Harry Keller

January 30, 2022

↬ January 2022: diesdas exit, chili jam, winter vibes and sand worms

Hey y’all, Harry here, with a January recap and a few photo impressions at the end. Time continues to be weird and it’s hard to believe we’re already a full month into 2022, so the plan is to write monthly recaps across the year, to be more aware and to keep track of what’s happening. This post is a bit longer because it’s the first one and we’ll have some catching up to do! Let’s get into it!

🚨 What’s new
The big news is that I’m leaving diesdas.digital, the digital studio I co-founded in 2015. We’ve had a fantastic run over the last six years, assembling a wonderful team of 30+ people from ~15 nationalities and working on so many cool projects together. I have the fondest memories and I’m grateful for everything I got to learn. However, we also felt some tension in the partners round last year and we couldn’t agree on a vision for the company going forward. This stalemate was unfortunate for all parties involved; the team, as well as project work and also for us partners. Ultimately I decided to step aside (along with Lars and Robert) and to make room for new things to unfold, which means the remaining partners Lorenz and Max will lead diesdas into its next chapter. I’ll be cheering them on from the sidelines, but I’m not gonna lie, it’s a bittersweet change for me. At times it felt like giving up, while I’m simultaneously happy that there is now a way forward for the company. Whatever happens, I’ll definitely miss everyone on the team—you’re truly the best bunch of people I’ve ever worked with and I hope you all thrive! Go diesdas 2.0! 

In other news, our book club is still going: On Jan 25 we had a super nice zoom discussion about Dune (yes, the Dune by Frank Herbert) with 12 people who all made it through the 600+ pages. I’m always a nervous wreck before hosting the book club meetings, feeling I should’ve prepared more, but then everyone gathers, shares their thoughts and makes it … easy. I basically just smile throughout all of the ~90mins it usually takes. Most participants, me included, really enjoyed Dune and several even started reading the sequels. It’s not my all-time favorite book, but it’s definitely lingering in my mind more than any other book I’ve read in a while. We are currently deciding what to read next – join us here and chime in.

I’m also still taking photos with the GameBoy Camera and trying to decide what to do with them. Will probably add a little gallery page to my website to start with, along with an editor tool I built to improve the photos, e.g. upscaling them properly, adding a color tint, switching frames, adding scanlines, … the other three people out there shooting photos with a GameBoy might find it useful.

What’s good
Our dog Freddy is keeping me sane during the pandemic. Every morning he wakes up with us, makes his way up the bed and then curls into a ball next to me under the sheets. Like a cat, so cozy.

A friend of mine invited me to a coffee cupping session with three very different coffees. We tasted each without knowing which one it was and tried to discern flavors … to my surprise (I usually scoff at “peach and banana notes” on coffee labels) we identified them all correctly and we did taste a lot of the flavors mentioned on the packaging. Maybe it’s not all bullshit.

Last year, after growing chilis on our balcony, I tried to create ultra hot chili-raspberry jam, because why the heck doesn’t that exist? The experiment somewhat succeeded … but it also became clear why that’s not a thing sold in supermarkets. 😅 It tasted great on its own, but it would also burn your taste buds super hard, overpowering everything else you’d have for breakfast. I gave it another go last weekend, toning down the chili amount and switching to oranges as the main fruit. Turns out blood-orange jam with a bit of habanero chili is really nice. The experiment shall continue.
 
After essentially spending 15 years hunched over computers all day and not doing any sports, I decided I can’t keep going like this. So I threw money at the problem (ouch) in December and bought a rowing machine (inspired by two other colleagues who did the same). It’s great, just 30mins of rowing per day feels really good. I sense it getting a bit boring already, but I’ll try to keep it up and turn it into a regular habit. For those curious: I got myself a WaterRower, which is not as hideous as other fitness gear and can be stored upright, taking up little space.

🪨 What’s hard
Sigh, going into the third year of the pandemic. I am still working from home, still overly cautious, still haven’t really traveled during the pandemic and I can feel the deprivation. The all-encompassing uncertainty also means we haven’t planned anything for this year and that also means there’s nothing specific to look forward to. That, combined with the grey-wet-cold Berlin winter, is really dragging my mood down.

My home office desk is in a corner of our bed room, so these days I’m working, sleeping and doing sports in a single room, which is probably 90% of my life. Right now I don’t see myself ever going back to an office regularly, but I also gotta get out of this effing room more often.

My brain feels extremely scattered lately: read twitter, check emails, catch up on podcasts, swipe through insta stories, watch a tv series, check out all the links shared in discord, read books, get through those browser tabs … I’m struggling to stay on top of the information overload and the self-imposed tasks. Everything is a to do list of some kind these days, so I’m constantly on my phone or laptop. Most of these activities should be enjoyable, yet somehow they’ve turned into daily chores. I think I’ll have a round of unfollowing and unsubscribing to do, to somewhat calm down the onslaught of CoNtEnT from all sides.

After announcing my departure from diesdas so many people on the team reached out for 1on1s and we had so many lovely conversations, with a slight “oh well, this is good bye” vibe towards the end of the calls. Of course that’s premature, I’ll be with diesdas for all of February still, but yeah, feeling all the feelings, it’s still quite surreal.

💡 What’s interesting
I have an odd relationship to the crypto/web3/NFT mania … some part of my brain is super into it, celebrating the explosion of creativity and positivity in the space (some of the NFT discords are genuinely the least toxic and most helpful places I’ve seen on the internet), but meanwhile I see myself nodding along with most of the criticism as well: Do we really want to financialize every aspect of our lives? Do we need to turn everything into a market and (of course) disproportionally reward those who came early and those who are already rich? If you’re looking for a really deep and well-informed critique, clear your calendar and watch this.

👀 What’s recommended
Instead of listing every good article I’ve read, may I simply invite you to a Discord where a couple of friends and I exchange interesting links? It’s called lanky horse, the most random name we could come up with. You can join by typing lanky.horse into your browser! 🐴

I started watching Yellowjackets and it has pulled me in like few other tv series. It’s gruesome, but it’s somehow also really good. 🙈

Need a book? Dune is great! 🐛 Same goes for everything written by Octavia E. Butler. Read more Octavia, everyone!

🔮 What’s next
Well, I guess February is next, duh! I haven’t decided what my next career move will be: while I’m still at diesdas, I want to be fully present there. I have a few loose ideas what could come next, but I haven’t signed anything yet. Trying to trust in emergence and roll with the uncertainty.

📷 What’s in the camera roll

Winter days

More Freddy

Coffee cupping, too many used GameBoy Cameras, a leaf macro (this was taken on a phone 🤯)

And finally bored Harry on a laptop, a depiction of my current mental state and a little message for the diesdas folks in the office

Aaand that’s all I’ve got! Thank you for being here, I wave to you from Berlin-Köpenick, take care and see you next month! 👋
Harry

PS: If you received this as an email, I think you can simply reply to reach me. If you’re reading the web version there should be a subscribe form somewhere in case you want to follow along. ✌️

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harry felix keller
based in Berlin
+49 178 55 29 111
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