I’m happy to announce that I’m starting a new company here in Sydney with my friend Ian McCallam.
The company is called Early Days and we’re (currently) describing it as a digital venture studio. We will be working with entrepreneurs and pioneers who need help turning their ideas into realities, quickly.
We’ve both spent north of a decade working on digital products, startups and side projects with all sorts of people around the world and we’re happy to finally be joining forces. And we are keenly aware that even though it’s never been easier to start something new, it’s never been more challenging to achieve success and impact.
Now, don’t worry, this isn’t the big vision and mission post about how we’ve painstakingly blended our philosophies, personal stories and expertise into some game-changing paradigm.
The reality is that this is an experiment.
Ian and I have been in conversation for many months exploring whether there might be some type of new venture that could serve our interests. We’ve both spent too much time and energy serving the interests of our projects and work, so we thought it was about time to reverse the equation.
So, what interests do we want to be served?
A lot of people are happy to work for big brands, agencies who serve big corporate clients, or even pursue the venture-backed ‘built-to scale’ route. We feel that it’s more important to do the things we want to for our own evolving reasons. Also, it’s more fun. If that means we stay small, produce good work and continue to enjoy what we do in a sustainable way, then that’s winning.
2. Working With Pioneers
The great bulk of the digital work occupying the industry seems to be about catching up. Organisations belatedly trying to re-tool themselves for this internet-y thing, or perhaps dealing with the headaches of legacy platforms, or simply refreshing the user experience.
That’s not new work, it’s old work.
We will be working with entrepreneurs and organisations striving to create novel, interesting and surprising products and ventures.
While this type of work is more fun, more importantly it requires a unique blend of capabilities and experience in crafting and coaxing something from vague concept into validated reality. As our name implies, we’re at our best in the early stages of any project.
As a side note, if you’re working with someone (or an agency or studio), to create a new product or venture and they cannot point to something they have made for themselves outside the risk-free walls of their consultancy, you are in trouble. As I’m always fond of saying,
“It’s not the same to talk about bulls as to be in the bullring.”
3. Pursuing Side Projects
The trajectory of most agencies and studios is to do some great work, get approached by ever bigger clients with bigger budgets, and gradually scale up the organisation with more and more people. With more and more mouths to feed, you become dependent on the work that pays the bills, so that’s the work you do. Next step is the boring, soulless hell-holes filled with miserable people that most agencies seem to tend towards.
Our ambition at Early Days is different. While we want to work with ambitious and pioneering partners, and continue to learn more about the craft of inventing great new digital products, our primary goal is not to do more and more of this work. Actually, it’s to do less.
That’s because we will be using our paid work to self-fund our own digital products and ventures.
Ian and I have been working on various side projects for many years. It’s where we derive some of our greatest satisfaction, enjoyment and personal growth. Which is why we will invest the surplus and proceeds from paid work into side projects.
We can’t wait.
We’ll be sharing more about the evolution of Early Days so make sure you subscribe to stay updated.