Shopify Unite. Sweden’s Take
Shopify Unite returned this year with a renewed focus on the development community, hosting developer conferences in three countries and packing the days with panels and workshops. For myself and those in attendance, the conference focused on the “current state” of platform development and the “next evolution” of some long standing features, but what does this mean for merchants and their partners? Why is that important? What are we here to talk about?
Checkout Extensibility. Shopify Functions. The Shopify Content Platform. Let’s crack on
Shopify is on a path of self improvement, with new features being loudly and quietly released almost daily. Just this year they’ve implemented their own filter and search engine, their own method of managing metafields, B2B functionality, and so much more (You can read Summer Editions ‘22 for a full list of earlier releases). This month, it’s all about the checkout and creating its next evolution, and they are doing so with Checkout Extensibility and Shopify Functions, and making the case for why Shopify Scripts and the checkout liquid edits are things of the past.
Shopify Checkout Extensibility
At its core, Checkout Extensibility offers merchants and their partners the ability to add styles, content, and additional functionality to their checkout experience. They’ve done this by creating an app based way to deploy these features to a store, and then add them to the checkout page with a brand new checkout customization tool that mirrors the existing Customize tool. You’ll be able to page between steps in the checkout process and customize them accordingly, adding messaging, content, inputs, and other pieces of content and data wherever it’s needed. Additionally, with the new Pixel API, you’ll be able to mold and utilize the data layer in a way never thought possible in the checkout process, tracking events and interactions as you see fit, not just as the platform allows.
Unlike recent features, the creation and usage of a ReactJS based platform enables this functionality to be widely accepted and implemented by partners big and small, but at the moment any custom app features will be limited to those on the Shopify Plus plan. As it rolls out to all merchants over the next few weeks, we can’t wait to see what’s next in this new evolution of the customization of the checkout experience.
The backend of Shopify has eternally been its most closely guarded secret, preventing any changes to the way in which it functions without an immense amount of backend development knowledge. If Shopify Scripts cracked the door to reveal a much larger set of customizations than have ever been available before, Shopify Functions will break the door down. They are rightly starting by evolving the way that discounts are handled in the platform. Gone are the days of writing Ruby in an editor and scheduling script changes with Launchpad. Now these pieces of functionality can be brought directly into the discounts area and made completely configurable by the client in the existing discounts UI.
Before excitement levels get too high, it’s important to remember that functions are in no way as readily available as Checkout Extensibility. Functions are created with a custom app built on Rust (or an equally complicated WebAssembly language that compiles to WASI) and will be pretty gated for those agencies and partners without a backend team. Likewise the ability to add functions from a public app is now available to all merchants, but unfortunately custom apps are still available exclusively to Shopify Plus merchants. Shopify is also only currently running the program on discounts, but their roadmap includes every piece of functionality currently available to scripts as well as the ability to customize the way customers pay. With these limitations in mind and a bright future ahead for the service, we look forward to offering these services to our clients as they roll out and can’t wait to see what we can build together!
Shopify Content Platform
Shopify did something that it does rather well at Unite, which is to casually mention a platform evolving feature midway through a talk as calmly as discussing the weather. Something that large scale content management systems have always done well is the idea of modeling, giving structure and organization to your content. This is done, in its simplest terms, through the creation of content types that allow you to reference the same piece of content in multiple places. This has far reaching applications on the platform and for merchants that use content fields such as FAQ’s, size guides, or other content pieces that are site specific instead of page specific and that are generally difficult to manage. The possibilities are almost endless, limited only by the imagination of marketers and their partners, some of which were shown at Unite in the form of on page personalization and upsells/purchase refinement based on customer metrics. A beta program is currently underway, and as we get more involved we cannot wait to share more of what the future holds for the platform and its views on content.
Shopify’s focus on developers enabling merchants to do what was previously not possible has been the theme of the quarter. Built with tools and platforms that developers understand to offer easily implementable features that work with a UI that merchants use every day, Shopify Checkout has become the latest target of the focus on content. What started with pages and sections everywhere last year has extended to a truly configurable checkout and deep content modeling, enabling Shopify to rival the content management systems it has long been compared to, and making it a more formidable force in the e-commerce space. This is only a small piece of what’s been coming out of the platform in recent months (most of which have only been in recent weeks), and now the fun and implementation begins.
Slackathon Spotlight: Aaron and Tom
As we welcome our new Director of Technology Aaron Smith into the Sweden family, we were looking for a way for people to understand his approach to technology and ecommerce. So we thought what better way to get that out of him than an interview with his opposite : our creative director, Tom.
An interesting (and often obscure) conversation via Slack worth reading as Aaron imparts some of his vast knowledge around the topics of modern ecommerce and of course, a perspective on Web 3.0.
Tom 1:55 PM
In response to your line
“But I think they underestimate how weird we can make this interview lol”
I got the vibe from you – pretty much as soon as we met, that you like weird, Or at least, you’re ok with it. I’ve always found it easier to get on with people of that mindset. Like – not much is out of bounds.
Are you a mushroom advocate?
does that feel to ‘interview-y” ??
Aaron Smith 1:56 PM
I don’t think so?
Because tbh I would respond with:
I’ve been an advocate of mushrooms since before I could speak
Tom 1:57 PM
haha. A true gamer. You don’t look old enough for that
I mean, to have that when you were a kid
If someone banished you to an island with just one DVD (and player) or a game for company, what would you take?
Aaron Smith 1:59 PM
Depends on the situation. If I wanted to rewatch something without end I would take “Empire Strikes Back” (in no way shocking) but if I wanted something that would last longer than my lifetime I would take an Elder Scrolls game. I have still never had the will to actually finish one.
Tom 2:02 PM
Everyone seems to love Empire Strikes Back, but I still like A New Hope best. Same with LOTR – I like the first, but each to their own. I think i’ve heard of Elder scrolls, but we can’t veer too far into geekdom, I’ll quickly get lost.
so what’s this I hear about you once being a designer? I think you mentioned it to me. How ‘serious’ were you ?
Aaron Smith 2:03 PM
Serious as a jammed production printer honestly.
Tom 2:03 PM
FYI. I am actually laughing too.
Aaron Smith 2:04 PM
I actually started as a real print designer doing mailers and collateral for (large telecom name redacted). I had a corner office that they converted to a print shop so I was pushing out 40-50k pieces a month
Tom 2:05 PM
Jeez. thats pretty serious then. So what made you ‘change teams’ so to speak?
Can we say “jeez”?
Aaron Smith 2:05 PM
Have you ever done EXCLUSIVELY print materials? That’s reason enough lol
There’s only so many ways I can make an NFL package seem worth 200$ a month
Tom 2:07 PM
No I’ve not actually. I’ve done a lot of print, but its scary cause once you hit print. thats it.
Oh, that doesn’t sound like much fun. Did you do any packaging etc?
Aaron Smith 2:09 PM
Not outside of coursework in school. I graduated with Graphic Design and Advertising degrees which helped get my foot in the door at agencies but really limited my options for my first dev jobs.
But I’ve been building computers and doing development work since I was about 13 so I wasn’t completely without the necessary skillset.
Tom 2:11 PM
so can we blame designing boring sales literature for you hanging up the paintbrush and replacing it for code…
Aaron Smith 2:13 PM
I wouldn’t call it blame as much as thank. The trajectory I was on would have had me firmly placed in sales and marketing long term and less in development and ecommerce. I feel like my clients over the years have appreciated the switch
Also could you imagine the lack of work that would get done if I was actually on your team? Every call would be derailed
Tom 2:16 PM
haha, we’d probably have a decent collection of half-baked app ideas in a year, but yes…
Without blowing your trumpet for you, I love how you seemingly still keep your ear to the ground on new stuff and clearly also understand trends in coding, a lot of people once they move out of day to day coding and into managerial, they loose track of that stuff
Aaron Smith 2:20 PM
I think something that always struck me early in my career was that all of my Directors were Project Managers or some other position that got promoted, and generally they didn’t understand the day to day. I always promised myself I would never be that way. Part of the reason I have my ear to the ground so to speak is because I always want to be able to jump in and help if necessary, whether from an architecture/documentation perspective or actual development.
This week for example, to speed up the Sprint 0 aspect of development at Sweden, I’ve been creating a new build tooling kit with the team to create a sort of “Sweden Base”
Tom 2:24 PM
oh wow, thats so good. And it’s also fun right? To get back in and make stuff. I don’t think I could just oversee people’s work and not do it myself. I suppose thats why I’m still designing at 45, while others just direct teams. I think it proves that we still love it and have ideas ourselves. You’re obviously similar.
How long have you been a Shopify advocate?
Aaron Smith 2:26 PM
It’s what makes the job worth doing for me. It makes me actually love my job and not just like it, which is a really hard thing to come by these days>
It’s been about 4 years now I would think since I was firmly an advocate. I was working at a Magento agency at the time and actually convinced them to add Shopify as an offering. I built the team, hired the devs, and had a hand in almost all of the projects they put out. After that I was pretty much hooked.
Tom 2:28 PM
cool – here’s a thing – you think that’s it now? I mean, Shopify was once considered not serious for bigger businesses, that you had to have Magneto or Sales Force etc but is that generally not true anymore? Does e-commerce have to be so ruddy “scary” with these enterprise platforms and instead just be easy to use and more user friendly?
Aaron Smith 2:32 PM
For 90% of online sellers, Shopify is a perfect platform. The CMS is robust, products and collections are easy to setup and maintain, and the reporting aspects are top tier. They have a strong set of API’s that allow for easy integrations with third parties, and most of what the platform can’t do is covered in the App Marketplace. I think a lot of the areas that Shopify fell short in previously have been addressed in the last 12 months or so, creating a much more robust platform that works for merchants big and small
To answer more succinctly, I think Shopify has become not just the starting ground for small businesses but also the place to expand into something greater.
Tom 2:38 PM
Glad to hear it. I mean one of our clients that is MASSIVE is going on Shopify, which I think is so cool and should go some way to promote it as a platform suitable for bigger corps that previously expect to have to use these enterprise systems which just are eyewateringly expensive and I often used to wonder, is it really necessary?
I could have used some better punctuation there.
Aaron Smith 2:46 PM
RE: The Platform
I’ve spun up sites for some of the largest makeup brands in the world, one of which was valued at a billion dollars and doing over $150 Million annually through the store. The time for it being the “mom and pop” online shop is over.
Tom 3:04 PM
What are your thoughts on as we evolve and more and more stuff becomes automated (The no code movement) what will developers be doing in 5 years time – or even three?? Do you think designers will be able to press a button in Figma and their designs are turned into full fledged custom stores? I know you can already do that to some extent, but from what I’ve seen its not great.
Aaron Smith 3:26 PM
I think something that has been proven time and time again in my career is that no matter how “simple” something becomes, people always want more. Integrations and custom features will always be something that cannot be seen. Unless Figma’s R&D team has some sort of crystal ball or an all seeing eye?
Tuesday, August 2nd
yeah, so apologies for my tardiness on our ‘interview’, but as before, I’d like to venture into this whole web3 thing. Which, when I say it like that, really makes me seem like an old b*****d, but I am, so… if I can explain:
I’ve been involved almost since the beginning of what we might call the web’s ‘formative’ years, (I designed my first website in about 1998) and throughout that period I’ve learned to trust my gut. I saw something in the web when few people did (I quit my job in accounting firm to go take a punt on it!) and since 99, I’ve seen all the various evolutions where things advanced significantly (the birth and death of flash, WCAG, WAP, mobile, video, web 2, social media) and also ‘hype’ which caused a stir, but never really came to much (beacons, WAP and countless other flash in the pan trends).
I’m far from a wizard, or a wannabe Nostradamus, but like I say, I feel I’ve learned to trust my gut when something is worth investigating and when it’s not. I’ve dipped my toes in the water of web 3, to try and understand all these various facets (AR, AI, Crypto, Metaverse) that seem to make up what’s referred to as ‘Web 3’ and I still feel I have some way to go to fully understand it, but one thing i CAN say, is that I’m getting that same ‘spidey sense’ tinging that I got in those early days of ‘The Internet’. I’m quite excited by this concept that the Metaverse will be effectively, what real life would have been like if Creative’s were allowed to make all the decisions as opposed to politicians and big businesses.
So my question to you is, what’s your favourite kind of burger relish?
What do you feel about it in general and perhaps more importantly, which areas do you think will have the greatest impact on brands ? (ie. the industry we work in) – less, how influencers will be making money and how Kanye West will be dropping his new records, I’m talking about every day businesses that depend on it to exist – what should they be looking to spend time and money in researching?
Aaron Smith 1:28 PM
I’ve been in multiple camps over the last year or so when it comes to web3 actually.
Phase 1: Fanboy
Any time you talk about “decentralization,” no matter the avenue, people tend to have full blown panic attacks. Distributed ownership sounds a bit like “Web Communism” but Web 3.0 kind of lands on that. These large tech companies would own a piece of it all the same as you and I would, as opposed to the current structure where we pay for the privilege of being in their cities. We would own all that we create and purchase through NFT’s, and no one would have the power to take it away from us. To that end, no one would own our online data either. It would live on the blockchain with everything else, and when we decide to leave a platform or service, we take it with us. We, much like Prince Adam/He-Man, have the power.
Phase 2: Skeptic
There is a huge issue with the cost and learning curve. Because of the nature and complexity of these ideas, the infrastructure could only be set up in wealthier nations and parts of the world, and basically no one before Millennials would probably be able to operate it properly, having been ingrained with the web from a young age. There is also this idea around deregulation and a lack of gatekeeping, people believing that they will have a greater freedom of speech. The opposite side of that coin is equally true. With no regulation or moderation, people are truly free to do as they wish on the internet, something that has proven in many cases to be quite dangerous.
Phase 3: Realist
Right now, the entirety of Web 3 is reliant on a centralized framework of systems to make it work, inherently destroying its fundamental idea of decentralization. It requires having a set up wallet on one of far too many available blockchains that don’t properly communicate with each other, requiring people to sign up for many or risk being gated from a service or platform. It is not the open and inviting system that it promises to be, and we still have years to go until the world catches up to the idea. It took almost 15 years for the web to even become a user generated content hub, which was a significantly easier feat. Since this idea really started popping up in the mid 10’s, I would say it won’t be a reality for at least 5-10 more years unless something significant happens in hardware/software in the next 2-4 years to make it easily accessible to the masses.
I dont think that was quite as cohesive as I wanted it to be but you get it 😂
Tom 1:38 PM
Let’s hope the readers do 😉
Aaron Smith 1:38 PM
I thought I made it pretty non technical ha
Tom 1:38 PM
No, thats great though. Good structure to it
Wednesday, August 3rd
Tom 7:46 AM
I just read that again with fresh eyes and its probably the best summary of what it will mean to most people… nice. Maybe you should be a tech writer 😉
Coming back to my original point – how do you think it’ll impact brands and businesses in the short term? I mean, for example, will your average clothing or make up brand have to start producing 3D renders of everything to stick on models in space as opposed to shooting them on white backgrounds? Will they be making digital versions of their clothing to wear in the metaverse as people will be as interested in looking good in there as they will in real life?
Aaron Smith 4:05 PM
I honestly don’t believe it will affect brands more than it already has. The advent of virtual try on, AR viewers, and payment through crypto are already the top tier of current market utilization. I think it will be another year or 2 before you see a true shift into the supposed “metaverse” and people market and sell for it directly. If Second Life and the Sims have taught us anything, it’s that people can only spend so much time and money on a virtual world before the next gimmick is needed.
Thursday, August 4th
Aaron Smith 7:01 PM
I think my lack of hoity-toity professionalism is what makes me so successful lol
You’re still Jenny from the block
Aaron Smith 7:05 PM
“Used to have a little now I have a lot”
Tom 7:06 PM
…. “of ice cream” !
Aaron Smith 7:07 PM
More like of sushi
Went real high end last night lol
Tom 7:08 PM
“someone’s doing well”
Oh – your wife’s Bday?
Happy birthday to her !
Aaron Smith 7:10 PM
Sweden Summit 2022
It wasn’t so long ago, coming into the office and seeing all your friends / colleagues for meetings, coffee, work and idle banter was an everyday occurrence for most of us.
Then 2020 happened.
Despite the difficulties and sadness brought about by the pandemic, some good materialized. One was our expansion to a more global team.
We realized that – as we’re working from home, we could look for even more talented folk who aren’t local to us.
And so it was; post pandemic Sweden became a multi-national agency – almost overnight.
So as we eased into 2022 it quickly became apparent that – some of us had never even met in person – which meant only one thing. A Sweden global gathering. Or, The Sweden Summit as we named it. We were fairly serious about it – there was even a T-Shirt….
Arriving in the Big Apple
So on April 27th, 14 people traveled into NYC from all over the USA, France and England to gather for 3 days of meeting, greeting, some spirit lifting team games and just possibly, the odd drink.
The first day kicked off with some of the team making ‘IRL’ acquaintances at Sweden HQ, which of course, some had never seen and had an opportunity to admire Richard, Leja and Alex’s vast collection of curiosities and beautiful “objet d’art”…
Then it was early to bed as we prepared ourselves for the next two days of challenges, chatting, eating and drinking.
To give the office dwellers a break from the office, the team decamped to a beautiful rented house in Greenpoint used previously by the likes of Ghostface Killah and Dolly Parton for recording sessions.
Sweden – as an electro rock band gigging around New York in the 90’s which eventually evolved into a creative agency.
This was to be our home for two days for some good old fashioned team building sessions. Clearly, we were walking in the footsteps of greatness. No pressure then for extraordinary ideas…
We began the day with a wonderfully detailed (and often hilarious) presentation by the Sweden founders as they took us back to where it all began: Sweden – as an electro rock band gigging around New York in the 90’s which eventually evolved into a creative agency. Like you do.
We adjourned outside for lunch and exchanged stories of our best and worst agency experiences. Too many to mention, but rest assured, if you’re a client reading this, don’t ask Kate to coordinate your photoshoot. (ask her).
After lunch we proceeded headlong into the first team challenge : The Marshmallow Challenge.
The team was divided into 3 groups and each was given several boxes of spaghetti (uncooked), sticky tape, a ball of string and 45 mins. The goal was simple, build the tallest structure you can and balance the marshmallow on top.
TLDR; Designers : yes, structural engineers: no.
A betting man (or woman) would place their money on the team with more of the creatives to win, but it turned out the winning team was the one led by the more pragmatic folk (although they did have one designer in their team – which, I’ll argue is why they won). The heroes of the hour built a simple structure based on stacked squares fixed together with tape; Unconventional, but you can’t argue with results.
The other teams? The less said about them the better. Despite careful drawings and concepts that appeared to adhere to traditional building structures, their attempts were thwarted by our old friend gravity. I believe team 2 took the award for the most sticky tape used though. Every cloud…
The evening soon rolled around and we packed up and headed off to a local grill-style restaurant a short walk from the house for cocktails and burnt eggplant. (more delicious than it sounds).
The next challenge for the team was a Conflation Pitch: a two part affair designed to test our limits of creativity, decision making prowess and teamwork. The first part was an all-hands (heads?) brainstorm session. The team were asked to shout out random things to add to a two column list on a whiteboard . The two columns were titled:
- Platform / Technology / Action
- Household Items
What began as a sensible exercise with the sort of suggestions one might expect from a modern creative agency (NFTs, Banking, Blockchain and Remote control) swiftly descended into all out joviality as minds began to think outside of the box (Birthing, self-medicating, and pooping).
a breathtaking concept which, quite frankly – astounded everyone as to why nobody has created something as critical for humanity.
Once the board was complete, we broke for lunch and awaited Part two where we were to discover what possible challenges lay in store for us.
With our list of technologies, platforms, actions and household items complete, we were briefed on the main objective; take one (or more) items from each list and combine them to create a (as far as we knew) new business idea. Divided back into our previous teams, in one hour we had to present our idea in whatever format took our fancy.
The three ideas were equal in merit with the first being a breathtaking concept which, quite frankly – astounded everyone as to why nobody has created something as critical for humanity.
Designed by our predominantly female team, the ingeniously titled ‘SOFIT’ was a simple concept – a sofa and gym combined. What’s not to like? Simply pick the sofa style you like and then bolt on the gym equipment in a kind of ‘lego’ format. Weights, rowing machine and even a fan to keep you cool were optional extras. Strategy had been considered, and to encourage early adoption the product could be purchased on a subscription basis. Touche Peloton, let’s see if you can eat chips and watch Netflix while cycling…
The second idea, from our Round 1 champions, delivered an extraordinarily forward thinking idea combining aerial drones and household plants in order to solve your watering conundrums. “BotBot” (The Botany Robot) is a friendly looking ‘flying gardener’ you control via your phone. Simply fill BotBot with water and plant nutrients and he does the rest. With a built-in ability to detect when a plant needs refreshing, it’ll fly to it and deliver just the right dose ensuring healthy, happy botanicals. Special mention goes to the brand strategist in the team who not only created a wonderfully apt name, but managed to shoehorn in an extremely stylish look to the whole package.
Our final pitch was team 3 with a revolutionary concept based around communicating with people that have passed. That’s right. Talking to the dead. In the Metaverse. The aptly named “Ouija”, isn’t half as creepy as it sounds when you start to think of the infinite potential. Picture this; you’re unable to solve a space rocket-based physics equation. Elon seems rather busy, but what about a chat with Albert Einstein?. To be frank, a lot of the tech behind it went over my head, but how powerful an idea. Learning to play guitar? Ask Jimi. Need guidance on living well in our modern age? Drop by Socrates’s for a coffee.
Whether they were listening in or not remains to be seen, but it appears Microsoft have actually patented a similar concept which they plan to introduce in the future. Which isn’t at all concerning.
The important thing about this challenge was that there were no winners (our team won). It was a rare opportunity to see how we all came together, shared ideas and enjoyed the process of taking part in a group exercise (our team definitely won).
There was but one final act in store for the team as we edged towards the final evening.
After a glorious dinner in a restaurant atop a hotel with stunning views of Manhattan, we took taxis to a karaoke bar in town. There we were treated to an eclectic mix of heartfelt renditions of Adele, Liam Lynch, New Order, Oasis and Lou Reed to name a few, along with an ongoing Eminem rap battle between Leja & Marina. Talent swung between beautifully sublime and – let’s be honest, outright terrible, but with the help of cocktails, energy, spirits and confidence was high.
It’s safe to say, the goal of building bonds between the team was successfully accomplished. After all, once you’ve performed a duet of Aqua’s Barbie Girl with a teammate, what is there you can’t handle together?
Roll on Sweden Summit Part two.
Agency Promotions: Muña Qamar
We are pleased to announce the promotion of Muña Qamar to Senior Product Lead.
Muña Qamar celebrated her fifth year at Sweden with a promotion to a new role as Senior Product Lead. Muña has proven herself to be a consummate project management professional, exhibiting a great passion for her projects and being a trusted partner for clients such as Lunya, Sarah Flint, First Aid Beauty, Petrossian Caviar, and Lenox, among many others. In this new role, Muña will apply her gift for balancing process and instinct to lead the way we develop Products at Sweden as a whole
A New Ecommerce Experience for Living Proof
We are thrilled to be chosen for the redesign of Living Proof’s ecommerce flagship site on Salesforce Commerce Cloud utilizing the SFRA framework. We hope to highlight the brand’s rich offering through a more comprehensive content strategy, introducing new storytelling modules, educational content and diagnostic features.
Sweden Featured on Wix
Sweden Unlimited was featured in the new series from Wix Partners’ Views of Visionaries where Wix writers talk to today’s most influential creatives about their journey, work, and secrets to success.
“We used to design a flyer, make a bunch of copies, then go out and walk around town to promote,” Agerbeek says. “The most significant paradigm shift is that every person or company is their own media outlet or publishing platform. You used to rely heavily on a magazine to be the cultural epicenter of influence, trends and content. But now, brands are that.”
Click here to see the article: https://www.wix.com/partners/post/sweden
Happy End To a Terrible Year From Boy George !
We asked an old friend (well, more of a new wave icon from the 1980s. That we never actually met) to help us send a Happy Holidays message in a fitting remote ending to a dumpster fire ? of a year.
Cameo-by-Boy-George.mp4 from Sweden Unlimited on Vimeo.
Thank you to the Sweden (not “Swedish”) Unlimited team and all the clients, partners, freelancers, and friends who stuck through all this with us. Together we proved that every day is like survival. (Sorry, those in their twenties that may not get that reference)
Here’s to 2021 and a new year of possibilities and fresh starts.
Love, Richard, Leja, and Alex
Leja Kress Joins Tim Richardson on Your Basket Is Empty Podcast
In this episode Leja and Tim share their passion for 80s new wave and post-punk music. Tim sat down with her to learn how the band she formed with her husband and twin sister led to the creation of the agency, what they’ve learned in 20 years of operation, how to maintain relevance, building culture, and who would be in her ideal line up for a show at CBGBs, circa 1985.
Agency Promotions: Kate Williams
We are pleased to announce the promotion of Kate Williams to Head of Finance and Operations.
A longtime Sweden friend and collaborator in her previous career as a content producer, Kate joined Sweden in April of 2019 as Studio Manager and quickly became an indispensable member of our team. Kate has helped us to navigate some tricky operational challenges as we became a fully remote studio this past March and her promotion is well deserved. In her new role Kate will focus on further building out our content production offering and helping the agency scale and navigate the post-Covid world.
Our Core Values
We are happy to share our company values with you.
Talent, intelligence, and experience may sometimes seem like the most important traits in a company, but you can’t get anywhere without grit. For us, the key to creating thoughtful end results is born from that primal passion and die-hard perseverance to make things happen. Grit is the self control to think things through to find the best way, not just the most attractive way. Grit is the willingness to grow as the industry grows around us. Grit is the inspiration we take and give from the people and projects around us, working hard to let passion lead us all forward.
Though we would all love to lead with positivity, our industry and our world needs realism and decisiveness. Positivity can be a hard thing to muster since our brains are hard-wired to look for and focus on threats, so we strive to act positively towards every person’s ideas but practice cautious positivity with every project. We believe a healthy dose of pessimism and cynicism will keep your brand sharp, mitigate risk, and help you stay ahead of the curve, but the willingness to stay positive, and say “yes, let’s try” is an essential step in keeping us all working hard towards the same goal.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Contrary to many big business values, we think being humble, unpretentious, and even a little introverted can be a real value. We create a service around benefiting our clients and their customers, so it’s important to have empathy for each client. They know their product, landscape and industry, and it is our job to listen, absorb, and create what they need.
For Sweden Unlimited, life and work are not about proving yourself –it’s about improving yourself. We don’t believe you are stuck with the talents you are born with, you can always get better, learn more, and grow towards a goal. For us, it’s not about demonstrating skills but developing skills, not performing better than others but performing better than you did in the past.
This mindset is vital for our particular industry involving tech and the ever-evolving digital landscape. In our world, tech changes fast, but strategies, user adoption, and UX patterns change faster. We are constantly in meetings where someone says, “oh, that’s not possible,” but then googles it, revealing that it now is. We strive to keep growing even if it sometimes feels uncomfortable and to always stay positive about what may be possible.
Collaboration is something we value resolutely. What we do can be complicated, and there is no way any one person can have all the answers. A team of two will double the chances of problem-solving, and a team of ten will increase those chances tenfold. Collaboration is the interfacing of our varied experiences and skills. It is the ability to communicate with the client. Above all, collaboration is the key to creating unique, successful outcomes and solutions.
At the core of accountability are reliability and personal responsibility. We value the ability of our staff to honor commitments and be reliable to clients and each other. The idea that “showing up is 80% of success” may be true, but if you are not dependable, dedicated, and accountable, the trust is off – and so is the whole deal. We value those who show up and continue to show up with passion and perseverance.
Style what makes us excited about the clients we work with. It’s a determining factor in how we hire, and it’s essentially what our clients come to us for – a new style, a better style, a unique style. Everything from our work, to our way of communicating, to the feel in the office – having style is crucial. But style isn’t the superficial things that you own or how you dress, it’s how you stand out, how you make things look, so people look twice, and how you tell a story that keeps everyone listening.