To prep for our upcoming Factory Week on July 29 – August 2, we made sticky note clusters of our project ideas.Read More
Due to tons of issues with Posterous yesterday & today, we've moved our posting back to the SmallBox blog. Keep up with Factory Week developments here: http://blog.smallboxweb.com/category/factory-week-2/
Good questions are worth more than their weight in gold. Last night, I couldn't sleep, thinking about whether people are inherently good question askers, or if it's a skill that can be learned. (I hope to write about this more at a later time - drop me a line via email or tweet if you have amazing question-asking tips for the sharing).
I got started down this path thanks to our biz coach CJ, an expert question-asker. He had this good one for us.
My response: setting the time aside to be here in the first place. We believe any company can do this. You just first must make space for it.
Some days the words just flow. Wish us luck that this day is one of those. We have a heap of content to write and edit for our site relaunch. Good thing we have a team of trusty wordslingers up for this challenge.
We are using our content gathering tool, Wrangle, to prep our text and imagery. At a glance we can tell who is assigned what, what's been done, what's left to do, and what's MAJORLY overdue.
Funny joke, Jason Ward, giving us a deadline of 1969. I better get to content-ing...
(Rob Peoni is the new Musical Family Tree intern, and he'll be checking in during his first Factory Week experience.)
Musical Family Tree tends to take a back seat to the various Small Box projects that serve as the central focus of Factory Week. Jon and I will spend the bulk of the week digging through the Small Box blog archive to prep the content for transfer to our new website. As a result, I spent a bit of time writing for MFT over the weekend in anticipation of the coming time crunch.
Today's post covered the recent addition of Bloomington surf rock trio Triptides to the MFT Archive. The band was kind enough to allow MFT to stream 4 of its releases. The slice of summer is a welcome respite during Indy's chilly winter months. MFT readers should also scope our post (http://www.musicalfamilytree.net/profiles/blogs/indy-concert-preview-1-28-2-1) previewing a trio of worthwhile Indianapolis concerts this week. All three shows will feature some MFT favorites.
Check out the MFT feature: http://www.musicalfamilytree.net/profiles/blogs/new-music-triptides
And listen to Triptides: http://www.musicalfamilytree.com/band/triptides
Day one of Factory Week at the Speak Easy is now complete, and while SmallBoxers begin to put away the styluses, roll up the charging cords, and flip up the hoods on their snazzy new t-shirts, the ideas just keep on rolling.
Today in the Speak Easy, teams collaborated and developed SmallBox projects, taking time laugh, innovate, and cheer for forward progress. Throughout the day, Mayowa crafted photographs of the group, team members had the pleasure of conducting interviews (no pressure!), the design team worked steadfastly on new layouts, development ensued, and further community involvement was planned.
Working upstairs at the Speak Easy provided a great environment for SmallBox collaboration. Fresh environment, fresh ideas. Higher altitude, higher thinking. Creative space, creative eyes. Overall, the Speak Easy is a stimulating space that will be utilized to invigorate and challenge the eager SmallBox team tomorrow and throughout the rest of the week.
Day one? Check.
Day two? Bring it on.
SmallBoxers love non-profits and charitable groups. We love to volunteer and give our time (and even money!) free of charge to great organizations. It makes us tick. It’s our cat’s meow, bee’s knees, the pea to our pod and so many other excellent idioms that express love, excitement, and compatibility. We know which organizations we love, now we want to know who you love! Let us know (and send a fun pun or idiom our way too)---tweet @factoryweek!
Brainstorming has hit thunderous levels in the Speak Easy's upper deck. Leigh & Sarah were working on what at first seemed a simple addition to the new team bios: questions whose answer could be depicted by a SmallBox-designed icon or avatar.
Sounds easy enough, until you consider that:
- We don't have endless time for endless icons this week (a Sisyphean task...)
- Questions with a set number of answers can often come off as rote or boring...
We hit on some good options revolving around beverages, transportation modes, public places, instruments, and more...but maybe you have a better question. What question would you ask a SmallBoxer, or anyone else, that could be depicted visually and give you a better overall feel for a-person-on-the-Net? Tweet your questions to @factoryweek!
While not quite as coordinated as Beijing, we kicked off Factory Week 2013 with a rapid filling of the 50-ft. project whiteboard. As coffee steamed from cups under the Speak Easy's gray skylight, there was a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement–kind of like picking teams in the playground, except here, everyone is chosen first for some niche or another.
I'm always impressed by the immediacy of the SmallBox team stepping up and owning their projects from Day One, Hour One. After we reached the end of the list (we almost needed a 4th whiteboard...), teams split off to begin going over responsibilities, leaving no stone...er, project, unturned. Check out the complete list here.
This morning we had our first divide and conquer. It's become our habit to whiteboard our project list at the start of each Factory Week. Kasey and Abby got us all set up:
Each project has a lead, a mini-team and a vision established. I think I've said this at the start of each Factory Week, but MAN. We have or work cut out for us this go 'round.
Our over-arching focus is our own website and branding. But, we couldn't resist a variety of projects. We're building a collaborative toolkit, conducting a talent audit and designing our first ever Boxee Awards, an internal honor we'll use to celebrate the awesome work of individual 'Boxers. There are more - expect a full list soon.
Here's the team, gathering, planning out how to tackle this mega-project list:
Right now, the Speak Easy is a quiet hush, the sound of brains working, the whispers of quick decision-making. No time to waste. Is it really almost lunch time of day one?
Factory Week is finally here! And it wouldn't be Factory Week without having a t-shirt to mark the occasion.
This time, we decided to go long-sleeve hoodie with a side of sass. That's right: kickin' ass and takin' names. With all the rain in the forecast this week, seems like we made a wise choice on the hoods.Designed by our own Neil Kjeldsen and sourced via our pals Brandtopia (see them for shirts and all sorts of swag).
And this time around Factory Week will be spanning two months! But don't worry, that's only a technicality. We'll be kicking off the Winter '13 Edition on Monday, Jan. 28 and finishing up that Friday, Feb. 1.
We haven't fully chosen our list of projects, yet, but we will go ahead and reveal one very exciting project in the lineup: wrapping up the design and development of our new website!
As the new year approaches, stay tuned for more Winter '13 Factory Week details.
Changes are afoot at the SmallBox office! With everyone working at the Speak Easy this week, Emily and I - and of course, the helpful Ramona - are taking the opportunity to change, update, and maintain a few things around the office. Why? The team will be looking to start fresh next week, and we're trying to prepare the office to accomodate that.
You might be wondering what kind of changes I'm talking about, so here's what you can expect:
- Cleanliness! Does anyone ever clean around here?
- Fresh paint! And not just in the new room.
- An awesomely re-decorated rooftop porch.
- Some organization. The teams are re-organizing, so why not the office, too?
- A little (literally) fun addition that we're choosing to keep quiet about and let people find on their own.
Keep your eyes peeled!
Factory Week is an important time for Musical Family Tree, because we get to focus more on “behind the scenes” projects that we’re developing. This time around, we focused on finalizing our website redesign with Jack Shepler. Without giving away too many secrets about what Jack is working on, I will say that it looks awesome and will change the entire dynamic of MFT as a website - probably even as an organization.
Here’s a sneak peek to give you a tiny taste of how the look and functionality of the site will be changing…
You may notice some new logo components in that photo, and we are excited to start unrolling the new logo designs that MFT will be integrating in coming months. We started the new logo process shortly after last Factory Week by asking Aaron Scamihorn, a respected local designer and artist, to help us develop some ideas for a logo update. Aaron tossed us a few preliminary designs, which we took to the MFT community for comments and opinions. We compiled all the feedback and had Aaron integrate some suggestions for round two.
Now we’re proud to announce that Aaron’s logos are even better than we could have imagined, and we hope MFT users will be pleased (or at least not angry, but hey, you can’t please everybody!). There will be several variations of the logo, each of which will serve a different purpose, but here’s an example that demonstrates some of the new design elements Aaron created…
In addition to website redesign, logo integration, and site development, MFT director Jon Rogers designed and organized new sponsorship products for partnering organizations and businesses. As a nonprofit dedicated to spreading Indiana music and helping to cultivate a sustainable local music scene, MFT will depend heavily on community involvement, sponsorships, and partnerships with other organizations. Go here to learn more about becoming a sponsor for MFT.So what’s next for MFT after Factory Week? Final mastering for our first vinyl release (“Nine Different Kinds of Gone: A Tribute To Kenny Childers"), an awesome cultural event we’re curating music for on Saturday, “EP in a Weekend” episode 2, a day-long "new music showcase" in early October, and even more greatness we aren’t quite ready to reveal at this point. It’s been a productive week, and we’re extremely excited about what’s coming for MFT in the second half of 2012!
SmallBox began sketching and wireframing Wrangle, our content gathering tool, during our first Factory Week. We're still adding features and testing it before it's ready for a full launch into the world. We are almost ready to bring a few investors on board to support the continued development and launch. To that end, Leigh is creating a slide deck to use in pitches.
One conversation we've been having this week is how can we keep refueling our creative fires? Factory Week is one way of course, but we can't always take a full week to recharge.Yesterday we took a break from all of our projects to watch the documentary, EAMES: The Architect and the Painter. Here's Jeb getting the movie set up:Watch the EAMES trailer:
It was a welcome respite from the intensity and deep thinking required for our projects. Watching Charles and Ray reinvent themselves and consistently deliver magic solutions was pretty inspiring and got us pumped to dig back into our projects.
Stuff like this has become essential to our team growth and culture. In May, we started a SmallBox Book Club, and plan to add movies into the mix going forward. We participate in conferences like SXSW as another way to refuel. We also discussed ideas like:
- taking individual creative sabbatical days
- going on afternoon field trips to cultural institutions, museums
- scheduling regular actitivities just for fun, like bowling or zip-lining
Does you your team have institutions you use to recharge?
But now we're back at it... as you can tell the upstairs at the Speakeasy appears to be "nerve central" for the work-inclined...
Yesterday we closed out the day with an awesome session with Jeb's business coach CJ. We worked through exercises to help us create our own personal mission or purpose statement and discussed habits that help in achieving goals.
One of the key exercises was thinking through what you want people to say about you during your eulogy. Pretty heavy and intense thought and conversations to have in a group setting. Delving into that weighty of an issue helps cut through to what really matters - a perfect set up to writing a purpose statement.CJ also coached us through determining our priorities with a 5 level point system and other habits to help us set and achieve goals.One CJ quote:
"Remove TRY from your vocabulary. It's a deadly word. Either do something or don't do something."
How many times has someone asked you to help with something, and instead of saying no when you know you can't really commit, you say, "I'll try." Do or don't do.In just a couple of short hours, the team walked away with long term personal and professional goals and drafts of our purpose statements. I'm glad we included this time for discovery and reflection amidst our other projects. Do tell: do you have a personal mission statement?
Tyler, Emily, and I took a quick break from the list of projects to pick up a gently-used table and chairs for the SmallBox rooftop. We made an office run, snagged the mail pile, and maneuvered the patio set successfully through the soon-to-be-refreshed "big room." While we might not use it this Thursday and Friday (forecasted highs in the triple digits), this looks like a relaxing spot for cooler afternoons...when the air-conditioning roar has quieted.
Gonna be another hot day at the Speak Easy... and we're ready to hit the ground runnin (wore my hot new kicks for the occassion!)
One of my personal projects is to develop an investor deck/presentation about our new content gathering tool - Wrangle. Several of our clients, and our team, have been using the tool for awhile - and LOVING it! While there are some things we'd love to tweak about the tool (in terms of functionality), we do think we have an extremely viable product and it's time to consider involving outside investors in order to be able to help us finalize the additional enhancements and get the product ready for a full-scale beta launch asap.