An interview with our co-founders to celebrate our 4th birthday
Today, we are celebrating Pixel Fridge’s 4th birthday. To mark the occasion we thought it was about time we put our co-founders (AKA ‘the Dads‘) on the spotlight to ask them about their journey and how it’s going. It was also a secret test to make sure that they are all aligned in their future plans for the company.
They were somewhat reluctant to talk about themselves, but are also easily bribed.
Why did you decide to start a company together?
Nick: One thing was clear, we all wanted to work at a company that did great work. But, we all wanted to have more control around the environment and conditions that came with this. Having worked with Tom and Chris for years before Pixel Fridge I was well aware of the fact that they are both SUPERSTARS at what they do!
Chris: To get filthy rich, of course? Just joking. I think we’ve each wanted to do our own thing for a long time, to grow a team and have more autonomy in choosing our portfolio & company culture…. but going it alone is, well, lonely. Starting a company with your mates is way more fun. Also they’re both way better at their jobs than I am, so personally it was a no brainer!
Tom: The other two talked me into it over breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien!
Nick: It may sound a little clichéd but success to me is everyone enjoying their work, the culture and making enough money for that to continue to be a thing. We have a big strategic focus to be more purposeful and this is going to be a big factor of how ‘successful’ I deem ourselves in the coming years
Chris: Are we working on things that we find engaging and rewarding? If we’re able to enjoy what we do and get paid for it, we’re winning.
Tom: A positive reaction (hopefully followed by a glowing testimonial!) from clients on the launch of their project.
What do you love most about the company?
Chris: We’ve got a very friendly, relaxed culture. We don’t heap too much pressure on ourselves, or anyone else. Things like Flexible Fridays and our working from home policy have also really helped with work-life-balance, something that’s super important to us.
Tom: Working with a bunch of genuine, lovely people. I don’t think any of the three of us thought we would be a company of nine on the eve of our fourth birthday, but everyone who has taken the leap to join Pixel Fridge has come in and immediately felt like one of the family.
Nick: I love the direction that the company is heading in. We’re all passionate about trying to use our work and skills to do good in the world. Whilst we have a long way to go, the desire from everyone at Pixel Fridge to actually want to work on those ‘do-good’ projects is definitely there!
What is your main goal of 2023?
Chris: Last year we refocused ourselves on doing work that delivers social & environmental good. We made a bit of progress on that in 2022, taking on some really cool projects for some amazing organisations and starting our B-corp journey. In 2023, I’d love us to double-down on that, and do more work that makes a difference (and makes us feel warm & fuzzy inside).
Nick: Win more of the work that we want to be doing to lock down on Purposeful Experiences.
Tom: Focusing more and more on our new mission of creating “Purposeful Experiences”, working with lovely charities and organisations. Plus, getting B Corp certified (thanks Hannah!).
What are you proudest of so far?
Tom: I think growing the team has been one of my biggest concerns over the past four years, but I’m so so proud of the way it has come together to form a really collaborative tight-knit group.
Chris: Our team, of course! What an amazing, talented and generally lovely bunch. They make me a very proud agency-father.
Nick: Creating a team of people that is made up of the best individuals I’ve worked with in my last 12 years of experience in this industry.
What’s been the biggest surprise of running a company?
Chris: There’s so much involved with running a business that isn’t “the work”. As someone who spent the bulk of their career getting their heads down with project work, I really didn’t show enough appreciation to everyone who keeps the company wheels turning. The HR folks, the traffic managers, the accountants, the proposal writers. We salute you all!
Nick: The amount of admin and responsibility that you feel! Responsibility was something that I knew would be a thing but not to the level that it is. Admin is next.
Tom: That we’ve been able to really push and get on top of healthy work-life balance. Starting out came with worries of long days and weeks stressing about everything, but it’s been really fulfilling to see that the team all gets a chance to enjoy a healthy amount of “me time”.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Nick: For me, the honest answer is taking the dive into employing and growing a team. Knowing when to grow and hire, yet being sure you can afford to do so has been the biggest challenge that I’ve found. Probably an interesting answer, because 2 of our first 3 years were in a global pandemic!
Tom: Getting through the quiet periods. Going into lockdown during our second year as a company was an eye opening experience!
Chris: Covid was an altogether smelly period. But having come out the other side, I think we’re stronger for it. We’ve got a better attitude towards work-life-balance, and it’s taught us how much we appreciate face-time with both our colleagues and clients.
If you weren’t running Pixel Fridge, what would you be doing?
Chris: If we ever stop doing Pixel Fridge, I’m off to work as a gardener. I don’t think this will be very lucrative, as I’m a fairly rubbish gardener. But I’d enjoy it very much (until I became destitute from lack of clients).
Nick: That is a tricky one! I’d like to say I’d be doing something outdoorsy but the reality is I would probably be swept up in some sort of digital agency / consultancy. I love the buzz and culture of working in a good agency. The dream is to find time in the next 20 years to do a good stint in a slightly more active (physically) career…
Tom: Perhaps I’d be a potter. Or more likely probably building websites for a company that just isn’t quite as great!
What do you love the most about each other?
Chris: We share the same values, and are all incredibly good looking.
Nick: Tom’s positivity and appetite for solving problems is something I will never tire of. I haven’t met a harder worker who will not rest until things are as they should be. Chris’ knowledge and passion for UX and wireframes is second to none. I have a lot of respect for the work he does and the output he gives our clients.
Tom: We really complement each other’s specialisms. That was one of the biggest draws to starting this adventure with Nick and Chris.
What is your worst habit? Or you can nominate someone else.
Tom: Being too laid back? Trying to do too much myself? Saying “no” too quickly to project managers before changing my mind 30 seconds later?! Overthinking the answers to this!
Chris: I have a tendency to be a bit neurotic. Luckily those two are my therapists, in addition to my co-directors.
Nick: I’ll take this one for myself and admit it’s procrastination! I’m good with a deadline, but terrible at procrastinating. I’m a social person and so being in the office is sometimes not quite the most productive space for me. I have to take myself away or plug my headphones in to get into the zone!
Who is the best PM?
Chris: Agatha the dog, followed closely by Reginald the dog.
Nick: Without a doubt, Gaelle.
Note from Author (Hannah – PM): this question did not quite pan out how I intended.
So there we are. On a serious note, the rest of the team really appreciate the culture that the Dads have created. I’d say they are well on their way to achieving the company that they were aiming for, with a great balance of nice clients and a wonderful team. Here’s to another four years!