Making it big by staying small
It was August 6th, 2015, Joris and I were enjoying our cold beers, catching up after several years. Joris was a successful independent UX strategist who worked with several international clients and I a Design Lead at digital agency DEPT after they acquired my digital agency earlier that year. We talked about how most agencies were focusing on billable hours instead of customer experience and product growth and discussed the necessity for flexible in-house teams in favor of detached agencies. At that moment Joris said the magic words; “Let’s get the team back together.”
The story actually started in the spring of 2011. I owned a digital agency called Supersteil, a small group of specialists working on innovative digital products. It’s interesting to know that in 2011 most agencies were focusing on big flashy campaign experiences. Not us. We were more interested in solving complex UX and UI problems. We did this for a variety of clients such as Radio 538, Coca-Cola, Coolblue and KPN.
That was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration which was awarded the prestigious Dutch Interactive Award
Around that time we were invited to take on the design process for Pathé Thuis, a brand new video on demand service, scheduled to be launched later that year by renowned Europen cinema brand Pathé Theatres. This is where Joris joined the story as he was Head of Product Development at Pathé and co-responsible for the project.
We jumped on it with a small team, amongst which Mark (Supersteil employee no.1), Joris and I, and spent a full week of intensely analyzing competitors, designing UX and documenting the initial scope. That was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration which was awarded the prestigious Dutch Interactive Award for best e-commerce platform and a Webby Awards Honoree.
Supersteil got acquired by DEPT which resulted in the whole team joining DEPT including both Mark and I. It was a great opportunity at the time, but after a while, we realized that a big company was not the place for us to aspire our goals. We missed the time where we created high-quality digital products and worked closely with big clients in small teams.
The start of something small
Back to August 6th where the idea was born to start a new business. There were a few things we immediately agreed on. We would work directly with the decision makers, extend and coach in-house product and design teams and solve complicated UX and scaling problems instead of working on temporary campaigns. Oh yeah, and Mark should join!
A week later Joris and I pitched our idea to Mark, and we got an immediate “f*ck yeah!”.
From that moment on it’s been an incredible journey, literally. As we’ve been working on some pretty amazing projects from different parts of the world such as Johannesburg, New York, Tel Aviv, Dublin, Prague, and Warsaw.
We worked on a cockpit UI for the first electrical AppScooter. Did a complete design strategy and execution for an African subscription video on demand (SVOD) service currently active in over 40 countries. Helped an Israeli media giant with their live sports VOD app and overhauled the highly popular Irish catch-up platform RTÉ Player.
This is our first insight, you can imagine we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short time and we’re planning on sharing a lot more.
Thanks for reading,
Co-Founder / Creative Director