Marcel van Werkhoven

COO at Studio Projectie Joined about 3 years ago

  • 7 stories
  • 145 comments
  • 40 upvotes
  • Posted to What's the biggest challenges working in a startup?, Apr 14, 2019

    I've worked with and for start-ups. The main problems I've found with start-ups are the following - My idea is the best idea, if people are not interested the people are wrong - We don't need marketing, we need features. If we just add feature 'x' it'll take off just you wait and see! - We can't launch until it is perfect just look at how perfect Facebook is - In hindsight you set me up with a fraudulent contract because even if you made all the software, the idea(scribbled on a piece of paper) was mine and the idea is more valuable so I should automatically also own the source code

    Whenever pepole show up with another 'good idea' I ask them for a business plan, marketing plan and I give them a bunch of reasons why their idea might suck or how it has been tried before. If they pass the test we can do business. Most never return with a business or marketing plan. Some I forward the link to ProductHunt to show just how many competition there is, then I get an email back: "This guy stole my idea, should I sue him?".

    2 points
  • Posted to Portfolio Decks: Yay or Nay?, Apr 03, 2019

    I turned the biggest case we've ever done (which consisted of building multiple sites for a single client over the course of 3-4 years and managing everything in between) into a portfolio deck. The communication or marketing person who might enlist your services is unlikely to make the final call on hiring you.

    The contact that you meet might be excited but then the higher ups might ask questions: "Can we trust these folks? What have they done? Do they have experience with international clients, because they only have 12 people?" . The deck adresses exactly the type of questions a stakeholder might have.

    I used to focus on showing as much as I could. Writing 30 page in-depth proposals and trying to refer to as many relevant cases as possible. I learned along the way that it is more important to focus on specific challenges and to radiate confidence. If you are confident you have this single 3 - 5 page document that basically shows everything that you do or have accomplished for your single best/most high profile client. I also send this deck along with the quote. Knowing that all the work I show in between to the person I'm dealing with directly might not end up at the stakeholders(boss) but the final quote and every document attached to it will.

    So even if my contact does not necessarily understand how this particular case might be relevant to his request, it will have a 99% chance to end up at the higher ups.

    0 points
  • Posted to The Landing page Formula To Explaining A Product Really Well (So It Converts), Mar 03, 2019

    Your video explains it welIl I would start your blog with the video instead of having the video at the end.

    0 points
  • Posted to Bristol Web Agency Portfolio - Any constructive feedback would be appreciated!, Feb 17, 2019

    Your website seems well thought out but I'm missing the 'hook' of your agency. The focus on a "websites that work" is a tricky one because clients asssume that their website works..You don't want to plant the idea in their heads that their website might not work. A working website is the bare minimum they expect and I wouldn't gun for the bare minimum.

    I think the pitch on your 'About' page about keeping things transparent and customer focused is stronger.

    Because you focus on local businesses I would also make it as clear as possible what it is you do. I've experienced myself that you can call yourself a digital agency, brand builder etc. whatnot. If they don't see an image of a computer or a website on your homepage they don't understand what you do.

    Another tip. I'm missing the pictures of the people who I am working with. Especially because you are transparent and customer focused I expect to see who 'Peak' are.

    On my agency website the 'About us' page with all the people who work for us on it is the most visited one next to the portfolio page.

    1 point
  • Posted to Can I write “Creative Director” on a student résumé / CV?, Feb 09, 2019
    • Leaders tell people what they aspire to be, not what they are
    • Don't ask for permission to be who or what you want to become
    • Seize an opportunity when it presents itself
    • Identify the gaps in your knowledge and skill and start learning

    For example. My 'agency' used to be just a group of webdevelopers working with a custom built PHP CMS and mainting an online billing platform. We had 0 designers on the payroll as all design was outsourced. The company split and I found myself promoted from project manager to the 'COO' role. I rebranded us to a Digital Agency and I figured it out from there.

    About 2 - 3 years later we have experience in a wide variety of fields. We've grown from 4 employees to 12, including a great design team and the agency completely transformed. I didn't ask anyone for permission to start selling our services as a Digital Agency nor did anyone question my title as COO. Of course it took a lot of work on my end to fill in the missing gaps in my skillset. I could no longer ignore HR, finance and other fields I had previously not wanted to get involved in.

    If you think you can do a great job as a creative director, make that your title. Don't let anyone tell you, you can't do it. Even if you land a job and it doesn't work out you'll probably learn from the experience. I learned that axing development on an ancient CMS and switching over to WordPress would mean losing some people we thought were irreplacable.

    Maybe you aim too high or maybe it'll work out. You won't know unless you take the risk and try. But if you move in at say a junior designer role from college and don't make yourself get noticed in a leadership position you could be 'stuck' in that spot for a long, long time.

    This wasn't easy mind you. But running an agency with happy employees and serving some big clients that love the work that we do tells me that I made the right call.

    0 points
  • Posted to How do I tell a client no?, Jan 28, 2019

    1 - Identify the risks at the start of the project. I always ask the client to prioritize: scope/quality, budget and time(delivery).

    If budget is the least of their concern and they're focused on scope/quality I can just quote more if they want additional stuff or if I have additional ideas. If the deadline is important to them I can use that as an argument against further changes (we'll miss the deadline if you want me to do this) Something can't be cheap, high quality and delivered fast.

    2 - Create a clear roadmap for the project so the client knows when the concept phase ends and the refining begins (when can they give feedback and when is the design locked down?).

    3 - Never do changes for free or outside of what you've put down in your roadmap. Instead give them options such as:

    It'll cost more (you will have to re-do work which was already done and accepted) It'll take longer to deliver the product (again, you will have to put in extra work) The quality will take a hit (sure, we can have a second go at the splash screen but that means no time to work on the social media integration)

    Based on the priorities you've asked at the start you can make a pretty good guess on how to best control the client.

    Usually clients don't understand the creative process or the order in which things are made and you sort of have to guide them through it. These late changes usually don't come from the clients themselves but friends/co-workers/aunts/cousins etc. .

    0 points
  • Posted to Site Design: Gucci Gifts, in reply to tarek s , Jan 13, 2019

    Hadn't logged onto this website in forever. So I hadn't seen your comment until today. But yes I would be able to develop a website like this.

    0 points
  • Posted to How much does a website cost in 2019?, Jan 13, 2019

    This was the average pricing for my agency in 2018:

    Small/mid-size business

    < 2000 (one pager as a bare bones solution or if time isn't an issue we turn it into an educational project for an intern)

    2000 - 3000 (basic WordPress website with customized theme using existing brand)

    3000 - 7000 (basic WordPress website with additional content creation (photography/copywriting/branding))

    Corporate

    4000 - 5000 (starting price for a small marketing/event website using an existing brand)

    5000 - 10000 (additional services, main brand website or a large website)

    10k+ (we don't want WordPress / multi language etc.)

    Prices are in Euro. (I would say multiply them by 1.5 to get a dollar figure)

    Asking more than 3k for a WordPress website is out of range for most small businesses. Our pricing is mid range. Some agencies offer the second option for 1500. Some do websites for 599 (although the work is terrible obviously).

    What I usually don't get about these tools is how an uneditable site starts at 3.5k and a WordPress website is suddenly 6.5k. WordPress is free, a theme license sets you back $200 - $500 and offering a CMS(with a page builder) makes your own work easier as well.

    1 point
  • Posted to Ask DN: If you don't like or don't want to code can you help me understand why?, Jun 06, 2018

    A good designer can pretty much use any tool to create a design. With that said, coding comes with its benefits. Having the option to build HTML/CSS and some javascript yourself means that you can better create the design the way that you want it. Also designers that know a bit of code understand which sort of designs are easy or hard to build and are better at handing specs to other developers.

    Having no coding experience whatsoever as a designer is like writing a piece of music without being able to play it yourself. You don't have to play it yourself because there are better musicians for specific instruments but it helps when you understand 'how' the piece is going to be played.

    One example is font rendering. Every time I work with an external designer with little to no coding experience they will use one of the 900 font weights in their designs. Edge / FireFox and Chrome each have their own way of handling 'bold' styles and in most cases the difference between font-weight 300 or 400 is barely visible.

    2 points
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