Pixelated Solutions, a new concept of a Digital Collective

October 05, 2012

Pixelated Solutions is an out-of-the-box digital agency. It's organized as adigital collective dedicated to bringing creativity and delivery expertise…

Pixelated Solutions is an out-of-the-box digital agency. It's organized as adigital collective dedicated to bringing creativity and delivery expertise.

Pixelated Solutions is a break from the traditional agency or freelance models, replacing it with something in-between: a collection of well-vetted, fully bought-in partners.

Digital agencies are difficult to build and scale without enough committed number of experts onboard.

The most valuable aspect of a digital agency is not the infrastructure or suppliers but the talented people who work there. Some operators deflate wages to minimize costs, while simultaneously inflating billable rates. But in a digital agency where the talent is the real value driver, this seems wrong to me. 

If bureaucracy and admin contribute proportionally little to any given finished product, then the organization should reflect these priorities. Organize around attracting and retaining a strong committed team of talented people.

Freelancers avoid the trappings of the bureaucracy and sink or swim on their own individual talent, drive, and reputation. Pay is in part a function of the value provided. Freelancers get to discriminate between the projects they want to take.

As a client I like to work with freelancers because I have a greater degree of direct contact with person responsible for getting work done. But the limitation is always that freelancers can only provide so much work and only in a very specific area. Most freelancers are specialists. Freelancers must also keep a regular amount of work on their plate or risk having work lulls. Therefore rush work or work that involves two or more disciplines often isn't very well suited for freelancers.

Pixelated Solutions

Pixelated Solutions was formed to take the positive aspects of a digital agency - comprehensive services, organizational support, project management, and quality assurance - and put that together with the positive aspects of freelance - minimal bureaucracy, value-centric organization, and more control on the part of the client and the developers, designers, and photographers.

We do this by forming a collective. Individuals are vetted carefully for capabilities and fit within our methodology. New team members are brought onboard for a trial period of a project or two. After this period they may be offered a chance to become a member of the collective.

Once a member of the collective they are able to contribute to collective projects, use the name of the Pixelated Solutions for their own projects, and represent the collective to new clients. All work done under the Pixelated Solutions name is supported by a team of members as mentors, quality assurance, and in cases that require multiple disciplines or additional support we can form work-groups. All work that is performed by members under the Pixelated Solutions name is billed hourly and accounted for on an individual basis so that everyone receives the share they are entitled based upon the value they provide. In this way every member maintains control over their own pricing, hours, and projects.

Creating the institution we've come up with a number of approaches to mitigate obvious risks such as safeguarding against incomplete or shoddy work. We also have designs on partnership buy-in system to finance a marketing and administrative budget but will save that for a later stage.

At this point the collective is still early stage but I have reason to hope. We've successfully completed several projects and received tremendous feedback. I'm very excited to learn what the future will bring and in the meantime it is a lot of fun.

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