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If you are James Bond, we are “Q”

Why are we different? What makes us unique? And most importantly: What can you expect from us?


Some background

A few weeks ago we had one of our regular AllHands-Meetings. In some companies this might be a monthly meeting, for us, it is exceptional. Most of us are working from remote locations, so coming together means a lot of traveling and costs involved and happens only three or four times a year with the whole team. We always try to make the most out of it and have some fun too.

In particular, we focussed on several topics which came a bit short in our bi-weekly retrospective meetings, like our project pipeline for next year, tweaking our website and researching new technology trends. 

This led us to some general topics like:

  • Despite the super cool name “zauberware” (zauber = magic), how and why do we differ from thousands of great digital agencies all over the globe?
  • Why do we have our clients and why are they coming back?
  • What are the clients that we would like to work for in the future and how can we focus on them?
  • Do we work for all kind of clients, no matter in what business they are, just aiming for their budgets?
  • How do we deal with training and self-development, isn't it a waste of money if there is billable work on the table?

I think we came up with pretty good answers, but it left me thinking that we need to write our conclusions down, to be aligned in our values within the company and of course to communicate our reason for existence to the rest of the world.

How we became what we are

Even though our mission is now crystal clear to me - I spoiled in the blog title anyway - I have to admit that I had to think a bit to come up with this.

We were founded in 2012, and I would love to tell you that we started with a clear “saving the galaxy”-mission in mind. We did not. My brother was fresh out of school and began studying computer science, my wife just finished university and started her first job as a physician, and I quit my consultancy job and took care of our kids. Which meant that my brother and I had to start our company with the two of us working during the nights, so it was more like a side project than a real job.

Everything changed for us when we were asked for advice about a digital project by a friend, who was working in a global company. At that time I did not even think about selling a project. I wanted to help out a friend and find the best solution for his and his company's problem. Only when we could not find a standard product to solve their problem we discussed if we shouldn't create it ourselves. That was the time when we took the chance, dived into development and founded zauberware to start helping clients.

So why did I tell you this ancient story?

Because this wasn't the only time that this happened. Reflecting on the work we have done in the past years, more than 90% have been similar: someone found us via a personal contact, needed help and decided we know what we are doing and that we can be trusted. Then we went in and tried to find or create the best solution for them.

Empowering “heroes” with digital magic

Woah, where did this suddenly come from? “Empowering heroes with digital magic.” A bit bold, isn't it?

Definitely not: Everyone is some kind of “hero” in their world, fighting their very own “villains”. And we are here to empower them with our toolset at hand, which are digital solutions, and you have to admit, it sometimes feels like magic.

I know that this sounds like an artificial goal or sales pitch, but it is precisely what we have repeatedly done in the past:
Our clients are coming (back) to us because they know they will get the help they need. We are here to make our counterparts in their role and company look great, which brings their company forward and the overall success reflects on us.

It does not matter if we stand behind our clients or if we work on our own products: “We are here to empower our heroes.”

Looking out for the “white knights”

Coming back to the question we've had in our AllHands-meeting about the clients we don't want to work for. For me, the word “hero” stands explicitly for the good girl or guy in the story.

We do not like to work with or for people or companies which have dedicated themselves to the dark side. This includes companies building or selling weapons, homophobe organizations, etc.. 

But we are aiming for more, we are looking for the “white knights” to support. People who are trying to make the world a better place like our clients reflecta.network or the Yunus Foundation. 

Based on this goal, our pricing is based on “hero-levels”, which reflects the impact this hero has on specific goals, like fighting climate change or world freedom as two bold examples. The equation is easy: if you are doing good, you can expect a discount at our daily rate. 

Come on, how awesome is that? ;)

So basically we are the best, and we are always doing the right thing

Even if you try to do the right thing at all times you are sometimes ending up with the wrong decisions, and despite having an overall good run over the last years, we have made a lot of mistakes:

  • Taking over too many projects at once and struggled to be reachable for our heroes.
  • Worked for and with companies which are not sharing the same values of doing good for the world and their customers.
  • Hired the wrong people lacking our helping syndrome which we had to let go.
  • Just started coding without real end-user contact and feedback.
  • ...

The list of our mistakes goes on, and we will continue making them. What we are aiming for is that we can always look six months back in time and find that our heroes and ourselves have improved since then. Over the time we have implemented processes to make sure that this is not only a shallow phrase.

Let us be your “Q”

A lot of heroes have their “Q”, someone to improve their abilities with the latest technology. To be able to do just that, we need to work with new technology before someone even thinks about using it. We would really be a useless “Q” if we wouldn't be working on the edge of technology.

This is the reason why we focus on training and self-improvement. We work on our own projects which are sometimes just a tool to try out new technology, sometimes they become an obsession and end up as our own product. This does not mean that we are trying to talk our clients into the latest and unstable technology. Far from it! 
We are doing this to have a deep understanding which of the latest technology buzzwords are really delivering their promise and which are not (yet) useful.

I hope that I could deliver my point that we are on your side if you are looking to solve a problem in your organization, for your customers or for mankind. Our first meeting or call is always free of charge, and we will honestly tell you if we are the right fit or if you need someone else to write your hero-story.

You are the hero, let us be your “Q”.

Header-Photo by Gabriela Braga on Unsplash

Seeking Kindness-Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

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