This month saw me become the ninth member of the Brighton based web agency Clearleft.
My relationship with Clearleft goes back to 2006 when they were contracted by my former employer Ning to design a video sharing application. This was against some pretty rigid requirements, not least a set of style guidelines created by yours truly. Thankfully they liked what they saw and this placed me firmly on the companies radar.
Upon leaving Ning I decided to embrace the world of freelancing, with a number of US-based projects lined up thanks to a friend in the Bay Area. Freelancing was certainly a rewarding experience — knowing that every penny I earned was down to my own hard work was definitely a kick. A move to the south coast allowed me to start freelancing for Clearleft, and I was soon working on high-profile projects for companies like Gumtree and Mozilla.
I was planning to use my trip around Europe in May to decide which direction to take next. I enjoyed freelancing, but was eager to do more local (perhaps agency) work rather than long-term contracts, if only to keep work within daylight hours!
Shortly before leaving for Europe, Andy asked if I would like to join the company full time. I’d been offered the opportunity to join Clearleft a few times before, but now everything felt right — no doubt helped by having already worked alongside the team.
Without trying to sound too corny, I’m not sure I would have given up freelancing for any other company.
I love that they are a small yet multi-disciplined agency. Two well-respected conferences in the shape of UX London and dConstruct, workshops, a usability testing application and an internship programme demonstrate a desire not only to try different things, but contribute to the wider community.
I love that the three founders continue to innovate and guide the industry, whilst encouraging others in the company to do so as well: be it writing articles, running local events, or speaking at popular conferences. I have a lot to live up to!
I’m amazed it took me this long to say yes.