Webreakstuff blog

Heading out to (and sponsoring) UX-LX Lisbon

Being a team of user experience enthusiasts, we were extremely excited when we got word of Ux-Lx, a user experience conference, in Lisbon, organized by one of our friends. We got even more excited when we saw the line-up. People like Pete Merholz of Adaptive Path, Jared Spool, Dan Saffer, Luke Wroblewski or Manuel Lima are always inspiring individuals, so a chance to see them all (and get back in touch with a few of them) isn’t an opportunity we’d easily miss – so we’re not missing it at all.

We’re bringing the whole team to Lisbon for three days packed with great talks and what we hope awesome inspiring conversations. And we’re not only bringing everyone down, we’re also – through our project management and online collaboration app, Goplan – sponsoring the event. We’re giving everyone attending the conference 6 months free of Goplan’s professional plan – which we believe will make a few people quite happy. It’s a great way to give back to a community we love, and to hopefully get feedback from likeminded individuals.

We do hope to see you at the conference, and if you’re not attending, we hope you’ll keep an eye on our blog as we’re planning on some really exciting ways to cover what’s being said on the event. Cheers!

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Notes for week #239

You’ll notice this post is a few days late. New years got in the way of a timely post, but I believe the material herein makes up for it.

This was a slow but important week. 2009 is done – it’s funny how time flies. The office stood still as we gathered with families, friends to celebrate the new year. Ourselves, we’re concentrating on 2010 – it’s going to be an important, career (and company) defining year.

Important decisions were made. As I briefly mentioned last week, we have always struggled with the question of whether to focus on our products (which we love) or to help other people with their own through consulting (which we also love to do). We’ve reached a conclusion, we’re happy with our decision and we’re sticking with it.

The decision is to do both, but with a twist: we’re taking a very limited number of consulting projects each year from now on – we’re thinking of about 4. This is the best of both worlds. When we’re consulting, we’re inspiring and getting inspired by other people. When we’re working for ourselves, we’re reinventing our ideas and hopefully building special products that you can use.

I wonder (and the others do too) how clients will receive the idea of us only doing a limited number of projects. We want to make the best out of the time we dedicate to other people. We want to be completely passionate about it, so four projects seems like the sweet spot. We’ll see how it goes.

If we have one new year resolution, it is to bring passion back to our business. If you want to work with us (or to have us work for you) in 2010, get in touch – we’ll try to help. Thank you, and happy new year!

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Notes for week #238

It being christmas, the office has been a little slow. Planning the future seems to be on everyone’s mind these days – future being the year of 2010, now desperately close. Time doesn’t necessarily slow down (it just bends slightly).

The question of whether we should keep building products and providing consulting services or just focusing on our apps keeps coming back (it did again when we went out to the Google dinner last week), and we often debate where we should go. We love building products and we love talking to other people about their ideas – and making those a reality whenever possible. If I may be allowed the exercise of predicting 2010, I’d say we’re going to try and balance the two (consulting and products) again. Still, the whole team is excited about Goplan‘s growing numbers, so there’s at least a tendency to expand in that area – we have a few things lined up.

I’ve been dividing my time between designing the experience for Goplan‘s mobile app and writing a series of articles that I hope to be able to talk about and publish soon. Finding more time to read (a list of what I’ve been reading is on my blog) and write has been a blessing. Inspiration is on a local high (it seems like the all time high is hard to beat) and ideas are popping up all the time. Exciting, no doubt.

We’ve had a friend over working with Tiago from the office for a few days which is always great. Being fans and advocates of co-working, we encourage our friends to show up at any time. There’s extra chairs and desks (heck, even monitors), so feel free to join us if nearby. We’re usually in the office until late hours (or early, depending on what 7am is in your bio-clock), so showing up at night is quite acceptable – bring pizza, we have the beverages.

You’ll hear more from our weekly updates in 2010. Have fun on the 31st – it’s the last day of the decade, and we don’t get a lot of those.

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Notes for week #237

Matt Webb of BERG (formerly Schulze & Webb) has been documenting the weekly life of their studio and ever since they got started, I’ve been meaning to do it myself. We’re starting these weekly notes hoping it will bring clarity to the way we work and think at WBS. At the very least, it is a good way to have ourselves reflect on the things we’re doing. We start at week 237, only two weeks left in 2009[1].

This has clearly been lecture week. Both me and Tiago have given presentations in different days. Similar subjects, however. We both talked about the experience of running a studio/company to students (and hopefully soon to be entrepreneurs). It was the fourth time I gave this particular “Lessons Learned” talk – and, I believe, also the last (not for any particular reason, I just think I’m putting the subject aside for a while to mull it over for another year). It was – as it always is – a gratifying experience, however. I’m sure I’ll cover most these lessons in greater detail in upcoming weekly notes, however.

We’ve been talking about which conferences to attend next year – we’ve always believed conferences were the perfect environment to generate new ideas, establish new relationships with equal-minded companies/individuals, and possibly above all, a good time away from the day to day work (in our case, of building apps). We’re definitely heading out to UxLx (which stands for User Experience Lisbon), and are considering Lift and Reboot (at the least). Having spoken at Reboot, I’ve always considered it one of my favorite conferences today – I can’t wait for its time to finally come again this year.

Google Portugal organized a dinner/get together for developers in Lisbon so we made our way down. Turns out they were talking iGoogle while our minds (and those of others attending) were set on other topics. It’s always good to take a breather and share pizza with other startups, however.

Work-wise, we’re very much focused on Goplan. We’re seeing usage momentum and things are steady, so we’re starting to implement things that have long been in our users’ wishlists. We’ll talk more extensively about what these things are post holidays, but we’re collectively excited about what’s coming. Growing a community pays off, particularly when you get emails thanking you for what you do, and we’ve been getting a few.

This is it for now – we all wish you happy holidays. Expect another weekly update soon (we’re hoping to start publishing these on Fridays – no promises).

[1]: It is quite a huge coincidence that we seem to be on the exact same week that BERG is on. The week of June 1st 2005 (when we first got together to start WBS) was most definitely a great week for science.

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