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Week 203

Posted by Keela on December 08, 2011


5:10pm. Standing guard.

This week…

Well, we got a new coffee maker. I broke the old one. It had it coming anyway, always dripping coffee everywhere when I try to pour a cup. The new one is shiny and brews a mean cup. I’m the only one who uses it…so happy early Christmas to me.

I’ve switched to the drip coffee maker from our regular nespresso machine. I attribute this to the volume of work. Large projects, big tasks and up-hill climbs call for a big pot of coffee, refilled every 40 minutes or so. It’s especially needed when editing. A proper cup of drip coffee is a must when editing a long paper, or Re:Vision Toolkit for that matter. Read a sentence, take a sip, read a paragraph…hold the cup and ponder. Coffee in one hand, pen in the other,  can’t edit a paper drinking espresso … you’d be wired with ink everywhere .… not red of course. I’ve learned that writers don’t really like red pen all over their work. It makes sense, I just never really thought about it being offensive. I use a green fine-tip sharpie…sometimes blue, although they do go through the page which is a drag.

Did you hear about the word of the year…it’s occupy, well so says Geoff Nunberg.

“The occupiers were romantics, holy fools, anarchists. Or they were an incoherent mob of dirty hippies — and with iPads, moreover. I make “dirty hippie” a strong candidate for comeback word of the year. It would have vanished from the language years ago if it hadn’t been kept on life support on South Park.” I’m right there with you Geoff, Dirty Hippie…comeback word.

Because it’s my last weeknote of 2011, I’d like to switch it up a bit. The end of the year is about reflection of the past 350 days or so, big events, milestones hit, new additions. So, I’d like to end with my Central highlights for 2011…

Best of List for Central 2011

1. Studio arrangement-We finally cracked how to arrange the studio, and it only took 5 NORDEN dining room tables and 7 EXPEDIT shelves.

2. Interns-We had two outstanding interns, Emma and Kathleen for our incubating client Re:Vision and now we have one of our very own, Maria, stellar researcher and all around smart cookie.

3. Squiggle T’s-flying off the shelves like hot cakes…well really given away like hotcakes in our attempt to establish some sort of Squiggle army. You all know who you are.

4. Linda the studio ninja-always 3 steps ahead of you, always smiling, always has cookies…sometimes the German ginger ones.

5. Our obsession with Tinkering Monkey and the new foam core rails that were installed yesterday. Now our 4’x8’ foam cores are 100% usable space, up from a measly 66%.

6. Cute Kitten Project Management-(compliments of Damien) in development. Let’s just say you better be pretty accurate with your projections or someone…or thing might get hurt.*

7. Alabamboo-2500 miles on a hand-made bamboo bike…we were just glad to be a part of their journey.

8. The Central Chicken compliments of Tom, our hot-blooded contractor.

9. Weightshift…and the “how fast can you launch a website project” see current website, or Central V1 or V2 for their past work.

10. Damien announcing he was giving up espresso…both times.

11. The Re:Vision Toolkit, always talked about never revealed…until now. It’s still in development, but things are coming along…thanks to the Cute Kitten Project Management tool. Coming soon to a Central shop near you.

Happy holidays to you all. See you in 2012.

*No animals were hurt in the writing of this post.


Week 22

Posted by Keela on August 05, 2011

I have no idea how it’s Friday already. I have no idea where the week went or how we are in the month of August. Our new intern, Kathleen, started this week. Well, she’s not really ours, she technically works for our client, but she sits in Suite 6 with the rest of the Central crew. So far she’s doing lots and lots of research, which I hope she likes. She seems too, but she’s also extremely polite so we probably wouldn’t know otherwise.

The Alabamboo team made it cross the finish line this past weekend. So, we helped throw a little party for them at the Bamboo Bike Studio on Post. It was great to hear about their journey and very cool to see all the people they brought together. It was also nice to see our buddies at Weightshift show up. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a face-to-face conversation with people that you talk to via e-mail more than 7 times a day. We had an interesting conversation about when startups aren’t startups any longer and those that truly stay indie vs. those in for the buyout. You can ponder your thoughts on that.

This week has been about juggling. Juggling different projects, different responsibilities and keeping the team moving forward, while still staying smart. It’s easy to push toward a hard and fast deadline, but you’ve got to make sure that you are keeping with the overall vision that you set out, not just trying to make it to the finish line. Sometimes this needs to be repeated aloud.

We’re continuing our collaboration with the teams from SOCAP, Fearless and COMMON this week. We’re hopefully going to pull off something pretty cool at the SOCAP event in September. We’re also learning more about the COMMON pitchclever people pitching bold ideas to change the world. I love it and can’t wait to hear how it went!

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails lately from soon-to-be graduates looking for jobs. We don’t really have anything posted out there as far as “help wanted” signs go, but they find us anyway and are all so specific about their interests in working at Central and they all live far away. We usually stick to a strict in-person interview process. The first test is finding the studio. The second is deciphering Damien’s British humour. Both are oftentimes impossible.

That’s it for today. Got to get back to… everything that is…on…my…desk.


Week 20

Posted by Keela on July 22, 2011

It’s Friday. I think everyone is very happy about that. It’s been a busy and productive week. Fridays we turn the music up just a little louder. And with the sun shining through the windows and Pandora sprinkling Beatles’ songs into my mix, it’s quite a nice ambiance in the studio. Except that it’s Emma’s last day. That’s a downer. We put an ad out a few months ago for “one of those interns we talk about for the next ten years, comparing every future incoming person to them” and she really fits that bill. She’s smart, funny and a joy to have around. She loves mobiles, so it’s only fitting on her last day that Google’s homepage was an ode to Alexander Calder’s 113th birthday, he’s the great inventor of mobile sculptures.

Outside of being bummed about the loss of a super-smart and comedic intern, things are going great, except we might be running out of space. Everyone has a desk, but the addition of another large-scale project will call for more tables and more foam core. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Jonathan isn’t here. He’s off to Seoul for a week. He cleaned his desk before he left, so not only is that corner of the studio ultra-tidy, but it’s quiet as well. It’s a little strange. He furiously cranked on the project before he left, mountains of research on his desk and piles of cookies. I’m not sure what he did with all those papers…and cookies for that matter.

I’ve been working with the Alabamboo team this week. They’re planning their arrival into the Bay Area, after biking well over 2500 miles. I get sporadic e-mails and phone calls when they have service. I applaud them for being able to not only bike across country, but blog, tweet, facebook and plan an event all at the same time. I’m looking forward to meeting them and hearing about their amazing journey.

There are a lot of proposals on my desk at the moment. Not necessarily currents ones, but olds ones that I am reading through to see what projects have been done and how they were structured. It’s interesting to see the wide range of work that was done at Central before I came here and even more interesting to see where we are going to go…hopefully that will include working with Architecture for Humanity in the near future.

So, it’s late on Friday now and I’ve still got quite a lot to do before I call it the end of the week. Soon, we’ll have more news to share and stuff to show. A thank you to Charlotte for driving over to see us this afternoon. She’s doing a Visualizing Science Fellowship at Yosemite this summer, you can check out her work here:

Speaking of driving, I’ve posted a pic of Emma’s ride. I’ll miss it almost as much as I’ll miss her.

So long…happy trails.