Numero Uno – Backstory

Posted by Jay Brooks on Feb 23, 2015
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So here we go, the first post on our new blog.  Here at Simian we have lots of ideas. We’re like an idea factory that manufactures and dismisses far more ideas than we will ever use, because it keeps things interesting. Sometimes, the ideas we dismiss are great in theory but, our pragmatic approach to product design and technology, dictates that we pull back a bit until an idea is truly worth pursuing. Sure, building a time machine is a great idea, but the practicality of it just doesn't pass our "doable" and “can do it better than anyone else” test.

As a commitment to ourselves, our clients and the technology community at large, we've decided to setup a blog to expound on our ideas, challenges, insights and experience culled from our adventures as product designers, advertisers, marketers, managers and technologists, amongst the other hats we wear. The goal is to offer these entries to you as part insight, part entertainment and part purely biased opinion. 

burnoutWhen we started Volta (which eventually gave birth to Simian), we had one very specific goal in mind: To create killer web solutions using the best technology available and the most cutting edge designs we could create. Sounds great huh? It was! However, it was a tall order and took a toll on the team. In the early days, we burned through creative directors at a rate of about one per year. We hired talented people that got the job done, then immediately did it again and again and again. We had zero downtime, because it was a constant deluge of projects and deliverables. We built just about every type of website and app you could think of: social networks, dating sites, countless e-commerce sites, B2B sites, property management applications, real estate sites, restaurant guides, news aggregators, a resume building site, a video blogging site, countless blogs, a CRM, a CMS, modeling portfolio sites, scheduling apps…whew! You name it we probably created it. 

What did we learn from the experience? Well first and foremost, that we were capable of building just about anything we set our sights on. But more importantly, we learned that we didn’t want to build anything that we couldn’t get behind and really make an impact on a market. Without this, there was no longevity and nothing we could all get behind and be proud of. Once a project was done and launched, it was mostly done, so there was no time to sit back and refine, promote or enjoy the fruits of our efforts. We were a well-oiled machine and it was one project done and on to the next, and the next, and the next. It was a great ride, but completely exhausting. 

Enter Simian...

In 2007/2008, we started building solutions for video production companies, like CMS/MAM hybrids that were individually tailored to a client’s workflow. What we found was that there weren't a lot of options on the market for a video MAM (media asset manager) solution, in fact, we found ourselves starting to replicate the same solution over and over for several clients. (Ding! Ding! Light bulb – ON!) In mid-2008, it became abundantly apparent that there was a demand/market for this type of tool, so we decided to go for it.

So…in April of 2009 Simian 1.0 went live.

It was a slow start and looking back, Simian 1.0 was a rather archaic start – but hey, it’s what got us to where we are today! Besides, it’s all about evolution anyway, and we’re constantly on the move. It’s been an awesome ride so far and the journey has radically shifted our mindset from where we started with Volta. Today, Simian is a thriving SaaS business with a life of its own. With customers on every continent, we continue to learn and be challenged in our efforts to nurture and grow our business. Interacting with you, our clients and the industry at large and listening to your stories, experiences and challenges has been an invigorating and motivating factor in our journey.

We hope that our new foray into the world of blogging will provide you with some valuable takeaways…be business advice, technology tips or just a good laugh, we hope you enjoy and by all means, questions and suggestions welcome!

 

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