Taking an hour for lunch isn’t easy at the best of times. I try, we all do. Hell, (1000heads creative director) Robbie Dale and I have been trying to schedule a weekly lunchtime catch up for nearly two years now – it’s shocking how this meeting is hardly ever kept. However, the promise of it being there week in, week out at least makes us try to keep it…
Something new is required, a weekly focal point of something where I deliberately take myself away from the office (where possible) and attempt to build something new. Be it a new piece of writing or a new photography effort; the fourth day of the working week – the lunch break at least – is where I’m going to do it.
About six or seven weeks ago now, I said a sad goodbye and a fond farewell to Mobile Industry Review (MIR). My weekly column ‘Whatley Wednesday’ was at an end and the team’s online video counterpart, The MIR Show, was no more.
Post closure, Ewan kindly gave me an export of all my prior MIR work, which you can now find in the newly created Whatley Wednesday category on the right hand side of this page. Please feel free to browse at your leisure, there are some pieces in there that I am deeply proud of and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to preserve them.
Even still, I was left wondering where my mobile content was supposed to go. I’ve long maintained that I have three main streams of blogging output:
With one of those streams now closed, I wasn’t sure what to do. I could’ve started putting the content here, but I didn’t want to alienate any of my readers. I wasn’t sure you’d appreciate it to be honest. This blog isn’t about mobile news, views and opinion. It’s about – for me at least – starting interesting conversations.
The real question was; ‘what to do next?’ and, well ‘start something new’ was the immediate answer.
When it came to restarting Whatley Wednesday, I took up Rafe Blandford on his offer to write a piece for leading mobile site All About Symbian (AAS). Entitled ‘Should Gravity come down?’ the piece questioned the price of a particular Nokia Symbian app and on top of that, Nokia apps in general.
Hand on heart there were a few opportunities like the one above from Rafe, and originally I had planned to accept them all. Not out of greed or ego; I merely felt a certain sense of displacement or maybe homelessness. I figured that Whatley Wednesday could become a travelling road show of sorts (for want of a better comparison), each week resurfacing on a different publication and taking on a different subject matter.
That was the plan anyway.
However, in the furore surrounding my debut on AAS (seriously, check out the comments – all 67 of them), I questioned the validity of this idea and, when it came to writing up some thoughts about the incoming Nokia N97, I went against my instincts and published them here.
It was at this point that I realised that I needed my own mobile channel, something that I had (at least in part) ownership of and somewhere that I wouldn’t have to apologise for my own opinion. It turned out that I wouldn’t have to wait for long, as in the background, work had already begun on what was at that time only referred to as: ‘Secret Project X’.
So it was, the day after MIR announced its closure, and under the cover of darkness, three men met somewhere along London’s South Bank.
In a coffee shop not far from Hungerford Bridge – EAT I think it was, to be precise – Ben Smith, Dan Lane and I sat down to work out what our next steps were.
What I initially had pencilled in as a rather macabre and somewhat gruesome post-mortem turned very quickly into the conception of a new idea.
The general consensus was that we could rant and rave about how annoyed we all were, or, spend what little time we had planning our next moves.
It was unanimous.
We were going to build something new, really soon.
In the days and weeks that followed that fateful night, emails were exchanged, further meetings were had and plans were made. Further to that, a rough go-live schedule was put in place.
Potential additional contributors from the old team; Samantha Kidd, Ricky Chotai and Jonathan Jensen were asked along too – all of whom were immensely forthcoming with their support and immediately signed on.
On a late night conference call with the rest of the team, the members of Secret Project X finally agreed on a name.
That name was…
The Really Mobile Project
Interestingly, with a new moniker came too a new sense of direction and purpose.
Dan Lane pulled together some of our old MIR footage and excelled himself by putting together a rather awesome trailer. This short video (embedded above), which we made live one week after launching The Really Mobile Project (TRMP) holding page, was shared with the sole purpose of letting people know that no, this wasn’t the end and yes, we would be back.
Even more meetings followed, yet more emails were exchanged and TRMP was coming. By the time we put the trailer out, we’d pretty much made a promise that we intended to keep. Thing is, it turned out to be a lot harder than we first thought.
Building a site?
Gaining access to high quality equipment?
Finding the time to get all members of the team together to film content?
All of these things proved to be less than easy.
Two days before filming was due to kick off, the whole project was put on hold. The equipment wasn’t good enough, the site wasn’t right and on top of that, we had no content.
From the off we had all agreed that whatever it was that we ended up producing, it would be high quality. Our work at MIR had set the bar high and we knew that at the very minimum, we had to match it.
As any decent advisor will tell you; if you over promise and under deliver, failure will greet you with open arms.
So we took a step back and regrouped. What would we REALLY need to do to make this as good as we wanted it?
The project plan was re-written, a wiki was created, and tangible steps were taken to ensure that creating a quality site with even better output would be a nigh-on guarantee.
Now, at long last, we finally have our own place on the web to talk mobile.
One of the things we noticed during our time in the wilderness was just how strong, passionate and caring the mobile community is. Keeping that firmly in mind, we established that from day one ‘Really Mobile’ would be about the conversation.
It’s the community that makes a site, so we want our readers and viewers to feel a part of something. 2009 is the year of conversation after all, right?
I’ve talked long enough and if you’ve made it this far, you have my thanks.
All I have left to say is this; if you follow me because you’re mad about mobile then please, get yourself over to The Really Mobile Project today.
It’s new, we’re still making changes and fixing bugs, but it’s out there.