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Overtime

Episode 38: On Building a Global Design Agency with Haraldur Thorleifsson

Our guest on episode 38 is Haraldur Thorleifsson founder and CEO of Ueno—a global design agency that works with incredible clients like Google, Fitbit, Dropbox, Slack, ESPN, and more.

A lot of it is just about being at the right place at the right time, and ultimately it’s about getting lucky, but I think also being lucky by just continuously putting yourself out there, and making sure when you do that it’s a positive experience for whoever you’re dealing with.

In this episode, Dan and Halli chat about the role Dribbble played in building his company, the importance of having a great portfolio and building relationships, the challenges of running a design agency, and why designers should be avoiding trends. They also explore how travel helped Halli shape the company Ueno is today.

This episode is brought to you by Wix. Push the limits of design and start creating beautiful, impactful websites that are uniquely yours at wix.com/dribbble.

  1. Ueno Newsletter : April 4th 2018
  2. Ueno : Portraits
  3. Bring the Chocolate #2

Subscribe to Overtime on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Or download the episode via Simplecast.


Transcript

Haraldur: Thank you for having me. I’ve been using Dribbble for awhile for a long time and I’ve listened to a lot of these so I’m very happy to be here.

Dan: Oh, that’s great. That’s awesome to hear. And yeah, you have been on Dribbble a long time.

Haraldur: Yes 2012 I think.

Dan: Yeah. 2012, okay well actually that’s pretty good. So in that, I mean you could almost look at that as like a short period of time to go from where you were to what you are now. And I think that, like this is a super cool story. I guess like I’m going to start off by just asking like where you’re from and how you started to get into this, like how you started Ueno, and I should preface that by saying, am I pronouncing it correctly? I think I am it’s Ueno without the without B.

Haraldur: Yeah, that’s. Yeah, that’s pretty good. When I picked the name I wasn’t expecting people to have a hard time with it, but I actually quite enjoy all the different variations that people use. So it’s kind of like my name. Nobody knows how to say it and I think that’s part of the fun. But yes.

Dan: Yeah actually start there too, so Halli for short, but that’s not your given name.

Haraldur: No, the full name is Haraldur Thorleifsson. And, and the joke I typically say after that is I hope I’m pronouncing that correctly.

Dan: I love it. I’m not laughing at the name I’m laughing because it’s amazing. I think it’s like, I wish I had a name that, that was that interesting because it looks a lot different written down as well. From what you just said. Is that because of Icelandic?

Haraldur: It is, yeah, definitely. Well to me it sounds exactly right, but obviously coming from Iceland it looks and sounds the same, but when you see a foreigner read it or someone from America then yeah, they definitely put their own spin on it and it’s usually a very similar spin. But typically I would go by Halli.

Dan: Halli then that’s nice and simple for Americans.

Haraldur: Yeah, that’s actually the one I use in Iceland to. So it’s not, it’s not the dumbed down version.

Dan: Oh okay.

Haraldur: It’s the real version.

Dan: Alright that makes me feel better. That makes me feel better because … I want to use whatever name you go by I want to use.

Haraldur: Yeah so that’s what my wife calls me and my dad, so that works.

Dan: Oh, perfect. Good, good, good, good. And so you’re, you’re from Iceland then?

Haraldur: Yes.

Dan: Originally.

Haraldur: Yeah.

Dan: Which is awesome. I’m actually, as an aside, I’m planning a trip for the first time in July to Iceland and I’m very, very, very excited.

Haraldur: Especially within the design community, I think everyone is planning a trip or it just came back from Iceland. That seems to be a thing.

Dan: That’s true. You think that’s a recent thing more or has tourism always been tourism important or big?

Haraldur: Yeah, tourism kind of blew up in the last few years. And I think especially there’s a bunch of reasons why someone like yourself would probably want to go, but I think something like Instagram is huge for a country like Iceland that has like the nature for that. So over time, if you follow a few designers, they have most likely been there and they’ve started to bombard you with messages about how amazing it is and then that probably has seeped into your brain and now you’re thinking, I should go there.

Dan: Absolutely, that’s exactly what happened.

Haraldur: Yeah. Marketing works. It really works. So that’s the takeaway from this chat.

Dan: Okay thanks for joining us.

Haraldur: Yeah, thank you.

Dan: So I think Iceland, to me as an American, someone that’s grown up in new England really, it does seem exotic in a very interesting way. I actually, I did land there on a trip to Sweden and I remember saying where are all the trees, because there wasn’t many trees.

Haraldur: Yeah.

Dan: Not to turn this into a completely Icelandic tourism chat.

Haraldur: The airport is basically built where … on a bunch of lava. So if you land there and if you drive in the city, you don’t really see a bunch of trees. So it’s a very interesting entrance into the country.

Dan: Yeah, it really is. What was it? So what was it like growing up in Iceland and how did you get into design? I mean I do see a lot of design and architecture and that kind of thing with Iceland, it seems like there’s a strong design presence in the country. But I wonder if you could tell us if that’s true, and then sort of how you were brought up and got into design.

Haraldur: Yeah so Iceland I think is a very safe space to grow up. It is a very safe country. It also is a country that has, a lot of socialized program so anyone can have access to … everyone has access to the same schools, all the way up to the university is free. And I think that’s probably one of the main reasons why if anything, that a country like that is successful because everyone has this opportunity. So my family was definitely on the lower income side, but I had all the same opportunities that someone that, you know might have more money. So I went to school in Iceland. I just went through the normal school system when I was younger and then when I went to university I started by … I didn’t really know what to do, so I went to study engineering, constructional engineering.

And after about three days of doing that, I was already a few weeks behind. So I thought that I don’t really have the passion to do this. I just picked it because I needed to pick something. And a friend of mine had just started, studying philosophy and I said, thought to myself, I don’t really have a plan. I might just switch majors and go to philosophy for at least a year while I figure this out. So I did that and after a year I hadn’t really figured anything out and I thought I need to do something more practical. Another friend of mine had started to study business and finance and I thought, well that’s fine, I’ll just do that then. So I did that, I went into finance, and finished. Then went back and finished the philosophy major and then I wasn’t really sure what to do after that. So I went to study … took a master’s in economics and same thing happened with that as the engineering is, I thought I don’t really have the passion here, but I kind of finished it anyway. Because I felt that I needed to, but I didn’t do the full dissertation so I took the classes and everything but didn’t, never really completed it.

And then I was still wondering, I was maybe about 20, I don’t know, 25 at this point I was still really wondering what to do and I wanted to study something else. So I started to study sort of development on sort of how to work with developing countries and that was interesting as well, but I didn’t really find myself there. But I kind of missed a part of the story. So when I was studying business there was a class and it was probably maybe about 22 at that time there was a class on how to make a website. And this, I’m 40 right now. So this would be about 18 years ago, something like around the 2000’s. And we had to make a simple website for class, some IT class. It was like a project of the week and I thought it was just very interesting to me how to do that. And from there I started to experiment. I found Flash pretty quickly and I thought I was more interested in the development side of it, the engineering side of it, but after I played with it and the more I played with it, I thought I actually really liked the animations of it. I really like the designing aspect of it. And I really liked the content side of it as well.

So in Flash, I do miss Flash for some reasons it was terrible for some reasons, but what it gave someone like me was it’s a very, very easy way to get into all these different things because there wasn’t a … The learning curve is quite low and I could experiment really quickly with a lot of different types of things and I didn’t have to know, a lot of things to really do it. And I could actually just launch a website in Flash, on my own completely. And so I did that for awhile where I was, while I was studying I kind of over time, after about a year in, I started to pick on some project work here and there. And I thought I could sort of use this as a way to make a little bit of money. I decided I didn’t want to take any student loans or anything like that. I wanted to make sure that when I came out of school I was debt free. And so that was kind of what I was doing. I thought I can do this, this is interesting and it can support me, but I don’t … this is definitely not a career.

Then over time as I was looking for the real career, I just kept doing this to sustain myself. And I started a little agency in Iceland that didn’t go so well. We had a sort of the managing partner there was, was not the nicest person. So he kind of swindled me and the other partner a little bit. I was young and naive. I went through that phase, that caused some financial issues. So I had to dig myself out of that hole. I’m kind of on a rant here, but I don’t know really know where I’m going with this story. Anyway, what happened was, now I’m a great designer.

Dan: Fast forward to now, which is all true by the way. I think what’s amazing, I’m listening to you and I sort of have a similar path and then I didn’t really know I was a designer until much later in life. But you tried a lot of different things until the web kind of grabbed you and Flash particularly. Was it the visual end of Flash to you that you were interested in or…

Haraldur: I thought for a long time I thought it was the animation and I still actually really enjoy the animation side of things. But I don’t really do that that much anymore. But I started working with some designers and I thought that’s a profession I need to find some professional designers to work with. And I would just be frustrated with their output or started getting very nitpicky with what they were doing. I quickly started to design things on my own as well. Mostly out of frustration with the teams that I was working with and also just wanting to try and learn how to figure this out myself.

Dan: Yeah. So basically self teaching yourself.

Haraldur: Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s a lot of ways to become a designer, but there’s definitely a lot of value in people that go the direct path of going straight into design school, but I do think that what these, all these different paths got me was just a different take on design. From a business perspective, through philosophy on some of the ideas that go into something. So it was never really purely aesthetical for me, which then once when it became more about product design later on, all started to sort of come together in a way that made sense.

Dan: Yeah. No, it does make sense because you mentioned, finance, you’re into business engineering, like literally engineering, not computer engineering. Then all those things. So you feel like all of those paths have helped you get to where you are now.

Haraldur: I think so.

Dan: Or those skills, yeah.

Haraldur: Yeah, it was definitely not planned, but I think that’s the interesting part of being alive is, is somehow it all starts to make sense later on. Somehow you find your way and for me it took a long time. It wasn’t until I was about 35 or so when I first thought, I was designing for all this time, but I was also, I took a phase where I was just a full blown alcoholic and I was drunk pretty much to the day for about five years. After I sobered up, I really … I was about 35 and I thought I need to take this seriously and that’s where, that was some of the seeds of why I wanted to join Dribbble and then ultimately that led to me starting Ueno.

Dan: Wow, that’s amazing. So yeah, tell us about that part. So you’ve been on Dribbble since 2012 you mentioned. Did you start as Ueno at that point and it was just you in, in Iceland or?

Haraldur: No, so 2012 I started, the first thing I did when I decided to take design seriously as a career was, I talked to some designers because I wasn’t really in the community that much. Even though I had been doing this for a long time, so I talked to some designers about where they’re spending their time and people more and more, there were definitely people that mentioning Behance but a lot of the people were saying, you know pushing me towards Dribbble. What I really liked about it was just the quickness of it. Sort of like the Twitter of design. You can just put something out really quickly and I don’t have to put a lot of work into it, it gets seen by a lot of people. I just really liked that, but then I also started to work on my portfolio for my personal portfolio, so over from 2012 to late 2014 I think, it was just under my own name.

I built up a decent following by taking it relatively seriously and then by 2014, I thought, “I just want to keep doing this but I think if I make this sound like it’s an agency, people will pay me more money.”

Dan: Yeah good thinking.

Haraldur: Yeah, and they’ll take me more seriously, because I’d already been working with a lot of bigger clients. I’d been freelancing at this point for about seven years in total, even though most of them were a blur. The clients were quite big. I was working a lot with clients like Google, I had worked with Square, and a bunch of them, while I was in Iceland.

I had a decent portfolio and a decent client list that I could then use to leverage into getting more and more work like that. I started Ueno, thinking at that time was I would basically just keep doing whatever it is that I was doing, but I would be using freelancers to augment myself, which is what I had been doing when I was freelancing myself.

It was just an extension of what I’d already been doing. But then about a year into that, I realized I wanted to do something more, so about three years ago we hired our first people and then it’s grown from there.

Dan: Wow. So in only three years, you’ve grown massively, right? I see on the Dribbble team alone, you’ve got 21 … Sorry, 28 members.

Haraldur: There’s about-

Dan: That’s incredible.

Haraldur: There’s about 60 people overall across-

Dan: Wow.

Haraldur: … the whole team. Yeah, probably about half of them almost on Dribbble.

Dan: That’s incredible. I mentioned this at the beginning, I don’t want this to turn into a marketingy thing for Dribbble, but-

Haraldur: You have to get it in.

Dan: But I will. I know that you’ve mentioned that it was helpful, and I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about how it was helpful, especially in the beginning, and getting started.

Haraldur: It was helpful for me for a number of reasons. I think when I started, in 2012 on Dribbble, like I said, I’d already been designing a bunch of things, but I wouldn’t say that I was a really good designer, because I’d never really taken it seriously, and it was never something that I really took on as something that would be a full-time thing.

There’s a few different pieces to it. Partly it was about education. It really helped me grow my aesthetic sense by just looking at all the work that other people were doing, and then once I had a better sense for that, I got exposed to a lot of different types of things.

I hadn’t been doing a lot of product work up until that point. I got really into that, I got much more into branding, because a lot of the work that I’d been doing up until that was more marketing, communication, websites and so on. It opened up for me a new world of possibilities and then I used that as a way to learn how to do these things as well. Quickly, that became a way for me to then share some of the work that I was doing with the clients, and then it became a tool for me to get more work. It was really, it helped in many different ways. Well done on building that.

Dan: I’m so happy to hear that it’s been useful, especially from you and from the Ueno team, which has really become legendary, especially around the Dribbble office. It’s like you guys have been pumping up some incredible work, which to fast forward, way forward here, you’ve worked with some incredible clients, right?

Like Slack and who else? I mean, Reuters and ESPN, and Lonely Planet, Red Bull, Dropbox. If we were to distill this down, ‘cause we only have an episode here, an hour episode or whatever to talk about, advice for someone starting their own agency like you have and getting to the level that you are at currently with 60 employees and everything? I wonder if there’s any … This might be a tough question ‘cause I know I …

Haraldur: Yeah. I think it’s a complicated question. I think it goes back to a lot of the things I mentioned before. I think a lot of the reasons why it actually worked was the situation I was in, where I was growing up in a country that had free education and it allowed me to really explore many things, and being adrift for a while was actually quite helpful.

Then, when it came to actually starting the agency, I had a lot of the tools. Even though I didn’t know I had them. I had a lot of the tools already. It definitely is a short time when you think about it’s three years, I think. It’s ultimately almost like a 40 year story. I think it might be a little bit too simple to think about it in those ways.

Like I said, I was freelancing for seven years and through that I built up a lot of contacts and experience in how to work with clients. But when it came down to actually starting it, I think there were a few key things. One is bigger companies really want to work with someone, an agency or freelancer or whatever, that has a proven track record of working with bigger companies.

That becomes a huge catch-22 and I was lucky enough that in 2007, I moved to New York and I worked with an agency there that was doing some fantastic work called Cuban Council. It later got sold to Google. It was a small agency and they were doing really-

Dan: Oh, Cuban Council’s fantastic.

Haraldur: Yeah. Up level client work.

Dan: Yeah, and makers of K10K, one of my all-time favorite websites back in the late, late ’90s, early 2000s, yeah. Awesome.

Haraldur: I already had a little bit of that experience. I fucked that up because I was a drunk at the time, but I did manage to get something out of it. I did manage to get some good work out of it for a portfolio and I did manage to find good relationships. One of them later on started his own agency, a friend of mine, Phil, he started an agency called Upperquad, and he really helped me because he would have Google as one of his big clients. He would feed me a lot of Google work.

When it came time for me to start branching out on my own, I had a portfolio of work, especially with Google and some other clients that I could say to potential new big clients of saying like, “Look, I can do this, I’ve done this. Here’s how that works, here’s how we did that. So, slowly over time, the more of those you have under your belt, the more people are going to get comfortable with you.

If you’re working at a bigger company, you’re putting a lot of trust into someone. You’re putting your reputation on the line, you’re putting a lot of money on the line of who you pick to do something, so they’re typically not inclined to take huge risks, so they want someone that they know that they have a fair level of comfort that they can already do this.

Like I said, it’s really about getting the first few ones, trying to get your foot in the door, and slowly over time. You’re not going to go for the big projects straight away. You’re going to have to build up to it over a long period of time.

Dan: Yeah, that resonates with me, too. Back when I was doing client work and you never know, you could be on a project with a company and you never know who that person that you’re working with, how they’re going to progress. They might be at a larger company in a couple of years, and they might remember working with you and call you up for that. I know that happened to me a few times.

Haraldur: It’s the most-

Dan: It comes back to relationships, right? Like you said, that’s super important.

Haraldur: It’s the most random things that pop up. We have clients that have come in in all sorts of ways, through somebody you’d meet randomly at a place and you’d think, “This is nothing” and then all of a sudden that becomes a two year project.

Dan: Yeah, absolutely.

Haraldur: Or you post something on a place like Dribbble or on Twitter and somebody sees it, and that sparks some idea. People’s thought processes are quite random so a lot of it is just about being at the right place at the right time, and ultimately it’s about getting lucky, but I think also being lucky by just continuously putting yourself out there, and making sure when you do that it’s a positive experience for whoever you’re dealing with.

Dan: Yeah, that’s great advice. Beause you never know where people are going to end up and what they might have for you. Do you find that as you’ve gotten successful and as an agency you’ve worked with all these different clients, have you found that you’re able to choose the work that you more want to work on? And not just because they’re a large company, but maybe because the project is interesting?

Haraldur: I think it depends on how you want to build what you’re doing. I think there’s definitely people that want to have a small practice or just because a very strong freelancer, and then over time, because the capacity isn’t there, they will get very selective of who they work with. They will cherry pick the projects.

What I want to do with the agency is I want to grow, so we will definitely focus on finding good clients, but beyond that, we have to be at a place where we can service their needs, even though some of them are not the ones that are the most inspiring to us. Because we need to be a place where a company can come to and just rely on us delivering, no matter what their need is at the time.

Some of those projects might be big and exciting. Some of them are to some people maybe not as exciting, but drive a lot of value for those companies, and we need to be cognizant of that. It’s not really about us. If we make it all about us, we’re not going to be able to keep these bigger clients because-

Dan: Interesting, yeah. It doesn’t end, though, in terms of like maintaining those relationships. It’s not like you get to a point where, “Okay, now I can just goof off and we can goof off-

Haraldur: No, I think especially if you grow an agency, the bigger it gets, the more responsibility you have of delivering, because reputation can go away really fast. You have to make sure that you keep delivering on every project, that every project is as positive as possible in terms of how you deal with these people, and yeah. No, it definitely doesn’t get easier. It gets a lot harder.

Dan: It gets harder. The stakes are higher, more people involved.

Haraldur: A lot of people on the line. I mean, with 60 people, some of them have families, you can’t really just take on the project that interests you at the moment.

Dan: Absolutely.

Haraldur: They’re going to have to eat.

Dan: Yeah, absolutely.

Haraldur: That’s how humans work, the food.

Dan: It is. I love food. So, I hear what you’re saying. I completely agree. This is crazy. I mean, I look at the amount of work that Ueno has done and it’s just, it’s really impressive, and what you’ve built. I started by saying it looks like it’s been a short period of time, but you’re right in that there’s no one secret way to success there. It’s the culmination of everything.

Haraldur: Yeah, absolutely.

Dan: I wonder, do you miss working by yourself? Or, are you happy in the role that you have now with Ueno?

Haraldur: There’s definitely days when … There’s a lot of potential stress involved in having, like I said, 60 people that rely on you for food. There’s definitely days when you think, “Why am I doing this?” It was a lot easier at one point, but for me, the rewards are huge at the same time. I would say on day-to-day basis, it depends. Overall, when I look back, I’m very happy with what we’ve done and I’m really happy with what we’re doing. So I wouldn’t trade places. Although I wouldn’t mind getting some of the comforts of working from home alone and not really having some of the responsibilities.

Dan: Yeah. That really leads to another question I had actually about location and was there the sort of decision to come to the U.S. and open offices here as opposed to staying in Iceland or was there … Was that necessary to grow the business do you think? What was the thinking there?

Haraldur: I think so. I moved to New York in 2006. I was there for about a year, and then I went to Iceland and was just sort of working from home mostly and drinking for a long time. Then in 2012, the same year I actually started the Dribbble Account. We had a daughter, I got married, and me, my wife, and our daughter, we all moved to Tokyo. That started off a few year period where we lived in different cities, usually for about three to six months. So we were in Tokyo and then we were in Vancouver and Portland. Lived in Buenos Aires and Rio and then Barcelona. So there was a period of time where I sort of did that and I was freelancing at the time. Came back to Iceland to start the agency and the first office there. But all of my clients were pretty much here in San Francisco. It was very clear to me very soon that if I wanted to take this seriously I had to move to San Francisco and I had to set up an office here to do that because working remotely is great and that’s what I did for a long, long time. But it does have it’s limits as to what kind of relationship you can build with people. At least for me I found that being in the same space as our clients just made all the difference.

Dan: Yeah. Was beneficial to you.

Haraldur: Yeah.

Dan: That’s fascinating though. So you have a young daughter and you’re able to kind of live a nomadic life for a while moving around.

Haraldur: Yeah. That was great.

Dan: It sounds great or possibly stressful a little bit too for me. Again, I’m a little bit paranoid about everything.

Haraldur: Yeah.

Dan: Do you find that traveling is necessary for creativity or helpful? How was that experience?

Haraldur: I think traveling ultimately makes you see that the world is very complex in one way but also very simple. So the more you travel, the more you see the same patterns over and over again, especially with people. There might be quarks in each country, in each region, but ultimately, everyone is kind of looking for the same thing. So that brings you a lot of just sort of overall understanding. I think it also for me when it’s time to start the agency, I did realize that I wanted to have a place that was both really multicultural. So we have out of the 60 people we have, there’s about 25 different nationalities. I also very quickly decided that I want to have multiple offices because I wanted us to be ultimately long term, not a San Francisco agency or an Icelandic or a European agency, but more of a global agency. Because once you’ve traveled a little bit, you also start to realize how small the world is. So these obstacles become less frightening the more you do it, and it becomes … Once you move to a country a few different times, you start to realize well, that’s not that different from opening an office somewhere. If you just go for it and do it, you’ll figure it out. It’ll all come together.

So I don’t know if it taught me anything about the design in particular. But it did really help me shape the company that I wanted to ultimately create.

Dan: That’s cool. Another thing came to mind too. Your team is very … I mean, on Dribbble and elsewhere, it’s very visible and known and has a lot of visibility. Do you find there’s pressure there because of that visibility? A followup to that would be do you find as an agency is it difficult to navigate design trends because of that visibility you have?

Haraldur: I think yeah. I’m not sure how to answer that. I think beyond the second part of the question I think there’s definitely in whatever anyone does, no matter what they say, they’re always going to be influenced by trends. I think to a degree we certainly are. But I try and tell people is to stay away from being too trendy because once you do that, you date yourself really quickly. Anything that is too trendy and I think fashion is a good example. If you look at something like the ’80s and you had a time where … Fashion is kind of one of these things that’s kind of invisible, so when you’re in it, you don’t notice it. But then a few years later, you look back and say, “What the fuck? What was everyone wearing and why didn’t anyone speak up?” I think we find it’s the same. It’s just because of the way it works, it’s even more compressed in terms of timeline. So what’s trendy now will look really, really old in six months.

So I try to ask our people to not … Dribbble, for example, is a great place to sort of start to see where a trend is becoming something that isn’t helpful. When you start to see the same designs popping up over an over again, you sort of start to say, “Okay. This is definitely something that we should not be exploring.” This is a place just oversaturated, and, again, I keep going back to the longevity of it. Ideally, you want to design something that can withstand the test of time. The best way to do that is not get hung up or focused on trendiness of it.

I don’t know if that answered your question, but this is definitely something I think about a lot.

Dan: Yeah, no. It did. I totally agree too. It’s funny. I also agree that Dribbble’s interesting for … Not to get into marketing again, but Dribbble’s interesting for keeping a pulse on those trends. I actually think we get kind of criticized for that a bit. But I think it can be helpful in a way. They do change. I mean, they change and stuff comes back. So I think trends come and go. It’s pretty fascinating to me to that extent, but I think when I was in an interesting position because so visible and popular and well followed everywhere that I just wonder maybe you’re not as focused on that and you’re just focused on doing the work, right? Letting that speak for itself. But from the outside, it looks like that’s a lot of pressure.

Haraldur: I think internally yeah, there is a lot of pressure. I think for someone that’s starting out, it becomes a little bit overwhelming. But I do think that the pressure creates great results, and I think putting people in a place where we expect a lot of them, even young people, designers that haven’t done a whole lot sometimes before they join, of really quickly expected them to be able to deliver really high quality work makes them understand that yeah, it’s really on them to do that. A lot of the times what happens is people just surprise you. They just take off really fast. But also, yeah, it definitely is then stressful. I think growth is stressful, both in terms of us as an agency but also in terms of humans. I think it’s not easy to grow. It’s not easy to change and adapt yourself. It’s very comfortable to just stay the same and do what you’re doing. So we definitely look for people that want to grow and I think it’s in one of our values is of when you look back at your time here, we want to really have people think who was this person a few years ago and really hopefully look back and say I can’t believe how much I’ve grown here.

Dan: Yeah. No, that’s great. That’s awesome. I think it’s a good place to stop on a positive note.

Haraldur: I can get negative if you want.

Dan: No, no. That’s okay. That’s all right. I think we need some positivity. Yeah thanks so much Haraldur for being here and for doing what you’re doing and for sharing a little bit behind the scenes there. Congrats on all the growth and success you’ve got.

Haraldur: Thank you so much. I still remember the first shot I put on Dribbble. It was I made a piece of work for my home. It was a map of the world, and I used these little pearly, beady things to put it together. It was about 70,000 individual beads that I put each by hand together. I posted that on Dribbble.

Dan: Wow.

Haraldur: You were the first person that commented. So I thought, “Well, that’s great. The founder of the place likes the thing that I made.” So that was a nice positive moment that I sort of remember. So thank you for that.

Dan: Oh, that’s awesome. Is the shot still up? I wonder if it’s still up.

Haraldur: I actually have no idea. I’ll have to look it up. Dan: Yeah.

Haraldur: We’ll check that out.

Dan: We’ll find it if it is. Yeah, if it is, we’ll find it. That’s so cool. Wait, 70,000 beads. My god.

Haraldur: Yeah. It’s a huge map. It covers like a wall in my home. Dan: Wow. Okay. Wow. Do you still do any of the bead work these days?

Haraldur: No.

Dan: Probably too much time.

Haraldur: Yeah. So one of my I think for good or bad one of my traits is I really go all in on things. So it manifests in different ways. So one of the ways it manifest was when started drinking, I just drank every day. When somebody introduced me to beads, I did that for a little bit and then very quickly set myself a goal of I’m going to make this huge wall piece of it and then I was just done with it because it was about 100 hours of work total. So I don’t think I’ve touched the beads since.

Dan: Wow. Well, that means that shot is extra special. So we’re going to have to find that one.

Haraldur: Yeah.

Dan: So cool. Well, yeah, thanks again Haraldur, and keep up the awesome work over there. We’ll be following up.

Haraldur: Okay. Thank you so much and we’ll talk soon. Hopefully we can meet in person sometime. Dan: That would be phenomenal.

Haraldur: Okay. Thank you. Bye.

Dan: See you, Haraldur. Bye bye.

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