We look forward to receiving your signal!
20 years of Nothing: Our journey through space
In a universe full of infinite possibilities, the orange rocket seeks what really matters. Our mission: to help those we encounter and transform grand ideas into pioneering products. We use design, technology, and business to do good and ultimately create products which matter.
Meet the crew
Who is the rocket team? It currently consists of 17 robots. The time a robot spends aboard our rocket is called a robot lifecycle. Apart from our captain, Spot, Lang is our record holder with a lifecycle of 7 years.
Mission after mission
Since the rocket’s launch, we have completed many missions: In 2002 we developed Applogger, an analytics tool ahead of its time. Applogger was vital for space pioneers to track and analyse how people used multimedia applications—it was the perfect complement to then still very new web analytic tools (as a reminder: Google Analytics was only launched in 2005!).
In a 2011 challenge, the playful robots developed the cute action shooter game Plobb!. The game got featured in the app store as one of Apple’s “top picks” and enjoyed great popularity because of its design as well as the challenging and creative levels.
A more recent mission from 2019, where Nothing assisted with design and usability expertise, is the audio player of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung: With this Text-to-Speech player, every online article of the newspaper can be played as an audio version.
When travelling through outer space and completing one mission after the other, having companions is key. Netcera and Nothing first met more than six years ago. Ever since, we have regularly teamed up, with Netcetera tackling development and Nothing taking charge of strategy and design.
Two years later, we encountered the vessel of Infoteam for the first time—and thus found another trusted ally and partner. We’ve since tackled five missions together, making Infoteam our strong partner in the discovery of Romandie territory!
Play and experiments within the rocket
During their time off missions, the robots love experimenting with the newest tech and improving the hulls of the rocket. A result of that: Our update screen that makes sure everyone knows what’s happening aboard.
Our missions throughout these 20 years have won us several awards and commendations. One example that we’re particularly proud of is the travel app “Tickets”, which won a gold Best of Swiss App Award in 2014. With our partners BLT and Netcetera we developed a “path-breaking app”, which has established the two click buy option now employed by SBB and many others!
Working hand in hand with and for others
We have assisted others in their struggles in many different ways: As allies, counsellors and since August 2018 we’ve been contributing to the “Accessibility Developer Guide”, which provides guidelines for and examples of accessible web development. It is our concern to cater to every user’s need!
In the science lab – Supervising terrestrial EPFL Master projects
Not only has the rocket seen many adventures, but we have sought to support terrestrial scientific endeavours. Since 2011 we’ve had four interns join our science lab—three of which are still part of our crew today: Ada joined the rocket in 2017, Mak boarded in 2015, and Lex has been with us since 2014.
Changing the rocket’s structure from bottom to top
The solar tides have changed since the rocket’s launch in 1999. Time for a system revision. On April 20, 2017, we officially signed our “Peer-to-Peer” constitution to mark the start of our new organizational structure. We wanted to find a better way of doing meaningful work together. Our evolutionary, role-based system now allows robots to effectively take ownership of their work.
Following decentralization on an organizational level, the rocket expanded geographically: To foster our connection with the Romandie, Nothing’s starbase in Lausanne opened in 2018!
Making change visible with Peerdom
To support our organisational transformation, the robots had to be aware of their individual roles and accountabilities. We thus developed Peerdom, our rocket-grown organisation mapping tool, to visualise the rocket’s structure.
You can dive into how we conceptualised and developed Peerdom in our rocket’s astrometric lab by reading our log entry on Peerdom: An adventure in organisation design.
Our trusted friends across the galaxy
During our adventures through space, the rocket has overcome numerous challenges, proving its resiliency. We have adapted to new situations and throughout our journey we have matured to become a place of innovation.
But fear not, our space journey is not ending here! We are seeking new challenges in our future. Does our story resound with you? If you’re interested in collaborating on the design of a new space vessel or in developing a new tool to uncover a yet-unknown planet, send us a signal!