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We're Streamtime, makers of project management software for the creative industry. We love design as much as you do and know that productivity and creativity aren't mutually exclusive.

Guide dogs for veterans

A great piece of work by Selmore Creative Agency for The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation.

While most people associate guide dogs with the visually impaired, this ad shows how trained dogs can help people, like veterans, suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Their message: “we not only help people who cannot see, but also those who have seen too much”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3D typography by Lex Wilson

London based illustrator Lex Wilson has done it again with this fascinating 3D typography. The self confessed “obsessive compulsive illustrator” gives us these amazing optical illusions. Is there no end to his talents?

[via designtaxi.com]

Creating awareness through design

The folks at Living With: have designed some t-shirts, to “encourage, engage, and support new conversations about mental health”.

Each t-shirt has a geometric design that represents a behavioural pattern of certain mental disorders, the one above represents ADHD.

Living With: donates $2 from every t-shirt to Active Minds.

[via design-milk.com]

 

 

 

 

 

The music that inspired us in 2013

At Streamtime we’re a passionate lot. We’re passionate about our product, we’re passionate about design, we’re passionate about food, we’re passionate about travel, and we’re passionate about music. Music in particular is a big part of our culture. It seemed fitting to end the year with the team’s top picks for 2013.


Pius

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
“This album sells sex and alcohol better than twerking, naked women or wrecking balls ever could”

 

Phillip

Ginny Blackmore – Bones

“I suppose my reason is that I love the brutal honesty of the lyrics – but it makes me sad to think that a woman in a relationship still has to question whether she is valued/loved… Men are idiots… it inspires me to ensure I capture my wife’s heart, so she never has to doubt me… too sentimental? Sorry…”

 

Az

Max Cooper – Synesthetes Museum

“Because it’s emotive without words, expressive without themes. It’s an intellectual feast for the ears without a philosophy. It’s beautiful and discordant and syncopated and rhythmic and harmonious. It’s music which takes you places and brings you back changed. It’s music which almost shows you the secret thing, the trick to life, the underlying beauty of everything – that which is sitting just out of mental reach, on the corner of your brain, like the forgotten word on the tip of your tongue. If Dali ever listened to electronic music, this would have been on his iPod. Also an honourable mention to a clown who made me like Lorde.”

 

David

Arctic Monkeys – AM
“Sounds like a good band playing together, brilliantly recorded and mixed, and the songs are great (except for maybe 1 or 2)”

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
“I like the (not quite as angry Trent) songs, and it sounds like a man who knows what he’s doing in the studio”

Ludovico Einaudi – In a Time Lapse
“The wife and I saw him perform at the Sydney Opera House in November and it was just beautiful. Perfect combination of venue, musicians and music”

 

Dani

“I didn’t have to think, without a doubt my favourite 2013 album is Arctic Monkeys – AM. What a genius album, produced incredibly, it sounds soooo sexy. It’s an evolved sound for them but still such a unique sound. Standout track – Arabella. LOUD.

Runners Up for 2013 album: Lorde –  Pure Heroine. 10/10 debut. It’s actually unreal. Courtney Barnett – How to Carve a Carrot Rose. I used to work with Courtney and she’s amazing! Taking the US and Australia by storm.

2013 favourite song: Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener. The accent, the lyrical genius, the guitar and the video.

Runner Up: London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years. Damn those vocals, the heartbreaking ‘reality’ of the lyrics and situation…makes you think you’re living it even when living in pure bliss…? How can music do that?!”

 

Mo

London Grammar – If You Wait
“Fantastic album, unbelievable voice”

Haim – Days Are Gone
Forever, such a fun song”

Foals – Holy Fire
“Loved Antidotes, this is a bit different, but liking it”

 

Cam

“It’s a tough one to pin down for me: if I look back through my Rdio listening history, there’s a bunch of great music in there that’s not released in 2013, but has been my “favourite” to listen to this year like Ryan Adam’s Gold or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn The Torpedos or The Foo Fighters Colour and the Shape. Then there’s albums that have been released this year that are pretty decent and I’ve liked listening to often like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Bastille’s Bad Blood, or the soundtrack to the Dave Grohl directed Sound City.

But the one album that’s really been my favourite for 2013, also just happened to be released this year, and it’s my favourite not necessarily because of the music on it (though it’s bloody good), but for what other music it’s opened up to me. It’s called Made Up Mind by the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Since listening to them by way of a recommendation from a friend, I’ve started listening to all sorts of stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise listen to. Country and folksy inspired sort of stuff, but it’s also got me right back listening to solid, hard, balls out rock.

Bring on some more great music in 2014!”

 

Aaron

“Mid 2012 but it’s high on my play list this year – Regina Spektor, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, especially Don’t Leave Me. Also Imagine Dragons Radioactive and On Top Of The World. Albums, of course Lorde, Pure Heroine has been on high rotation, as one would expect, along with Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and Imagine Dragon’s Night Visions. But the best/most played song by far has to be GM Presents and What Does The Fox Say. Oh and for some strange reason Lily Allen’s LDN has surfaced again in my play list this year – can’t get it out of my head and I can make a flat white perfectly in the 3:11 it takes to play. ”

 

Coops

“That’s a tough one!! Top 3 albums:

1. Biffy Clyro – Opposites

Double album from Biffy – I definitely ‘Monned the Biff’ in 2013 – best live band ever! Saw them in 2011 supporting the Foos at the Milton Keynes Bowl and fell in love with them. Me and the kids love this album. Every track is an anthem!

2. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us

Alison Goldfrapp’s voice is extraordinary and I found myself wanting to listen to the whole album again and again. Very emotional and very beautiful. Melancholy and yet uplifting.

3. Hey Rube – Can You Hear Me Mutha?

“I am sent shed loads of music from independent labels and lots of it is piffle. One track which my mate Steve Cobby sent me, was from his Hey Rube Project and the album Can You Hear Me Mutha? A track called Mengi Dem Disco Leggy particulary stands out. The whole album is really unusual and very listenable.”

 

Adam

“My favourite album of the year has to be Overgrown by James Blake. This guy’s voice is absolutely mesmerising. Solid song writing, lyrics and beautiful production make for an absolutely epic record. Retrograde is the standout track for me.

Song – Laura Mvula’s Green Garden is a beautiful song. Sparkling production, fantastic vibe and again a truly amazing voice. Great album too (Sing to the Moon).

Honourable mentions also go to Days are Gone by Haim and If You Wait by London Grammar.”

 

Miel

“Hmm. I can’t answer that yet. I generally don’t listen to music unless it can stand through the test of time. So I usually listen to older stuff. Mostly jazz, blues, good old rock… So ask me again in 2023 and I’ll tell you what’s good this year.

Now… some great albums from back in 2003 are:

Admiral Freebee - Admiral Freebee

Carla Bruni –  Quelqu ‘un m’a dit

Sioen – See You Naked

I don’t think I’ve purchased any music released in 2013. The most recent is Calexico’s Algiers. It’s a damn good album, so I’m sure I’ll still love that in 2022.”

 

Neil

“My favourite song of the year is Klangkarussell – Sonnentanz ft. Will Heard

It reminds me of the amazing holiday I had in Barcelona this summer.

Favourite album: Lorde - Pure Heroin. It’s just different, I like it.”

 

Nate

“That was really hard but some of the music that has moved me, inspired me and in general kept me sane this year has been (in order of preference):

Young the Giant – My Body

Florence and the Machine – Shake it Out

The Courteeners – Cross my Heart and Hope to Fly

Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know

The Black Keys – Lonely Boy or Howlin

And the list goes on…”

 

Kat

“I ignored this question for so long because I thought it would be hard. But I was wrong there was no competition whatsoever for me. Hands down, my favourite album of the year is:

Mechanical Bull – Kings of Leon

It has four of my favourite songs of the year:

Rock City

Beautiful War

Temple

Wait for Me

Incredible songwriting, tone, production, and playing. Absolutely love it.

Oh and I feel I must add: Common Courtesy by A Day To Remember.

It is my second favourite album of the year, for sheer enjoyment, and the way it makes me feel insanely powerful”

 

Dave

“Without doubt Biffy Clyro – Opposites for album of the year.It’s epic. I still remember the first listen and my jaw spent the entire time of the floor! The songs are fantastic, I think there is only one song on the double record I would skip. Production is top notch. Just a perfect rock album.

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories is also amazing, totally accessible and listenable, you don’t need to be at a club to enjoy. Again production is top notch, recorded in one of my favourite studios with old school production. Favourite track – Doin’ it Right.

Songs of the year:

How Long – How to Destroy Angels – great song with a pretty heavy video clip.

Resolution – Matt Corby takes his track Brother to the next level. A wonderful track.”

 

Kye

“My choice is probably somewhat predictable, but I can’t go past Push the Sky Away – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Nick Cave is an immense talent, whatever project he’s working on, but he’s never more complete than when he’s with the Bad Seeds. This album is spectacular and a standout track for me is Water’s Edge, Warren Ellis’ haunting violin, the percussion, those lyrics, that voice!

I’m also going to mention Little Green Cars – Absolute Zero. A friend introduced me to this Dublin five piece and I’m loving them. The album is infectious and has me tapping my feet whenever I listen to it. ”

 

Derek

“I don’t really have a favourite album or song for 2013. I like some older styles, like Dean Martin and some jazz etc. One album I did buy this year was Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved .”

 

Susan

Kodaline – In a Perfect World

Young the Giant – Young the Giant

San Cisco – San Cisco

“Sweet, simple, fun and heartbreaking, and all with great melodies that stick with you for days. These are the only albums I could listen to this year while I was pregnant. I don’t know why but everything else just sounded like noise.”

What music has inspired you in 2013?

Want a quick financial overview of your jobs?

If you’re after a financial overview of your jobs in Streamtime, here’s a few tips on how to achieve some quick reports

 

*Santa* brandbook

Some very funny stuff here from the folks at the quiet room: The *Santa* brandbook.

Coming soon: Streamtime’s new web experience

Today we’re excited to share with you a very small part of a much bigger future for Streamtime when it comes to fast, reliable access to your information from anywhere. But first, some history.

A while back we introduced you to a web version of Streamtime for viewing your Quotes, Jobs, Contacts and entering time – optimised for your smartphone and all through the speedy medium of the web. We also released an updated version of Streamtime for FileMaker back in April which helped set the foundation for moving onto the web. For us, this was just the beginning.

Since then we’ve been out and interviewed our customers, sorted through our feature requests, feedback from customers and our support aces and conducted surveys with many of our users. What came out of all this was not just that Streamtime needs to be reliably accessible from anywhere – we know it does, we get that – it was that for many of our clients, work tends to not happen only at work, and only on the laptop or iMac anymore. To quote our contemporaries at MailChimp,

Though mobile devices are outselling PCs these days, they’re not replacing the desktop experience—they’re extending it. People start a task on one device and pick it back up on another. This new behaviour pattern requires a different kind of design thinking that’s focused on consistency, optimisation for different contexts, and clear continuation of workflows.

At Streamtime we believe you should be able to do pretty much everything you can do with the current Streamtime desktop app from your iPad, smartphone, desktop web browser or your Samsung Galactic Whatever™.

We learnt that Account Managers are starting quotes during the day, perhaps while at a client briefing, and then fleshing out the details in the evening after putting the kids to bed. Business owners are checking the progress of jobs and seeing how budgets are tracking over the weekend. Studio Managers are checking the schedule on Sunday night to see what’s coming up for the week. They’re having an impromptu meeting with an Account Manager at their desk and needing to immediately see what’s on the schedule.

All that to say, up until now, the web version of Streamtime has been designed for “smartphone-ish-sized” screens only. That will change with the imminent re-launch of the familiar Me screen which has been optimised for tablets and desktop web browsers, and given the responsive treatment. It’s the first small step towards a ubiquitous future of Streamtime and we think you’ll love it.

Get in touch if you don’t already have access to the current version of Streamtime on the web and we’ll help you get set up.

Some highlights of the new Me screen

Firstly, the ‘Me’ screen will be labelled with your name. Part of the reason for this is that ‘collaboration’ will be a significant part of Streamtime in future and we’re laying some of the groundwork here. The Me screen will eventually morph into your ‘Profile’ screen, so labelling it with your name rather than the generic ‘Me’ makes sense for the future.

Theres many ways to enter time in Streamtime and we’re acutely aware we’re adding another one, so it has to be good. The majority of people that enter time are creatives – Designers and Production staff that would rather be getting on with real work than filling out a timesheet. That said, they’re a necessary evil if a company wants to be profitable so we’ve tried to cut down on the time it takes and the pain that’s felt when you add time and materials.

If you’re adding multiple entries to a particular task over the course of a day, the entries will now nest together in the list view rather than being individual lines, and you’ll have the ability to add a new entry directly to an existing task. Also finding the right Job and Task to add time to will be much faster with a filtered search inside the dropdown chooser.

If you’re like me and many others, you note down on paper what you worked on for the day (or maybe the entire week if you’re really slack) and then have a big timesheet binge session late friday afternoon with beer in hand. This is an area that we’ll be adding much more functionality to over the coming months, but for starters we’ve added a ‘Save & Add Another’ button to the entry window so that you can get back to that cold beverage a little sooner. Like I said though, there’s much more to come in this area so watch this space.

 

The Tasks list and Timesheet are going to be on the same page, meaning adding time to a scheduled task is as simple as finding or searching for your assigned task in the tasks list and adding your time. If you navigate to another day and add time to a scheduled task, it’ll default to the selected date. And if you’ve worked on that task all week long, just use the ‘Save & Add Another’ button mentioned above to continue adding multiple entries.

Along with the new Profile screen we’re tweaked the main navigation. It will allow you to create a new item from anywhere you happen to be within the app. You’ll no longer have to go to a particular section to add that particular content. Also in the main navigation bar will be a single, site-wide search. Search for a Quote from your Profile screen, or a Job from the Quotes screen. That’s how Searching should be!

Where to from here?

We’re working hard to get this new Me screen into your hands asap, but it’s important to do this right, and do it well. We can’t give a timeframe sorry – it’ll be ready when it’s ready.

Following the launch of the updated Me screen, in the short term, we’ll release tablet and desktop browser optimised versions of the Quotes screens (where you can create new quotes, and edit existing ones), followed up in the long term by support for all the other major areas of the Streamtime service. All this will be done while your Streamtime database is hosted on a FileMaker server that’s typically based in your studio.

We think you’ll love what we’ve got in store for you coming soon, and what’s in the future pipeline. What’s here just a small part of where we’re headed – there’s lots more to come.

Answers to some questions you might have

Why are you moving away from FileMaker?
We’re not. We’ll continue to use, support and sell FileMaker as the main backend database for storing your information. It provides the best of both worlds (web access from anywhere and a stable, installed app) and doesn’t isolate any of our customers, which is important.

And it means that new and existing customers who want additional functionality get a growing set of web-based features, and those who want the benefits of Streamtime on FileMaker will keep using Filemaker.

It’s important to note that all of our current and upcoming efforts in terms of new functionality will be going into web access from any device. We will support Streamtime on FileMaker for any issues that need fixing, and add features to it when they need to be there to compliment what we’re doing on the web. Developing new functionality on the web side, rather than in FileMaker, means we can release new features faster and can do some things that in FileMaker we couldn’t do.

Will you ever move away from FileMaker completely?
Our ultimate strategy is to reliably and speedily bring you most of the functionality you currently have with Streamtime on FileMaker to your web browser, from anywhere you happen to be, on pretty much any device you happen to have with you.

Many of our current, and almost all of our potential customers are asking about ‘web’ and ‘cloud’ access. They don’t want an in-house server, and don’t want to install updates.

The last thing we want to do is force you off a platform and service that you might love to a new one that we’ve developed and give you no choice in the matter. Streamtime on FileMaker will continue to exist and we’ll continue to sell it in future. Ultimately, we will have the option of ‘turning off’ FileMaker and moving to a fully ‘cloud hosted’ version of Streamtime. We think that this cautious approach will benefit our existing customers, and give new and existing Streamtime customers that are requesting a ‘cloud’ solution a choice.

That’s the future though—it’s some time off yet—but we have a plan and we’re marching confidently towards it.

CreativeMornings: Make

Once again we’re proud to be sponsoring CreativeMornings Sydney, which is happening this Friday, 13th December, 8:30am at Hub Sydney.

CreativeMornings have announced the theme for December is “Make”, and the speaker in Sydney will be Andy Kelly.

To get your tickets head to the CreativeMornings Sydney website.

It’s the last one of the year, so don’t miss out.

The power of art

Something born out of the grieving process, turned into something unexpected for Candy Chang and her Before I Die project

Photo from theuntappedsource.com

Streamtime and FileMaker 13 Compatibility

FileMaker have today announced the release of FileMaker 13. At the moment FileMaker 13 is not compatible with Streamtime, so we will not be shipping FileMaker 13 until we have made the two compatible.

Once we’re sure that there are no issues, we will start shipping FileMaker 13, so stay tuned to our blog posts, twitter feed and Facebook Page for announcements.

Are you capturing all of your expenses on a Job?

It’s just as important to add expenses to a job as it is to record time spent on a job. Expenses can be anything from purchases from a supplier, to colour print outs for your client. Capturing these expenses ensures you know the true cost of a job.

Most companies capture big expenses like printing, photography, talent – pretty much anything purchased from a supplier – by creating a Purchase Order against a job. However it’s the small items like couriers, taxis, CDs, DVDs, colour print outs etc, that people forget to included on a job.  The odd colour print out here or there might not seem like much but if you think about the expense of maintaining your printer, buying toner etc, the costs soon add up. Couriers are another expense that is part of day to day business, and they’re also easy to capture. If you use your job number as a reference when ordering the courier, when the courier bill comes in you can then add those couriers onto the job.

Even if you feel you can’t pass these expenses onto your client, it’s good practice to record the expenses anyway. By recording all expenses on a job you’ll get a clearer picture of your job’s true profitability.

For more information on how to capture expenses in Streamtime please refer to the article on capturing expenses in our Knowledge Base.

Cropped photo from original by mwanasimba and used under Creative Commons license.

We’re sponsoring CreativeMornings Sydney

CreativeMornings is a free breakfast lecture series for the creative community with 60 chapters worldwide and we’re absolutely delighted to be sponsoring the Sydney chapter.

This month’s topic is Bravery and the speaker is Christiaan Van Vuuren. So if you’re not doing anything on Friday morning, 22nd November, get down to Hub Sydney for what’s sure to be a great CreativeMornings.

Tickets available here: CreativeMornings

 

 

Make things people want

“It’s easier to make things people want, than it is to make people want things.” Nice post from the folks over at Intercom.

 

 

New FF Mark typeface

Printed type specimen books are great, but you can’t really put the typeface through its paces. FontFont have made a great microsite for their new typeface family, ffmark.com which lets you really get to grips with the different weights and allows you edit leading, spacing, colour, size and more. Nice work.

We’re sponsoring AIGA DESIGN:BIGWEEK

The AIGA Dallas/Fort-Worth Design: BigWeek (or for those that prefer more acronyms, AIGA: DFW D:BW) kicks off this weekend, and we’re super proud to be a gold partner.

It’s a week full of education and inspiration from some of the best in the business. If you’re in town, head along.

Artisan globemaking. Beautiful

It makes me smile that this sort of work still goes on. Peter Bellerby opens up his London studio to share the the little-known world of artisan globemaking.

How to run a profitable agency

Pleasure and Pain. Love the Pain. Get the Pleasure.

Let’s start with some honesty. Not all creative people are good with detail.

There I said it.

We try and suggest we could be, if we had the time, but really we have never prioritised detail above the creative process. It doesn’t rate as important – or at least, not important enough for us to devote any serious time towards.

We are trying to run a creative business. Our clients are demanding creative thinking. We can’t be thinking about whether the timesheets are being filled in. Well, not just yet… surely…

This presents us with a dilemma. All companies, creative or not, need detail to make them run smoothly & profitably.
They also need to run on schedule, because all companies have deadlines to meet – none more so, than a creative business – who have newspaper and magazine deadlines, campaigns to roll out and printing deadlines to meet. And that is often all in a day in the life of a busy creative business.

We want to spend the time on the things we love. But we also need to ensure all the other parts of the process are not overlooked. We need to accurately bill the client, we need to liaise with the myriad of printers & suppliers, photographers & media people before, during and after the project – firstly to quote, secondly to project manage the supply chain, thirdly to receive, pay and invoice all orders and finally report on that project, both for external reasons (client need) and internal reasons (our own need for greater business understanding).

To put it simply – a company needs to focus on their creative product, but also their service and the delivery of that product. Obvious? Of course…

You may be the best creative in the city. But if you are late, your invoicing confusing or your scheduling inefficient, you are losing money.

Do you care?

Do you mind losing a few hours a day? A few hours a day in a busy studio can be the difference between treading water and a good profit.

Here’s a quick example:
A studio management product like Streamtime can save an hour a day per person – proven.
Let’s say your agency’s rate is $100 an hour
(most are usually far higher).
Let’s also say your agency has 10 staff.
But for this example, let’s just count 8 of them, and let’s only count 30 minutes of time lost per person:
• In this example – a day equates to $400 lost billings
(8 x 30 mins = 4 hours x $100 per hour = $400)
• Per week, this equates to $2000 (5 x $400 a day = $2000)
• Allowing for one month worth of holidays (4 weeks)
gives you $2000 per week x 48 weeks = $96,000

If you are fine with losing $96,000 straight off your bottom line, then you probably aren’t reading this anyway. From eight staff members saving 30 mins a day, you have $96,000 at the end of the year. This all sounds exciting, but we know that the pleasure of extra profit and more efficiency seems too far off – people often stay with the pain of old or bad habits.

In my case, my agency was losing approximately $240,000 a year – which I didn’t even know about. We were profitable, but sloppy. We were creative, but that was about all we had to offer. Our clients loved our work – but put up with our service. They never said anything at the time, but many clients left. Too many surprises at invoice time, too many deadlines only “just” made and no ability to report on any major project – were just some of their complaints when asked.

Because we were successful, and constantly won new business, we had a big front door – but we also had a big back door. We just assumed this was par for the course. We assumed that clients were always destined to come and go – until we got Streamtime.

It sounds cliché – but Streamtime saved us. It added another string to our bow. We started getting known for our service and attention to detail – not just our creative. We were also able to work out who the profitable clients were, and who the real stars of the company were.

All the slippage that we had never calculated showed up in Streamtime and the results were staggering. They were all small amounts, but their collective amount was in the thousands per month. Embarrassing.

The pain of change and all that initial input was worth it. We finally had the pleasure of real time reports and monthly stats showing us some surprising facts. We learnt how we really made our money and the clients that were the most profitable – many of which were a surprise to us. It also highlighted which staff were actually coasting versus which staff deserved an immediate pay increase.

Every creative business knows they need a good system – in the same way that everyone knows they should attend a fitness club to keep fit. And just like getting fit, there is some initial pain to go through before you see the real results. All I can do is encourage you to get your company financially fit and push through the pain until you start to see real results – because they do come and they are often quite profound.

Nothing like the pleasure of profit to ease a weary mind…

Phillip Sunderland
Former founder of Q.
Director of Streamtime.

Sky art

French artist Thomas Lamadieu creates these amazing “sky art” pictures by combining his illustrations with photographs of sky peeking through buildings.

Meet the ipsums

Need some subject specific lorem ipsum? Meet the ipsums has you covered with placeholder copy with personality. There’s Cat ipsum, Zombie ipsum and Cheese ipsum just to name a few.

 

 

Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Which world do you exist in?

Every business can be divided into 3 main worlds.  The yesterday, the today and the tomorrow.   And while each world deserves differing amounts of your time, ignoring any one of them can limit your business.  But the truth is – most of us will favour one over the other two – or simply never prioritize enough time to spend in the other worlds – partly because we feel we don’t really belong there.  To be honest, there are a myriad of excuses I could list that would all seem valid as to why the other worlds often get neglected.  Let’s first take a look at each world… 

The world of yesterday.
The easiest way to say what the world of yesterday is – is to say that it’s the world that deals with all the things in a business that have already happened. In a creative business, it’s essentially the things that can’t be altered, but can be viewed and monitored through good reporting software like Streamtime.

What did we invoice last month?
Who has paid? Who hasn’t? These are the usual questions that get asked from this world. The people in your creative business that work in this world are your finance and accounts people. Often the Managing Director of a creative business runs a mile from this world. It makes them queasy. And yet this world can offer very strong insight to help you navigate the world of tomorrow.

This world helps you answer the following
(among others);
How profitable is my company?
How profitable is that client?
How profitable was that job?
How many billable hours did that staff member bill last year? How many hours were written off?
What is that client actually costing us?
The translation book for this world is your reporting software – like Streamtime. You will understand yesterday more when you can see how each day, week, month and year track. You will understand it more when you have real time ability to see exactly what a month is looking like, how many creditors are left to pay or how long you have been waiting for payment.

The world of today.
This is the world that the majority of your staff are living in. This is where you bill your time, get your to-do-list done, and where each job, project or campaign is worked on and delivered.
This world needs good resource management. This world needs good supply chain management for all the other companies you deal with.
This world needs accurate capture of all internal and external costs.
Your Production Manager lives and breathes this world, your creative staff members have usually only ever lived in this world and your client service team know that this is the world that your clients care the most about.
This is the world where you ‘think’ you get most of your reputation. But you’ll only get your reputation from this world if that’s what you think!

Let me put it another way. This world is vitally important. But if this is the only world you currently live in as a business owner (with the occasional begrudged long weekend in the world of yesterday) then you are missing out and you will, slowly but surely, be losing your desire to live in the creative industry.

The world of tomorrow.
This is the world that many creative people forget to live in, or at least, don’t make time for.

They get trapped by the world of today – with all its deadlines, client requests and staff issues. They have an understanding that the world of yesterday is important, but often they never quite commit the time to spend in the important world of tomorrow.

The world of tomorrow is all about where you are headed. What clients you want to work with and what type of projects you want to work on. The world of tomorrow helps you decide what awards you want to enter, what new products you want to work on or what businesses you may want to start. This world helps you aim towards the size you want your company to be and how it may look in the future.

This world exists mostly for the business owner. It’s also appropriate for your General Manager and Accountant to spend some time in this world, so they understand the direction you are heading in and what part of yesterday can help you make better decisions – as well as what part of today needs to start a change of direction.
The world of tomorrow is exciting to think about. It helps raise you out of the sometimes monotonous feeling of being trapped by the ‘today’. It also enables you to dream – and dreaming has never been a bad thing…

One of your keys to the world of tomorrow.

Streamtime was created specifically to help you manage the chaotic world of today and give insight into the seemingly unexciting world of yesterday. It was designed to free you up, to give business owners a real chance of being able to live in the world of tomorrow.

It helps create really important business rules and practices that will streamline your company while making it more profitable and more respected.

It will give you solid insight into the ‘yesterday’ to give you clues to where your ‘tomorrow’ should be heading.

If you are serious about what you are doing and where you want to head, then get serious about the tools available to you for the world of yesterday and today. Use them. Properly.

And with the free time these tools will help you to have – spend some serious time in the world of tomorrow.

 

Phillip Sunderland
Former founder of Q.
Director of Streamtime.

Points

As far as signs go, this one’s pretty cool.

 

How to build a £1m creative agency

Last week, a few of us attended a very informative evening learning from Spencer Gallagher what makes a super-profitable creative agency. Here’s a few tips we picked up on the night…

EBIT (Earnings Before Interest & Tax)

The most important number I was ever taught. This is a figure worth paying attention to because one day, if you want to sell your business, this is the most likely way it will be valued.

What’s your billing capacity?

Here’s a little calculation to get you started: Take your day rate and multiply it by the number of people in your team and the number of days in the month. This is your billing capacity. Now compare this figure to what you actually billed. How much is missing and how can you close this gap?

Here’s 21 reasons why this gap exists in agencies – I certainly spent the first 8 years of my agency life making most of these mistakes!

1. poor processes = over delivery / over servicing / scope creep

2. inefficiency / not micro-managing schedule & resource

3. not charging out all of your billable resource

4. discounting day rates to win business

5. over-promise what you can deliver for the client’s budget or incorrect forecasting

6. not selling SLA’s and retainers pre project

7. missing systems to record and report where time is spent

8. the wrong team doing the wrong work

9. failing to hit 58-63% wage cost to GP (what is this figure in your agency?)

10. each billable resource should be pushing through between £5k-10K per month

11. top agencies will bill £100K per person on average, across the whole business. For us at Bluhalo, we were £91K on average. We see good agencies at £65-75K – do you know your revenue per head?

12. using freelancers for project work *in the majority of cases* doesn’t work – at £4m run rate our freelance budget was only £2.5K per month

13. directors drawings / too many directors!

14. spaghetti & sales consistency

15. killer pipeline and strict qualification, taking on the right deals at the right time

16. not pitching to win

17. demotivated team

18. lack of confidence in selling higher day rates

19. too much pitch time not recovered / too much in-house work not budgeted for / pro-bono or speculative work

20. poor cash flow management

21. office space too big for your requirements

And the most important thing I’ve learned about building a super-profitable creative agency is……… LEARN TO SELL VALUE NOT TIME.

In just one day in 2007 we moved from £800 to £1,200 per day …and our clients could not have been happier. When was the last time you reviewed your pricing?

So, how much profit (EBIT) should you be making?

9-14% – agencies in the early stages

15-20% – where the majority of agencies will be performing

20-30% – top agencies will be making these sorts of margins

30-50% – this is where you need to be to consider yourself elite

The next WOW event is on in July – go on, head along.

The art of early New Zealand advertising

From the site: “Promoting Prosperity is a book about the art of early New Zealand advertising, before colour photography and TV changed the media landscape forever.”

New Zealand has a long tradition of stellar advertising creative so it’s great to see people getting together to tell a few of the tales about its history. The book looks due to hit the shelves in September this year, but you can pre-oder now.

An event for CEOs, directors & shareholders of creative agencies

If you’re an agency owner looking to get the inside track on how to build a £1m turnover agency, you’re invited to join The Agency Collective in London, a group of ambitious agency owners that meet quarterly for dinner, insight & support – all focused on helping you build a £1m agency.

The programme has been designed by Spencer Gallagher & Pete Hoole, who built a digital agency from scratch, grew it & sold it. Spencer & Pete now advise other digital agencies on how they can achieve similar super-fast growth.

The group will be lead by Steve Radjen from CDD. Steve has already built his own £1m turnover agency and will guide you through his personal journey and what he learned along the way.

Shooting for Apple

Three iPhone 5's in a row

An insightful interview with Peter Belanger, the “man behind some of Apple’s most iconic product images”, on the tools and lighting he uses to get those ultra-simple Apple images we all recognise.

Mapping the typographic landscape of London

This is rather lovely. londontypographica.com is mapping the typographic landscape of London. Its aim is to photographically record publicly available lettering and type throughout the capital. Developed by OPX. Very cool.

Via @flyntracy

The Drum Design Awards results

Detail from the Blackpool Comedy Carpet by Gordon Young and Why Not Associates

A massive well done to all the contestants and congratulations to the winners from last nights Drum Design Awards – great to be part of it.

Making of John Mayer’s ‘Born & Raised’ artwork

Craftsman is an understatement. What a talent. The artist for the latest John Mayer album. via @Jules_Robinson

Become a maker

In my day we had Cubs and Scouts. Kids today have sites like DIY. Work is shared with the DIY community and kids get patches for the Skills they earn. So damn cool. Site’s not bad either.

Mission Control for fonts

Super Handy: Preview all WebINK and Google Web Fonts directly inside Photoshop with Suitcase Fusion 4.
via @hellografik

The Drum Design Awards

We love to sponsor organisations that celebrate creativity.  And we love to help highlight the amazing work that many of our clients are doing every day. So we’re stoked to be involved as a sponsor of this year’s Drum Design Awards. Many creative companies excel in the work they produce, but struggle to keep track of all the time & costs for every project they undertake – that’s where Streamtime comes in. Streamtime specialises in making your company more profitable & more organised. Everything we promise, we deliver. Call one of our Streamtime Ace’s to get a personal demo or download a trial today.

MyFonts tumblr site

MyFonts is now on Tumblr. And a nice wee inspirational resource it is too.

Fiji Airways gets the treatment

Wow, some stunning brand and livery work for Fiji Airways by FutureBrand Australia (and many many others, including New Zealand’s Kris Sowersby). I think a trip to Fiji may be in order!

Trends in digital design for 2013 by prophets

If you are involved in digital design, then this presentation is one to have take a look at. Prophets is a digital native agency based in Antwerp. Their Design Director, Petra Sell, made a great presentation on trends in digital design for 2013. As with every prediction for the future, it is hard to predict it. Yet there are some really good insights in this one.

Trends in interactive design 2013 from Prophets Agency

Michel Gondry’s new film trailer

Still from L'ECUME DES JOURS

So good: The trailer for Michel Gondry’s new film L’Écume des Jours.

BNO Utrecht

As we have a growing number of users in the Netherlands, we are getting to know their whole creative scene better each day. One of the great things they have is the BNO. It’s the federation for professional designers in the Netherlands. It’s an organization that is deeply involved in all design aspects. Graphic, web, digital, architectural, product, fashion, packaging, urban,… you name it they will have their expertise in the field to assist where they can. Every region in the Netherlands has it’s local organization that is involved with the community by organizing events, workshops and inspirational talks.

Last night we visited the BNO Utrecht talk in Tivoli (picture above). Tivoli has a long tradition in hosting coming music acts before they hit the charts. Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden and more recently Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and Gotye. Needless to say, the venue has a creative vibe going. The evening would give us 3 speakers:

HIK is a design agency who specializes in urban design. They started out from a passion towards urban design and the impact it has on a community. Klaas talked about how he started HIK and one of their first but most rewarding projects: the rethinking of the area around the train station Overvecht Central. They redesigned the whole area to be a place where people wanted to stay, work and meet with others. What started as a local project ended up gaining international attention. Not just because they managed to involve the whole community in the project but because of the Transfer Accelerator. It’s actually a slide to let people get to the platform faster when in a hurry as shown in this video (in Dutch)

Gert Franke is one of the founders of Clever°Franke. They specialize in visualizing very complex and large amounts of data. He talked about a pet project of theirs: the annual weather chart. Since 2010, they started this project as a personal test on how far they could take their mix of design and data complexity. Thanks to their growing knowledge of complex data and visualization, they were approached by Google to create a better tool for their Consumer Barometer. The result is an impressive piece of design and programming:

To end the evening, Jeroen got on stage and gave us a nice overview of the journey his creative brain has taken. Jeroen was one of the pioneers of the  street art scene in Eindhoven, the city of Philips. Since he started he has moved from an overall designer to an illustrator to graffiti artist and conceptual artist. During his career he lost interest in the whole design and drawing craft, called his clients one day to tell them he was taking a break. During that time, he started various small street art projects as a way to find his groove again. During that time he started to combine all his skills into all his design work. One of his latest ventures is a wall painting project for the Creative Center Osaka where he was asked to fly over to Japan and work with 35 local artist to create a large wall painting. Not an easy task when there is a certain language barrier; according to Jeroen he felt like he was talking to Google translate more then to the local people. More on the project. (Japanese)

Let’s Talk Design

On Friday 11th of January, Creative Network (Belgium) organized the first Let’s Talk Design. Streamtime was very happy to sponsor this night which was held in the De Winkelhaak design center. Let’s Talk Design is an initiative by Timothy Helmer who is also the founder of the Creative Network and aims to inspire people in the creative industry in an informal way. And that’s pretty much what we got.

Writing a review of a conference is always hard so what follows is some of my highlights.

The speakers were:

Frank Tjepkema gave us a nice overview of work from Tjep. What’s interesting about Tjep is that it consists of a team of ‘misfit-fitting designers and non-designers’. They challenge each other to create design work in both interior, architectural, furniture, and visual areas. Besides creating new designs, they also like to break stuff in order to create new stuff.

Noreen Morioka and Nicole Jacek gave us an entertaining presentation. Talking about their work, how they met at the Art Directors Club and what their plans are for the future. It’s hard to describe the vibe of this presentation. There was laughter, some sadness, great design work, and advice on how to take on your own future. They brought a certain enthusiasm to the room. All I can say is, if you ever get the chance to see them give a talk or meet up with them, do it.

Last speaker for the evening was Tom Dorresteijn. The CEO of world famous Dutch agency Studio Dumbar. Tom doesn’t have a design background but for the last 20 years has been leading the studio. He talked about the need for more than just design in order to create great design work. To make his point, he talked about how Studio Dumbar works and showed us how some of their best work was made.

Between every talk there was time for a drink and to meet people from different design disciplines. The vibe was good, the response of the attendees was great, and the speakers enjoyed the setting. In other words, a great first edition. We’re looking forward to more of these nights!

Pictures can be found here.

The agency pronunciation guide

Very good. The Agency Pronunciation Guide.

Interesting how some agencies get their names

Aaaand… we’re back! Welcome to 2013 everyone. Hope you had a good break over the Christmas/New Year period.

Miel from our Belgium office found this one, a ‘Taxonomy of Advertising Agency Names‘ by Rob & Joe of the online community Cargo Collective.

Dumb ways to die

Awesome safety campaign from Melbourne Metro: Dumb ways to die!

Streamtime and Windows 8

Microsoft has released it’s latest OS Windows 8. Like with any new OS, before updating, it is best to check that vital applications are supported. For Streamtime, there are a couple of things to consider:

Filemaker:

Filemaker only supports Windows 8 on version 12 (both Pro and Server). So if you are running Filemaker in version 11 environment, you should not upgrade to Windows 8. More information on supported Filemaker versions can be found here.

Google Chrome Frame:

Streamtime requires Google Chrome Frame on Windows machines. This framework is used to visualize the Task Schedule and gantt charts. Google has not yet released a Windows 8 compatible version. This means that if you are running Streamtime on Filemaker 12 and move to Windows 8, you will loose the functionality of the scheduler and gantt charts. More information can be found here.

WebZap

The UI parade has released a pretty handy Photoshop plugin called WebZap. You can use it to quickly produce a mockup that is based on the 960 grid. The way it is built allows you to easily change your layouts while keeping full control over your layers (which can be styled as much as you want). For $15 WebZap is yours.

 

Pentawards packaging beauty

Some cracking winners here from this year’s Pentawards.

Endeavour’s trek across L.A.

Space shuttle Endeavour in the street

The last journey for the space shuttle endeavour was certainly an interesting one: through the streets of L.A!

Urban Outlaw

Back in May, Reelhouse went in public Beta mode. It’s a video platform for stories about people or places. Since the launch, some very cool video’s have been put up on the site. One of the stories on the site is the one of Magnus Walker, a passionate Porsche collector / customizer living in LA..

Lennon’s Poster

This is a reproduction of the poster that inspired John Lennon to write the songBeing for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, which appeared on The Beatles’ 1967 albumSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is printed in a limited edition of 1,967.

Check out the video on the making of the reproduction, great to see this kind of attention to detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuvva

Looking for inspiration and apps that can help with that? After all it is hard to keep finding interesting stuff in the overdose of images / words / sounds on the web. I came across Kuvva and it does exactly what the tagline says:

“Kuvva is your source for beautiful wallpapers. Specially curated for your desktop from some of the world’s leading photographers, designers and illustrators.”

You can download it for free in the Mac Appstore or here for Windows.

 

ADLA: A Different LA

FORM follows FUNCTIONS, a collaborative media studio, has started an inspiring series featuring remarkable people and places in Los Angeles.

 

 

The art of ironing

Who said ironing was boring. Check out what DDB Russia did for Philips in this video.

One Minute Wonders

In need of a short, quick inspiration round? One Minute Wonders gives artists, designers, entrepreneurs 60 seconds to tell us what get’s them going.

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