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Our motto is STAY BRAVE. We started off by being unapologetic and honest yet really cooperative and hard working. It was contagious. Also, blackmail.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I am co-founder and executive creative director at Juliet Zulu. We are a creative agency in Portland Oregon. I have a wonderful, newish daughter. She is named after a dormant volcano.

What do you do for inspiration?

The world, especially the digital world is tremendously inspiring. I find it, at times, overly inspiring. Our industry has become one of infinite possibilities and all of those options are my personal execution killer. When you have the ability to do anything, nothing gets done. 

My process of inspiration comes from self-imposed constraints. I have to find inspiration within boundaries. 

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

My daughter doesn’t talk yet. No interest. This morning I convinced her to clap her hands for “yes” and make a weird goblin noise for “no”.


How many hours do you work each week?

“Too many,” says my lawn. “Not enough,” says the deadline. “I think you probably have an ulcer,” says my mom.

How do you relax or unwind?

We have a family cabin on the Lower Umpqua River here in Oregon. It’s beautiful. The fishing is great. Our teams go there to strategize and plan while soaking in nature. No cell service. No internet. Amazing. The place reminds me of some pictures I saw online when I Googled “nature”.


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

I am surprised that we are working on the internet at all. I think of myself as relatively low-fi. For me, it’s all about telling a good story. When that story needs to be told digitally, great. If we weren’t working on the internet, we might be doing the same thing we are now, just for smaller audiences and fewer Facebook likes.


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

When I received your interview questions, I was at a gas station in Iceland, running on a couple hours of sleep and trying to capture some digital content of a sunrise. Half way across the world for a ten-minute chance. Those are the great moments. They are also the most challenging when balancing the desire for great work with normal, personal life. 

When I am stuck, I brainstorm with my team. It works because they are really smart, capable and better than me. 


What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?

Last year, we were up for 56 hours on an insane deadline. There was crying. 

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

When I was in college, I wanted to work in cutting edge creative work. I ended up studying philosophy. After I graduated, I really felt that my options were limited. Then, about six years ago, I realized that my education and interests gave me a unique perspective for tackling creative work. Conceptually, my background in IDEAS has shaped my career in the most dynamic way. Now, I feel like I have unique tools in my wheelhouse.

Who is your target audience?

Always depends on the project but we really force ourselves and push our clients to respect the audience. For instance, there seems to be a feeling that the online youth demographic is this attention deficit group of idiots. If that is true, let's stop spoon-feeding them content. Make them work for it. Make them engage. Maybe we can raise the bar while we sell shit. 

What area of web design lacks the most?

Story. I know people, myself included, are really excited about non-linear user engagement. But, I still like narrative content. I love web design that surprises and delights in nuanced ways while still conveying a simple story.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

It is a challenge. Especially when the audience is global and the demographic is broad in age. The biggest challenge for wide audiences is the fear-based desire to dilute content for the lowest common denominator. Generally though, if you make something compelling, powerful and honest, it will have the legs to span and become universal.

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

I would love to write a book someday. My introduction to the industry was as a copywriter. I love writing. I hope the publishing industry can stay alive.

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

Absolutely. In fact, I would love to see more content created by people with diverse backgrounds. 

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

Our motto is STAY BRAVE. We started off by being unapologetic and honest yet really cooperative and hard working. It was contagious. Also, blackmail. 

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

Truthfully, sites like FWA and AWWWARDS are my favorite sites to find trends and exciting projects. 

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Well, not North Korea.

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

We are experiencing some really positive pressure to grow more rapidly. If we do, I hope our agency remains a place of honesty, exploration and community. I hope we continue to take pride in our work because we are scrappy and nimble. In Portland, we are surrounded by a massive push towards ideals like handcrafted, local, communal. My hope is that we can embody those ideals as we grow and move further towards technical innovations.

What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?

Gasoline.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

We really appreciate it. Thank you.


Links

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#staybrave
#staybrave

Server room + workshop. Basement at JZ HQ.
Server room + workshop. Basement at JZ HQ.

Juliet Zulu website. Recent digital puma.com/mobium
Juliet Zulu website. Recent digital puma.com/mobium

Juliet Zulu website. Recent digital puma.com/actvrcvr
Juliet Zulu website. Recent digital puma.com/actvrcvr

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