Here’s a fun fact: When Viktor was about to be born, our parents actually let me, the soon-to-be big brother, come up with a name for the new family member. Considering I was six years old and the coolest thing in the world was MacGyver, TMNT, and HE-MAN, the newborn was probably very lucky he didn’t end up a Mac, Shredder or Skeletor.
Viktor is finishing up his master’s degree in Paris and I just quit my job since ten years in the web business. I quit to pursue a more inspiring lifestyle as a freelance graphic designer, entrepreneur, indie game dev and a more mindful human being. At the same time we’re having a blast building Occies, learning so much and the feedback we get is just amazing. These are exciting times for us, but the adventure has just begun!
Occies is our first real company, but there has been numerous projects along the way. One of our first entrepreneurial undertakings was a three-story treehouse in our garden.
The project had totally dominated our lives for the last couple of months that summer. When the magnificent construction stood completed and all the kids from our neighbourhood had gathered for the opening party, mom came with the bad news. They were calling from the municipality.
Apparently our treehouse had been classified as an illegal building, built without a permit, and in general just deemed not safe for children to play in. So, it had to be torn down. To be fair, it probably was a serious fire hazard considering we even “installed” electricity in that thing.
Family trip to Denmark, 2001
Because our parents were running their own business we had early access to a PC in dad’s home office. We spent hours in front of that thing, marvelled at all the colours and pixels in Paint. Soon we had an internet connection in the house too. It was one of those black box modems with red flashing LEDs, that sounded like some kind of alien communication as it rang up the internet. We thought it was super cool. Unfortunately, that noise made it virtually impossible to connect at night, when mom and dad were asleep.
The internet had so much to offer, and everything was free. We started stocking up on music, movies, games, and software. Through that internet wire, the entire world came streaming into the homes of a generation of kids. The more stuff we consumed the more we wanted to learn how to make it. Luckily, the tools for doing so, were usually as easy to get your hands on as the content. Also, the forums and communities flourishing around these tools were very helpful.
Eventually, I got an internship at a small web agency as a designer, and I realized that people actually get paid to design and build stuff. I can’t say I was the most skilled designer at the time, but my boss was amazed over my hot-key abilities in Photoshop, and apparently that was enough for him to offer me a job over the summer. I stayed for eight years.
During my time there, both designing and building applications, I learned to understand our clients’ businesses, and how to make sure that whatever solution we delivered made sense to them, and above all, looked awesome. When I later moved on to another company, I gravitated towards project and leadership roles, and left the design process for a while.
Viktor and I talked about these things constantly. That we would one day run our own business was never really a discussion, it was just as natural as breathing.
Business meeting/party in Pamplona, 2016
In 2014 we launched Podda.se. A swedish, curated, podcast aggregator where producers were offered a unique homepage for their podcast, listener statistics, and a competitive marketing strategy for potential sponsors. We managed to attract thousands of listeners with a smoother mobile experience and vibrant discussion boards.
Working with podcasters and entertainers, we had the chance to get to know many talented and well connected people within Stockholm’s media landscape. Looking back, it was a very exciting project with many valuable lessons for our adventures to come.
So, as I mentioned, I recently quit my day job in an effort to free up more time for our projects. I’m tired of just talking about doing stuff but never having the time to actually try it. So far, it’s been great, though I realize that extra time easily gets eaten up by other distractions.
But we’re staying focused! The world needs more useful design, better experiences and not-yet-invented products, and with Occies we want to do exactly that!