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By Jason VanLue

Zaengleverse in 2019

Highlights from 2019

  • Redesigned 3 major university websites — one of which experienced over a 50% increase in organic traffic, and over 40% YoY lead generation.
  • Partnered & launched Garbanzo, which supports over 70,000 students and over 5,000 teachers.
  • Shipped a custom loan approval application that services millions of dollars in the Southeast United States.
  • Launched a massive member management platform that hosts some of the largest member organizations in the nation.
  • Acquired two SaaS products.
  • Supported 9 retainer clients.
  • Worked on a custom e-comm platform on Moltin for a store that generates over $20million in annual sales and maintains over 250,000 unique SKUs.
  • Connected for ZaengleCon NYC!
  • Conducted 2 UX & Strategy Sprints for one of the largest universities in the nation.
  • Bootstrapped a new team connection app soon to be released.
  • Led Discovery & Strategy sessions in London, Denver, and Washington, DC.
  • Participated in a Panel at Dot All 2019 in Montreal
  • Built an internal design system that helps us deploy sites and applications more efficiently.
  • Expanded our use of VueJS and specifically Nuxt.

Some lessons learned in 2019

Embrace the “who knows.”

On January 1st of last year we had no idea we’d be completing most of the items on the list above. It’s always amazing to look back at the opportunities and where they came from. We have plans and goals for 2020, but it’s exciting to embrace the “who knows” of this year. At the end of 2020, what opportunities will we look back on? What opportunities will you look back on?

Sometimes you have to cut bait

We’re a group of humans who happen to have human clients. Sound familiar? That means projects and relationships will be challenging, and sometimes, though we try our best to salvage, projects fail and relationships end. And that’s okay. We had a couple of situations this year that compelled us to end projects. We tried to navigate the snags, but in the end it was the right decision to cut the line, and move on to fish again.

Fish from the same pond

I guess we’re on a fishing theme. Last year we were blessed to have several new projects that were referred by or were for existing clients. We all know that some of the best prospective clients are the ones we already have, but it’s easy to forget to ask them. So last year we asked. It doesn’t always work out, but remember to fish from the same pond once in a while.

Remember to fish from the same pond once in a while

Always discovery. Always.

For every large software or website project we mandate a Discovery phase. Unless we don’t, which happens occasionally, and we always regret it. It always seems so innocuous — “sure, we have enough documentation, nah we don’t need those wireframes, no worries it’s okay if that stakeholder can’t join the calls.” This is just our annual “we know better” reminder to always do Discovery. Always.

We over me

I’m incredibly grateful for our team, and for all you fine folks in our community. In 2020, let’s work together more, either with or alongside each other. And if you don’t have a team, or need some human connection, feel free to reach out to us — we’ll hop on a Zoom call, open a Slack channel, or maybe even sit together in a coffee shop. The best work happens together...let’s make working together better in 2020.

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By Jason VanLue