We’re all about MVP

Most Valuable What?

Warning: This post contains even more shameless self-promotion

What the heck is MVP? It means “Minimum Viable Product” in the software development world. It means, don’t wait until you have your vision completely built and running. Instead, launch with the minimum amount of content and functionality to start gauging feedback and making improvements.

That’s what this website is; it’s just the start. We’re digital experts, social media strategists, creative thinkers, entrepreneurial curiosity seekers, and lots of other things, but we aren’t developers (well, not yet anyway). We’re making the best use possible of the tools at our disposal and within our start-up’s budget. For now, that means WordPress.com, and if you know anything about WP.com, you know that it’s a pretty limited blogging platform. “Move to wordpress.org!” we’ve been counseled. “Let me design and build it for you!” we’ve been pitched. No thanks, maybe some day. For now, we’d rather boot-strap our web presence, like we’re bootstrapping our new venture.

To make a long story short, this site is going all MVP on your ass. Watch it as it changes and grows and evolves. Cuz, we believe it’s imperative that our web presence matches our brand, and frankly, it ain’t there yet.

Happy evolution-watching!

Bill & Kim

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Shaker Furniture as a Guidepost for Web Design

I was recently lucky enough to take a 3 day intensive learning seminar from an org called “Hyper Island” that bills itself as the first institution of higher learning dedicated solely to learning about digital marketing, creative development and production. It was a three day immersion in all things digital, and the speakers, mostly big ad agency creatives, espoused the role of digital in the creative process and shared many great case studies.

One of the analogies shared was that of Shaker furniture design. Wikipedia defines the shaker design philosophy this way: “Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful. But if it is both necessary and useful, do not hesitate to make it beautiful.”

I happen to think this is a perfect description of the method by which great digital marketing creative is built. Necessary means it has a purpose in the lives of users, and fills a gap not already met. Useful speaks to the need to be only as complex as is ultimately usable by those same users and then, only then, made beautiful.

Too many agencies focus on one or the other of these, but rarely all three at once. What comes to mind are brands who have developed fabulous platforms like Nike. Fulfilling a need in the marketplace in a simply useful and usable manner, made beautiful to appeal to both our emotional as well as our rational senses, and built upon regularly to keep  even a shaker inspired approach contemporary. Not enough brands are taking this approach to heart, and are either focused purely on the aesthetic without fulfilling on the need to be useful, or they overindex on usability and forget that pleasing design helps to engage the user emotionally.

Necessary and useful first, only then made beautiful. Such a smart approach.