If you think you can just setup a simple Stripe integration and move on, like us, you’d be sadly mistaken.

Photo by Alex Eckermann on Unsplash

I remember like it was yesterday, we were beginning to plan for our paid subscriptions launch and needed to integrate a payments provider. Allocating two weeks should easily be enough right? Stripe must have it covered. I mean, we’re not the first European company to offer paid subscriptions, there has to be a step by step process to follow… 🕳🐇

and down the rabbit hole we went, and it got deeper and deeper.

In this article, I’m going to share…

It’s time to grow up, get over ourselves and be more playful in our product designs and communication.

brand mark for mmhmm in several variations all colorful and playful, think MTV
brand mark for mmhmm in several variations all colorful and playful, think MTV

Throughout my work life I’ve been faced with those in senior positions who deem playfulness un-business-like or questioned it’s relevance. This is not really a surprise, it’s the feedback delivered to us repeatedly as rebellious adolescents by parents and otherwise authority figures.

But every now and then a product pops up that eschews playfulness and reminds me that play and business are not mutually exclusive. In-fact playfulness in a product and its branding (and company culture) often makes it all the more compelling and successful than its oh-so-serious counterparts.

In this short article I’m going to dig into this rising…

You often hear about auditing your own site when carrying out a redesign but auditing your competitors can help realign the company and breathe fresh ideas into the process.

I was recently tasked to carry out an agile redesign of an early-stage startup’s website in just 8 weeks. A key component in this project’s success was the industry audit.

Why do an audit?

Often the founders/founding team are so “close” to their industry and are moving so fast to innovate that taking time to zoom out to a “birds eye” view from a newcomer’s perspective can really help focus, get everyone on the same page and provide autonomy to execute quickly through later stages of the design process.

Setting up the audit

Take full-page screenshots of each of the competitors’ websites. I like to use a handy…

Many media houses have already been decimated so what could be the new business model to turn things around?

bank note of Zimbabwe for ten trillion dollars
bank note of Zimbabwe for ten trillion dollars

Did you know that the Zimbabwe Dollar ended up with so many zeros that the ink was more valuable than the bills it was printed on?! How could that happen? Let’s quickly go back 7000 years.

In 5000 BC the first metal objects were introduced as commodity money replacing bartering for goods. With the introduction of paper currency and non precious coinage commodity money evolved into representative money, meaning the money itself didn’t need to be of great value but represented a claim on a commodity i.e. silver or gold that was supported by a government or bank. …

There’s a lot of ground to cover so let’s get to it!

Scrimba.com is an online platform to learn to code from real teachers. But unlike the many other competitors, their secret sauce is that they’ve developed a unique technology that lets teachers record their screencasts so students can stop at any point and jump directly into editing the code. In this way it’s similar to being taught with a tutor right next to you. Pretty neat!

After a couple of years of organic grassroots growth the founders approached me. Being mindful that they are still early stage, with limited funds to invest in “branding” and a small team to manage the…

The past 3 years led us to identify a huge problem — media advertising was excluding the SMB market. Why? Because the tools available to create and order ads are too complex and expensive compared to Google and Facebook’s offerings. It’s therefore no surprise that these two firms account for around 70% of all digital ad spending globally, which has forced closures and cutbacks and severely threatened the future of journalism. See our other post titled “ the REAL reason newspapers are losing to facebook

What we want to achieve

At the beginning of 2018 we embarked on a 9 month journey to develop and…

The emerging “news deserts” across the USA. Source

There’s a major problem facing communities everywhere — local news is losing the competition for advertisers to the duopoly (facebook and Google). These two firms account for around 70% of all digital ad spending globally, which has forced closures and cutbacks and severely threatened the future of journalism.

Facebook made $39B in ad revenue in 2017. They added over 1 million new advertisers in just 6 months and the majority of this growth came from…


That’s right SMBs, not fortune 500 companies or big shiny brands like Nike or Coke. For the past 14 years, facebook reeled in…

I call this visual noise. Photographer: Kevin Balluff/Getty Images

At Socius we believe in brands as storytellers. What we are working to achieve with our latest product Socius Native is to fundamentally change the broken and blocked ad “creative” that’s delivered to publishers websites.

Most banner ads today suck. No one likes to see them, much less produce them. In my past life I spent many an evening working in creative agencies slicing up images to be spewed out onto various web spaces to be ignored and blocked. This is not an occupation worth rescuing.

“The social web is one big scrap heap of content waiting to be mined”.

When I worked on the global rebrand of Adidas the imagery shifted drastically from…

From October 2013 to January 2014 my startup Socius was in the Axel Springer Plug & Play accelerator program in Berlin. I’ve had some time to reflect over this period and made a short list of tips for anyone thinking of joining or about to join an accelerator.

In no particular order:

1. Look up!

Make every effort to talk to, share with and help the other teams. You’re probably going to follow many of the same processes so why reinvent the wheel? Draw on each others’s experiences, some will be a step ahead…

It was in the midst of working on a freelance job in Los Angeles that we received the call; Axel Springer, one of Europe’s largest multimedia brands had selected our startup to pitch for a chance to be one of the 10 startups included in their Plug And Play accelerator program starting in a months time.The pitch was to be held the following Wednesday in Berlin and would mean paying for new flights, cutting short this job and forfeiting next month’s rent. It would need some contemplation so let’s rewind…

From the drawing board to the catwalk

My co-founder and I had been pursing the idea of…

Daniel Butler

Design, hustle and entrepreneurship. https://dnlbtlr.com

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