Something we made — Studiowave

How we took an accidental coincidence to Product Hunt in two weeks.

This is the story of a happy inspirational accident and how Studio Something took that accident from a joke in the studio to the front page of ProductHunt in two weeks.

We’re Studio Something. A boutique creative agency based in Edinburgh on a mission to ‘make something people genuinely like’ this can be for clients or ourselves. Making our ideas and those of our clients a reality, we’re of course acutely aware can take A LOT of time. So we are always on the lookout for potential side projects, passion projects where creativity is king and we can we can determine how long they take to make. No grand vision. No business plan. No series-A. No serious, ay!

Low fidelity, but high impact ideas where we create something only for the reason of creating it.

I was in the studio, listening to a vaporwave mix on youtube, working away (Vaporwave is a micro-genre of electronic music grounded in a distinctly 80s and 90s style).

Across the room, Jordan one of our Creative Directors, was watching ‘The Major Thinkers’, a motivational speech from Steve Jobs (as you do). I stopped. They were in sync. Headphones in, I opened another tab, and played Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot…It was perfect.

I tried another, and another, I changed the vaporwave mix to make sure. Even when they weren’t in time with each other, it still had a unique sound. The speeches seemed to dictate the atmosphere, these vaporwave tracks had become inspirational.

I unplugged my headphones and began to bleed the audio into the studio. One by one people began to hear it, eyes widened, it worked perfectly. Everyone in the studio said ‘this should be a thing!’. This type of thing can be shouted very regularly in the studio so I didn’t take ‘too’ much notice to begin with.

But then, for the next couple of days I became the studio’s resident DJ, mixing YouTube videos, finding tracks that would mix perfectly with interesting audio books or speeches (Lord Of The Rings Audio Book mixed with 80’s synths?). Everyone was energised, inspirational speeches and chillout vaporwave coursed through the studio…productivity soared. Pretotype successful, what was next?

“Pretotype — using everything in our disposal that someone else has already built to test an idea and ask whether we need to build something new”

We were pretty stretched in the studio, our one developer Sam, is currently deep in Welbot, our first major venture, which we’ll get to telling you about soon, it’s fair to say it’s a slightly bigger idea and therefore task than this.

So, we got in touch with the lovely Neef Rehman of ustwo studios and told him the idea. Neef is a supremely talented fellow who helps run the ustwo Adventure Floor, an area of their studio dedicated to investing time and expertise in small early stage start ups and people with ideas. We approached him with the question ‘is there anyone on the floor who might be looking for a fun side project?’, it turned out there was, him. ‘NEEFLESS’ to say, he was in…and so Studiowave was getting made!

We liked the idea that this product was ideal for open plan design studios, places looking for music that the whole place would enjoy, enough ‘lyrics’ to not make the music monotonous but also not overpowering enough to distract people who need to concentrate on writing.

Early design, early name.

In an afternoon we all came up with the name and the design. We wanted a clear and simple UI where the user could mix a beat and a speech. That’s pretty much it. Low fidelity. High impact.

Neef, in his spare time then built Studiowave in a week. Our hero. We decided from the off that the product wouldn’t grow arms and legs. “Could it do this? Or this? OR WHAT ABOUT THIS?!” Not on our watch. Studiowave works because of its simplicity and we wanted it to stay that way. This was something we had to continually focus on. Stick to the plan.

While Neef did his bizness we trawled the internet for great speeches and great tunes, we quickly found out that there was a number of factors that could exclude a potential video, if it had a musical sting intro, outro, too much clapping, too quiet, too loud, too much laughter. It was out. We lost some great men and women to obtrusive intro stings. We had confidence though in the fact that everyday since our accidental discovery we still found ourselves shouting out “oh that would work as a great speech on the wave”

Two weeks later we were ready to launch. We put it up on ProductHunt one Monday morning and kinda just hoped that people would understand and ‘get’ it the way we did.

Studiowave was not made to make money. It’s simply a side project born from a creative work environment and testament to the benefit of surrounding yourself with like-minded people.

Studiowave was created to inspire the hard-working, often deskbound, creative types…but really, it’s for everyone with ears.

We even got the founder of ProductHunt extolling the benefits of Studiowave

When ‘the wave’ is lapping gently, work seems easy. When ‘the wave’ crashes (an in-house term for a perfectly in-sync drop) it can be the most exciting and inspirational audio treat.

Get inspired, ride the Studiowave.

Follow Ken at @kenjirakatoma

Follow Neef at @neefstweets

Studio Something is a creative agency on a mission, a mission to create one of the best companies in the world, by making things people genuinely like. This is a year of learning for us, If you would like to tell us why we are wrong, how we can improve, what we are doing right or if you too want to go on this mission. email us. tweet us. Get on our mailing list. Whatever, just say hello.