Ideas and Inspirations (1st of Many!)

As you can imagine I’m quite preoccupied with thinking about the future at the moment – in fact it is safe to say that any ‘cognitive surplus‘ I have is being pretty much used up in my efforts to find a new position as soon as possible in order to calm my jittery nerves!

One option that is always on the table is to strike out on my own or join up with one or two other people and set up my own company.

I did briefly try freelancing before and didn’t think I had the discipline for it and I certainly found the idea of pitching for new work problematic. I’m pretty sure I’d be better prepared for the second issue now but the first one might well remain a sticking point – finding time to do the admin and the other day-to-day tasks that are vital in making sure the business is a success never really appealed – I was (and am) more interested in the ‘work’. I do however have the inkling of a cunning plan if I was to go down this path.

So anyway I have spent a little bit of time looking around the web for inspiration of what niche I might aim for if I did strike out on my own. The web is a big, crowded place and it is difficult not to just blend in alongside everyone else and get lost in the crowd.

One of the things I still love about Jiva is the quote they have on their website from Albert Einstein;

If we knew what we were doing it wouldn’t be called research

Based on this idea two companies that never cease to impress me are BERG and Rattle and it is probably no coincidence that they have very similar ‘missions’:

Rattle do research and development around social technologies, producing strategies, prototypes and services for clients like the BBC, INQ, Umbro and Channel 4.


BERG is a design consultancy, working hands-on with companies to research and develop their technologies and strategy, primarily by finding opportunities in networks and physical things.

I really love the idea of being in at the early R&D end of things, coming up with interesting ways of approaching old problems. Most of the work I’ve been most proud of over the last couple of years has been at the prototype/proof of concept stage probably. That and the convincing the appropriate people of the worth of the social/open/data web. Also I’m particularly fond of the fact Rattle in particular always seem to be releasing small, little apps as proof of concepts (though very nicely done ones) and aren’t endlessly sitting on ideas before letting people play with them.

BERG are probably a bit high profile to use as inspiration but Rattle seem to have a model worth striving for. As for as I can tell they have a nice mix of client work, their own projects and pitches for things like 4iP funding which I guess is sort of a mix of the other two really. It seems to be a pretty small team as well and they are making it despite being outside of London which obviously always appeals to me!

I have met Frankie Roberto (who works for Rattle) a couple of times as he is a former colleague of Mikes and has been to both Bathcamps so maybe I should pick his brain one of these days about whether the reality is as good as it looks from outside.

This idea is obviously something I couldn’t do on my own anyway so it is more wishful thinking than anything but as I am currently in the business of keeping my spirits up I do like a little pointless speculation 🙂