I'm willing to bet you know very little about us. I don't blame you, we have been, for the past four years, the proverbial plumber with a leaky pipe. So I don't fault you if you have never heard our name — Middlestate — and have no idea what we do or how we do it.
But that's about to change.
We have been busy the last four years since my partner Ryan Clark and I ventured out to start our design company, working the first year almost exclusively out of coffee shops (Shout out to tazarraia).
We've been busy helping our client-partners achieve remarkable things (launching global brands in dairy, products on Chewy.com and complete a digital overhaul of a company with a legacy than spans nearly eight decades. We've created a name and brand for a company making remarkable scrubs for for the healthcare industry and created a human-focused identity and application process for the county to deliver emergency relief funds to small businesses impacted by COVID and we've built websites for restaurants, bars, construction companies and others across California.
We've grown from two people to seven people, we've collaborated with design and development teams in four countries, we rebranded and we've reimagined who we are. Through all of this, what I've learned about myself and about our team as a whole is that if we are anything — we are unafraid of change.
With all the victories, the growth and incredible relationships forged, we've also taken our fair share of lumps. We've made some really stupid mistakes. I mean really, really, really stupid mistakes.
For starters, we built half of our business on a vertical that never materialized. And when we started to grow, we waited too long to hire and nearly folded under the immense pressure. We made mistakes in working with the wrong vendors, we overpromised on projects and we've overdelivered on projects. We've burned through nearly every project management tool (Basecamp, Trello, Monday, Asana, Click Up, and Basecamp again) before the team finally told me that I have a problem.
I share all of this because I want you to know something about us ... we are human. Middlestate is a human-centered design company and like the human experience we are flawed, always learning and evolving.
This is just the beginning of us sharing our story. Myself and members of our team will be writing monthly essays about our experiences and things we've learned about managing a company, managing people, collaborating with clients, infusing creativity into daily life and how thinking like a designer can improve your business, your life and relationships.
And next month we will return with some exciting news about another project we are launching in June.