Looking for work? Design & Development positions at slimkiwi.com/jobs
July 21, 2009
by Mark J. Reeves
If your company is struggling with a complex design challenge it's probably time to seek input from someone on the outside. Corporate culture too often becomes insular, a team focused on internal objectives becomes self-reinforcing and a multitude of stakeholders with their respective agendas who all need to feel comfortable with the outcome end up with a watered-down, homogenized solution. Rather than looking through the window to get inspiration from the outside world, the team finds themselves looking into a mirror for what's familiar and efficient.
You need outside perspective. That's where an agency like Slim Kiwi comes in.
A Fast Company blog post, Are You Building a Consumer-Facing Company?, addressed this subject last week:
Design agencies, on the other hand, are born to think outside-looking-in. Not only do design agencies bring together radical talent and methodology that's difficult to maintain in a closed corporate environment, they have another advantage that's seldom talked about: Their ability to reflect across industries and companies and to form their opinion based on such experience. They have a role in creating many products, join many different teams, and can reflect, in hindsight, about the success or failure of certain ideas. That agency worldview cannot be counted in sketches, models or dollars--it is an invaluable trove of experience that is underutilized by both the agencies and their clients.
Our job goes beyond just executing a design. We're hired to provide critical insight and to evaluate your business and marketing efforts, provide you feedback, help you incorporate that feedback into your strategy, and then execute based on that strategy.
That might be a lot to sign onto. In the coming weeks, we'll be announcing a new service that will allow you to get an idea of what steps you should take and where we can contribute: Usability & Marketing Analysis Reports. You point us to your web site, pick a level of review to engage us on, and we provide you a report on what's working, what isn't, and what it would take for us to get you where you should be. Our goal is to give you a taste of our value, shake things up a bit and empower you to make an informed decision on the direction of your efforts without the big upfront commitment.
Outside looking in. Whether you're the corporate team that needs reinvigoration or just looking for expertise that isn't practical to maintain in-house, we're at our best when we're charged with bringing our outside perspective and our unique blend of expertise across industries, from consumer to business-to-business channels, for companies large and small, to the table to provide you fresh ideas. With this new offering, our goal is to let you opt for a first date rather than jumping into a relationship, while identifying where your organization can grow and optimize your efforts.
July 16, 2009
by Alastair Halliday
We’ve always sought to be more than an agency that just gets the job done. That should be expected of every agency you hire. Instead, we’re succeeding at showing clients that we have a genuine heartfelt interest in helping them succeed spectacularly. For this reason we get really excited when we see a client like Zeo, and others, get national attention with featured articles in the Wall Street Journal and making the front page of the business section of the New York Times. Zeo approached Slim Kiwi for online brand consulting, messaging and design after investing a lot of time, money, research and talent into building a consumer product that tracks and transmits brain waves wirelessly to a bedside clock while the user is sleeping and then charts and coaches that user on how to accomplish better nightly sleep.
We had many animated discussions with Zeo about their online strategy and design at myZeo.com. It was clear to us that they were carefully contemplating our advice and we made it clear to them (we hope) that we had a great amount of respect for the work they had done up to this point. We love the type of client relationships that we have with Zeo, where even amongst different opinions about strategy they can see we are more interested in their long-term success than their immediate happiness. We think the end result accomplished our task and plays a part in Zeo’s ongoing success, delivering a site that serves as their single largest point of sale for a new product that has achieved national attention.
January 27, 2009
by Mark J. Reeves
I haven’t yet gotten to the enhancements I’d like to make to the Campaign Monitor Subscribers Pepper for Mint, but I have updated it to work with Campaign Monitor’s API.
If you view the original post for this add-on to the popular stats package, you’ll see what it’s all about. You’ll also see that as of December 2008, the CM Subscribers pepper has been broken, requiring an update to the code to match Campaign Monitor’s new API.
If you’ve generated your API key and accessed your List ID since December, this version will work for you. If you installed the pepper with an API Key and List ID from before December, just visit your Campaign Monitor account, regenerate or access your new keys, plug them in via Mint Preferences, and you’ll be back in business.
I’ve updated this on its official Mint page (pending approval), but you can also access the source code at GitHub: http://github.com/slimkiwi/sk.campaignmonitor_subscribers.pepper/tree/master. Feel free to fork the project at GitHub if you’d like to make any contributions.
December 5, 2008
by Alastair Halliday
We have seen a significant amount of fresh business from startups and new businesses over the last few months, with this past month being the most dramatic. Mark has already written briefly about Your marketing budget and a slow economy, which talks about maximizing your return on investment, and I want to reflect a bit on the entrepreneurial spirit. I see two major factors contributing to our spike in business from this group.
Innovation is Recession Resistant
At a public bi-weekly coffee get-together of smallish business owners and entrepreneurs here in Providence, a grad student asked if any of us had seen a significant hit in our businesses during the downed economy. One business owner turned to him and said that good ideas and innovation will always succeed. He was right on. As we see large sections of our economy crumbling, the pieces that are in high demand are good ideas, refreshing new products and tools that increase efficiencies and add value. History concurs. Wired.com’s Daniel Roth writes that out of the turmoil of the Great Depression rose numerous inventions, including the now ubiquitous nylon and television. The 1969-70 and 2001 recessions saw the advent of the pocket calculator and the ipod, respectively. Innovation never sleeps.
Layoffs and Dead-End Jobs are Breeding Grounds for Entrepreneurship
Sometimes it takes a little shove from the nest for some entrepreneurs to focus back on the things that they were once passionate about, or to implement an idea that has been percolating for some time. There’s also nothing like layoffs of your colleagues and friends in your company to knock creativity and optimism out of you. I went through this with the first .com bubble back in 2001. Try motivating a creative team when they come to work every day packed to be fired and thinking every conversation with your boss is going to end with a pink slip. It just doesn’t inspire confidence. Recessions and layoffs release many undervalued employees to do what they have always wanted to do. They go back to their basement or garage and think up the next best thing.
Slim Kiwi is not in the mortgage business or in investments, and we’re not unionized American car makers. We partner with our clients to bring their idea, their product and their small business to market. From what we have seen, it seems that now is a great time for small businesses to get ahead of their competition. If you know us, you know that we just love working with people starting up businesses. We love their enthusiasm, their pragmatism, their creative thinking, the speed at which they move, and their collaborative spirit. These are the tools for success in a challenging economy.