tourist, you want to build your own map of the city based on your experience and the experiences of people you’re more likely to agree with. Who are those people? Maybe they’re friends, but most likely they’re strangers…how old are they? I’m probably less likely to agree with what a 20 year old finds cool in terms of restaurants than someone in their 30s. Are there any cool events in town that people have taken pics of? What is near me? What is far away? How could I be excited about seeing something based on random pictures taken today or yesterday? What do people mean when they mean Soho or Greenwich? What are the limits of that space? Can I build my own map? My own experience?
Of course at the time, we thought you’d have a “tag” in different venues that would have signed up to a listing service and for each place I tagged, I’d simply swipe my card over this tag….all thoughts rendered useless with the iPhone. The rest are still a set of ideas that are valid and I hope someone explores them further.
PS: All design was made by Didier Hilhost, CSS guru extraordinaire, I worked on the concept idea and wireframes.