Following Craft: November 2016

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This article is part of our monthly series, where we share the status of our business and lifes around our startup Craft — The Art of Visual Storytelling.

Our hope is to give you, our great community, and anyone interested in startups a sense of what is going on behind the scenes. #ShareYourProcess preaching, practiced.

You can read part 1: July here, part 2: August here and part 3: September here and part 4: October here.

Guest blogging

It’s no secret that we’re working hard on spreading the word of Craft in order to grow to a sustainable business. One tool in the toolkit is blogging. We’re quite busy on the team though, so we thought why not find a synergy with Craft users and other industry professionals, who are interested in a channel to share their thoughts. The first guest post rolled out late November, and we’ll be tracking the interest closely, see if you’re interested in personal stories about keeping motivated, how to aspire, use work as references and other hot topics.

drawings not my thing

AMAs

I think we’ve found a great Enhanced Content element — Ask Me Anything sessions. Hundreds were interested and over 50 questions was asked to Tomm Moore during this one hour session. It grants everyone an opportunity to vent their questions to the content creators on Craft as learning and inspiration for their own work. We like the idea so much that we’re thinking of creating static AMA pages — one for each content creator. That way you always have a place to go ask the creators, not worrying about missing out on a 1 hour session. Luckily the creators are eager to connect with you guys as well.

Met Funsize at Web Summit 2016

November also meant the Craft team going to Web Summit 2016. It’s one of the world’s biggest tech conferences. Our hope was to meet investors, creative companies to find synergies with and keep a finger on the startup pulse. Ending up with more than a hundred business cards, the most exciting meet up was with the design agency Funsize, with whom we found great synergies, that we’ll explore in December.

New feature added to the our wishlist: Storytelling

We are now nearing in on 100.000 pieces of process artwork. While we will continue to add more each week, the next focus will be giving users an experience of the creative process of a project, not just the content, but how it is linked. A story if you will. We will redesign the specific pages for each project, tailored to tell the story of how everything came about.

See the full list of upcoming features here.

5000 users or a new The Cave

Storytelling will be cool, but it should also be quick and easy to find certain types of artworks for use of reference. Browsing will become much more fluent. Want to find something in red hues? Or background designs with water? Our upcoming overhaul of The Cave will make everything instantly reachable by a filter dashboard. No more going back and forth in the menu.

This redesign is quite extensive though and will take a lot of UX and backend work. And our major goal for Craft at the moment is 5000 paying subs, so the business is sustainable and the team can breath. The redesign of The Cave will therefore wait for a bit, while we spend time on sales.

Gamifying Craft

So, we want to reward our users for spreading the word of Craft. And generally for being active and creating value. So far we had to resort to saying “thank you”. While that’s warming hehe, we have been working on giving you guys tangible stuff. Now it’s almost here — gamification of Craft. You gain points for referring friends. Both you and your friends can use the points on production source files like background Photoshop files from Song of the Sea and alike, exclusive access to events and other nice stuff, we can easily expand on. It’s a win-win.

So we’ve spent time conceptualising the system; deciding on a currency, calculating what makes sense, investigating what rewards you guys are most interested in, designing the dashboard and programming the backend to make things realisable.

Creating a culture

All the above things have meant a lot of work and planning internally. Working in a startup like Craft means a lot of balls in the air at once. Now that we’re 6 people in the office and 3 elsewhere, we suddenly have a company. With that comes a culture. Here’s a short list of things we do (or try to do) daily:

  1. 5 minute sessions. You bring a random topic of your choosing and present it to the team. It doesn’t have to be related to Craft, but work as a small intellectual snack to get some new input.
  2. Stretching/workout. We try to do shoulder exercises daily and push our limits of stretching in the planck (we’re on 2 minutes at the moment). Pushups every hour works wonders too.
  3. Morning meeting. What are we working on today, what content is going out this week, do we need to plan brainstorms or meetings, and what happened in Westworld yesterday.
  4. Flexible work. It’s rare to see everyone around the office at the same time — Craft has no specific working hours or required working locations.

Our internal communication

Following the transparency thread, here’s a quick glance at how we communicate as a team.

  1. Buffer. This is where we schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Eduardo might post drafts for posts four-five days ahead and we’ll agree on them and queue em up.
  2. Slack. This is our communication hub. We got channels for social-and-pr, content-search, growth-hacks, design-and-ux and dedicated channels with all the content creators for easy communication.
  3. Trello. This is our to-do lists. We have a general one, one for managing school contacts, a board for technical aspects and bugs, an overview of content we’d love to have and content creators we’re already in contact with and other boards for each aspect of the company.
  4. Intercom. This is where we communicate with you guys through the chat bubble. Internally we can designate who answers what, set up automatic messages to help out based on the context you’re in, send messages to certain types of segments (haven’t been active in 30 days etc.)
  5. Post its on the walls. It’s important to use the physical space as well, so our back wall is filled with post-its that grants an overview of planned content, so we make sure you’re satisfied with how much content is coming out. On another wall we’re tracking how many users we currently have, so everyone can stay motivated to continue working hard and happily 🙂

That’s some of the thoughts we had in November 🙂

Thank you for sticking around in November as well — December will probably mean the world’s first VR comic book and other exciting projects.

Emil — Co-founder and Creative Director of Craft.

Anything you’d like us to work on in December? Let us know in a comment below.

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