Growing a digital agency
“I have had the pleasure of working with Jose and The Groop for the past 6 months. I can not say enough about the high quality work they do and the attention you get. When you engage The Groop for a project, you have access to a team of highly creative people that go that extra mile for you. They take the time to understand your business and provide you with solutions that are truly amazing. Working with Jose is enlightening. He has a way of looking forward and making you think out of the box a true visionary”
- Philip Gentile
Managing Director, Fund.com
CEO, Executive Creative Director
About The Groop:
I founded The Groop in 2001 after 6 years at Digital Agency Razorfish. Over the next 11 years I set out to figure out how to deliver creativity while impacting the bottom line for my clients. It was an amazing journey.
If you have grown an agency running digital projects you will quickly learn that "digital" is a different animal. Defining solutions, managing scope and ensuring on time and on budget delivery of projects and maintaining healthy profit margins becomes harder as you grow.
Over our 11 year run I learned that UX Design was really about aligning user needs with business goals on a continuous bases. More importantly that if you did this at the beginning of a project with all the stakeholders in the room you saved a lot of time and heartache. I also learned that Agile and Scrum are the answer to having complete mastery over team morale and profit margins simultaneously. Win, win.
Once all the pieces where in place (Brand, UX and Agile Development) we grew 1000% in 3 years and were part of the INC 500. After the 2009 financial crisis and pairing down the agency back to a smaller team I set out to document and test all of the things I learned during our growth. How to scale an agency without the friction often associated with agency services. The results of this documentation became the foundation of The Skool now The Futur. A education company helping designers grow their practices and have a bigger impact on the world. . The Futur’s Youtube channel now has over 300,000 subscribers thanks to the stewardship of Chris Do from Blind. The discovery process we used at The Groop became CORE a framework for rapid strategy facilitation that is one of the top selling kits on The Futur.
How do you give form to an idea that will change the face of managing diabetes for millions of people worldwide?
“I loved the brand and UX envisioning process that Jose facilitated for us. It really helped to give form to my ideas, and kick off my team sessions with ease and fidelity.”
- Jeff Dachis , CEO, One Drop
UX strategy, UX workshop facilitation, presentation design, brand identity ideation and design, team facilitation
About One Drop:
One Drop is an Austin and New York based startup that aims to change the face of diabetes by focusing on data driven self care in an elegantly designed combination of software and hardware solutions.
When Jeff Dachis the founder and CEO of One Drop was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes several years ago he was surprised at the poor experience he had with existing diabetes care practices. The focus on reactive doctor driven care vs proactive patient driven self-care left him wondering if there was a better way. Being a serial entrepreneur and having founded digital marketing agency Razorfish and the big data analytics shop Dachis Group (Sold to Sprinklr) gave him the confidence to pursue this new challenge of finding a better way for diabetes self care.
The first step was to put it all down on paper. We spent a sunny Texas day defining the users, defining his goals and priorities, and defining the brand, With a brand brief, customer profiles and priorities in hand we proceeded to work closely to create presentation materials that communicated the business and product vision to the constituents needed to help get the business off the ground.
Jeff assembled a veteran team of designers and developers to build the One Drop 1.0. IOS app. The facilitated 2 day kick-off with the new team helped them articulate the user experience and product design. After which, we used agile principals as the process for defining and prioritizing product features for the first phase or MVP (Minimal Viable Product) of One Drop. Based on our kick off, the team formed the design vision for One Drop and built the core marketing tools needed for launch, as well as business cards, digital stationary and landing pages. Finally we crafted the story and presentation for the LAUNCH Startup Conference where Jeff announced the launch of One Drop to both a delighted audience and panel of judges. One Drop won “Best Design” of the 2015 Launch Festival.
The ability to rapidly articulate and craft the idea and help make it into a reality with ease and clarity in a fun and rapidly moving process helped One Drop get into market, attract resources, and garner positive market traction.
Simplifying the complex: How do you simplify and reimagine Intuit's Paymaster reseller portal experience?
“It was very educational to see Jose in action facilitating 2 days of workshops. We went from rough idea to detailed low fidelity sketches in a very short time. All in collaboration with the client.”
- Nicole Johnson, UX Designer
UX Strategy, UX Workshop Facilitation, UX and UI Direction, Coaching
About Intuit Paymaster:
Intuit the maker of Quickbooks manages calculating and tracking sales commissions with their Paymaster portal, a data rich resource for their account managers and resellers. To help improve this process Intuit launched a redesign effort for Paymaster following the global redesign of the Inuit UI design framework.
Intuit engaged a Los Angeles based agency to help them in this effort. I helped facilitate the process and provided the agency with the guidance and resources needed to tackle the challenge of making the experience simpler, visual and engaging. The goal was to do this in 2 weeks in preparation for the product development kick-off with the Intuit development team.
To accomplish this I helped facilitate 2 days of UX workshops in Los Angeles with the team. We worked to define the project vision, user profiles, prioritize goals and to sketch a more visual and intuitive user experience. I assembled a small team of UX designers to help execute on our approach.
In a very short amount of time the Intuit executive team was able to put together a strategic approach and design a vision for their Paymaster portal redesign. It provided the agency peace of mind and a turn-key team to augment their existing team.
How do you help design startup from the ground up?
"Jose's leadership, creativity and deep experience in digital product development helped us gain traction and funding. More importantly we avoided some of the pitfalls of developing a product like ours.”
- Robert Haydock, CEO, Scratch-it
UX strategy, UX workshop facilitation, investor presentations, UX and UI design direction, UI design, UX coaching, UX and Agile training
Scratch-it is a Portland based enterprise-class cloud platform that increases traffic and engagement for marketers. They do this by do this by using principals of psychology combined with touch and design to deliver 10x the traditional engagement of email campaigns.
The idea behind Scratch-it is to take the mechanics and psychology of the lottery scratcher and convert that into a marketing tool. The idea needed to be jump started and articulated for the team to rally and manifest the product. Most importantly they needed to be part of the process and have a brand and UX foundation from which to execute their MVP and subsequent phases. The goal was to define, reach alignment and execute with confidence.
Scratch-it CEO, Robert Haydock flew his team to Los Angeles where we conducted a 3 day “Startup Kickoff." During those 3 days we did conducted a facilitated work session to define the brand, the users and the key priorities for Scratch-it. After working as a team to define these we brought in a designer and helped create the identity and visual design language to be used in the creation of the MVP. At the end of this “design-a-thon” style session we had a clear product brief, a design style guide, the key screens for the mobile and web experience and key screens for the back end experience.
Over the next 12 months I worked closely together with the team in Portland to iterate on this initial version all while training the team in brand driven user experience, Agile principals and helping design the sales process and build several iterations of their product and marketing eco-system.
During these 12 months Scratch-it raised two rounds of angel investment, built a solid team around these core principals, designed and built the back end platform for their SAAS solution and most importantly built a confident team.