Shortcase is a knowledge sharing platform that I designed and built with Kees-Jan van der Kolk, my technical co-founder. It makes it easy for design agencies to gather all of their essential files and brand assets in one place, as well as quickly create and retrieve case studies of past client work.
Shortcase started as a file-sharing side project in college, at a time before Dropbox when we were all carrying USB sticks and external hard disks. BY the time I started working at Designit — Europe’s largest design agency — I realized Shortcase was uniquely suited to address two common issues among all design agencies:
- Where’s that asset?
New hires and colleagues alike were continuously struggling to find official fonts, templates, photographs, decks and other brand assets in the endless sub-sub-sub-folders of the file server.
- Do we have relevant case studies for this client proposal?
Business developers were constantly emailing the whole company to ask about relevant past work that they could include in a project pitch.
I decided to demo Shortcase’s file-sharing capabilities to Designit’s leadership, along with designs for a new Projects section where we could finally gather, tag and search for case studies across all offices. With Designit signing on as our first client, Shortcase went from side project to side business, and we went on to sign a handful more companies over the following years.
I eventually decided to leave Shortcase when I moved to San Francisco. The 9 hour timezone difference with Amsterdam made collaborating with my co-founder difficult, and the 24/7 pace of running a business on the side became unsustainable.
Building and running my own company was a tremendous learning experience that I remain grateful for:
- I became intimately familiar with the possibilities and limitations of building a web application inside the browser, along with the product development process itself.
- I learned a lot about Product Management before I knew it was a thing; how to prioritize development, break down features into shippable parts, build out a roadmap, write clear tickets, measuring engagement…
- I got to wear a variety of hats that I didn’t normally wear as a design consultant out of college; Sales, Client Management, Customer Support, and a whole lot of QA testing.
Ultimately, it made me realize how much I love working with engineers, and that I would be happier working in-house (as I do now) where I get to ship and continuously iterate on a product based on user feedback and data.