Hello! Welcome to Abstractly – an attempt to post your refined personal or company updates more slowly. Posts go out once per quarter and include no more than 500 characters. To publish your own quarterly updates on Abstractly, email Will Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The longterm implications of COVID become more certain. Small companies are trying to survive. Larger companies (100,000) are designing for 2021+ and the new status of frontline workers. Skills interoperability is at the forefront. BLM has a response – BAME in Hospitality. We broaden our courses offering to go beyond Coffee – now there are curated courses for digital skills and in-demand sectors, social care and technical support. Our first customers land.
This isn’t a sedate summer but a sultry one and now we’re lurching towards a British roast in mid-August. To lean into this theme, look to I’m God, where Imogen Heap and Clams Casino entwine. Another 2020 release is Her Love in which narou & iris pass between lolling lines aching for a summer gone, maybe one for those that missed Switchfoot’s rendering of Frank Ocean’s Swim Good – video shot in Malibu during lockdown with distancing measures in place.
After enabling free online training for baristas, nearly 200 baristas enroled in the courses, completing over 750 hours of training. By the end of May, coffee shops started to open up in London – we updated the website with COVID-19 measures and a related courses – COVID-19 Awareness from CPD Online College – which staff can self-enrol in for free. A short online profile in a South African barista magazine. We profile American coffee shops putting provisions on the shelf.
This (first) COVID-19 quarter was spent between Buckinghamshire and King’s Cross. Bucks allowed for some renewed energy on Tendo – delivering online training to furloughed baristas. Read Sitopia from Carolyn Steel – looking at the ways we have ceased to design societies around food. While Bucks allowed for plenty of trails for running, London provides cycleways for bike rides and rewards at coffee shops that operate with COVID-safe measures. Continued online course material on Tendo during the quarter ahead – 100 courses by the end of September.
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama spent two decades locked down in Lisbon between voyages to India. 500 years later, the Lisbon City Guide is now live, matched by another mid-millennium story in the shape of the Florence City Guide. Balance renaissance with current day – an eco hotel in Cape Town and a pioneering road cycling itinerary from Pyonyang, North Korea. We’ll also be using this period to keep an eye on environmental projects by reviewing one per month. Right now dam builders are tinkering in the Balkans, completing contentious projects while inspectors remain homebound.
A move to King’s Cross re-orientated my perspective on London after a year in Tottenham. Spent two weeks between Johannesburg and Cape Town, meetings for Tendo. Covid-19 emerged in Italy soon after returning, shifting our focus on Tendo – online training for furloughed workers. Read the remarkable Three Women. Saw Norwegian Tuvaband perform at The Lexington (mesmerising opening with Trees). Visit to Marian Goodman Gallery for the remarkable An-My Lê’s Silent General, a photography show – border control, landscape and military industrial complex.
The quarter slammed shut with the spike in COVID-19. Before this, South Africa and seeing how new the country is on purchasing training software. Coffee continues to be a focus in the country with specialty coffee growing in market share but still tiny when compared with UK and US. Since frontline employees won’t be able to get onto the floor, we are providing free online training for baristas at Tendo. We’ve recently blogged on the re-integration of middle-age workers and photographer Jake Green who profiles the variety of roles at the top of the coffee supply chain in “Drink My Sweat.”
In the final moments of the decade, we returned to altitude with a Mexico City Guide and routed outdoor gyms. A more thoroughbred triathlon city is addressed in another city guide – Zurich. Latest property reviews include the new Whitworth Locke in Manchester, also the best hotel gym we’ve seen. On England’s south coast in Brighton, the creative Artist Residence is a short sprint from a prime open water swimming spot. A third hotel would have been a favourite for both Montagues and Capulets, Cinque Rooms in fair Verona. Stepping beyond facilities and infrastructure for athletics: Patagonia’s ARTIFISHAL raises the alarming health and habitat implications of eating farmed salmon and trout.
Wrapped the decade with Bethnal Green Ventures’ Demo Day presenting Tendo. A late-Autumnal West Country trip provided an opportunity to check into Bath. Then onto Frome the following day (NB visit on First Sundays), before returning to the train and onward to Bruton and Hauser & Wirth’s remarkable outpost. Overnight at the converted At the Chapel. A more total restoration the following day at The Newt from South Africans Karen Roos and Koos Bekker of Babylonstoren, doing up he former home of Hobhouses. For December, a weekend in Scotland, then a quiet Christmas in Buckinghamshire.
Tendo took first outside investment and joined Bethnal Green Venture’s incubator (20k for 6%). Those plugged into the UK General Election might have noticed the Liberal Democrats insert “Skills Wallets” into their manifesto, mirroring what Kamala Harris has proposed across the pond. The living wage campaign gains momentum, with rates for 2019/20 lifted to £9.30 (national) and £10.75 (London) dictating minimum pay for 6,000 participating companies (210,000 employees). The repositioning of the employee as a vital stakeholder chimes with ESG topics, the post-war backstory to which is outlined in Rick Wartzman’s “The End of Loyalty” (book review).
As the northern Hemisphere drifts into the midst of Autumn, long evening light sets a gilded backdrop slammed shut fast by dipping temperatures. Thinking to wide sounds and high skies to capture this flux, try Mt. Wolf’s Burgs which has existential notes weaved in. Return to West Texan skies and Friday Night Light’s core First Breath After Coma from Explosions in the Sky. Another purely instrumental track, Tough Times in Hollywood from American composer and engineering graduate, Jeff Cardoni.
Made a fundamental shift with Tendo, involving Bethnal Green Ventures for 6% equity. Visited Manchester to see Timpson who are known for employing ex-offenders. Track season languished. Returned to California for a wedding – Ojai was a highlight, a tiny town 90 minutes from Los Angeles. Wrapping the decade in the UK.
Entering the last quarter of the year, comes with major change after being accepted by Bethnal Green Ventures’ Autumn 2019 “Tech for Good” incubator programme. This includes the provison of £20k for 6% fixed equity. We continue to work using Slicing Pie, dynamic equity directed by weekly reporting of hours between orangejellyfish and Will Ross. New blog posts include.
As summer weaves into autumn, orientate flecks of light around silky songs. CHILLS from Lastlings renders a monologue with a series of imperatives and a spinal shivering. Released in 2011, Mr. Little Jeans from The Suburbs tries to grab, etched in a chorus, Sometimes I can’t believe it /
I’m moving past the feeling. More recently, Bunny from William Phillips AKA Tourist makes an instrumental tapestry, including signature notes from the Londoner.
The sprinkle of an electronic keyboard makes cute. James Sallis’ 2005 novel “Drive” was amplified in the 2011 with producers lacing keyboards into the soundtrack. Dreams Tonite from Alvvays captures anyone not already convinced by Ryan Gosling. LANY, also of L.A., use a slower riff in ILYSB. ATTLAS find a midpoint with Jagged where a bridge calls for rhyming couplets So light the fire / Burning even brighter / Till your heart transpires / The feel in your fingertips / When the world feels like this.
Germany’s Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt, August 15th) provides a gute Zeit to check into songs that ooze Berlin. Burned from ATTLAS present a formidable entry point, ebbing and flowing as an ideal warm-up. Take a pause and retreat to the middle of the decade and Vessels’ “Dilate” LP from 2016 and select Vertical. And if all your friends have gone home, take up company with Thomas Høffding who offers some acoustics to Kölsch’s Bloodline.
Reggaeton has elevated the mainstream awareness of certain riffs, but other tracks place emphasis on the Spanish itself. James Blake and ROSALIÁ teamed up for Barefoot In The Park in sensual song that’s worth translating. There’s nothing wrong with looking back into Shakira’s “Dirty Laundry” album to pluck Suerte from the pile – the Spanish version of Whenever, Wherever. And at a moment for Tarentino, Ancori Qui (>YouTube) from Elisa retreats to a Texan landscape with Jamie Foxx recently released.
From Paris-based Ö, Nömak (formerly just “Nömak”), Lullaby leans on a choral entrance, sampling lines from Robert Bridges’ “The Idle Life I Lead”. The British band Blanco White are practically made of fire and earth, calling on landscape and vaulting horizons. Nocturne evokes South Wales, a tribute to Black Mountain. Then 715 – CR∑∑KS from Bon Iver’s “22 A Million” matches Blanco White’s lunar theme with a naked and poetic verse.
There is no time like summer grime, demarcated by British shores and owned by a small group of artists. M.E.N 2 from Bugzy Malone retreats into the artist’s rise and his grappling with the tugs of fame and a litany of things the artist can now do. Stomzy’s Vossi Bop provides a shuffle for the season, demonstrated in a music video that sees the artist pinned to the famous concrete of the Los Angeles River.
Summer and a time for pollinations of all kinds. With Let You Know, hemispheres are crossed by London Grammar where Hannah Reid’s vocals are set to a production from the Australian DJ, Flume. Ed Sheeran is the connector in an eclectic album featuring one collaboration with Chance the Rapper, Cross Me. Meanwhile one of pop’s new artists has paired with one of drum and basses’s household names, cue Mine Right Now.
Winding back to back to MGMT’s storming track from 2007 with Henry Green updated Electric Feel, updating a timelessly sexual lyric by removing the energised complexity of original to reveal its raw form. Aside from abuse of the “?” key, I Want to Know????? from Goss is a dexterous tune, weaving between percussion and a low humming symph. Lauv’s The Other is placed upon a simple tune that feels off-the-shelf, but with an enquiry into amicable break-ups, the listener is brought back onside.
Revisiting female vocals for some easy listening and tender lyrics. In What’s Good, Fenne Lily (singer-songwriter) loops through “Finding this is hard, fighting this is new” with increasing tempo. A cover of The Cranberries central song, Zombie, now updated by Ghostly Kisses. Smoke Signals forms a third trio Phoebe Bridgers and paces through a story full of episodes, starting with ambulant “Just long enough to walden it with you.”
Will has been working 20 hours per week in a Vietnamese restaurant in Soho. These present an opportunity to better understand the problem of low income work – the wage is £8.21 per hour – and see what digital product can do to solve. No major product update in the last quarter, more continued community development (Employees) and conversations around next stages of financing. Early July also marks one year since incorporating in 2018.
On Tendo, now working directly with employee users to define best routes to weekly Stamps and how this relates to employer adoption. A long weekend in Lisbon in May uncovered a number of treats ant the viewing of Jeff Wall’s Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation at. The Track season has started with flakes of rust shorn off in early April and a sub-2 time down before the end of June. Upcoming are the prospects of a small amount of investment for Tendo and continued efforts on the track for London Heathside.
As fashionable crowds descend on Lombardy to recline on designer sofas, we’ve gathered together the on-trend athletic facilities in our new Milan City Guide. Things are less refined in South Africa where a combination of infrastructure, altitude and competition made the Johannesburg City Guide a joy to write – enough to justify its reputation as a town for endurance athletes. At the end of 2018, I spent my own brief moment reclined and strapped into a massage table in Manhattan, the outcome being a documented assisted stretch experience. In other post: a recent trip to D.C. allowed for a diversion to nearby Baltimore, a legacy town that is going through urban renewal sufficient for Joie de Vivre Hotels to open Hotel Revival.
Tendo now allows both employers and employees to issue verification for work done, allotments of hours and skills on a weekly basis. First visit to South America, via Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Mendoza. A highlight – hiking the W-Trail in Torres del Pain with my brother (80km in three days). Enjoyed reading McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Published Zafiri guides for Johannesburg and Baltimore. // Track season begins: sub-1:57.00 goal for 800m.
After struggling to get a pilot customer, Will shall be taking a job in a Vietnamese restaurant in Soho, London. The app is stable, so this R&D will provide a chance to link with an employer and asses their appetite for retention-orientated solutions, while testing the product from a worker’s perspective. Meanwhile social media accounts have been established with Twitter being the most useful. Blog posts from the previous quarter covered research from The Resolution Foundation, the argument behind The Good Jobs Strategy and Will’s notes from a trial shift at Chipotle.
Now a year into Zafiri City Guides, with the recent publishing of Denver, Copenhagen and Durham, NC getting us to a total of 22 metropoles. Keeping to this cadence in 2019 will ensure that the collection soon meets the needs of a good volume of athletic travellers in Europe and North America. Other items from the past two months include the reviewing of Sweat Equity, a business book for those baffled by the continued growth of fitness clubs like Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel. A trip to the East Coast of the U.S. presented an opportunity to try out the socially conscious Eaton DC, a new hotel brand from the same group behind The Langham.
Product: Released uni-directional flow at app.tendo.com to allow employers to accredit their workforces over SMS (USA, UK, South Africa). Travel: Visit to D.C. to attend launch of a tooling for better jobs, a partnerhips betweeen The Aspen Institute and Working Metrics. The year ended with two weeks in Johannesburg, meeting with companies involved in downtown renewal.
Tendo which is now usable in the UK, acting as a skills passport for frontline workers, with two-way verification built into every data point to ensure trust. Ended 2018 in South Africa, combining bush, Johannesburg and Cape Town / Stellenbosch. Now 22 city guides on Zafiri. >> Focusing on Tendo, customer activation and continued localisation to enable South Africa and USA. Travel: January 2nd, back in London for two months before starting March in Argentina (Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Mendoza).
A weekend in the Bavarian Alps at vegan hotel SeinZ, substituting the clamour of Munich’s Oktoberfest for cold water skinny dipping and mountain biking. Earlier in the summer, some time in Geneva was enough to try out La Cour des Augustins, a centrally located design hotel. A more local excursion to a tiny pub-hotel in the Chiltern Hills, 30 miles west of London was another summer highlight – drop in for the night, or swing by for a meal. New city guides includes an assessement of Baron von Hausmann’s work in Paris, and a salute to fast-footed Eliud Kioproge, who recently set Berlin alight in the city’s marathon.
Rounded out a consistent season on the track – no bounding results but repeatedly c. 1:59 in the 800m. Entralled by Dorothea Lange’s photos at The Barbican, including original note from Steinbeck whose Grapes of Wrath is the written account of the photographer’s Great Depression series. Batched feedback for Tendo to release via SMS this quarter. Finally cracking the whip on surfing with a long weekend in Cornwall before setting out to New York on October 16th. Spending a week between Baltimore and D.C., then returning to London November 9th. Kruger, Johannesburg and Cape Town from the end of November until returning to London on January 2nd.
Last quarter, published important piece on Johannesburg’s waste pickers, highlighting use case for Tendo, new app I’m building for labour verification and skill acquisition (sign up for updates). New city guides on Zafiri: Hollywood, Seattle, DTLA. This summer, competing in middle-distance track races for the rest of the summer (lofty goals set). Predominantly in London area July to early September, then Florence, Milan, Verona and Munich during the mid-month.
Extend Zafiri City Guides to a total of 20, including full coverage of West Coast (North America). UX research for Tendo, releasing prototype. Reduce volume and increase speed in track intervals. Fuerteventura for Easter, Berlin the following weekend, arriving on 4th. To Brooklyn for four weeks from 24th April, with short trips Upstate (Catskills & Tivoli). From May 20th: Pittsburgh, Aspen and Boulder. Returning to London via in time for Bonobo at Alexandra Palace (June 1st).
Broaden collection of Zafiri City Guides to include 12 cities. Race twice (parkrun included). Amsterdam from 11th Jan. before taking train to Paris. Returning to London 19th Jan., then to Cape Town on 23rd. Western Cape for three weeks before Namibian desert and Harare, closing the loop with a flight to Johannesburg on 28th February. Returning to London 8th March.
Introducing paid-for subscription layer to Zafiri, placing a paywall before two premium offerings. 1. City Guides: where to run, cycle and swim in cities, starting with London, San Francisco, and Rome. 2. Trips: training weekends away, typically near to a major city and orientated around an outstanding property. SW U.S. for 6 weeks until mid-Nov. (San Fran., L.A., Phoenix, Austin) before San José del Cabo (6th – 22nd Nov.). Then Mexico City (> 28th Nov.), Portland (> 1st Dec.), Seattle (> 8th Dec.), Vancouver, B.C. (> 14th Dec.), returning to San Fran. until 19th Dec.. Finally, returning to London for Christmas.
Finally subscribed to Guardian and NYT. Diving deeper into Framer, Sketch and Zeplin. Posting 1+ times a week at Zafiri, focusing on new city guides. Competing in middle distance races (800m). Europe (London-Munich-Rome-Oslo) until 22nd September, then to New York before San Francisco from 27th September.
SC voted Best Bike Brand 2016 by ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine readers. SC rider Jordi Bago featured in promotional video for Tourism Gran Canaria riding the V10. SC Factory Racing help Trans-Cascadia build trails in Oregon, launching giveaway to raise donations for organisers #tenfortrails.
Veteran Robert Caspersen and Magnus Midtbø feature in clip climbing tallest vertical rock face in Europe, Trollveggen (1700m). 2016 CSR goals update: 100% fur-free, removal of anti-bacterial treatment from 90% products. Over 50 videos released on YouTube to demo Winter 2016 products.
Late August: ambassador Kyle Dempster disappeared with climbing partner Scott Adamson while attempting Ogre II in N. Pakistan (left basecamp 21 August, major storm set in 23 August). Grant given to Access PanAm for Patagonia Waste Management Initiative pilot, to protect Argentina’s Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (home to Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy). Ambassador Joe Kinder and photographer Tim Kemple travel to Ratikon to attempt the 240m, six-pitch Silbergeier (diaries published).
Shoppable app to launch on Apple TV, embedding retail site behind browsable content from The Journal. Triathletes Johnny Brownlee and Alastair Brownlee featured in The Journal, covering Mr Porter’s April visit to shoot training in Yorkshire. British actor Tom Hughes models latest Prada, new to Mr Porter. Also new: LINLEY furniture and accessories.
Cereal Magazine celebrated launch of Copenhagen Guidebook in Muuto’s showroom. Rooftop party also held in Copenhagen to celebrate 10 years of Muuto – E27 pendants above 250 guests. Upcoming: DOTS metal hooks from Lars Tornøe (aluminium, brass), FOLDED shelves from Johan Van Hengel (steel, mounted) OPEN candelabra from Jens Fager (aluminium alloy).
Japan’s Futtsu gas-fired power station goes live with maximum capacity 5,040 megawatts (second largest gas-fired power station in world) and will integrate GE’s cloud-based platform Predix in No. 4 block (three GE gas turbines, 507 megawatts each). Intel will work with Predix to make manufacturing facilities more smart and connected. GE to build custom blades to retrofit 50-year-old power plant in Wedel, Germany.
June: 100m² monobrand showroom opened in Prague’s industrial Holešovice district, in partnership with exclusive agent, Konsepti. September: Taccia 2016 LED launched, returning to 1958 Castiglioni brothers design with plastic bowl reflector. Tate Modern devoted area of new Switch House to British designer Jasper Morrison, titling the collection Thingness with Superloon floor lamp and Luxmaster ceiling Light.
Musk gives Mars update (spacex.com/mars). SpaceX aims to transport 1m people to Mars over next 50-100 years using Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). Goal is to reduce cost per ton by 5 million percent. First test of Raptor: 3x thrust of Merlin. Anomaly in early September: pre-launch static fire of AMOS-6 Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex resulted in vehicle loss (upper stage oxygen tank failure).
August 23, Santa Monica City Council adopted resolution calling for closure of Municipal Airport on or before July 1, 2018. 15×15 Climate Action Plan Final Report outlines 3-year effort to reduce city emissions 15% below 1990 levels by end of 2015 (outcome: reductions of 20% reached). 86% of nearly 700 tech firms in LA are located in SM’s Silicon Beach (CBRE). September 25: closing reception of motion-based exhibition, Transported (Bergamot Station). October 7: inaugural #CarFreeFriday.
Annual best college rankings released (U.S. News & World Report): Princeton #1, Harvard #2, U. Chicago and Yale tied #3. Launched: Tata Group collaboration in network science, data science, healthcare and microbiome research. September: Reinecke Library reopens following 16-month renovation, preserving Gordon Bunshaft’s modernist design (October 1963). Freshman application updated: now more specific, about community footprint, academic excitement and favorite pursuits.
M-A-W Quebec raised nearly $2 million at its 10th edition of 48-Hour Ride at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. M-A-W America welcomes Connie Weaver, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of TIAA to its National Board of Directors. M-A-W co-founder Tommy Austin to speak at annual Three Wish Circus in El Paso, TX.
Four new ETFs will capture investment opportunities created by the global trends (ageing population, healthcare, robotics and digitalization). London: Investment Institute warn of effects of climate change ahead of physical risk, regulatory change and technology change. BlackRock joins investors to take legal action against Volkswagen for fabricating emissions tests (nearly 11 million diesel cars).
September 10 earthquake in Kagera Region has claimed at least 19 people and injured over 300. University of Dodoma (UDOM) students embark on scientific research to apply technology to enable wildlife authorities to combat poaching in protected areas. Tanzanian police have killed 65 people and injured 270 during clashes at Canadian-owned gold mine. UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki Moon, urges Tanzania to uphold mediation efforts in conflict-hit countries across the Great Lakes region.
Latest novel Nutshell released in UK (1 September) and US (13 September), a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the perspective of an eight-month-old fetus. Leaning on the renowned narrative “… stimulated a surge of inventiveness on Mr. McEwan’s part, as he mischievously concocts a monologue for his “almost child”…” (New York Times).
Broel Studio Inc. hand-painted bottles for “Where Stars Collide” Auction of Washington Wine. Late July, winemaker Josh McDaniels incorporates two concrete tanks for first time, one for Syrah, the other for secret project. Sports Illustrated article covers Rick Mirer (founded Mirror Wine Company, Napa in 2008) and Doubleback’s Drew. 5 September, first day of harvest for 2016.
The Killers, Duran Duran and Stevie Wonder feature at Jazz Aspen over Labor Day Weekend. Mandy Ortiz takes 1st female in Red Bull Rise, Josh Smullin 1st male – each athlete summits Aspen Mountain eight times (equivalent to 25,600ft) in 7:38:59 and 7:01:55 respectively. The Meeting (snow film festival) begins 6 October at Wheeler Opera House including productions from Teton Gravity Research, Level 1 and Matchstick Productions.
After 28 years at Tate, Director Nicholas Serota steps down at end of 2016, starting as part-time Chairman of Arts Council in February 2017. New Tate Modern Switch House (architects, Herzog & de Meuron) opened to public on 17 June, housing free collection with 800 works from 300 artists. Tate Modern welcomed 1m visitors to new spaces in first month. Showing: until 27 November, Recognition (virtual gallery comparing works of art with Reuters images). Until 30 October, American modernist Georgia O’Keeffe.
Third album, Blonde, released on August 20th, reached top of Billboard 200 for week ending August 25th (selling 276,000 equivalent album units, Nielsen Music). Blonde arrives with the third-largest debut week of 2016, following Drake’s Views and Beyonce’e Lemonade (65.4m streams via Apple Music, exclusive license). Blonde released two days after full-length video Endless, making the set were Ocean’s first full-length offering since his debut album, Channel Orange (2012).
Obama’s September visit to Laos: announced US contribution of $90m for cluster bomb clearance. Şuşa (Shushi) region of south-west Azerbaijan cleared of last known minefield. Over half a million square meters of land in grazing lands of northern Afghanistan cleared, safely destroying 113 anti-personnel mines and two items of unexploded ordnance. Colombia Government and FARC end 50 years of armed conflict with deal to support President Juan Manuel Santos’ Ottawa commitment 2021 mine-free goal.
Early September, 4,300 Superchargers worldwide. Model S now world’s quickest production car (0-60 mph in 2.5 sec and first to go 300+ miles). Tesla voted Forbes’ world #1 most innovative company for the second year in a row. SolarCity and Tesla to merge into one company – emphasis on Powerball and Powerpack as central to the ‘storage’ element of the new company. SolarCity stockholders to receive 0.110 Tesla common shares per SolarCity share.
10 years since the release of ‘Let My People Go Surfing’, Penguin published updated version with additional content including a prologue from Yvon Chouinard. Early August, Patagonia Provisions release a 25-minute film Broken Ground featuring different types of farming, regenerative farming, diversified crop development and restorative fishing. Patagonia’s Responsible Wool Standard updated to focus on animal welfare and responsible land management.