Telling Tales Wrestling Whales

Andrew and Chris interview Ben Johnson, Founder of Elegant Seagulls. They explore the value that design storytelling, empathy, and differentiating your brand (business, startup, or brand) can create.

Presented by
Andrew Verboncouer
Partner & CEO
Ben Johnson
Founder & Creative Director, Elegant Seagulls

Andrew Verboncouer:  You're listening to the Seaworthy podcast, Episode Three, Telling Tales and Wrestling Whales. Seaworthy is a podcast about building successful software. Today we're talking about differentiating your business through effective storytelling with Ben Johnson of Elegant Seagulls. How's it going? 

Ben Johnson:   Good guys thanks for having me.

Chris Schmitz:   There have been various guests on the podcast 

Ben Johnson:   I hope I can live up to those expectations that sounds like a lot.

Chris Schmitz:   There are no expectations yet, so that's lucky! 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yeah. Ben So can you tell us a little bit about who you are, where you're from, and then a little bit of of what you do.

Ben Johnson:   Yeah. So Ben Johnson: , I'm the owner and creative director of elegance seagulls. So I started elegance seagulls, this is our 10th year - August 15 will be 10 years which kind of blows my mind Yeah, it doesn't seem like it's been that long. But we're a digital agency really focused on highly creative and forward thinking web experiences and trying to inject personality and storytelling into designs. I think that's really become part of what differentiates us from a lot of our competitors. We're a small team, we've got 10 people. I think I said based in Marquette Michigan, I know you guys know where Marquette is, but Marquette is in the Upper Peninsula, in the UP - "Upers". 

Chris Schmitz:   Congrats

Ben Johnson:   So, this is huge. This is probably like one step below San Francisco tech boom. So it's like kind of a startup Epicenter right now - no, it's like 25,000 people and so it's pretty small but it's really cool that we can work with clients you know across United States and internationally from Marquette which - half the time clients pull up and are like -  where you guys on the map? And then we tell them, and they're like "people live there?" So it's kind of funny. 

Chris Schmitz:   Big tech, right? 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Right, like is that Canada? 

Ben Johnson:   Yeah exactly. And then actually we'll get that there's like a "Uper" accent and so a lot of people will say though they'll think that we're like have a Canadian twang to it so - "Surfer Canadian", I get that a lot. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  because you do surf Superior, right? 

Ben Johnson:   yeah surfing Lake Superior - so been surfing for about seven or eight years and then it's just all like wind chop but super fun and not very good but, I give it my best. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  and I actually didn't know that until we actually met finally face to face out in Hawaii last year at Epicurus North Shore so it was fun shredding some waves with you and didn't even know people surfed - I think Gene Ross he said he went out with you a few times? 

Ben Johnson:   Yep, yep. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  

got pretty winded paddling out there against the wave. So

Ben Johnson:   yeah, actually, um funny story is I tried to hire Andrew- that's how we first met. I followed him, and was blowing up people on Dribbble in the Midwest. And I was like, you work's awesome. You can work for me. And he's like, nope.  But I tried hard. But we we've been friends since then. And so it's always fun to like, actually, like meet these people that you have these weird relationships with online. And so, um, and they actually like live up to the hype. So it's, it was cool to that we become friends.

Chris Schmitz:   So funny that happened out in Hawaii, right? 

Andrew Verboncouer:  right? Yeah. 

Ben Johnson:   yeah, it is. Yeah, we're not that far away. Three hours away. And we met in Hawaii. So

Andrew Verboncouer:  yeah, for sure. Um, so last night you give a talk at Digital Fertilizer about design storytelling, and using experimentation and empathy to create compelling brands and stories, can you maybe talk more about that and boil that down for those that that kind of missed it?

Ben Johnson:   Yeah, I think the kind of the core of it was like taking risks. And one of the big pieces of the talk, and then also just trying to make sure that you put yourself in the shoes of your client, first and foremost, to really understand like, their goals and objectives, and who they are, what they're trying to do and what they're trying to accomplish. And by doing so, I think you can have a better understanding of like, reading between the lines and seeing what they're trying to accomplish, and create something that's unique for them.  And the other part of that is then having empathy and really sitting down and thinking very closely with, with what their clients are all about, and who they are, what they do, and why would they want to come to the site? Why would they want to purchase this product? Why would they want to buy your business services. And so through doing that, you can kind of create something that's more unique, more tailored to them a little bit more aspirational and guide them through the page and kind of become their narrator through the story, and take them to the website versus just bombarding them with the same old stuff. And so a lot of the talk was focused around how can you make your business unique and stand out? So how would you use the analogy of like wrestling a whale like you want to become that forward thinker and the industry leader, versus just copying what everyone else in your industry is doing.

Andrew Verboncouer:  Right? Yeah, well, that's big to in, you know, you look at the trends on the web, or Dribbble or front page, everything's so similar, that it's hard to stand out. Yeah, there's a lot of great design, great visual design, but part of that, too, is probably like the messaging, right? That's a big part of telling the story. So here, you know, we believe that messaging is a big part of UX, because it sets expectations for the users, when they finally do download the app that they actually get value from it. Can you talk a little bit about how messaging affects that experience when it comes to brands, e commerce and maybe some other industries that you're in? 

Ben Johnson:   Well, there's, I think that message, I mean, there's still like, the whole the content is king piece. And then also that voice, like, I think the voice goes really hand in hand. And when we're developing the site, it's all those pieces have to work together seamlessly. So the content, the voice, imagery, the design, the layout, and then everything down to like, the animations, those subtle interactions. So making sure that that's all a cohesive, consistent message across everything is super important. I think that's where some people will lose it, they might have really great content, but the horrible photography or, you know, a bad somewhere, disjointed experience. So I think it's like a consistent standpoint is where you really need to shine. I think, as far as what people are doing is, every business is so unique and different. And so how can you go online and basically just knock off or copy whatever is trendy, and current on Dribbble or online or Behance, or whatever it might be, and force that to work for your client versus tailoring something that's specific to them and their needs. And now sort of part of what I think is really bothered me, the industry now is that there's no innovation as far as like, trying to do something that not only is unique, but also is actually like, correct for your client. And so that's a fine gray area of like, I think - and I've been guilty of it -  where you push something too far for your own creative pursuits, versus what's right for the client. Um, but I see a lot of, I think young designers doing that. And they're just more designing to design versus trying to actually solve some sort of problem. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Right, so what advice would you give to designers or entrepreneurs about you know, they have these assumptions on what they want they maybe find some inspiration in other sites or other apps and stuff - What advice would you give them to kind of try and break the mold and think outside the box to you know, not conform to kind of the design trends and norms to make something that's more timeless and unique? 

Ben Johnson:   Ah I think the biggest thing is being really willing to. Um if it's like with clients, you have to educate them -  what's the value with doing something different because some of these clients they see like my competitors are doing X, Y, and Z, so I should be doing X, Y and Z. And it's really hard for them to get outside of that mindset. And so it's educating them of like, what the value is of becoming innovative and different. So I think through that piece from a client side is really important.  The other part is, I think just being willing to - you don't want to fail. I mean, obviously, no one wants to fail. And it's a huge - um, half the time I'm like, this is going to fail, you know, like, and you have this anxiety behind it. But I think it's trusting yourself and trusting the decisions you're making. And, stepping outside of your comfort zone to really do something different. And I think where you're pushing that risk area, and you're right on the verge of failure is where you find the most creative places and most creative designs. And there's times like, I don't even know how quite to hit that because I fall back, because you're nervous.  And, you know, I still think that even trying to push myself to like the edge, I still get nervous that it's like stupid, or people aren't going to get it or this is not right. And I think that's just a struggle that a lot of designers face. And I think people when they're putting their work out there, they're just worried it's not going to be accepted. And so it's easier to conform and go with what is cool and trendy. So that's sort of, like I think, from that mentality. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yeah, that's really good advice. Can you maybe give us an example of how, you know, this has paid off for one of your clients, maybe they came into it with a more traditional view of what they wanted their site or their brand to be. Do you have any concrete numbers or performance or any kind of success stories that kind of? 

Ben Johnson:   No, I understand -  so like we've had a handful of clients that have really made a huge mark in like, just from more of an organic perspective, just as far as like, they just came out and people were like, Whoa, this is different From like, a very, like, small level, we are a low like a less, um, exposure level, we've done some things for like some insurance companies, like we did a local insurance company that's like, where I have my insurance through. And it was really way more focused on like, the people and their processes and their history. And then plus, yeah, we have great insurance. I was like, just how can you make it more interesting and take what's typically a more mundane, not exciting industry. And we created the site experience for them. And they go to these conferences now. And people are like, "You guys have the best site in the insurance industry - Who did your site, how do we get a site like this? What did you do?" So like, they're getting tons of just praise from within the industry. But then also, they've seen from their standpoint, a huge increase in their recruitment. And that was one of their goals for the site was not just to educate their clients. But as a recruitment tool because I think, to grow and expand, and they want to attract young talent. So they're like, how can we make sure we're attracting this younger talent. And part of that was through their website. So that was one example.  The other example would be 10s- it was a project we took on. And it's something I talked about last night, as we took on 10s. And we really didn't make hardly anything through 10s, but it was a project where they were really interested in telling that story, and pushing the boundaries and doing something different, having a unique shopping experience. And they really gave us a lot of free rein, and also had some great ideas of their own, it was a really cool collaboration. And through that, they ended up seeing a huge increase in sales from their site before. And then also, they won tons of awards for the site, right. So they got a lot of exposure from like, different channels, and ended up winning E-commerce of the Year for CSS awards, and then it also was up for a Webby. And so like, it got just a lot of like, cool exposure from like, a unique e commerce standpoint. So that was huge for us, I think, huge for them. The site's evolved from there. And so that's a good example, like, someone at the talk last night was asking about, like, how do you know, when to evolve the site, and how do you know when to change and pivot. And I think that for them, it was a lot of through, like, their A-B testing and seeing how people are using the site. And then now that as their name and brand has grown, it was like, we were just really, they wanted to, they drifted a little bit away from the story to more just like, here's our products, like, buy them. Which is interesting, because it goes to show like that sometimes how much of the story you're telling is, is too much or not enough. It's finding that sweet spot for what's right for the client and, and continue to evaluate and test the site and see what's working, what's not working. And that's something that we really been pushing hard with is finding the balance between best practices, usability and a conversion standpoint, but still pushing boundaries, because you can definitely push too far. I was talking to someone else last night, Bob, and he was like, "You know I go to some of these sites and I don't even know where I am, or how to navigate or like, I get lost." I'm like, what's happening? And I go to sites, and I'm like, I feel like, I'm pretty up on what's happening in the web and I'm still like, I'm lost, like, Where the heck, how do I get to the portfolio? Or, like, how do I contact these guys? And, um, so I still think there's got to be that fine line between what's actually, like, working and what people are expecting and versus, like progressiveness for just the sake of progressive

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yeah. And do you work with a lot of clients in that when you're iterating, and AB or multivariate testing, do you guys do a lot of that, or is that kind of? 

Ben Johnson:   Um, I wish we did more. I mean, we do quite a bit of it. Um, it depends on the clients, like, some clients, you know, we have really great long term relationships, and they're very, like, they, they really see huge value or, or the website is their primary tool. So like, that is their business tool. So like they're going to continue to invest and refine, and constantly iterate. And we have some clients that are like, we're super amped on our site, and we like it, it's working and, you know, and they'll come back or we'll try to be proactive and make suggestions, but it really depends on the client. And so I think the ones that we're more hands on with, we're more iterative as far as refining and continuing to tweak.

Andrew Verboncouer:  Gotcha, yeah, that makes sense. And I think that kind of goes along with a lot of what we believe to about, you know, agreeing on value and outcomes, and not just, you know, art or creativity for creativity sake, but that end outcome, you know, kind of in mind sounds like you guys employ that same kind of mentality, which is great, because you can kill a lot of the designer client debates - just by agreeing on what those outcomes are, and kind of helping that guide some of your decisions. 

Chris Schmitz:   Yeah, and you talked a lot about kind of pushing the envelope with design, and finding unique style for each customer. But what are some of the ways that you get to that? I mean, is it kind of disappear and go into the mode and, like, come out with a few ideas? Are you out there talking to their customers? Or is it you mentioned, collaboration with some of your clients, some ideas fall out of? Where does a lot of inspiration come from? 

Ben Johnson:   So I think first we'll go back to like, kind of the first point of like, really understanding the client and their audience the best we can -  so whatever information we can gather, whether it's from actual clients, whether it's from the the actual customers or whether it's the clients interpretation of the customers but just trying to gather as much as we can and then taking all of that and and a lot of it was kind of -  for me -  is like asking questions that are maybe somewhat off topic and trying to like gather some information that maybe is just like less default like, what's your brand, who are your client, who are your competitors - like the standard questions you're always going to ask but like some questions that can kind of give like insight sort of like behind the scenes and someone asked me like what are those questions and it's really hard because every client so different so it's very like a freestyle just sort of off the cuff - sort of feel them out- as far as what those questions would be and I don't really have a super stock answer for that.  But then as far as inspiration -  taking all the information that we can from the client and then just going back and very old school I sketch a lot and I don't draw a lot of inspiration from other sites I try specifically not to like I'll look at other sites and I try to always be aware of like trends on what's happening but I gather more mass ratio from like print and I'm more old school graphic designers and art and then nature like I was saying last night, I was joking like it sounds so cheesy and even saying I'm like I gather from nature but for me that's a huge inspiration like I'll just be out walking my dogs and all just be like marinating and mulling over a project in my head and like just thinking about it and just kind of clear my mind. And I'm away from the computer. And so it's kind of detaching from the computer for me has been a huge difference in inspiration. And then, just exploring, like, I'll not be afraid to, like, go down a odd path when I'm designing. So like, I might have a preconceived idea what I want to do, and almost like this mood board, and sketches and concepts. And when I'm, I don't lock myself into that. So if all of a sudden I'm working, and I see something or something jumps out to me, like, as I'm designing I'll go down that path. And I'll just kind of explore that. And maybe it's a dead end and it doesn't work and it takes me nowhere. But I think just being able to, like, roll with it and explore those things that come up. Because sometimes with happy mistakes can be the most earth shattering things and change your whole designer, like this banner or maybe move this layer by accident - that's happened to me. I like move to layer. And I was like, that looks so sick. Like, that's it. This is like that was like shape the whole design. So I I feel like that exploration processes. Mine's not very rigid. And I was talking last night - I think about it more as a whole cohesive piece. I think that goes to the story. So I don't think about it as like, here's a block, here's a block, here's a block, here's a block, here's a block. And like, it doesn't matter how they work together, I think about them as content blocks in sections because they're telling their own piece of the puzzle. But I have to make sure they all work together and they flow. And so I'm drawing someone's eye through the page. And I'm really taking them where I want them through the page. And that, for me, has become like a real cornerstone of like, my design aesthetic. So I forget what the question was, I went on a huge tangent. 

Chris Schmitz:   No, that's awesome.

Ben Johnson:   Um, so hopefully that helps.

Chris Schmitz:   Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I guess this is kind of a follow up to that. How do you validate whether some of these designs are producing I mean, you may think it's great, but how do you determine whether it is effective? I mean, do you -  you mentioned a B testing a little bit - do you do customer interviews? Or is it more kind of up to the client, and how they feel about it, or? 

Ben Johnson:   We don't do a ton of that, like, it's something that we're doing more and more of. I think a lot of it is like looking at just the analytics and just sort of like, how is it performing. And then I think just sort of the clients reaction to how that gets being perceived by their customers and their audience and their team. Um, it's been really interesting for us too, like, a lot of sites we've done - they're, almost doing it for, like, they don't care about, like, getting new business, there's businesses they need to be. You know, I mean, it's like, if, whether it's for recruitment, or whether it's just like to look the part or whatever might be. So like, those have very different objectives, then, like, I'm selling this microphone, you know, so - every project so different. I think that's why we've sort of adapted this more like, this freestyle approach to even how we interact with clients is because everyone is so unique. So we don't necessarily have like - we have some set practices to flow through and work through with clients. But it's not like a, b, c, d, e, f, g, like, you have to follow this. And that's how we work. And I think that sort of more adaptiveness has been helpful for us to kind of come to those, you know, the best conclusions. Yeah, so I was curious, how do you guys introduce, like the story like from your customers? Like, I mean, since you guys do more app development, and we don't really do a lot of that at Elegant Seagulls. I'm curious to see, how do you guys kind of like inject that personality or capture that from your audience or your customers? And then integrate that into the applications? And what's your process for that? 

Chris Schmitz:   I'm going to defer to Andrew on that one. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yeah, so I mean, a lot of the same things, you know, it's empathizing. It's, it's learning about the customer, you know, what are their fears, what are their emotions, as they might find a fit for this product in their life, or have a problem that we could solve. So a lot of it is, you know, learning about them, we do a lot of user interviews and stuff like that, try to get to the root of what the problem is, and what their motivation is to solve the problem, you know, why is it valuable to them? And, you know, why does it really matter. And so, when we do that, we find, it's a lot easier to tell that story, you know, in web form, because we understand their pain points or the questions they ask, or, you know, and you can kind of lead them down similar, like you said, you know, lead them down this track of, you know, they have certain problems, and we have that solution for them, or this is what their life looks like, before they use this app, this is how it can help you, you know, live better, connect with family, whatever, whatever the app's doing. So, using that to inform it is something that, you know, we've learned works really well. It's hard to create copy and understand your users without kind of doing those things we found. So, like, we kind of do the app stuff first, and we find, you know, the major value props of how this is creating value for them. And then we can better communicate that to them.

Chris Schmitz:   Yeah, it's, it's almost a little backwards for us, because we focus on just nailing this, you know, nailing the problem and then finding the right solution. And we don't even make any assumptions about who the customer actually is. Because we know some of that's going to change so much from what people come in with. So that's kind of the next step after we feel like we found that kind of product market fit and move on to that and get to know the customer a little better.

Ben Johnson:   Yea, makes sense. I like what you said about just like communication, because that was something that I've been like, grappling with just myself, is that, you know, it was like, kind of, there's been so much stuff I was talking about a little bit last night like, what like, what should designers do, and designers should do this, or designers should do that, or designers shouldn't do this. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Should designers code? 

Ben Johnson:   There's a lot, there's a lot going on like that -  and like people like, I know that the root definition of like a designer is, like, a problem solver. But for me, like the root of being a designer, at least the type of design that I'm creating from a web perspective is more like communication. And so like, when you're talking about, like, what are you communicating like, what is that message. So I think that we're still trying to, like, communicate something to this audience, whether it's clicking that button, or buying this product, or signing up, or whatever might be. So it's like, I feel like that sometimes is lost, you know. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yea, for sure. I think you touched on it last night a little bit about personas. Sometimes you get handed a persona, and that's like an assumption. Sometimes what we do is we'll create, we call them it's the first version of our personas, we call them BS personas. 

Ben Johnson:   Okay. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  You know, we'll get down who we think our customer is, what they need, what family life is like, all the stuff and then we'll go do interviews, right. And then we'll come back and revisit those personas and just see how much they've changed.

Ben Johnson:   Do they fit, yea. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  And like, they usually changed quite a bit, sometimes it's, the roles are reversed, right? We thought this was mother, it's actually the father who's leading this, or vice versa, we can learn a lot. So we work really collaboratively with our clients, so they're part of that process. And so I think once we start challenging those assumptions of even who they are, right, without even proposing a solution, you know, we can really start to see the value of like, going towards these outcomes. And not like operating only on those assumptions.

Ben Johnson:   But it's interesting, cuz like, we've had clients too, where they'd have a product that you think would be like, super male dominated, and you I would assume the males are buying this product. And then when we actually went through and evaluated like, their sales data, and just some of like, the just information that they could have and digesting it was like, well, 90% of customers are women. So like, why, why are we doing this, like, super tough, manly site like this should be, you know, it has to be a little bit more universal. And let's really think about, like, who's buying this product without losing what makes a product great, you know, so I was like, you know, what the brands all about. So it's interesting that like, because those personas I think, are sometimes just so general, like you said, I like the term the BS personas, because it's like, I'm like, this can't really be who's buying this, or like this can't really be, like who came up with this. So but I do think there's value like the person the girl that asked last night about, how do you communicate to like her communicating to her dev team, they were not understanding the story of it. And like the, some of that side of it. And for someone like that, I think, like having some sort of personas can be really great, because it gives you a universal way to communicate to them. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Right -  or even connecting, that, you know, getting the developers more involved well, you know, with the users being able to understand what they do, it's so easy, you know, as a designer, visual designer or developer to like, really be led by your heart skills and the craft and say, this is right, you know, without asking the question, if this is creating the right value, or if we are solving the right problem, that's where that soft skill comes in, you know, being able to communicate with people and understand, you know, where they're coming from, what their pain points are, and how this fits into their life. You know, so there's disconnect there, if you if they're not involved, it's hard to relay that. 

Ben Johnson:   Well, I think it's cool, you guys have a very similar, I think, just office culture as far as like, everyone's collaborating and working together. So whether you have the designers and developers and they're all like working on, you know, in conjunction, like, I think that same way at Seagulls is that, like, you have all these different lines coming together, and the developers are going to understand the same end goal as the designers do. So there's hopefully less of that disconnect. It seems like I love that you guys kind of have that same workflow here, because we've, we've run into problems, sometimes we're we're handing off to development team, and there does become this really distinct disconnect, because they weren't involved in all of like, the pre, they just see - "build this." 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Right. 

Ben Johnson:   And they don't have all the background. And so when they're making any kind of like, on the fly decisions, are they understanding the true objective? So I think that piece of communication is super critical to the success.

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yeah, for sure. I mean, everyone really is a designer, you know, we like to approach it that way that, you know, design is just kind of making decisions with intent for like an outcome. So we, we like to get, you know, cross functional teams, developers, stakeholders, whoever, in a room, maybe even special guests that are knowledgeable and domain so that, you know, we can agree on the right things, everyone brings a different perspective to it, which I think is really helpful and obviously helpful when you get into the hard skills you understand why you're doing this - it's important. So I guess kind of wrapping up here. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs that are just starting out, creating a startup or a business? What advice would you give about storytelling, and maybe differentiation for them? 

Ben Johnson:   I think the big advice is just you've got to take the risk like starting a business is a huge risk, and you're going to make tons of mistakes. I talked about this a bit last night. It's a trial by fire, and you got to look at each mistake and learn from it and grow from it and take something away. But as far as um, from, like, the business side, and storytelling is like, know what you're good at and I think once you can figure out like, what your focus is, of your business, and actually like, know, like - this is what we're good at. And we're going to do this versus spread yourself so thin across different avenues. And then um really look at what everyone else is doing and think about why they're doing it. And then how you can improve upon that and make it your own. And just, I think just people have to be willing and confident to take that jump. I mean, it's really nothing more than just committing to, we're going to tell her own story, right. And then and doing it. There's really not a lot of, like, other advice besides this. I think you have to, you have to try. Um, and don't, don't settle for mediocrity, you know, I'd rather shoot for, you know, all the way and then find somewhere like, maybe fall somewhere in between. But like, go for it. You know, give it a full pull. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Sure. How can people find you?

Ben Johnson:   Ah, so elegantseagulls.com, the business site. You can check out the Jack Dusty stuff at imjackdusty.com. And then Twitter is @elegantseagulls. Instagram would be @imjackdusty. And then I've got a new project in the works. Sort of top secret. I'll announce it here, maybe. But it's called Jack Dusty's poop deck. 

Chris Schmitz:   You heard it here first. 

Ben Johnson:   Yeah, the whole thought behind it is, I had a lot of people that were interested in the jack dusty experiment. And I draw a lot of inspiration from other designers and artists. So what I want to do is interview them about their style and their process and like, how do they create and then keep it pretty informal and just kind of fun. And then based on their process, and their style and their inspiration, I want to do a concept based on that information-  from that approach, and their style. So like, maybe they're really into patterns or whatever might be, um, and they do a sketch underwater, like, I'm going to sketch under water, you know what I mean? Like that's probably the worst example. But yeah, but my goal is to have people do it with me. So let's say I interview someone, I'm like, okay, and two weeks from now, I'm going to show this mock and I'd like to have anyone that wants to do it with me show their mocks and make it sort of a community driven thing. So, um, we'll see if I can get people to do it with me. I'm going to do it no matter what. So, um, but I think it'd be kind of cool. So I'm working on the site right now. And then I'm kind of like, I've got my first couple interviews planned out. So it should be coming hopefully soon. So it's a passion project. But Jack Dusty's poop deck will be around sometime soon. 

Andrew Verboncouer:  Looking forward to it.

Chris Schmitz:   It's ok, you can give a hard date. No one will hold you to it. 

Ben Johnson:   Yea ,no I can't do that -  I'll be in trouble. But no, I really. Yeah, it will be a kind of a wild ride. So we'll see how it goes.

Chris Schmitz:   Sure, where'd the name Elegant Seagulls come from? 

Ben Johnson:   So I was big into snowboarding. And used to always do funny names for our snowboarding videos. So like, we had one that was like, tickle fight or whatever, like, just like, weird names. And my friends and I were out and we saw these seagulls flying by and one of my buddies, right, those are some beautiful seagulls. I was like, those are elegant seagulls. And then it just sort of stuck. And that was the name of my senior thesis project in college was elegant seagulls. It was all the branding and everything. It was just sort of this fun oxymoron. And then when I started my business, I was like, I need a name for my business. And my mom's like, you've got all this stuff for elegant seagulls, just use that. I was like, all right. And that was it. That was like the business decision. It was just literally like, I'll just call it elegant seagulls. And the brand stuff has evolved since like, it was actually like, we're doing a 10 year site right now. That's gonna be launching really soon. That has like, the original elegant seagulls site, the original logo, some of the old like really old just random stuff. So because it's kind of fun to go back through like the archives and find that so that that's gonna be coming soon. So people can see the whole kind of history and some of the original seagulls.

Andrew Verboncouer:  That's cool. Yeah well, thanks for coming on the show. We appreciate it, you coming down. And it was a great talk last night as well as digital fertilizer.

Ben Johnson:   Yeah, it was awesome. I mean, what better jack dusty on seaworthy. So I mean, it's perfect.

Andrew Verboncouer:  Yeah, just to end it, um, Ben came on the stage with an eyepatch. It was pretty good but um yeah, you can find us, find me on Twitter @averbs. 

Chris Schmitz:   And Christ Schmitz @ccschmitz.

Andrew Verboncouer:  Thanks for tuning in guys and we'll see you guys in two weeks.

Ben Johnson:   Thanks everybody.

Andrew Verboncouer:  Thanks for listening to Seaworthy. Connect with us on Twitter @SeaworthyFM and make sure to subscribe, ask questions and leave feedback on the remarks. We'll see you again in two weeks.

show notes
  • Design Storytelling and Empathy
  • Differentiating Your Brand
  • Experimentation
  • Understanding Your Customer