Smokin Little Industries

Recently a few people have asked me why I haven’t formed my own User Experience company.

I do think about it and it’s possible that one day I will. But for now I aim to be my own ‘little industry’ within another company.

It is something I hold close as one of my work ethics. If I’m not adding value to the company I work for then the company isn’t living up to its potential. When things get quiet I seek out or create new opportunities.

As the User Experience Manager at Provoke it was something I used to groom my staff for. I would ask myself… “If this person lost their job tomorrow could they stand on their own two feet as their own little industry?”

If not then I would find ways to fill the gaps, under stealth, to coax self-motivation, team-work and getting people to manage their workload better. A well-rounded self-motivated employee was my goal.


Matt – one of my ‘little industry’ experiments – now working in London. Photo by Richard Stewart.

And at the team level I thought – could this team stand alone as their own little industry? I strove to exceed targets, streamline processes and encourage knowledge sharing.

I’m sure I got it mostly right – the hard evidence was that most people on my team pushed for constant improvement and, most of the time, exceeded their targets. Those few who moved on went to form their own companies, go freelance or were nabbed by glossy new startups.

With the much heralded downturn, coupled with New Zealand’s apparently poor productivity rating, I believe a change in who we perceive we work for is needed. We all need to work for ourselves as well as our employers.

Industry cohort Hayden Vink has also blogged on this subject. He calls it “The road to R.O.Me” – Return On Me. Take a visit then get on the road to recovery.

One response to “Smokin Little Industries”

  1. Matt Avatar

    This may be all true, and I owe you quite a bit actually, but it’s also true I never tried to eat my fingers before I met you.