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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio

Giving back


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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio

with Jason Yim

Video: Giving back

(Music playing) Jason Yim: One thing that was really important, right out the gate, was to kind of get back. And we have, I think, very little time on this planet, sort of thing, like, let's try to make a difference. So Trigger change came from that. All the full time staff can choose their own charities that they think are worthwhile. Judd Kim: So that started when we were just seven of us, the first year, each making donations to whatever cause we felt was most deserving.

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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio
1h 25m Appropriate for all Nov 11, 2009

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Trigger may be the biggest little interactive shop that probably has never been heard of. This amazing boutique shoots out web sites, online games, Facebook apps, and iPhone apps for major motion pictures like Spider-Man and District 9, and consumer brands like Nike and Red Bull. Combining a talented design team with solid software engineering, Trigger has mastered the integration of creative expression and technology. With offices in Los Angeles and Shanghai, they've found the elusive winning formula for East-West collaboration. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside what may be a prototype for the next generation design firm.

Subjects:
Web Interaction Design Creative Inspirations Documentaries
Author:
Jason Yim

Giving back

(Music playing) Jason Yim: One thing that was really important, right out the gate, was to kind of get back. And we have, I think, very little time on this planet, sort of thing, like, let's try to make a difference. So Trigger change came from that. All the full time staff can choose their own charities that they think are worthwhile. Judd Kim: So that started when we were just seven of us, the first year, each making donations to whatever cause we felt was most deserving.

That's carried through now, even as we've grown, several years later. I don't think there has ever been a single case of someone saying, "Wouldn't that "money be better served going somewhere else, into our pockets or back into the "company or something like that." Carlo Decena: No one complained or anything. It was sort of a reflection of our values that if we were successful, we made money, we wanted to give back. Jason Yim: At first though, it was surprising. It was surprising that a little money could go a really long way in developing countries and staff.

So, trying to build a school in the States would cost like hundreds and thousands of dollars, or million of dollars, and stuff. You could do it for significantly less in Africa or Southeast Asia, so we started with a schoolhouse in Mali, in Africa. They use it for school classes during the day and then it's like a community center at night and stuff, and it continues to help, even after the funds have been drained. Then, in 2006, we worked on a - there is this AIDS orphanage in Cambodia.

They have these kind of dormitory clusters and they had eight clusters in total, to house 200-300 kids. So we were responsible for one of those clusters. In Cambodia, when kids have AIDS or their parents die from AIDS, culturally, they just get booted out of the family, like out onto the streets and stuff. So this orphanage not only provides the medication that's needed. And they were - when it first started, they were importing it directly, like, he would have to go to Thailand and buy all the stuff and truck it back to Cambodia because there wasn't even medication available in the country.

It's gotten to a point where the survival rates are so high for these kids, and the education level is actually almost better than what they can get locally, that now they are starting to worry about college education for these kids. So it's almost like you solve a problem and then it begets another problem and we have to raise funds to solve that, and stuff like that. So, the next year we did two ranger stations, also in Cambodia. So these are anti-poaching stations. That's pretty cool. It's like, they fit, like, 12 rangers inside, like cooking facilities and everything.

It's, like, their, like, a base camp that they can then run patrols out of, to stop hunting and to stop deforestation and stuff like that. Our relationship with CARE started as us being a donor on these buildings and stuff. We had done a project for Stand Up To Cancer. It was a kind of entertainment-driven charity. They did a roadblock on ABC, NBC, CBS. It was a telethon for cancer research and they raised $100 million plus over a weekend.

It was pretty amazing. For them, we worked on their social strategy from day one, very early on, so we did giving through Facebook. We did this application called a Stand where you could very easily kind of upload your personal story, upload your photo into this giant wall. So, the overall theme was to personalize these huge numbers. 6 million Americans die of cancer every year. So we wanted to put like a face to every one of those numbers.

The giving system was done in the same way where instead of just asking people to donate money through Facebook, we asked them to give something up. We asked them to give up a cup of coffee. We asked them to give up a CD, a book or something. So it was trying to make all of these like relevant. As soon as they did a donation, it would challenge all their friends and ask them, it'll say, like, "Jason gave up a cup of coffee. Are you willing to do the same?" So, from that experience, we started talking to CARE and seeing if we could volunteer to work for them as well, but they're a much larger organization, again, like 10,000 people, so the pitching process to get into CARE was longer and harder than for us to win, like, big entertainment clients.

It was funny to work so hard to not make any money out of it, but I think it's worthwhile. So, all this stuff that we've learned from, like, film marketing and youth marketing and stuff - it was cool to apply it to something that would actually help people, versus to sell tickets or sell a product and stuff. Again, using the same Flash programming skills, the same animation skills, the same motion graphics, the same music composition, storytelling, all of that, but instead of trying to sell a movie ticket, we're trying to get people to change the world a little bit.

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