#MeetTheTeam: Jamie Wieck
Today Carmen speaks with Those’s other Director & Co-Founder, Jamie Wieck.
[Carmen:] Hi Jamie, before we talk about Joto, can you tell us about your background?
[Jamie:] Throughout my career I’ve always tried to stay one step ahead of my comfort zone.
For years I worked at a wonderful agency called Airside, and it felt like the perfect job. Everyday I got to design and direct animation; but I felt compelled to push myself harder. So I left Airside to set up a small design consultancy called ENSO.
Running my own business was rewarding, but it was a surprisingly lonely experience. Regardless of how many freelancers I employed, I was always going to be the sole operational fulcrum. At ENSO’s peak with 12 freelancers working all over the world, I barely had time to sleep and would go for days without leaving the flat; so I decided to to take a step back and reassess.
But, having tasted the startup experience I wanted to try again. This time I wanted to build a sustainable business, as well as a successful one. So when the opportunity to work with Jim and Barney presented itself, I jumped at the chance.
[C:] How did you found Those with Jim and Barney?
[J:] I no longer wanted to work from home, and I knew Jim had been looking for a base to call his own. So after a brief search we moved into a studio in Bermondsey on the site of a disused biscuit factory.
As we toiled away at our client work, we began to wonder how we could work together to create something cool. Unfortunately, neither of us could put our finger on what that “something cool” was.
When Barney arrived to share our studio, the dynamic shifted. With his formidable product design experience, we were suddenly able to realise ideas that we previously impossible. One such idea was Jim’s plan for a giant, scalable, plotter. The rest, as they say, is history…
[C:] Is there anything you love or hate about working in a startup?
[J:] What I love about working in a startup, and what I hate about working in a startup, are two sides of the same coin. I love that a startup presents thousands of tiny creative challenges everyday. But on the flip-side, the shear amount of work required to meet these challenges is quite exhausting!
I’d also admit maintaining healthy relationships in such a pressured environment can be hard. We’re all stressed about different things, so at times, things can get tense. But it’s not all doom and gloom, the elation felt when things go right is unparalleled.
[C:] What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face whilst working on Joto?
[J:] As I’m responsible for marketing Joto, the biggest challenge I’ve faced is definition. What does Joto do? Who is Joto for? And the $64,000 question: is there any specific problem that Joto solves?
We researched this question for a long time. On the face of it, Joto didn’t appear to solve any obvious problem.
But through our testing we came to realise that “creating an opportunity” was just as valid as “solving a problem”. Joto wasn’t an answer to a question, it was the question. It was a brand new medium for us to shape and play with; a playful way to display.
[C:] So, would you say you’ve found Joto’s unique selling point?
[J:] Identifying Joto as a “playful display” was a big leap for us. We knew Joto was great for drawing and displaying artwork, but recognising it as a display (albeit a novel one) gave us the freedom to envision just how versatile a Joto could be.
The Joto community has helped us so much with this task. We’ve spoken to adults who want message technologically-challenged parents; café owners who want to replace chalkboards; families who want better family noticeboards; teams who want to connect it to Slack, Twitter, Spotify and more; developers who want to display live data; cooks who want to display recipes; children who want to draw with it; people who want live sports updates; live weather updates; live traffic updates; and shopping lists. Nearly everyone we’ve spoken to wants Joto display their weekly shopping list!
[C:] Are you excited about the Design of the Year nomination. What would you like to see happen next?
[J:] The Design of the Year nomination is a huge honour, and we’re going to make that nomination count.
We share our category with the likes of Adidas and Lego, but the entire shortlist showcases a plethora of talent. So now’s the time to refine our prototypes, sharpen our messaging and come out swinging. With the nomination comes real legitimacy, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in our adventure. If you want to join us, sign up at our website and join #TeamJoto!