Operation CMYK, the Gowanus design agency, is shipping a lot of product lately.
First, there’s Let’s, which will be a person-to-person social network. When it comes out, iOS users will be able to effectively declare open office hours for hanging out, which will deliver push notifications to your friends nearby. It will be entirely based in mobile. No weird Facebook conversations about where, when and what, either. Through Lets, those discussions are diverted to text or phone.
The app should become available to initial users in a soft launch in the next few weeks. No plans to port the app to Android for now.
Company principal Adam Scher explained that Let’s has been developed in partnership with other entrepreneurs, Joel Golombeck and Lawrence Clingman. Ownership over the app is split three ways, with the agency holding one third.
As the company’s other principal Chris Langer put it, each app is its own little business. If you want it to catch on, you can’t just put it out there and let it go. Someone has to work on developing the business.
So once Let’s is ready to go, OperationCMYK will turn it over to their partners to generate buzz, users and revenue. One model for profit may lie in pushing users to nearby events when they indicate they are looking for something to do.
It’s the company’s first time really putting a business plan behind an iOS app, but not its first app. Here are two other apps it’s developed or updated in the last year:
- Footnotes. The app allows users to leave text, photos or videos in specific geotagged locations. No one can see the content unless she visits the place. Langer said that a lot of the agency’s inspiration comes from using technology to push people to get more out of the real world. Updates to the app are in the works.
- Juxt-A-Pose. Brandon Phillips, one of the agency’s agents, had the idea for this app while working on another that’s still in development with a client. Instead of filters, Just-A-Pose allows users to overlay images with other images. It’s free now on the Apple app store and has proven to be one of the hottest image apps in Italy. Its user base is strong, which may help when Lets goes live.
The agency started with four principals in 2007. It began in coffee shops as a side project among four young people working in pharmaceutical advertising. Footnotes and Juxt-A-Pose fit into a larger pattern for the young company, finding ways to get work out there that may or may not be that lucrative, but satisfies their creative urges and builds their name recognition. The company seems to be doing fine in terms of clients, but it looks forward to a day when one of its creations could give it more flexibility about its work.
The founders may have left their pharmaceutical work in frustration, but it wasn’t a total loss. Scher says it allowed them to see how a creative agency works. “We stole the process, not the clients,” he says. The two principals live in Gowanus now, near their current office, around the corner from The Bell House. Two other agents were working from the space when Technically Brooklyn visited, but their website lists ten other “agents,” apparently at different levels of affiliations.
The company has plans for another Operation CMYK app that’s in the ideation phase. Look for it later this year. They gave us the basic idea, but we’re not telling.
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