First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marc Fischer: All things considered, my friends and family are doing well. We’ve come together to support each other in any way we can during these trying times. Fortunately, most of us are very blessed and lucky to have careers that enable us to work remotely, stay safe, and avoid putting ourselves in harm’s way.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Dogtown Media.
Marc Fischer: I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Dogtown Media, a mobile technology studio. Initially, we began as a startup. But we ended up transitioning to developing digital products for venture-backed startups and enterprise organizations to accelerate their endeavors. We love helping our partners bring their ideas to life and have launched over 250 digital solutions to date.
How does Dogtown Media innovate?
Marc Fischer: We innovate by iteration. First, we hone in on the specific pain points we’re trying to solve for our client through meticulous interviews. Then we apply a lean, rapid approach to developing a prototype. From there, it’s all about gathering feedback from end-users and refining the prototype until it’s a full-fledged solution.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marc Fischer: We left our office and have gone completely remote. There were some initial hurdles; we’ve had to learn how to collaborate and build a team culture while being socially distant and apart every day of the week. We’ve also had to reassess how we work directly with our clientele virtually as opposed to face-to-face interactions. All in all, the transition was more seamless than I expected, which isn’t completely surprising when you consider that we started off as a fully remote team. In that sense, this was about getting back to basics.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marc Fischer: By choosing to adopt a fully remote work strategy for our entire team, we’ve definitely felt the difficulties of working on hardware; doing so presents some unique challenges when the whole team works remotely instead of being in the same room. With that said, we’ve managed to make things work through frequent digital conferencing and amazing project managers. Perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned that, within every crisis, there’s an opportunity. So it’s important to be able to think fast and on your feet in order to cope with the unexpected things that life throws at you.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Dogtown Media in the future?
Marc Fischer: These days, I deal with stress in three main ways:
● Getting outdoors and spending more time in nature.
● Keeping in touch with friends and family.
● Practicing meditation frequently.
I also take time to think strategically about the future in the near-, mid-, and long-term. This can take a lot of effort, but it’s been insightful in elucidating the best ways to position my team, company, and messaging to ensure that we’re able to thrive in these uncertain times.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marc Fischer: Our competitors are innovative agencies that also focus on digital transformation. Since pivoting and practicing lean UX principles are in all of our DNA, I believe that our organization and our competitors are well-suited to ride out this storm and help other companies thrive by adopting digital technology into their ecosystem.
Your final thoughts?
Marc Fischer: Keep hope. If there’s one thing that history has taught us, it’s that dawn always follows even the darkest of nights. Together, we can look out for and support each other. Let’s all maintain faith that COVID-19 will be in our rearview before we know it.