My granddad used to have a small museum next to his house. We could make tin soldiers there. But he also had a big collection of diorama’s. Everything from cavemen to Napoleon at Waterloo and Willem van Oranje being assassinated. When I showed even the faintest of interest in history he’d bring me books about the subject my next birthday. Geert Mak’s excellent book “In Europe” rekindled my interest in history and so I couldn’t have been more excited when I was asked to work on a project about historic sites and museums about the era from 1568 to 1672. The 80-year war with Spain and Louis XIV attempt to annihilate the Netherlands.
The Grensland Vestingland project’s aim is to tell people about all the different places people can visit in the north of the Netherlands and the northeast of Germany. The site where the Battle of Heiligerlee was fought. The excellent Bourtange Fortress that was rebuilt and so on.
I have brought together a team of excellent talent from all over the Netherlands to make it happen. Studio05 from Amsterdam for the creation of some unique visuals and video. Daniel Thomassen (also from Amsterdam) for the conception of a unique “Bommen Berend” historical design toy. Freed from Surhuisterveen for creating an app and Reinout Tiekstra for some pixelpushing extraordinaire. All the different elements are coming together by now and before the end of the year there’ll be a map, a poster, designer toys and a website.
Some time ago I stumbled onto the book “50 succesmodellen” (or “the change book” in English) by Michael Krogerus. It’s a tiny little book filled with ideas, frameworks and models. Boy, that sounds boring. It ranges in topics from “Recognizing winners” to “What does your circle of friends say about you”. The most helpful one I found is the Result Optimisation model. YAWN!
Yes, they should have named it differently. How about: the-three-strikes-you’re-done-method?
The idea is simple. If you’d get a month for a project, you’d normally work towards one end result within that month. The radical thing here is: don’t do it once, do it three times. Divide your month in three periods of ten days and work towards an end result each period. The first time you have a go at it, it will be quick and dirty. But the second time round you’ll have a pretty good idea about what you need to know and do for this project. The third and final time you work on it, you’ll have previous ideas to build on and a little experience.
Now I’ve been preaching this to my students without necessarily practicing it myself. But I found out in two recent projects how much it would have helped to use this technique. So I hereby solemnly swear to do so in future projects.
Every semester I get the pleasure of a new group of students to help and collaborate with. We call this team Cousteau. These explorers get to know each other on a field trip. We’ve been to Berlin, Paris and Leuven but this year we’ve been at nearby Dwingeloo. In a couple of houses at the edge of a forest. In april we each wrote a song (yes, including me) and last week we did everything ‘epic’ so we could create a fantastic aftermovie. Here’s the result of both trips.
Bright 54 is out and I am proud to say there’s not 1, not 2, but 3 items written by me. Four of the best concept cars from the IAA car show are featured in all their glorious detail. My Tokyo visit has resulted in a story about the next Playstation. #4. How does it actually differ from the new Xbox one? The specs are a lot alike, the culture it was born and bred in isn’t. And of course there’s a spotlight on a car in the cockpit section: the Porsche Panamera Plugin Hybrid. Marije Kuiper and me had at least one sleepless night each about the idea for the photography. So let me know if it was worth it. You can pick a copy up tonight at Bright Night (Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam) or buy one next week in stores.
Quite a while back I sat at a table looking at A4 copies of leaflets that were passed out at sales pitches. They had a nice ’90′s charm, but according to my client they were not the ideal tool to help with sales. So we sat down and discussed who their clients were, what their sales pitches were like and what their product consisted of. It took us a lot of time and debate to simplify our ideas. But last week Sander Tiekstra and me had the privilege to unveil the finalized product to our client Royal Haskoning DHV. It’s a sales tool that works on an ipad and in any browser. We feel it’s a great talking piece during a sales pitch.
Bright #53 is out and will be in stores from next week. Guest editor Alexander Klöpping wrote about YouTube schooling (Buro Rust made some fantastic illustrations). I wrote about a scale 1:1 self build car, the Toyota Camatte. In the cockpit feature of the magazine I compare the Le Mans accident the resulted in the death of Allan Simonsen to the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding in 1986. Go buy it in your local Albert Heijn next week or order online.
The first version of 3000 minutes went live some time ago. It worked quickly, contained a lot of valuable and funny content and looked good. Customer feedback suggested we could win a few points on the intuitiveness of the website. So Reinout Tiekstra overhauled the design and Arjen de Vries (das Blitz) and Michiel Bodewes (in orde) rewrote some of the code. The new 2.0 version is virtually foolproof. Which means that even if you’re not that smart: you’ll be able to use it. Especially with the intro and instruction video by Laurieke Kooijman and Maurits van der Boon (Ritz Cinemaworks).
So dig in: click around for some of the great tips that Groningen insiders can give you and make your own weekend timeline.
Guess what just fell on my doormatt? Bright issue #52. And I wrote my biggest article so far for it; Some modern cars are able to drive themselves. But do we want them to? And does the law allow it? 5 pages on autonomous driving and a serious disclaimer! But that’s not all: I wrote about the wonderful Tesla Model S as well. Milan Vermeulen shot the photos with the assistance of Willem Jan Keddeman. And of course there’s more than just “Rutger Middendorp Genuine Product”. A nice photo serie on AirBnB homes. Mars One gets some love and Laurent Chehere’s floating houses are featured. In a newsstand near you or available at Bright Store.
The first project of Jack + Stella and my biggest project of the year so far has gone live. 3000minuten.nl lets you select a tour guide that will show you lots of stuff you can do in one weekend in the city of Groningen. Don’t like a particular suggestion, swipe in something else. Michiel Bodewes (In Orde) and Arjen de Vries (Das Blitz) did a wonderful job building it. Mieke Lindeman made most of the photos. Ottelien Belzer helped me out with some of the content. In the upcoming weeks we’ll be tweaking the content and the interface. So let us know what you think.
Bright #51 is out. With an interesting and entertaining article on online shopping and what happens to returns. And believe it or not: three, drie, drei, tre articles by me. A short and sweet one with a big image of the LaFerrari to start off. The car featured in the cockpit section this month is Renault’s commendable Zoe. A micro Nissan Leaf with all the gadgets, but not the price tag. The story is about the car, but also the resistance the electric car faces from old school car journalists and well… most other people. Finding it hard to trade a little comfort for a substantially smaller CO2 footprint.
So not surprisingly I also wrote a piece that calculates how much tax reduction you can get when buying an electric vehicle. Fellow car journalist Tony Vos helped me out with photography for the Renault Zoe. Albert van Deel added some knowledge and calculations to the tax reduction piece. Thank you both!
When I was asked to write something for Soigneur magazine I was both thrilled and hesitant at the same time. The good thing: Soigneur is the most beautiful and interesting new magazine I had laid my eyes on in years. The bad thing: I know very little about cycling. Mercifully they were looking for an outsider and the story had to be about the design winning Canyon Speedmax CF bike. A bike that I had spotted a good year earlier in the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen and that had really caught my eye. So the angle was there and I got photographer Martijn and me a nice Jaguar XJ-L to get us across Germany in style and comfort. We spent the better part of a day at the store, factory and design center of Canyon to talk about the history of the company and the development of this fantastic looking bike. Now I am proud to say that my article finds itself laid out beautifully over 8 pages in Soigneur #3. So thank you Martijn & Martijn @ Soigneur for giving me this opportunity. You can buy Soigneur #3 or a subscription at the Soigneur Shop.
What would you advise someone to do over a weekend in your home town? If someone’s got 3000 minutes to spend, what shouldn’t he miss? What hidden treasures are on the must see list? At Jack & Stella, we came up with a facebook app that will advise visitors to Groningen on the many things to see and do. Frits Zernike, Stefan Nieuwenhuis and other freaks, geniuses and celebrities will suggest their 3000 Minutes of Groningen in the app.
And there’s joyous occasions to visit. The Hanzehogeschool Groningen is celebrating it’s 215th birthday this year. The University it’s 400the next year and the city itself it’s 975th birthday in 2015.
What is a must see according to you?