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Perspective FM

A podcast by founders of small indie creative agencies, giving our perspective on starting and running our own companies. The aim is to provide some useful advice and inspiration to others, as well as learn from each other and others we get to come talk on the show. Hosted by Jon Darke and Dan Gent.
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Perspective FM podcast; A podcast by founders of small indie creative agencies, giving our perspective on starting and running our own companies. 

Aug 14, 2016

This week Jon and Dan talk about Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and how they both use this as a sales tool. How to introduce an MVP to a client, how to steer a client asking for an MVP in the right direction, controlling expectations and changing how people think about what an MVP is supposed to achieve. There are a lot of challenges to do this properly so that your client has a greater chance of success, and you get more work from them as a result.

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Jul 19, 2016

Jon is joined again this week by Dan Gent. They talk about the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union and what effects Brexit might have on their design agencies. Covering their fears about the uncertainty the future might hold, possible impact on new business and hiring, as well as what they are both going to be doing to try and weather the storm. Trying not to focus too much on the negatives, they speak about how to make the best of Brexit and how small agencies might be able to turn this unfortunate series of events to their advantage. 

The future is uncertain and so we may revisit this topic in time once the situation has evolved and we think it relevant, but this episode quite accurately captures our current state at this moment in time. 

If anyone else out there is concerned about what Brexit means for their digital agency and would like someone to talk to - please reach out, we’d be happy to talk.

 

Further reading

Interesting survey from London Tech sector businesses finding that 74% believe the business environment may get worse, but only 22% expect to scale back their planned growth ambitions as a result.

This video from the brilliant CGP Grey speculates about the likelihood of various possible outcomes of the referendum result. Watch the video.

 

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May 29, 2016

This week Jon welcomes designer founder Murat Mutlu from Marvel App to discuss what it's like for a designer to leave the agency life behind and found a product company.

It was great to hear about the journey, challenges and what the future has in store for this world class design tool.

Sign up for Marvel App

Follow Marvel App on twitter

 

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May 10, 2016

Jon is joined by Tom from Lighthouse London to talk about the filter process they both go through when deciding to take on or pitch for a specific piece of work or project.

The list of criteria discussed is not meant to be a prescriptive list we believe every agency should abide by, it’s just a discussion of the criteria that we run through when making those decision and hopefully there are points that encourage or inspire others to do something similar.  

 

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Below is a quick list of the main points covered:

 

Repeat business

If you do one type of project well you’ll get other clients in a similar field asking you to help them in a similar way. So you need to ask yourself would you want to do this type of project again?

 

Do you have the skills needed?

You need to ensure you’ve got the necessary skills to take on the job. Never take on a job that is out of your comfort zone unless you have made is explicitly clear the client this is the case. If you hide this from the clients you are making a huge gamble on both getting paid and also your future reputation.

 

Capacity

If your plate is too full, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Also if it’s too large for you to take on.

 

Conflict of interest with existing client?

If you’re still working with a client who might see this new client as a potential competitor, then you should not work with them both. Check if you are unsure.

 

Moral conflicts?

Do what feels right. We don’t do gambling stuff for example.

 

Does the client seem like the kind of person you might get on with?

We would never take on work without meeting the people. Worst case video chat. Try to get a sense of the type of person they are from communications and gut feel.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference to follow up on from another service provider who has worked with the client before.

Ideal client needs to be...

  • knowledgeable & passionate about their industry
  • Organised and available
  • Understand to the creative process and be receptive to new ideas being introduced and establish conventions being challenged
  • Have confidence in their own decision making ability

 

Budget constraints (and time below)

Find out the project budget (or range) before investing a lot of time in a response and if the budget is to low to achieve what you feel is a good job, be completely honest and tell the client that. This is also a tactical way to back out of projects you might not want to do (“sounds like you can’t afford us”).

 

Unrealistic timelines

If the brief has timelines that seem unrealistic and the client seem unwilling to compromise on scope to hit them. Design is a process and you can’t simply pull a well informed solution out of a hat, it takes research, planning, ideation, testing, validation, etc.

You have to be confident you have time plus contingency to deliver a final product you’d be happy to put your name to.

 

You don’t agree with the brief

The brief could contain a requirement for how the client would like to see a problem solved. Briefs should be open for discussion and if you feel there is something there that does not seem like a good idea - speak up. Briefs are sometimes the output of a committee who decided there is a business requirement to address the points. If the solution is non-negotiable and you feel it’s not the right thing to do, walk away.

 

Too much red tape

Clearly going to be a nightmare to work on - lots of stakeholders, etc. etc.

 

Chance of winning

If you think you really won’t get it, don’t waste your time. Focus on jobs with realistic odds, or and save the punts for really great opportunities.

 

Enjoy it!

Is your team going to enjoy working on it?

If your team is going to hate you for taking on this project, don’t do it. Ensure you work on projects the team will enjoy or you’ll create unhappy workers and staff retention will be affected.

 

Summary

It’s a personal decision and a judgement call. Jobs don’t have to pass every one of these criteria. Don’t stretch yourself or risk to much. Keep it sensible, do a good job and success will follow.

 

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Apr 10, 2016

This week Jon is joined by his co-founder Neil Gardiner to discuss their experiences with mentorship. Every Interaction have been receiving business mentorship for 18 months now, so it seemed like a good time to reflect and go over some of the benefits having mentorship has brought to their business. They cover how they got started with mentorship, some of the exercise and topics covered as well as discuss alternatives.

 

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Mar 28, 2016

In this episode Dan’s co-founder, Tom Johnson joins Jon to talk about how their designers and developers work together in their teams to deliver their client work. As the design focussed half of his company, it was interesting to speak to Tom and discuss the differences between Lighthouse and Every Interaction in term of focus, team make-up and collaboration of team members when delivering projects.

 

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Mar 13, 2016

How you manage feedback from clients can make or break a project. It’s a tricky thing to handle and there are many ways you can go about dealing with it. This week Dan & Jon share their process and different ways of managing client feedback. They cover how to get the most out of presentations and being prepared to receive constructive feedback that benefits the project, you, the client and your relationship.

 

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Feb 28, 2016

This week Dan and Jon talk time tracking and how they use this data to help run and grow their digital agencies. 

Completing your timesheets is perhaps the most tedious part of your day, however the value this data can give your business is immense. Understanding how much time projects actually take helps you better quote for future work you are asked to cost up. Find out how to get the most from analysing your time and run your company more efficiently as you scale. 

 

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Feb 13, 2016

Working for the worst client imaginable - yourself. Dan reveals the process and learnings from recently replacing the agency website for Lighthouse, and Jon talks about the what lies ahead for Every Interaction and the upcoming site replacement project they are planning.

How do we find time? Do these projects run differently to client work? How do you decide how to talk about yourself? All covered in this week’s episode.

 

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Jan 31, 2016

**Apologies to RSS subscribers downloading again - this is the last episode to be transferred to the new host, so only new episodes will appear in your feed from now on. Thanks for your patience**

Dan and Jon talk about the process they go through when hiring a new employee and what they look for in potential candidates. They go into detail about the places they advertise, the applications that come in, the filtering that takes place and how the process is moved forwards into interviews. They also cover what they look for in potential candidates, short intensive courses, as well as gender equality.

You might get a lot from this one if you're either looking for a job in UX, Design or Development, or if you're also a small company looking for hire your early employees.

 

Show notes

Some of the places talked about where both Every Interaction & Lighthouse post job opportunities:

The 50/50 Initiative 
An Initiative to Change the Gender Ratio in the Advertising and Design Industries .

General Assembly 
8-12 week intensive courses specialising in Android DevelopmentData ScienceProduct ManagementUser Experience Design and Web Development (as well as some part-time courses), in the following major cities around the world: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Washington D.C.

 

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