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Pressure Cooker

February 5, 2020

First, you have to picture the scene. Brant, Joe, Mitch, and Carissa in a sleek conference room with the Teams group, surrounded by white boards and diagrams and prototype images and a giant, anatomically correct cardboard model of a honey bee (no, really).

They were unbelievably ready for us. And we know that’s what they do, but to have not only this chance to meet with them, but to know they had spent so much time researching and studying and preparing was such a great way to start this exhausting, intense day.

diagrams images on white board

Oh, if you’re wondering why we only had a day, it’s because Teams literally had no time available for a new project. So they made time. For us.

Robin wasn’t able to come, so she spent the day on a conference line, listening and giving feedback where she could, as Carissa made sure she could hear and sent her reams of notes, real time.

So that’s the scene. Like Glengarry Glen Ross with less misery and (slightly) less cursing.

perpetualpollen team is working

We spent hours and hours talking about how the customer would use Everbee, how it should look and feel, how sturdy it needed to be and how elegant. We talked about weathering and wind, and we talked about what bees like.

We won’t lie: there was a moment where it felt like we were teetering toward disaster. We were nearing the end of the day. Our one day with Teams was almost up and after hours of working, the concept was just...a tube.

Architecture Brainstorm

It was just a tube. Functional, but …... . As the minutes ticked away and finally vanished, the TEAMS team didn’t bat an eye as they worked late. As the lights in their studio switched off one by one and folks on their multi-million-dollar accounts called it a day, Paul and Andreas pressed on. Joe tried to project positivity but Carissa and Brant (and just about every conscious adult in the GreaterChicago region) could feel his anxiety heating that room. We were all exhausted. Was this entire trip about to implode?

And then, suddenly, Andreas put up a quick sketch.

hexagons shape sketch

Hexagons. It should be shaped like a hexagon. Like honeycomb and snowflakes and all the most beautiful things in the world. Because hexagons are … the bestagons, after all.

In retrospect it’s obvious, right? But that’s how the creative process works: The end product seems obvious. A great piece of art, a breathtaking performance — and you say, “of course, how could it have been anything else?”

another architecture brainstorm

But what you don’t see is the breakout sessions and frustration, the scrapped notes and half-erased white boards. You don’t see the seconds and minutes and sometimes hours where it seemed like it’d never get there.

But it does. Or, it does when you’re working with phenomenally talented designers and a product manager that won’t give up.

We could not be more happy with this design or more grateful to Andreas and Paul for their help and dedication. In a project marked by people’s remarkable talent, kindness, and enthusiasm, this was an unforgettable experience. We’d have never been able to work with designers of this caliber, and we’re endlessly grateful for the opportunity.

Another step closer to saving the bees.