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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio

Team & culture


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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio

with Jason Yim

Video: Team & culture

(Music playing) Jason Yim: When I first started, I was doing the sales stuff, trying to manage the company but also doing a lot of the design work myself. I used to enjoy it, but when we hired Anthony, and he is so much better than me at it, it got to a point where it's just - I mean it's just - it was cool to recognize that and just say like, "Whoa! "These guys are really good at what they do." I'll do what I am good at, and then they do what they are good and then we all balance out that way.

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

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Team & culture

(Music playing) Jason Yim: When I first started, I was doing the sales stuff, trying to manage the company but also doing a lot of the design work myself. I used to enjoy it, but when we hired Anthony, and he is so much better than me at it, it got to a point where it's just - I mean it's just - it was cool to recognize that and just say like, "Whoa! "These guys are really good at what they do." I'll do what I am good at, and then they do what they are good and then we all balance out that way.

Anthony Palacios: Each one of those guys, I have been working with them for probably 9 plus years, so working with somebody that long, they more or less become family. They are more like my brothers than they are just co-workers. Knowing that they are there, they have got my back, essentially, that's really reassuring and that leaves me to be able to focus on what I need to focus on, which is the creative and making sure that we've got that high level that Jason is looking for from a creative standpoint.

Jason Yim: With Perry, who is our director production, him and I are very different in personalities in that Perry is very structured, very organized, kind of risk adverse, which is perfect for the Director of Production role. So he works remotely out of Portland, but he can still kind of manage his team here, and also manage like all the pieces of trying to resource manage two offices in two countries.

So that's a huge role and I think he provides the kind of the structure that's needed to operate. Perry Wang: The thing that actually makes it work is the fact that I have worked together with Jason, Anthony, Loc, Judd for so long, the other founders. So because of that, it gives me a little bit of that built-in trust. They are not worried, "Is Perry asleep up there, like what's he doing? "Is he really, like, working from the beach?" or whatever.

So there is that confidence that I am doing what I need to be doing everyday. Jason Yim: I might be at a client and we might be brainstorming on the fly and I'll pitch something, and I always have the security to know that Loc will figure it out when I get back the office, like, actually how to do it. I try to keep this stuff within, I think, realm of possibility, but it's funny to, like, come back in and say, "Hey! "Guess what we sold to the client?" "We sold this crazy idea, of this, this and it connects with that." And then Loc will be kind of sweating a little bit and then he will figure it out.

Loc Le: I think, in general, we are a pretty intense group of individuals. We all know what needs to be done at the end of the day. We are all adults. We are responsible for the work that we do. But the most important thing is that there is always more than one way to do something. At the end of the day, we know exactly what we want at the end of the day. Jason Yim: With Vivid in China, she was actually the first kind of creative person that I met out there. There is some things about me and her that are quite similar that way. I think we are quite aggressive about trying to do things at a different - trying to push creatively - but her specialty is more on the gaming side.

So she loves building games and the team that she has assembled are all gamers. Everything is like a labor of love, which is cool to see. So instead of just asking them to meet the minimum requirements, they are really going above and beyond on every single project. Vivid Savitri: We work closely as a team and we brainstorm together. The fun part about this is, actually, I instill this attitude that like, "Look, if "it is only difficult then sorry, mate.

"You've got to suck it up and do it." And then so they start to get used to that sort of demand and I am always trying to - actually I am not trying - I am actually always pushing my team harder because I know they can make it. They just don't know it yet. Jason Yim: Carlo on the finance side, I think that was, like we figured, if you work hard enough and you are creative enough, that you will make money and that is not the case.

I mean like some years were really rough and we were really flat and some years we lost money. So as a big difference for Trigger, we said, like, "Hey! "Going into this, we need to know how, every year, we are going to be profitable." So Carlo spends a lot of time on the spreadsheets, planning that stuff all out. So each year, we move forward, knowing that it works on paper. So, worst-case scenario, if you follow everything that's on this Excel doc, at the end of the year, you have some money left over. And that's really made a huge difference.

Carlo Decena: This company officially started in 2005, but the team really was not complete until early 2006. I guess after Jason left that previous company, a lot of people just called and wanted to work for him because they had a very good experience with him, me included. It's funny. If I were to choose people to start up a company from that group of people, I would choose this team. Loc Le: We are very picky, in terms of the staff that we choose, because we know that choosing the right people is more important than choosing the first person that's available.

And we train, nurture and guide our team, so that they can grow with us as a company. I have been with Jason for nearly 10 years, and with the other founders here. We have all worked together for a long time and in order to keep this culture of ours, we know what to look for because every person has their own personality. But the personalities that we look for are ones that drive people to be passionate about the work that they do and to really love what they do at the end of the day, no matter how much work is required. But the main thing is that they come out of it knowing that they did something important.

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