Interview with the Founders of Pixl Digital Consulting

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Designation Alumni: Yazin Akkawi, Jonathan Speh and Chris Rodriguez (Founders of Pixl)

Pixl Digital Consulting is a new data driven consultancy founded by DESIGNATION alumni Yazin Akkawi, Jonathan Speh and Chris Rodriguez. After graduating as part of the Celadon Cohort, they pooled what they’d learned throughout the program and started their own agency.

 

So tell us, what is Pixl?

Yazin Akkawi: Our tagline is, “At the intersection of big data and design.” In the most simple terms, we took everything we learned from DESIGNATION and applied it to client work by incorporating data into every part of the process.

Chris Rodriguez: Only after we have a clear understanding of how users interact with a product and what the pain points are do we start exploring design solutions.

Jonathan Speh: That’s the biggest takeaway. The data comes first. Before design, before anything, for projects large or small.

Pixl is a next-generation digital consulting agency

Why was it important for you guys to start your own company instead of going out and getting jobs?

YA: At DESIGNATION, we learned all the skills we needed to go out and do it ourselves. So why not? Jonathan, Chris and I are all have a great deal of confidence in one another, and I think that was critical in the formation of Pixl.

JS: Honestly, coming from an agency background I knew that I had the experience to build something of my own. I think true creativity comes from the ability to really own a piece of what you’re working on. Being able to collaborate with two very talented people and produce great work is an opportunity I didn’t want to turn my back on.

Jonathan Speh - Creative Strategist

Chris, will this be your first creative agency job?

CR: This will be, yes. The future is uncertain. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but there’s also a lot of excitement. I just wanted to keep the same momentum going that we had at DESIGNATION. I’m learning so much from both my partners. A lot about the internal agency setting, CRM, software management, process and methodology. And I feel that right now, starting our own organization is the right move. It’s scary, but exciting.

YA: And fun!

CR: Yes, and fun.

“At DESIGNATION, we learned all the skills we needed to go out and do it ourselves. So why not?”

Yazin, you have a corporate background. What got you interested in design?

YA: At my last job, I was in a very left-brain, analytical environment. My team and I were constantly crunching numbers and we relied heavily on PowerPoint decks to show our work. But I always felt like there was room for improvement in communicating our ideas because the decks were usually poorly designed.

But although I was passionate about good design, I knew I wasn’t a designer yet. I could never quite get it right, so I decided to do something about it. When you combine that with my interest in technology and startups, digital design just felt like a natural path, and DESIGNATION was the perfect way to get me there.

What services will Pixl offer?

YA: We’re taking a pretty streamlined approach. It all starts with usability testing on the design for a product that already exists. From there we use data to uncover insights about how people are truly interacting with the product.

JS: But [the full scope of our services] remains to be seen. We’re still defining who we are and what we’re doing based on what the need is. And right now, we’re finding that there’s a huge need for UX research.

Sound Maker Post screen shot example

Do you have any clients yet?

JS: Yeah, our first client is a company called Matchup. It’s a fitness tracking app. They’ve got a site, they’ve got the app, they work with a handful of wearables and have been pretty successful so far.

CR: We’re heading into a presentation with them advising them on how to better engage with users, specifically how they can streamline their onboarding process.

YA: Boosting their signups, too.

“The future is uncertain. There’s a lot of uncertainty, but there’s also a lot of excitement.”

How will you get clients for the future?

YA: Well for one, this Matchup project is really fascinating. It gave us the confidence to understand what we’re capable of doing, but also gave us an amazing case study to demonstrate that to others as well.

JS: In addition, we plan to rely on high quality work, word of mouth, and our own personal networks to find new projects. Plus, working out of 1871, means that our next client could literally be 10 feet away. It’s exciting and it’s a lot of work, but if it goes well, who knows what’s next?

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