On Starting Something
A couple of weeks ago, we had a party to celebrate Radish Lab’s first official, real, lease-signed-sealed-delivered office. A month earlier, Radish celebrated its second birthday.
Surrounded by beers, snacks, and the incredible sunset views our new office boasts, I had an experience I can only describe as wedding-like (or what I imagine to be wedding-like, since I haven’t had the pleasure): friends, co-workers, mentors, and family from the last 15 years of my life came through our doors and celebrated our achievements with us. So many people who’ve helped, inspired, and cheered us on us in so many ways as we built Radish from the ground up. All the beer in the world could never be enough to thank them.
Starting this agency has been like having a baby on a roller coaster that you can’t get off of. If that doesn’t sound like the best ride ever, you’ve obviously never had a baby on a roller coaster. It’s awesome. It’s also terrifying.
When I started Radish in April of 2012, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. “I’m freelancing,” I told myself. As the projects piled on and I started working with some of the people who are now the core pillars of the Radish team, the idea of a true agency started to take shape. And the vision was of an agency that wasn’t really an agency. It would be a creative space for people to get better at doing what they loved. And to solve real creative problems. Two years, one incubator program, eight team members, and some truly incredible clients later, long gone are the days of freelancing from my hot, stuffy Brooklyn apartment (thank God).
Today, Radish Lab is something very exciting: the product of a team of exceptionally talented people who share creative and ethical values coming together to do work that inspires us and makes a difference in the world.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, but it is only part of the story. This work is hard. The projects are complex. The creative wrangling is intense. And sticking to the foundation that we’re committed to building – working exclusively on projects with great social impact – is probably the most challenging part.
Another challenge is creating a culture that’s appealing to everyone who works here. One that’s fun, stimulating, flexible. One that we all feel is ours. No one teaches you this stuff in college, and while I don’t have an MBA, I’m pretty sure that having one wouldn’t helped with a lot this stuff. You learn as you go.
I want to use Radish Lab as an opportunity to think about work differently. How can we create beautiful, functional new websites, engaging interactive experiences, and user-friendly mobile apps in innovative ways — really differentiating our clients, their amazing accomplishments, even our design and development workflow? How can we rethink storytelling in an innovative and truly digital way? If we get it right, this whole shebang should be really fun for everyone involved.