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Big thoughts: This week on Track Changes, Paul and Rich sit down to discuss how branding impacts product design. We chat about how branding is critical when designing products, and how helpful it is when the brand comes first. Of course, that’s not always the case. We talk about the challenges of developing brand and product simultaneously and ways to deal with the complexities that come with this type of agile development. 


Paul Ford Have you ever seen the episode where they go to his office? 

Rich Ziade No.

PF It’s just people drawing triangles [Rich laughs] and they’re like, [in British accent] “I draw triangle on the computer.” [Music plays alone for 18 seconds, ramps down.]

RZ Paul, I’m very much driven by envy. Many people don’t know that about me [chuckles]. 

PF What are you jealous of? 

RZ We work real [sic] hard, man. 

PF We do work really hard. 

RZ Before we send that invoice, after we send that invoice—we work real hard. Like steam’s comin’ outta the windows at Postlight [music fades out]. We build big, sprawling, complicated pieces of software, right? 

PF It’s not long nights but, boy, is it a lot. Like, I will say: when I go home, I’m tired.

RZ Well don’t make it like you’re actually building anything, Paul. [Laughing] You’re just watching everyone do it! [Laughs

PF [Sighs a long sigh under Rich’s laughter] I’m tired from all the golf. 

RZ Right, right, right, exactly. And then, you sort of look—we’re in New York City, they’re all here. All the flavors of agency are here. You can hire anybody to do anything here [that’s right]—in New York City. We’re not gonna use this podcast to talk about the world of management consulting and how they make way more money than us even though they just deliver Powerpoints with bad fonts. We’re talking about branding. 

PF [Sing songy] Ahh! 

RZ Lemme stop . . . and ask you to define for me what branding is. 

PF Well we’re starting with what the brand is: the brand is—it’s the gestalt, it’s the overall sense of the thing—of the entity. And it’s not just the logo and it’s not just the colors and it’s not just the typography—but it’s the overall set of qualities that you are trying to communicate whenever you put an organization or a product in front of the world. What you’re trying to do is build a relationship of empathy between your thing—which could be your website, your sneaker, your coffee mug, your hat . . . your haircut. That thing and the people on the other side of the table. And they have eight million other things competing for their attention. And so, you want them to go—not just, “Wow, Nike has a swoosh,” but, “Man, when I see that swoosh, I know that it’s gonna feel really good when I’m done with my jog.” 


RZ Yup. 

PF “My feet won’t hurt and also I’ll be wearing some of the same gear that is worn by the world’s greatest athletes.” 

RZ Aspirational. 

PF That’s an aspirational brand. There are a lot of different ways to look at and think about branding. The code that I always like to use is like, “For this kinda person, this thing is the most wonderful whatever [mm hmm] because of this.” For people who wanna build amazing software, Postlight is the perfect partner because they have a proven delivery record and they will get you there on time. You know, so it’s like anything. You know, for Rich Ziade, the watch on—who made your watch? 

RZ This lovely man out of Italy, named Paolo Something-or-other.

PF Ok, the Paulo watch is really amazing—not because it tells time. 

RZ No! 

PF That’s four dollars. 

RZ Everybody’s doing that now. 

PF Yeah, but because it gives you a connection to craft and helps you think about what really matters to you in the world. 

RZ Evoking feelings in others, [mm hmm] and the feeling—you’re hoping that the brand you’re creating is gonna evoke the feelings that you want to evoke. So if I’m thinking about tools, I think about things like reliability, durability, strength. 

PF Those are my brand qualities. 

RZ My brand qualities and so you look at a logo like Craftsman and it’s a lot of right angles and it looks hard and it’s yellow on black, right? 

PF That’s right. 

RZ Which speaks to those qualities and it resonates in such a way. 


PF [Interrupting] And then you see strong people with powerful shoulders using Craftsman devices to fix the cabinets that you yourself are too weak to fix. 

RZ Well, look, that’s the easy part. To me, driving the F150 up the mountain and shooting footage so that the grill ends up right on the camera at the end of the shot [oh yeah] is easier, frankly, than coming up with what’s going to be a logo and thinking about how that logo and how that visual representation’s gonna get applied in a million—

PF [Crosstalking] Oh it’s the worst and most difficult kinda storytelling cuz you don’t have language. You have—

RZ You have nothing. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ You have nothing. So, you know, color’s meaningful, shape is meaningful, all of those things. And now we’re getting into, you know, there are experts who do this and there are branding firms that do this, we had Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand on the podcast 50 years ago [yeah] and they talked about brand and they—

PF [Crosstalking] Michael’s a—

RZ I mean renowned. I mean internationally recognized as one of the thought leaders on the—

PF You see his logos everywhere. 

RZ You see his logos everywhere. He is Pentagram. He is one of the senior partners at Pentagram. And Pentagram is one of those firms and here is where my envy comes in, Paul. They come in, they talk to you for a while. They make you good coffee, in their office, and a lot of the conversation’s very mushy. Then they go away for a while, and then they come back and show you some stuff, and you have a conversation, and they go away for a while again. Then eventually it comes together. And not to discount what they’re doing cuz it’s actually really frickin’ hard. For us, the tangibility of a thing becomes very clear after we scope it out. 

PF Right and then you start—

RZ “Here are the contours of the thing.” 

PF No, and you start sketching it and like—Look, we’re not gonna reinvent what the close button looks like on a window. We’ve got a relatively limited set of items that we can work with as interaction designers. There’s a million things we can do with them but like I don’t wanna reinvent—if I reinvent navigation, I better be ready—


RZ A new set of problems. 

PF That’s a—there’s a lot of consequences there. 

RZ Exactly. 

PF So like to me, that’s the thing—branding is amazing to me because it’s getting it on rails is literally going from every single possibility in the universe to something that you can communicate. There’s another thing I wanna point out too, right? People see the logo and they go, “I don’t know if I like the logo or not.” That’s how people often perceive branding. You mentioned Pentagram, right? If you look at the like the assets they create when they make and define a brand, it’s like an anthology. Like and it’s—you know, “Hey, the magazine that you’re publishing inside of the organization is gonna look this way.” And then they’ll design out the magazine for you and they’ll tell you how the website—

RZ [Crosstalking] Applied examples and—

PF So, the amount of energy that you can spend trying to improvise and take a underspecified brand [yeah] and apply it throughout your organization is vast. It’s people just working, sending cycles, going like, “How the magazine supposed to look? What are we gonna do with the logo when we put it on letterhead?” And if you have that defined for you by professionals who are like, “I know how to make this consistent work good across this complicated system,” you can save an enormous amount of time in your organization. 

RZ I wanna share a piece of advice and then I wanna move on to another topic with how brand slams into Postlight sometimes and branding slams into [mm hmm] Postlight sometimes. You may think you can do it yourself. Don’t do it yourself. And it’s not because you might or might not have the talent to do it yourself. That outside-looking-in perspective is absolutely key. You are so wildly biased because you are you. You are part of the thing [mm hmm]. To actually come up with something that resonates with not you but others . . . of Postlight or whatever the company is, is worthwhile. No doubt it’s worthwhile. Also, there is an expertise around this. I mean I’m speaking in terms of envy because we don’t do it and they seem to make more money by doing less but they actually do a lot. And it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. We’ve done it numerous times, you can hit Wayback Machine and it’s like watching, like the ultrasound images of a baby [laughs]. 


PF I used to work in and out of branding, man. I’m not that great at it. 

RZ It’s hard! It’s really hard and we’ve tried it. We have talented designers here; we’re a different skill set that we sort of collect at Postlight. 

PF It’s hard to explain to people that there are three kinda major sorts of designers in our world. There are many, many kin—There’s also industrial designers and packaging designers. But, there’s the brand. People who do the brand. The branding designers. And then there are the marketing designers; people who can comp an ad or make a website focused on marketing promotion. 

RZ They often take the brand book. 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ We should define what a brand book is. 

PF Well it’s literally a guide of—it starts with like, “Here’s how you use the logo,” and then it just goes. Hundreds of pages. 

RZ “Adhere to these rules. Do not bend the logo. Do not put colors outside of this set,” et cetera, et cetera. 

PF “When you sit down to represent the organization, here are the things that you must do.” 

RZ In fact, a lot of the time, they say, “Don’t put anything near the logo.” 

PF That’s right. 

RZ There’s space requirements around it. 

PF That’s right. So, there’s marketing design and then there’s product designers who are responsible for tracking—it’s sort of the user journey all the way through. Like logging into the app and what are the experiences and what are the pieces that we use to interact with the software. Right? 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And, like, what turns out—Sometimes people can do a little of each. But the reality is that each one is actually its own discipline and as you grow in your career, you might do all three in college—as you grow in your career, you’re often likely to pick one path. And you’re going to stick to that path. 

RZ Mm hmm. 


PF So Postlight is—just about all of our design is focused on product. But! What that means is that when we sit down, we have to follow the guidelines set by the branding people. 

RZ Sometimes. 

PF Yeah. And sometimes it’s true: tabula rasa, go, figure it out. But like—

RZ Sometimes it’s a big brand and they’re like, “Just adhere to this, please. Follow the rules.” 

PF Yeah. That’s right. 

RZ And we do. 

PF But a lot of times people are starting something or rebooting something and they want a new digital presence. And then they say, “Also, we’re starting a branding process.” 

RZ Oh! So you’re saying, “We run out of the gate. We’re doin’, we’re building, we’re designing the UX and the interface around a thing and another horse ran out of the gate and that horse has a big branding sticker on it and we have the product sticker on it.” 

PF Lemme describe the ideal state for Postlight: the branding engagement is complete, all the assets are created, and they say, “Hey, product designers, we, the geniuses of branding, have done the work. Here are the guidelines. Obviously you might have to adapt a little for your own digital needs but—” 

RZ “But we’re mostly done.”

PF “We’re mostly done. Could you please take what we’ve started and go from there?” 

RZ Apply the brand. 

PF And you’d think that that would be like a little humbling for us but instead we’re like, “We glory in your genius [Rich laughs]. Thank you [chuckles]. Thank you for having resolved this because that’s the last thing that we have time to do right now. Let us [right] go ahead and get this done for you. And let us go ahead and build the product,” right? And what happens instead is when people buy services they divide into three worlds: discovery, design, and engineering.


RZ Oh, this is big. You can’t just throw this out there. 

PF No, but—Seriously—

RZ Is this all of it? 

PF Well that’s how people see what we do. We see it as product. So give us the brand, give us the other assets and the things we need to know, let us come and talk to you and understand how your people work today and who’s gonna use this system in your user, and then we build you a product. And product will lead and we’ll work with design and engineering collaboratively, all as a group, and then we will iteratively release increasingly better versions of the software, bring people in for checkpoints along the way, and then it will get really good at a certain point, ideally very close to the deadline, and we will release it to the world, and everyone will have succeeded and it will fully express the brand. 

RZ Yup. 

PF That is the ideal scenario for us. That is not how people buy or perceive things. And which is fine, right? Now the job is on us to educate and communicate. But it’s complicated

RZ It is complicated and you’re making a great point in that people mush it all together—

PF [Crosstalking] And there’s no criticism here. 

RZ No, no, no, no. 

PF We have our own process. 

RZ Here’s the thing also when people buy services, they’re expecting you to work that shit out. “What the hell do you want from me? [Yeah] I’m spending a lot of money. I got three line items here: I got Postlight; I got Pentagram or whoever doing the branding; and I got, you know, whoever else doing the user—like research or something.” 

PF [Stammers] No, no—It’ll be like a company we’ve never heard of—


PF Yeah, PR. 

RZ So it’s like, “What do you want from me? You all have internet. Talk to each other. Work your shit out.” And I think what they don’t understand—

PF Oh if the project is really big too, they’re like, “I got Postlight but we’re gonna do the engineering over here—”


RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

PF “And you guys are just gonna do some design in the middle based on the discovery with the brand. But! The good news is because we’re facing a lot of time pressure, [mm hmm] we’re all gonna do all of that at the exact same time.” 

RZ [Laughs] Right, right. 

PF And it’s usually—the person usually saying that across the table has a far away look in their eyes cuz they know. They know what they’re asking. 

RZ Yeah! Of course. 

PF But they’re like, “Can we just unlock this somehow? Because I have to get it done in six months.” 

RZ Yeah, that’s right. 

PF “So it has to be at a scope appropriate for this organization.” 

RZ That’s right and look, that kind of orchestration doesn’t materialize out of thin air. It just doesn’t. 

PF No [chuckles]. 

RZ It just doesn’t because nothing but respect for the branding people. Have you ever tried to pressure a branding person? Or a branding firm to give you the thing? 

PF Can I say in all fairness as a person who is occasionally engaged to do conceptual thinking on a timeframe? If the thoughts aren’t there—

RZ They’re not there. 

PF They’re not there. And, you know, the problem is you can’t go out and be like, “Get me another Paul Ford—”

RZ Yeah. 


PF “—to think through the editorial strategy of this large platform.” If my brain isn’t there for you and I can’t get it there—which, you know, sometimes that happens. 

RZ Well, I mean, I’ve seen your editors chase you through the streets of New York City—

PF I don’t wanna talk about it. 

RZ—with a stick. I’ve seen it, and it’s real [Paul sighs], but, you know, they also understand how it works and I was like, “Why wouldn’t that guy just kill you?” 

PF Oh, Rich is so puzzled as a lawyer by the concept of—

RZ Yeah, like you signed at thing! You agreed to do the thing and—

PF They can take your house now! 

RZ And you said to me, and I remember, it stuck with me. “All his writers do this. They’re all doing this. Everybody’s late. That’s how it works.” 

PF But I think that that’s very real. So what we do a lot of—We have those moments, as a company. An enormous amount of the work of “the agency” is finding reproducible processes for kickoff, discovery, analysis so that you can reduce the number of decisions and sort of big thoughts that have to happen. 

RZ Sure. 

PF Problem is with branding, especially at a high level. It’s all big thoughts. 

RZ It’s all big thoughts. 

PF Like, you and I, if I have to start a product and, you know—we can at least go think about the API and the software we’re gonna use to build it. There’s stuff that you can literally go—Like you can start your Google searches. 

RZ Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

PF So, those processes are hard to define and then there’s certain things that are just hard. So I have a lot of empathy. 


RZ I wanna bring up another point: this is not about slapping a stick—this is credit to our designers, is that when you put forward a brand strategy and a brand sort of book and put it in front of us, we are not just gonna put the sticker in the top left corner. There’s a lot of thinking involved because how—you know what that brand is trying to convey and sort of the aesthetic it’s pushing forward makes its way through the whole experience [yeah], through the whole interface. We’ve done this in the past where wow, this really lines up well because if you don’t pay attention to what they were trying to say with that brand, it does permeate the actual user experience and the actual product itself [mm hmm]. And you’ll see that. And you’ll feel that. And that’s very obvious in toys. Like, when a brand trickles down to the shape and the feel of the material of the toy, you’re like, “Ok, they thought this through because they talked and they interacted—”

PF Star Wars versus the Power Puff Girls. 

RZ Yeah, exactly. And so, you’d think that, “Ok, well, this is not real. This is intangible.” But it’s real. You actually see it. There’s a lot of interaction and there’s a lot of movement. The animations around a brand, around an experience, can be very much driven by how they were thinking about the brand. 

PF Well, you know what’s wild in our world, right? You got like—you’re using a CMS or a platform or an API underneath to power all this stuff. Let’s say it’s WordPress and . . . the brand expression of one publication versus the other can be absolutely different. 

RZ Oh absolutely. 

PF You know, like National Geographic versus Vogue. And they could both be absolutely on the same content platform, there’s no reason why not. 

RZ No, there’s—exactly. And there is a particular signal and those are brands that—I mean you just pulled up a brand that—like you said National Geographic and I saw the yellow square—

PF Yellow, yeah. That’s right. 

RZ Have you ever seen my imitation of an editor at The Economist? 

PF Go ahead. 

RZ “You could easily put another paragraph on that page.” 

PF Yeah [laughing].

RZ [Laughing] That’s a deep pool there but uh—I think, I guess what I’m trying to say is the way a brand permeates is not just how it looks on the box. Especially in digital, where it’s everywhere, and it is going to be everywhere. 


PF Do you still subscribe to The Economist? 

RZ Dude, I—I was a subscriber—

PF I tell ya.

RZ I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. 

PF It becomes your living room. It just—it’s an architectural element in your house after about six weeks. 

RZ And you know what? I appreciate it because there’s no fuckin’ small talk in that thing. 

PF Mm. No but [stammers]—well, no, they have, like slightly fun captions. 

RZ I appreciate what it is and I’ll pick up the article, maybe I’ll do it online, I don’t what—

PF [Crosstalking] I’ll tell ya what—The entry points to understanding capitalism are all a lot like that. You’re like, “Oh, ok, I’m gonna figure out how this world really works.” 

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF And then you’re like, “God! This is terrible.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Have you ever been able to get through like a true economics text? Like, you know—

RZ No. 

PF No, me neither. I’m ashamed. 

RZ Did 101 in coll—No, it’s too much. It’s too much. 

PF I’m ashamed. I mean I wanna read a little Adam Smith and like get into it but I’m like four pages in. 

RZ Oh no, though the iconic stuff I can read. 


PF You can read? 

RZ Yeah, I’ve read Adam Smith but like modern stuff—

PF Oh, modern stuff? Oh my God! No, no—

RZ We’re not doing that. 

PF That’s [chuckles]—that’s not—That doesn’t have anything to do with the economy. 

RZ No, it has nothing to do with anything. 

PF It’s just dice. So, look, Rich, here’s what we’re getting at—We actually—we focused in on brand and one of the reasons that we’re talking about brand is it just—if any client’s listening to this and they’re like, “Oh boy, they’re picking on me.” No, no, no, no. This is a vast majority of our work involves parallel tracks where people are like, “The brand is landing and uh we’re gonna need you guys to get started a little bit before.” It’s a puzzle. It’s a puzzle that we constantly try to solve. The challenge is there are certain things—and we talk a lot. Everybody in engineering and product talks a lot about iterative, agile development. We talk about it all the time. Certain things are dependencies on other things. 

RZ Yes. 

PF And the conceptual framework of the brand is actually critical for the product work. 

RZ Also, you’re not waiting for the creative windshields so you can build the car. This isn’t that straight forward. Especially with something like brand and we see it on the design phases on our own projects. 

PF And it’s not color. It’s not like one thing. 

RZ No. 

PF “Logo goes here.” 

RZ No. 

PF I’ve been thinking a lot about something. I wrote this down the other day when I was doing some writing and I was just like, “The software is a story that software makers tell about human behavior.” 

RZ Sounds like another podcast, Paul. 


PF Well, it—but think about it for a second, right? Like when you sit down to do product work and think about what it’s going to be, you’re actually telling a story about how humans are and what they believe. 

RZ For sure. 

PF Right? So Facebook is like, “People like things. They like to read about their friends and their families.” 

RZ Yup. 

PF “That’s who people are.” Quicken is like, “People need to keep track of their expenses and their costs. They care very much about clear, accurate reporting to the IRS.” 

RZ Control of their lives and—yeah. 

PF That’s right. And those are very different stories that you’re telling about human beings. 

RZ Of course! 

PF And we all sort of live in a world when you use software these overlapping stories—Unless you know what that story is, you don’t know what to build. 

RZ It’s hard. It’s really hard. 

PF You might know what the infrastructure’s roughly gonna look like. You know that people are gonna login. 

RZ Like a lot of our discovery phase conversations, a lot of our kickoff conversations are quite similar to what a branding [a branding shop] firm would do [yeah] early on because they’re essentially—they’re trying to slowly, safely descend in altitude, right? 

PF Right. 

RZ “Little by little, we’re gonna bring clarity here.” And if that’s still happening, if you’ve got two of those happening, if branding’s doing that over three avenues away and you’re doing it here—

PF Now you have two stories being told at once. 


RZ That’s—that’s the rub. And that’s where it gets really hard. 

PF Take Game of Thrones and show like the first episode of season one and the first episode of season two and just try to watch them both at the same time. 

RZ Right. 

PF That’s what your product—is—is happening. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF So it’s a really tough one. There’s lots we can do, things we can get started, and we come into this pattern a lot. It’s not just brand, there’s other aspects too. Like business model and sort of like—

RZ Fundamentally, you’re talking about dependencies. 

PF Yeah. But we don’t talk about dependencies anymore in our industry. We’re not allowed to. Cuz that’s too waterfall. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF But sometimes you actually need a decision to be made before you can build software. 

RZ Yes. 

PF As we’re growing and we’re doing more stuff and we’re landing into more ambiguous zones, this is something that we’re adapting to. 

RZ Agreed. 

PF Well, we like to turn it into actual advice. Somebody just walked in, Rich, and said, “We’re working on our brand and we also wanna get started with digital. What are we gonna do?” 

RZ You’re asking me what we would tell that person? 

PF Yeah, yeah. 

RZ Well, look, I’m an opportunist, Paul [both laugh]. 

PF Usually you say optimist but hey! 

RZ “No problem! We’ll put a circle where the brand’s gonna be! And we’ll get goin’!” I wanna know where they are; I wanna know how it’s integral to what we’re doin’. Cuz a lot of times, by the way—great shortcut here, another great tip: you could lay the piping down. A lot of the technology can get laid out anyway because it’s got very little to do with that top surface. 

PF [Crosstalking] Well you know that there’s gonna be words and articles. And—yeah. 

RZ That’s right. 

PF Alright, Rich! 

RZ [Dejected] Yeah, Paul. 

PF No but seriously let’s get out of sales mode for a minute and into project planning mode. Things are happening. The brand is coming. Stuff is underway. How do we organize it? 

RZ Usually that happens through a human being [mm hmm] who is shuttling between the different tracks. They’re going and making sure things aren’t blocked. 

PF This is true. We go work with the branding agency. 

RZ Yeah! Of course, of course. 

PF This has happened before in our lives. 

RZ But we put an engagement lead and a product lead, a product manager at the top of almost all of our engagements. There’s always somebody who’s thinking about making sure things are moving. 

PF Yup, that’s right. 

RZ There’s a world of tools out there that are supposed to solve this for you. Right? 

PF [Under breath] There’s no such thing. 

RZ I mean there’s Asana; there’s; and there’s Basecamp—there’s a bunch of tools that are supposed to—

PF Let’s talk about for a minute. 


RZ They really have a legitimate marketing budget. 

PF Wow!! 

RZ I mean why would me watching a Johnny Cash video on YouTube [Paul crosstalking] result in being advertised to me? 

PF I’m like, “Fox is barking out Pixies’ songs.” [Rich laughs wheezily] “!” It’s competing with everything. It’s like, “Tired of using word processing? Tired of turning on your computer?” 

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah. They went in hard. 

PF “Do you have, like, bad skin patches? [Rich crosstalking]” 

RZ They have the budget. What are you gonna do? 

PF That makes me very suspicious of a product when the mar—Cuz you know what that feels like to me? 

RZ Uh?

PF 1999. 

RZ Oh! 

PF There was this one Superbowl—

RZ It looks like a fairly slick product. I don’t wanna shit on I’ve never used it, to be clear. 

PF At the end of the dot-com era, there was the Superbowl where it was all dot-com product with names you’d never heard of before. 

RZ Yeah. And will never hear of again. 

PF No, exactly. It was, “L. Smertsnen!” And you’d be like, “What the hell is that?” And you know—

RZ “Infospace!” 


PF Exactly and then three weeks later that thing is just a bunch of Aeron chairs like whirling in the wind [Rich laughs]. So that’s—whenever I see something that is marketed to me so heavily that I start to feel physically ill then—

RZ It can backlash, right? 

PF It actually makes me go, “I can’t trust this.” 

RZ Yeah, it goes too far. True. True. 

PF Cuz what I wanna see is that it’s a software company that just sorta like, [meekly] “Oh hey, could you use it? I think you’d really like it.” 

RZ Also, market to me after I’ve watched a video—like a how-to on Salesforce or something. 

PF Yeah, yeah—[stammers] It doesn’t matter. 

RZ I mean my kids just fin—I mean Peppa Pig—Poppa Peppa—is it Poppa Peppa Pig? 

PF Oh, Poppa Peppa Pig. 

RZ Anyway, Peppa Pig video ends, shows up. Not a good—not strategic about where you’re placing it. 

PF Yeah, no, it’s hard. 

RZ [In British accent] Yeah, “Daddy!” [Laughs]

PF [In British accent] “Daddy!” And then, “Oh, Peppa—” Yeah. It’s yeah—

RZ Oh, anyway—

PF I have empathy for the overweight, you know, poor-sign dad. Like I, you know, it gets caught up in the tree—I’m like, “That could happen!” [Rich laughs boisterously] “Oh, George! Careful with the dinosaur.” We’re out of Peppa now. This is all memories. It’d coulda changed—

RZ It is over. It is over. Ah. 

PF Yeah. My kids are older now. 


RZ There’s a whole series of apps that my kids used to use and now they’re too old. 

PF Looking forward to the dark, gritty reboot. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF So really what you’re saying here, Richard, is just humans have to go coordinate among all the different orgs. 

RZ True. There are tools out there. There are good tools out there but be careful with like the silver bullet tool. It’s not—

PF I think also just you can’t—the fantasy is that everything will be buttoned up and you can have a sequence. It’ll never work quite like that. 

RZ It won’t, it won’t. 

PF Like, I like to say, “Do the brand first.” And then—I wrote a piece called “Do the Brand First”. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And I would say seven out of eight engagements that walked in [music fades in] immediately after that were like, “We’re doing the brand right now and we wanna [Rich laughs] get started.” And—but that’s client services. Like, “Ok, let’s unlock it.” 

RZ “Well, we’ll figure it out!” Yeah. 

PF I could say, “No, that would be a terrible circumstance. Don’t do that.” 

RZ Right. 

PF And then though it’s not. You figure it out. Things aren’t perfect. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Alright, well I think we solved it. 

RZ Listen, if you want a killer digital products studio—

PF And you have a brand that’s all done and ready to go!

RZ Or not! 

PF Or not! 

RZ Call us. 

PF— we are your friends in the business.

RZ Some wonderful, wonderful talent—Wonderfully talented designers, engineers, product thinkers, strategists are here, ready to help you. 

PF We don’t talk about it enough but you need to do a little discovery up front, understand your user, get some stuff together, make a plan, present that internally to your stakeholders. 

RZ We help with that too. 


RZ We love that part. 

PF Yeah, yeah, I mean, that’s always part of it. We just don’t—we tend to talk about the build rather than the prep. 

RZ So, reach out: We’re also hiring just about every role. Come apply, we’re a really cool place to work. 

PF I think we’re—

RZ And learn and grow. Yes. 

PF We will help you build your career. We’ll try really hard. 

RZ Hit us up:

PF [In low tone, scratchy] Byyyye! 
RZ  Bye guys [music ramps up, plays alone for four seconds, fades out to end].