Warning: Intense humble-brags lay ahead…
When we set out to rebuild the Simple Thread brand, we started out with one question… why should anyone care about us? Why should anyone care about our little company? I think we are pretty badass, in fact, I know we are badass… and that should count for something. But why should the average person waste a second of their time with us? There are a lot of companies that are thoroughly convinced of their own badass-ness… what makes us different?
Does the fact that we care deeply about our customers set us apart? We talk a lot internally about doing the right thing for our customers, even when it is hard. This isn’t a zero-sum game for us. Doesn’t everyone think this way?
How about the fact that we consistently forge long-term relationships with our customers? When we start working with clients, we tend to work with them for years and years on end. Most of our early customers are still partners, and we still work with them regularly. Is that abnormal?
Our team? Our team is made up entirely of senior engineers and designers with an average of well over 10 years of experience. I’m sure most small consulting companies operate this way.
How about our empathy? We put people first. Not technology. Not design. People. Everyone does this, right?
Our transparency? We don’t hide things from our customers. We don’t hide behind a lot of technical jargon and buzzwords. We are only successful through partnerships, and partnership means that both parties put all of their cards on the table. There is no way that most companies don’t do this.
Our technology ethos? We focus on using technologies that are proven, and that endure. We use the right tools for the job, not the right tools for our case studies. We approach every project with the mantra “Great software is discovered, not designed.” Anyone that wants to build lasting software has to do this, right?
Do all these things really set us apart?
And after many discussions with friends, customers, spouses, random acquaintances, and pets; I came to realize that most of these things weren’t true. Coming to this realization reminded me of the introduction to David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech “This Is Water”:
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
Sorry for what might seem like a ridiculous humble-brag, but my point is that sometimes we become so accustomed to our own reality that we fail to see it anymore. In my case, when we sat down to begin the journey of recreating our existing brand, answering the question of “why should anyone care about us” wasn’t as easy as it should have been. We came to realize that we had stopped seeing our reality. We had gotten so used to the way that we worked, the values we held, and because of that we struggled to communicate it.
Through all of this I realized that everything we do, in aggregate, is what sets us apart. We can’t communicate all of it, that would be ridiculous and confusing. To the world we have to whittle things down, choose carefully, and emphasize appropriately. But when it comes down to it, it is all the little things we do that really makes us… us.
What did we do about it?
And so with that in mind, we set out to share something with the world that communicates who we are, but in a way that we hope deeply resonates with people. To first discover, and then communicate why you might want to have a conversation with us.
In order to do this effectively, we took inspiration from the things that we relate to and that bring meaning to our lives. So we pulled elements from:
- In-depth journalism because communication and research is at the core of everything we do.
- Scientific research and naturalist field journals because of our love of discovery that we carry into every project.
- Mechanical engineering schematics, because to us this represents bringing together all of the research and discovery to create something that can have an impact on people.
We wanted to focus on how we approach building software for our customers (build like a startup!), give a peek at our process, show off a bit of our work, and try to convey just how important our values are to us. What we ended up with is something that feels like an extension of us. We are really proud of the end result, and we hope you enjoy it too.