19 from 2019

An unordered list of things that made 2019 memorable for us.

Harry Keller
Dec 31, 2019 · 12 min read

2019 is almost over and what a whirl it’s been … I managed to cross all things off my to do list before Christmas, except one: the year-in-review post, which is a bit of a tradition (2016, 2017, 2018). So without further ado let’s take a look at 19 things that happened with diesdas.digital in our fourth year in business.

1. Our team has grown, again

In 2019 a total of eight people joined us as full-time employees or interns:

Welcome Felix (dev), Leslie (dev), Swetlana (design), Maria (office mgmt), Kyrsten (dev), Jonathan (strategy), Erkal (dev) and Maja (dev).

We said good-bye to three people: Priyanka, thank you for everything you brought to the company over the past two years and all the best in Munich! Giulia, we can’t wait to see your photos from Sri Lanka! Dovilė, rock on at your new company (can we name it already?)!

2. Becoming a partly distributed team

Then Sev left for the UK … and things have been going surprisingly smooth since then. Of course this change came with a few hiccups, but overall the transition to a partly distributed team was pretty painless, including a few hilarious moments like this remote lunch:

Everyone watching Sev enjoying a full English.

Step by step we’re still making our processes more asynchronous (which is what this is really about), but so far it’s going very well and we firmly believe that this benefits everyone, not just Sev who now enjoys living by the sea. 🌊

3. More flexibility for everyone: unlimited home office + workations

Also new: workations, meaning you can extend your holidays and work from a remote place or visit e.g. your parents and work from there. Lots of people made use of that, e.g. in this meeting, which had participants in the UK, Germany (office and at home), in Switzerland and in Turkey.

One more picture: Nicolás on workation. Goes without saying that everyone in grey-winter-Berlin was quite jealous.

4. New office … sort of

So we decided to double our space and got another floor in the same building:

Now our team was sitting on two floors and everyone could breathe again. But a few months later we also felt a bit lonely and detached, so we moved back in with each other:

So we’ve come full circle and in the end most people preferred our initial setup. Odd.

5. We hosted many meetups

First edition at our office, the second one happened at WeWork.

Which is a nice segway into the next point …

6. We founded an AI community

7. We released some tools

A definitely not staged photo of Jonathan and Dani filling out the Vision Implementation Canvas™.

8. Figma for design, Notion for organising information

We even build most presentations in Figma these days and a lot of non-designers are picking up Figma skills as well.

The other noteworthy change is that the whole company is running on Notion now: From project backlogs, to meeting agendas + notes, to organizing our internal processes like feedback talks, Notion is the one tool to rule them all. It’s not perfect, but we set up extensive templates for many workflows and it’s fantastic to have everything in one place. Now if only it had a good search to actually find things again … 🙃

9. Our book club is still going strong

For those who don’t know: We’ve been running a book club for years now. In 2019 we read the following books:

  • “Why we sleep” by Matthew Walker
  • “Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
  • “Invisible Women” by Caroline Criado Perez
  • “Shikasta” by Doris Lessing
  • “How to do Nothing” by Jenny Odell
  • “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

Usually between four and ten people show up and I always look forward to these evenings.

10. Better mentoring and software engineering education

One of the best portraits I shot this year. 👨‍🏫

11. Someone threw a brick through our window

12. Our “My Country Talks” project had a great year

ZEIT ONLINE’s editor in chief, Jochen Wegner, even gave a TED talk about it:

More to come next year! 👀

13. “Alexa, say hello to Google Assistant”

We’ll have a proper blog post on our findings and about what we launched soon. 🤞

Speaking of new tech: I am often working in VR now, using an Oculus Quest with the Immersed app. It works surprisingly well for intensely focused sessions. The f̵u̵t̵u̵r̵e̵ present is weird. 👀

14. A quite different Christmas party

We painted a classroom in a school …
… played board games with the elderly …
… collected trash in the neigbourhood …
… sorted donated clothes and cooked soup for homeless people.

This ended up being a very emotional and also quite challenging afternoon. All of us agreed that we’ll have to do this again.

15. Striking for the climate!

“Are you some kind of bar serving fancy cocktails?”

We’re also limiting our own greenhouse gas emissions where possible, e.g. almost always taking the train over flying.

16. Teaching in Lemgo

17. Old friends continuing to work with us …

Launching something under an NDA.

18. … and also new clients coming aboard

19. Finally: Why you haven’t heard much from us this year

There would be so much more to talk about, like our office parties:

Or Lars enacting Death Stranding without even knowing the game:

Our attempts to start a podcast or how we did a workshop about agile methods with the whole team:

Or this mad prototype:

Or whatever is happening in this photo:

Or when we picked the best N64 game:

Spoiler: It’s Paper Mario.

Or the many evenings spent at the Elephant:

… and how I was never there, not even a single time. 😅

Or how FaceApp became incredibly popular for a total of two days:

Or Felix doing his best impression of Konrad Zuse outside our office:

Or our internal meetup when we learned about everyone’s backgrounds before they came into design and tech:

Or this one odd lunch when McDonalds launched their vegan burger and everyone wanted to try it:

We haven’t been back since.

Or how Pino was in the office much more often and how that brightened the mood every time:

Or that day we awkwardly tested fancy lighting strips in the bathroom:

BUT this post is already way too long and you’re probably exhausted and want to go back to whatever you were doing before—so I’ll end this trip down memory lane right here.

2019 is a wrap!

diesdas.digital is a studio for strategy, design and code in Berlin, featuring a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and strategists. We create tailor-made digital solutions with an agile mindset and a smile on our faces. Let’s work together!

Curious to learn more? We’re also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and we highly recommend our Tumblr. You could also subscribe to this publication to get notified when new posts are published! That’s all. Over & out! 🛰

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