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What a year.

As a stealth financial technology studio, String and Key started 2020 with incredible passion and excitement to solve some of the most daunting financial challenges in the world today — and assembled a team of the best minds across business strategy, technology, creative and operations.

And about 6 weeks into our launch, the world was faced with one of the biggest health crises in history, a global pandemic that has affected people of all ages — and shaken every company around the world to the core, transforming the workplace seemingly overnight.

Since March, String and Key has been operating fully remote, but every quarter we have assessed the opportunity to return to our campuses and enjoy the culture and environment our team collectively created and loved. …


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The game done changed.

For the last three years, AD:60 has been dedicated exclusively to building products for its clients such a Stash, Nutrisystem, Christies, and MyBankTracker to name a few. In 2018, we decided to challenge ourselves and go back to where we started from and showcase our creative and development prowess by entering into the mobile gaming space.. In effect, AD:60 wanted to develop the ability to make products for itself in addition to maintaining high-level execution for clients. The game we’ve created, Cutting Corners (now available for download on iTunes), is categorized as a casual mobile game; hink Tetris or 2048 rather than Fortnite. …


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Does your business have a branded mobile app? Is it achieving the success you expected? Do you know why you built it in the first place?

At AD:60 we are constantly approached to help brands and entrepreneurs concept and develop digital solutions that are core to their business and in many cases ARE their actual business. So when I saw a stat that predicted almost 20 percent of brands will be abandoning their mobile apps by 2019, I was intrigued.

This statistic was a prediction from Gartner. They’re a big o’l American research and advisory firm that IT and other business leaders use as a resource for information technology related insights. …


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Success!

I’m proud to say that one year after being nominated, our work on Stash Invest was awarded a Webby in the category of Best Financial Services / Banking Mobile Sites & Apps.

If you’re not familiar with The Webby Awards, it is considered by many as the internet’s highest honor. An international award honoring excellence on the Internet, The Webby Awards presents two honors in every category — The Webby Award and The Webby People’s Voice Award. Members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) select the Nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the Winners of The Webby Awards. In the spirit of the open Web, The Webby People’s Voice is awarded by the voting public. …


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I was recently in Houston for a new business pitch and had the opportunity to have dinner with the CEO of a potential new client. The conversation covered a number of things, eventually landing on the topic of AD:60’s approach to ensure each of our team members objectives are aligned to the success of the company. As we discussed the pros and cons, he asked what my attitude was towards team members who do what the job asks versus producing results.

What a fantastic question, I thought. Everyday we’re expected to “do our job” and are evaluated by how well we perform to the job description. It makes sense since we’re hired to do a role with the expectation that doing the job we’re told to do, will produce an outcome of things getting done. …


A Funny Thing Happens

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Near the end of 2016, before AD:60 became a stand-alone company, one of our largest clients threatened to put us in review. After four strong years, they had had enough and were ready to walk.

The reason was clear: we didn’t treat them as a partner. Instead, we did our tasks and when things were late (from both sides) we just extended the timeline. We didn’t voice our concern that dates would be missed. We didn’t hunker down and push hard to over deliver. To sum it up: we didn’t treat their business as if it was our business. But once the message was sent, we did what was needed and the project was successfully launched. …


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Ten months ago, my wife and I were blessed with fraternal twin boys, Anders and Leo. Being in the client services business I’ve become accustomed to working with different people and personalities on a daily basis. This experience has proven vital in learning how to work with Anders and Leo’s very dynamic and very different personalities, and I have found it to be both challenging and rewarding. I’m inspired by watching my wife with them and seeing how she interacts with our sons has been an educational experience for me. She is a true leader in many ways, and that is often on stage in our home. …


A case study of an agency that grew its top-line by putting skin the game.

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In our vertical, many of our partners have internal teams that have similar skill sets to what we offer. These teams are busy with daily operational tasks and so they hire us to create the digital solutions for the purpose of launching new businesses. It’s an expensive investment that’s proxy of success isn’t winning awards. It’s driving real business results.

Seems simple in concept, but I’ve been in a number of meetings where the final deliverables score well with customers and press, but barely move the needle. …


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I was recently in Houston for a new business pitch and had the opportunity to have dinner with the CEO of a potential new client. The conversation covered a number of things, eventually landing on the topic of AD:60’s approach to ensure each of our team members objectives are aligned to the success of the company. As we discussed the pros and cons, he asked what my attitude was towards team members who do what the job asks versus producing results.

What a fantastic question, I thought. Everyday we’re expected to “do our job” and are evaluated by how well we perform to the job description. It makes sense since we’re hired to do a role with the expectation that doing the job we’re told to do, will produce an outcome of things getting done. …


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“We need to have this feature if we’re going to beat our competition.”

Ahh, the all too familiar saying you hear from those attempting to build the next best thing, that will change the way consumers behave and act. In reality, they care more about beating (read: being) their competition. I get it, they are more likely financially successful, probably have the fame, and overall are easier to aspire to — it’s the visual learner in us, we need to see it in order to achieve it.

Whenever AD:60 or one of our partners start to go down the path of “lets do this because the competition is” we realize that we are no longer following what really matters — our own path. …

About

Alex Matjanec

CEO at String and Key (www.stringandkey.com)

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