“Pastries, demons and what I learned at Matter”

johan-blog

Den här texten publicerades första gången på Matters blogg Super Matter i samband med att jag slutade där.

Johan Widerholm has played an instrumental role in forming Matter. As COO he has handled big accounts, created major strategies and, not least importantly, led the team towards greater professionalization.

Due to an offer he couldn’t refuse, the time has now come for Johan to leave us for the exciting position as Digital Strategist at SVT, the Swedish public service television company. But first, here’s the story of his years with us.

“During my three years at Matter we both have grown. Matter has become three times as large in number of employees, turnover and offices, and I have gone from being a communication strategist without experience of the advertising industry to become a COO, in swedish “vice vd”, leading major strategic projects.

Learning by googling

After having recently left the music venue Mejeriet as Program & Marketing Director in 2011, my first assignment for Matter was E.ONs Sweden’s Largest Energy Experiment. The feeling of coming from the DIY culture of the music business to one of Sweden’s largest utility companies and their prominent agencies was both exciting and scary.

At meetings I drew a vertical line in the margin of my notebook and filled the column with titles and names of people and concepts that I googled, if not during, then after the meeting. I learned what CTO and native advertising means and who Joe Pulizzi and Filip Nilsson are.

Growing by leadership

As Matter grew I became a part of the management team and later COO. For me, leadership is largely about creating the right conditions for the team, whether it is about time, competence or just coffee and vegan pastries. The right conditions allow one to have fun at work, making it a lot easier to do a good job.

I have had the chance to try my leadership together with my colleagues and I learned a lot. I am very grateful for that. Of course there has been bumps along the road, especially the physical distance between me in Malmö and the teams in Göteborg and Stockholm has sometimes been hard to bridge.

Professionalization by organizing

As Matter developed, the need of professionalization of both the company and me increased. Inside me there is a demon that demands structure and efficiency. Despite our daily battles it has contributed in the process of creating routines and control which has helped me handle tight project plans and has given some structure to today’s organization of Matter.

An important part of our progress are the Matter Days that I have led, together with our CEO, Mathias. It is our constantly ongoing internal conference where much of the Matter we see today has been built. It’s partly knowledge sharing to grow the collective brain and partly working together on issues such as roles, culture, clients and organization. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished together during those days.

I am now leaving a company that has a grown a lot, but is also well equipped and structured to take on the challenges ahead. The only thing that remains for me is to take a bow and say thank you to all colleagues, clients and partners for the time we’ve spent together. It is you all, that made ​​me grow.

And one last thing, below are three tips on how to restrain the demon of efficiency. If you use any of it, do it with caution, or the risk is that you may be perceived as excessively structured. Remember the fun.

Johan Widerholm


3 tools to restrain the demon

Much of what I do to restrain my demon is based on stuff I’ve taken from theories as Getting Things Done to focus on the right things, Zero Inboxing to handle my emails, Scrum and LEAN to organize etc.

1. Notification off

I have turned most of my notifications off: sounds, flashes, red icons etc. Instead I check the channels I use (mail, Skype, Twitter etc.) when I am between tasks. By turning them off I get more focused in my process and I don’t get disturbed by others that need my attention. Disruptions often delay processes since you need to find your way back to the focus you just had. And it is almost never as urgent as it seems.

2. Zero inbox

I strive to keep my inbox empty. I check my mail as few times as possible during the day (remember, no notifications!), sometimes as little as three times. Mails that can be answered very quickly is answered and mails that neither needs an answer nor action is archived. Mails that calls for an answer and/or an action is made into a tasks and put in a list in the Wunderlist-app.

3. Lists and calendars

I got three lists in Wunderlist to keep track on what to do and my priorities it is. One of them is just for the present day to keep it clear from tasks that is not on a tight schedule but could easier be dealt with. It minimizes the risk that I handle them instead of the hard task that really needs my attention. To make sure I got the time to take care of todays tasks I estimate the time they will take and I schedule them in my Google Calendar. Most tasks take more time than considered and coffee breaks are well needed.

DSCF2596-131229-cuba-webb

Mina bilder av Kuba

Till slut fick jag i väg min första fotobok till tryckeriet. Det är bilderna från Kuba i vintras som äntligen blev sorterade, redigerade och samlade. (Längst ned går det att bläddra i boken.)

De flesta är tagna i Havanna där vi bodde hos vår vän Hamlets föräldrar, Catalina och Roberto. Catalina jobbar på Casa de la Musica och Roberto är tidigare säkerhetsvakt till Castro och har även vaktat Jimmy Carter under hans besök på Kuba. Nu bor de i stadsdelen Vedado som påminner mig om ett mer slitet Los Angeles.

Det här resan hade jag väntat länge på. Kanske 20 år. Jag trodde jag skulle ha lärt mig spanska innan jag åkte. Det blev inte så. Det hade säkert hjälpt, men i det stora hela spelar det inte så stor roll. Det finns så mycket annat att förstå.

DSCF2596-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2602-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2500-131228-cuba-webb

DSCF3159-131231-cuba-webb

DSCF3277-140101-cuba-webb

DSCF3041-131231-cuba-webb

DSCF3033-131231-cuba-webb

DSCF2626-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2636-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2657-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2660-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2693-131229-cuba-webb

DSCF2711-131230-cuba-webb

DSCF3143-131231-cuba-webb

DSCF3100-131231-cuba-webb

DSCF3191-140101-cuba-webb

DSCF3373-140102-cuba-webb

DSCF3763-140111-cuba-webb

DSCF3767-140111-cuba-webb

DSCF3705-140111-cuba-webb

DSCF3874-140112-cuba-webb

DSCF5219-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-feat

Svartvita bilder från street-tävlingen Back to Värnhem

Åtta bilder från street-tävlingen Back to Värnhem i helgen. Tagna med Fujifilm x100s och redigerade i Lightroom med hjälp av VSCO Fuji Neopan 400.

DSCF5219-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF4889-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF5134-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF5047-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF5074-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF5110-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF4864-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

DSCF5170-140530-DSCF5170-140530-SkateBackToVarnhem-HiCon-webb

Idén till bilderna kom förra veckan när jag såg den senaste delen i Leicas serie om skatefotografer, Let us Roam. Den här gången om Atiba Jefferson:

Jag fastnade särskilt för bilden nedan. Jag gillar hur tricket är i centrum och det som allas blickar riktas mot, men att det ändå är mot publiken som min egen blick dras.

stopmotion-skate-feat

En kväll med stop motion och skejtare i miniatyr

Det blåser så att det viner i takfönstret och kidsen skjuter överblivna smällare på gården. Jag stannar inne och leker med mina gröna miniskejtare i stället. Mitt tålamod räckte till en kort kort film.

Fotat med Nikon D3100, animerat i Photoshop och sammanfogat i iMovie. Figurerna kommer från Toyboarders.

Behind the scenes, from Instagram:

solitaire-feat

En fysisk version av en digital version av en fysisk version

Det finns digitala spel som framförallt tillhör en tid då den största fördelen med datorns gränssnitt var att man slapp blanda kortleken mellan varje omgång. Solitaire för Windows 98 är ett sådant.

Jag gillar tanken på att när Alfapet, Trivial Pursuit och Pictionary flyttar in i mobilen blandar Evan Roth leken genom att återta den fysiska formen av Solitaire men behålla den digitala formgivningen, ursprungligen framtagen av Susan Kare (som för övrigt även ligger bakom den glada Macen som mötte 90-talets Apple-användare i datorns uppstartsekvens).

Evan Roth är interaktionsdesigner i grunden men är i dag mest känd för sin konst där han på olika sätt drar nytta av, och bidrar till hackerkulturen och opensource-rörelsen.

Kortleken tillverkades och såldes i 500 ex. för the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, men är tyvärr slutsåld.

I november pratade Evan Roth för TEDx om gränslandet hacking/konstnärskap, unintended use och playful cleverness. Från Sorbonne i Paris, där han bor. Sevärt.