I finish the sentence with an apologetic smile and an expression of slight confusion on my face as I realize that I’ve just said complete bullshit. Linda (STRV Senior Copywriter) is clearly amused by my response. She bursts out laughing.
It’s around 8 p.m. and Linda’s question about the key features of our (at the time) soon-to-be-launched Mobile App Cost & Time Calculator caught me off guard. I’m in the middle of my chat with our Frontend Engineer, Peter; we’re discussing his article about optimizing that very calculator for Microsoft Duo. Linda is sitting at the adjacent table, working on the ad copy for the calculator’s promotion via Inside.com’s newsletter. And our exchange has just made me realize that I’ve overlooked a crucial detail in our product.
While our calculator shows previews for every feature on the desktop version, we haven’t included these example screens on mobile. Instead, we stuck to the simple (and easily viewed as effective) approach of letting users select features from a straightforward, preview-less list.
“Is it kinda weird that the mobile experience is inferior to desktop?” Linda continues her interrogation.
“Damn it, it is weird. No, not even weird, this is horrible! Why haven’t I realized this sooner?! Now we only have a week until the release, time that’s been reserved for polishing the overall experience, not for adding features. The team will kill me!” All of these thoughts are frantically running through my head.
I imagine the faces of Danny (the second Frontend Engineer on the project) and Ales (our Design Lead that’s also helping out) if I were to add this last-minute change to their already crazy schedules.
I turn to Peter.
He is already typing away on his keyboard, setting up examples of how mobile feature previews could look like. No questions asked. Peter knows the next steps, better than I do. He shows me a possible solution. I look at him, stunned.
“Dude, this looks awesome. We gotta make it happen!” I pause, before daring to ask, “Will we be able to implement it in time for the release...?”
Peter thinks for a moment.
“Sure. It’s not ideal, but I think we can. We have to do it,” he says, matter-of-factly.
This. Moments like this make me so honored to be a part of STRV. I mean it. Every day, I come to work to learn from people who never settle for, “Ah, it’s good enough.”
I’ll confess, I had the “good enough” syndrome before joining STRV. But once I started working here as a project manager in 2018, I was introduced to a world that was (at first painfully) new to me. A world where “good enough” is never the answer, and “perfect” — while being accepted as objectively unreachable — is always the goal. A world where, if an idea to improve something appears, the only question that follows is, “Alright, how can we make it happen?”
I sincerely believe that this mindset of people at STRV is one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to connect with our clients on a level that goes beyond the standard “client-agency” relationship. Our partners share our passion for challenging the status quo. They are courageous (and crazy) enough to believe that they can make a difference, oftentimes against all odds, and that they can drive change — if not for the whole world (don’t get me started on the “making this world a better place” cliché), then at least for the reality around them, for what they can influence and what they genuinely care about.
That’s really what it comes down to for me and, dare I say, for all of us at STRV. Caring — about what you do, who you do it for and whom you do it with. This was our inspiration for creating a mobile app cost and time calculator in the first place. We wanted to help, by providing what we hope is useful information to startup founders (and anyone else, for that matter). We wanted to provide approximate yet realistic figures about the cost and time needed to build a quality mobile app, because it shouldn’t be a mystery to people new to the industry.
Does our calculator generate definitive numbers? No. For that, we have a rigorous estimate process that is designed to ensure we understand all intricate details of a project we commit to deliver. We see the calculator as a solid, fair assumption and a conversation starter — not only about a specific product someone’s looking to build, but also about the painful lack of transparency that exists in our industry.
Those who dare to dream of making a change should not waste time going back and forth in negotiations with transaction-oriented companies that care more about the dollars in their pockets than about their partners’ visions.
The clients with whom we’ve established the deepest business and interpersonal relationships are the ones with whom we’ve always been aligned on the “why” — the purpose behind our actions.
It’s about striving to do work that we all can be proud of, while genuinely caring about the people we’re working with. Can we do everything perfectly, always? Of course not; those who claim the opposite are not being honest with themselves to begin with. But what we can do — and what we are committed to doing — is give our all, every time we set out to create something.
If this is a sentiment you can relate to, we’d love to hear from you! Whether it’s about building a product with us or joining the STRV fam, we’re always eager to speak with people who value craftsmanship, integrity and passion.