Time goes fast in London.
You wake up in the morning, have your usual Pret latte on your way to work, commute with people you don’t know and are yet all too close to you in a packed Circle Line carriage, walk through the buzzing Paddington station, give the requisite “Morning!” nod to the business park lobby, open the door to your crammed office, sit down, read emails, fight against the usual project fires as a product owner, write some urgent emails, have a scrum meeting, communicate with important stakeholders, write a new proposal, call one of the new business prospects from last week, talk with the UX team via Skype, have the usual phone call from your real estate agency discussing some expat accommodation issues (yes, these happen almost daily), go for a salad bar lunch with the development team, have another Pret latte, write an email to the Berlin team regarding future summer holidays, read some Helsingin Sanomat and Ilta-Sanomat, do some Facebooking, discuss the team allocation of the projects we have for Q3 and Q4 with Futurice Helsinki and Berlin, write some more emails and support the amazing Harri Hälikkä with the daily build.
Some days end with a late phone call to Redmond, US, which is a pain because of the time difference. If you are lucky, you might still have time to do some invoicing for the previous months before heading back home in the cold but mellow England rain.
Johannes Laitila - November Fall, winter, spring - you really can’t tell one season from another. We relocated here last October with zero customers and zero ongoing projects. The “office” had to be re-established daily at the Bayswater Starbucks: a place way too noisy to do any decent work after 13:00 because it seems to magically attract all the teenagers from the entire world during the afternoons, but also a place that had decent Wi-Fi.
Below you can see our very own Mikko Koski doing some serious Starbucks work on October 5th 2011. Yes, the modus operandi was – and still is – very much like a startup here at Futurice UK. From Starbucks, we then moved to the hipster-y Shoreditch. We grew the obligatory ironic moustaches, drank the pixel perfect lattes, ate the best ever BLT’s and did some decent project work together with our local design partners. Christmas was closing in and it was time to celebrate as we had secured our first local operator customer during November. The project order was in my inbox and it seemed that London had offered us more than we could have asked for in a very short period of time.
I do not know why we then wanted to move back to West End. Was it because of the high concentration of hipsters with their trendy beards in east London? Or was it the amount of potential customers in the west? Anyway, we returned back to the City of Westminster in the beginning of April. Hell, we even set up a subsidiary there! A brand new and shiny Futurice Ltd. was established at the most prominent 1 Kingdom Street, near the Paddington station. We are now located next to Vodafone, Orange, Statoil and Visa, so it’s definitely not the worst place to grow your business. If you are in the neighborhood, come visit us in the 4th floor.