Working at Studio Graphene is like baking a cake but not knowing what kind, the team a group of chefs getting all the ingredients from places you’ve never heard of. But the recipe is clear, and somehow, on completion of the final product, what you were making all along makes sense.
Actually, food is a useful angle from which to approach a description of Studio Graphene, since how seriously the team take their food mirrors the care that they put into their work. Eat well, work well, communicate well. Today we had free strawberry cheesecake ice cream in Finsbury Park. Practically at Wimbledon. Talk about multitasking.
Being sat in between Paul on one side and Jess and Christine on my other side, I am often guest to snippets of conversations that I pretend not to hear in fear of disrupting the ease of conversation I love being party to, their fun spirit and humour pervading the working atmosphere of Huckletree Shoreditch.
I am also quiet on the office slack network, an online chatting tool, not yet able to navigate the fine balance between the technical jargon of user testing and app development with the choice of the perfect giph in response to a rare amazon find of cheap cotton flannels.
All this chatter is surface to the work that takes place. I am genuinely fascinated by the fact that apps and sites and communities are constructed here and feel grateful to be a part of that. At the ‘All hands’ (on deck) meeting, everyone’s individual jobs starting to take form in my mind:
There’s Ritam, Peter, Deepak and Jonny on the digital product managing team. They do the face to face communication with the client.
Then we have Christine, Jess, and Paul on the marketing team, ensuring that websites are optimised to maximise conversion rates and increase both profitability and visibility.
The design time are somewhat more intimidating, just like their work itself - they are responsible for the UI, UX and graphic stages of development.
The team in India are in large part the engineers and software developers turning the hands of the clock behind the wheel.
And Hannah - the Studio Manager - is busy keeping everything ticking over and often nipping to the shop for emergency biscuit supplies.
I have been creating social media snippets out of press releases for a luxury design estate agent called Elicyon, as well as researching possible social media influencers for hygienic and insulated medicine bags for children produced by a company called Medpac.
In my studies of History, the present is already too modern, so anticipating what might come in the future is quite alien to me. As something which does that, technology feels like a foreign language in which I’m not fluent.
Creating a voice in the virtual world is very different to finding one offline. Writing snippets for social media outlets is daunting but a confidence booster because of their immediate exposure. The seeming superficiality to liking and following is tainted by the impact that such activity can have on building a community out of the virtual world.
My writing style has had to come back down to earth, as to take myself seriously at writing anything worthy of a public platform, I have written in the tone of an old uncle writing in his moleskin diary from a vintage armchair, not the cool, sleek, nonchalant young style looked for here. #gettagging #readon.
I am lucky to still be a university student with 5 months of summer holidays. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours was a shock to the system and after the first day, in all honesty, I felt slightly demoralised, thinking, is this what adult life is like? Because looking at a screen and bypassing all other forms of contact and communication that could take part instead is quite a sad thought.
But Studio Graphene has a way of organising itself with such strict time management that there is enough time and moments in the day for not sitting. On Wednesday morning I took part in yoga on the roof with Christine, Karen and Lizzie. Spin class, boxing, pottery, planting, making musical instruments, these are just a few of the colours of activities flying around in the vocabulary of everyday here. All besides the building of new networks and websites.
Studio Graphene strikes the perfect balance of individuality and collectivity. Everything is done collaboratively by an amalgamation of readily coordinated and communicated individual work. There is none of the childlike gold star for the last to leave or first to arrive to the office (although I can’t help but admire anyone able to get in for 9am), since the people here realise that everyone works in different ways and that what matters is what is done.
The big news on the market is that Jamie Redknapp has posted about our newest app - Frolo– a network for single parents in the UK. I think that there is a strange paradox where parenthood for some is seen as the culmination and embodiment of adulthood, while for others becoming a parent strips them of the privileges that accompany being an adult. Especially in the case of a single parent where tasks are less easily divided, parenthood can be lonely. Also, the pressure for women to feel fulfilled on the basis of having given birth takes energy away from the exploration of social networks and activities outside of their immediate personal life. Compounded by the rising number of reports on the increasing rise of loneliness in London, being a part of something that is working to tackle this issue, in some part, feels significant.
I now have to go buffer out some social media posts on the rise of and experience of start-ups in their first few years of launch. Till next week!