.

On the other hand I do not appreciate following "web trends". Pretty much on the contrary! It's far more appealing to apply ideas and trends from outside the web to work. One of the most important things is getting out of the office - visit exhibitions, festivals, conferences. The extent and amount of inspiration and trends I usually take from them is unparalleled.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.

Juergen: When I was a teenager I fell in love with Coke TV spots. Since then - almost 25 years ago - I knew I wanted to work in advertising.

There was no such thing called "digital" as you can imagine, at least in the advertising world. So I started my quest in a small agency in Cologne but then moved to Hamburg to support a small brand called Eastpak (which became a major backpack brand in the years to follow).

After the company was sold I switched back to agency side and took care of the global Mini (automotive) account at one of the top creative German agencies, Jung von Matt, in 2001. In 2003 I went freelance and helped agencies and brands like Dickies (clothing).

In 2010 my old friend Sven watched Steve Jobs keynote unveiling the new iPad with me. We realized right away that this thing is going to change the way how brands will be able to communicate with consumers. So... that very evening we developed the Swipe idea. It was literally point zero, nobody had any idea what to do with this strange new gadget called iPad.

We started right away the day after and thought, if no one has a clue, maybe we can be first to grasp (and shape) the idea what to do on the iPad.

Three and a half years later we have an amazing team of designers and developers working for equally amazing  brands. 

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Juergen: It is not a single thing. Your experience grows with the things you do, the greater the better, and also by the mistakes you make. But the most important thing I learned through the course of time is this: an idea is a fragile thing and you have to fight for your ideas every day. It is comparably easy to conceive great ideas. But executing them til the end is much harder.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Juergen: I would love to be a boatbuilder for small, nice, high quality wooden motor boats. I have two left hands, so I probably couldn´t make anything substantial with them - least a living out of it. But I like the idea of creating something by hand that is well crafted and will last a long time, giving joy to people. 

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

Juergen: I see myself as an "entrepreneur". I love this word, there is so much in it. Being an entrepreneur allows you to do things. It is in your hands to get things going and not to discuss them over and over again. It gives you the ability to act fastly. But the best part in it is to be able to build a team of talented people and see their ideas become reality.

Being 50% of Swipe management I see my most important role in attracting new clients and to prepare the stage so that great people choose and prefer to work with us.

There are the usual ups and downs when running your own company. But I never got the impression to be stuck... maybe sad a few evenings. Then you go to sleep and the next morning you get up, problems looking much smaller already and you go out and fix it or try harder and do better.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

Juergen: The two guys who ran Eastpak. Without them I wouldn't be in Hamburg. And I would not have had the chance to switch to Jung von Matt after Eastpak. At Jung von Matt I was priviliged to work with amazing creatives and also very closely with founder Holger Jung: a dream come true. He still is a valuable advisor to me and us. 

What software could you not live without?

Alexander: Evernote, Dropbox, Skala

Juergen: Apple Mail, Safari, Keynote, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote

How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

Juergen: Right now we work on 6 to 7 projects at the same time. Some small, some huge. I like the mix and the variety. But we also have to make sure that we can concentrate and focus enough on every single project in order deliver a great outcome in each and every project we put our tender hands on. We try to keep a healthy balance.

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

Alexander: (Desktop) Sketch; (Mobile) iOS7, Vine, Instagram 4, Nextr, Haze, Google iOS Apps

Juergen: I cannot wait to finally get my hands on the Leap motion controller.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

Alexander: Too many to mention all of them. In Visual Arts it would be Champagne Valentine, HORT and Colors & The Kids. In Interactive B-Reel, Unit9 and FIELD.

Who is your target audience?

Juergen: We work for brands and also for agencies.

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Juergen: Not yet. Hey, not sure at all someone might be interested. But why not - one day? I get interrogated a lot by people planning to start their own company. That might become a starting point.

What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

Alexander: "The Beauty Inside" by B-Reel for Toshiba/Intel. This social movie project, promoted on Facebook, tells the story of a man who has a very peculiar condition, waking up as a different person each and every day for his whole life. It's executed rather nicely and gave a lot of followers the ability to actually play the lead.

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary? 

Alex: Definitely yes. If usable we always recommend solutions outside the (digital) box to our clients.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Alexander: It's still possible to enter the industry without a degree – if you have talent, if you are keen on learning the tools all by yourself and if you tend to happilly work like an animal.

Nevertheless I would recommend to invest in a good education due to all the background knowledge and the possibilities to develop your creative skills so much faster. These days classes tend to be much better and much more modern than they used to.

When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

Juergen: Good work. As simple as that. Do the best you can, and do it again and again. Don´t stand still. Others will notice that you are passionate in what you do. They will watch you. It might take some time, but the easy way happens to not exist.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

Alexander: Just like everyone else by reading and exchanging thoughts. In our Swipe headquarter we have regular inspiration slots and channels to which everyone contributes - designers, strategists, coders, everyone (our office manager as well of course). But most of the time you don't even have to look for trends. They'll find you. 

On the other hand I do not appreciate following "web trends". Pretty much on the contrary! It's far more appealing to apply ideas and trends from outside the web to work. One of the most important things is getting out of the office - visit exhibitions, festivals, conferences. The extent and amount of inspiration and trends I usually take from them is unparalleled. 

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Juergen: I have never been to Japan. I guess Japan must be very inspirational. Sure, Silicon Valley is probably very innovative. But I also love London and Stockholm.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

Alexander: There must be hundreds of them. We'd like to work with like-minded people from inside (or even better: outside) the industry. In my case I would love to work with music producers/DJs like Nicolas Jaar and film directors like Carl Burgess, Chris Milk, Vincent Morriset, Jim Jarmusch, and the Coen Brothers one day.

My dream clients would be Lamborghini, Red Bull Racing F1 Team, Apple, and NASA.

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

Juergen: We don´t harvest any long term plans. When we started in early 2010ago we never dreamt of Swipe becoming ten people and a great set of clients as it is by now.

If we can keep on doing great work in the next years I am more than happy. And maybe one day we expand beyond clients work and own piece of software. No idea what that could be yet.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

Alexander: Right at the moment I'm interested in physics-based UIs. Think Facebook Home for Android or UIKit Dynamics in iOS7. I'm keen to learn about using Quartz Composer which enables you to create hi-fidelity demos that look and feel exactly like what you want the final product to be. Outside the studio, things like physical computing, rapid prototyping and connected objects tend to fascinate me in a rather unhealthy way. 


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