freshout, the agency

freshout was agency that focused on building the best products for its clients.

the first year that we started in philadelphia, we worked very hard to get any clients that we could.

at the time (2011), agencies weren’t building products for their clients.

san francisco was another story though. people understood what we wanted to do and gave us a chance.

we worked hard. we did well. clients liked us.

we got more clients. we did well. we grew.

we got to 30 people.

after this point, we always had at least 10-15 clients waiting for us to get open.

it felt nice.

but before i could really enjoy the feeling, i realized that building products on the web and operating them has to be done by the same team.

the iteration isn’t optional. it’s required.

by my standards, the quality of our products always needed many more layers of polish. sometimes they needed be completely changed.

there aren’t many clients that can afford and plan for such a collaboration with an outside firm.

we attempted many times to get further involved with the operation of our client’s products but the economics just didn’t work.

how do you quantify spending your entire weekend thinking about reducing friction from a signup flow for a client’s product?

no client wants to pay for that at your hourly rate. that’s a fact.

we tried many times. once i understood that it couldn’t really be done, we stopped taking new clients.

this video explains it well

unless you are ok with sub-par products, you shouldn’t work at or start an agency.


about 3 years ago, we started working on our first product to start this journey. about 2 years later, we did placeit.

i personally wasn’t involved enough in the revenue side of our products until September of 2013.

we transitioned slowly. that was a mistake.

we had revenue opportunities that we couldn’t see because i was doing too many things at the same time.

when i did take over completely, it didn’t take very long to make the transition happen.

we should’ve done it in one shot but that’s easier said than done.

i wanted to write this so i don’t forget why we made the change.

we now build and operate our own products.