According to the Council for Research Excellence, created by the Nielsen Company, an adult is exposed to screens – TVs, cellphones, even G.P.S. devices – for about 8.5 hours a day, the NYT reports. It seems like those last five weeks I was spending twice more time in front of my Mac and iPhone screens moving the Sochi Olympics Project forward.
It was a creative spell of life.
First, Sochi Olympics Project actually got a name. Out of a pool of various potential names I have chosen the one which I believe fits best. Needless to say, the decision was made in the Starbucks, where the discussions had previously run.
SochiReporter is the name for the project. There are several things I like about this name:
It sounds clear both in Russian and English – if you write the Russian word ‘reporter’ (репортер) in Latin, it would be exactly the same as in English – reporter;
The spelling is clear and there are no ambiguous combinations of letters;
‘Reporter’ is a strong word (this name sounds stronger than just ‘Sochi Report’, the one I had in mind before) and it is encouraging;
It is neutral in a way that it would fit in in various situations (and the serious media would take it seriously);
It alludes to Hollywood Reporter:)
I have registered domain names both with and without a hyphen (sochireporter and sochi-reporter), in .ru and .com zones. I also registered the so4ireporter and so4i-reporter, because in Russian ‘4’ sometimes substitutes the sound ‘ch’. Those domain names were free and I didn’t have to contract with the cyber squatters (or domain hoarders, as Benjamin Melancon suggested to call those, commenting on my previous post).
And now please tell me if you think the hyphen should be used in SochiReporter? Are you against or for it? Do you prefer ‘www.sochireporter.ru’ or ‘www.sochi-reporter.com’? I will much appreciate your feedback.
Secondly, progress was made on the visual side of the project. I have been having three or four meetings with the designers weekly. We first talked about general strategies and then went deep into details.
For my project, funded by the Knight Foundation’s grant, I contracted with a very good Moscow-based design studio, which has been rocking the Russian market for the last 11 years, and now has representative offices in St. Petersburg and Kiev. Because of the global financial crisis, the number of projects and clients decreased, the fees on the market dropped, and the studio gave me a good price, enabling me to hire those great designer-minds. Their office, located at the former car plant and automobile research institution, is creatively modified into a spacious loft, a website factory. Walls are covered by newspapers commemorating their achievements and accomplishments.
From my past experience in the magazine publishing, I have many talented designers with whom I am regularly having lunch. But this time, I decided to hire someone I don’t know personally. I think at times friendship affects business collaboration. At times it’s better to start working with someone great but whom you never knew before. Thus you get a moral right to be really demanding.
Our first meeting with the designers was last October. And they liked me (they said they were especially interested in working with me because ‘I differed much from those numerous office managers who knock on their doors to build, improve or modify another corporate site’). And they found my project to be a much more creative initiative, with no borders or square heads. I was flattered. I liked them. But I didn’t hire them.
Because I was right in the middle of the casting process, and had several meetings with other design studios scheduled. But after days of preliminary talks with very different but stylish types wearing Prada glasses and rosy tartan shirts, after all this, I headed again to the former car plant. And signed an agreement with those first ones. They also wear tartan shirts and heavy black-rimmed glasses, but it’s not about their glasses. It’s about their vision. Their vision of our web 2.0 product dedicated to the Russian resort town preparing for hosting the Olympics.
For now, we have spent hours of discussions on whether to make a tag cloud vertical or horizontal. And whether to have it at all. And issues like this. And we are working on the site design. There is an email in my outbox from today running ‘Approved Front Page Scheme’, and the one from yesterday was regarding the whole site content structure. I am much thrilled to see the first design concepts. In two days there will be at least three different styles.