Pixafy President Uri Foox answers questions about how Pixafy came to be:
Q: How did the idea for Pixafy come about? How many employees did you start with, and how many are there now?
Uri: It’s the culmination of the last 13 years of working and building online businesses. I’ve specialized in building product companies and therefore have touched nearly every part of the domain from the software engineering, to the design, to the infrastructure and all of the business side of it as well. Because of this it was kind of a natural evolution to take that knowledge and package it into a services company. Pixafy was officially started in April of 2010 as the concept I just described. It was more of a “can we do this?” phase with some starter projects.
I was lucky enough to win the confidence of the amazing branding and design company Red Antler, which gave Pixafy three projects to work on simultaneously in August of 2010. From there I quickly expanded and hired the first full-time employee, Joshua O’Connell, in October of 2010. Josh and I have been working together since 1999, but this was the first time he has officially been a full-time salaried employee versus freelance. I convinced Josh to take the plunge by putting his salary in a separate bank account and told him if it wasn’t going to work out I’d just write him a check, and we’d try something else. Needless to say, that never happened, and we just hired our 20th employee in early 2012!
Q: What services and products does Pixafy offer? What’s the difference between a website development firm (like Pixafy) and a website design firm?
Uri: Pixafy is a technology partner, meaning we look for long-term client relationships with businesses that have a core need for technology but do not have a core competency in the technology field. We specialize in building eCommerce and Content Management sites, and in providing a Startup Incubation service for new businesses that need a world-class tech team.
In 2012 we’ve also started to branch out and develop our own products: (1) Order of Leisure, a gaming company collaboration with Red Antler – our first game, Kings’ Corners, was just approved by Apple last week and is now available on iTunes!; (2) Shop.Pixafy, which will house products we build for eCommerce and Content Management System platforms.
Q: Any particular industries that Pixafy focuses on or has had a lot of success working with?
Uri: I believe that in order to keep our competitive edge we shouldn’t focus on any one industry. We’ve worked with Fashion, Food, Retail, Finance, Healthcare and many other fields. That range of experience is a big part of what makes the team here at Pixafy so valuable to our clients.
Q: Are most of Pixafy’s clients New York City companies? Are there any geographic restrictions on the companies Pixafy is able to work with?
Uri: One of our core values is the personal interaction we provide to our clients and other stakeholders. Our desire for deep personal interactions dictated that a lot of our early clients were based in the NYC area. As we’ve grown and have showcased a larger portfolio, our client base has gotten more diverse. Our partnership with Radical Company has allowed us to work with clients overseas in places such as Indonesia, Russia, Ireland and Switzerland. Our partnerships with domestic design agencies have allowed us to expand to do business with firms throughout the United States.
Q: What are the key elements of an effective website?
Uri: Patience, creativity, an understanding of your users, and realistic expectations as you iterate. Those four principles will often lead to stunning work.
Q: What questions should a company be asking before selecting someone to build their website?
Uri: Funny you should ask; I wrote an entire article on this very topic that was published in Business Week last July!
Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to their website?
Uri: Spending too much time iterating or having too many removed stakeholders – also known as the “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem. I am a big believer in getting things to market as quickly as possible, gaining traction, building revenue and listening to your users. I believe all of our clients do a great job at putting this into practice, and that’s probably a reason as to why we get along so well with them!
Q: Any current trends in website development that companies should consider before having a website built?
Uri: I think the next frontier is building websites that utilize real-time analytics to customize experiences….patent pending 🙂
Q: Pixafy recently moved its office to a new location. Where are you now, where were you previously, and how long had you been there? What made you decide to move? Do you have any moving-related horror stories or funny situations to share?
Uri: We started in my one bedroom apartment (October 2010), and within a few months moved to our first office, 1500 sq. ft. at 443 Park Avenue South in Manhattan. We stayed there for 14 months. We moved because we had no more space, literally – I was sitting by the door! Our new office is at 475 Park Avenue South, just down the street from our previous digs.
Q: What factors were most important in selecting a new office? What do you like most about your new location?
Uri: The space! The views! But most importantly, the ability to bring our clients in and have productive, interactive discussions and creative thinking sessions. We’ve created an atmosphere where the team can interact directly with the client in a way that almost makes us one company. We encourage all of our clients to come see us and work directly with our Pixafy team!
Q: How do you see Pixafy changing (with respect to focus, clients, client size, etc) in the next 12 months? In the next 1-3 years? In the next 3-5 years?
Uri: I think we’ve got tremendous momentum as a team and opportunity as a company. There are many roads to choose from and I don’t think we’ve decided on which one to take. It’s a very exciting time and we’ll have some better clarity later this year to really answer this question.
Q: What is your ultimate dream for Pixafy?
Uri: I want Pixafy to be the first business that comes to mind when companies need help developing technology concepts. Pixafy should be the place where engineers want to come to solve complicated, intriguing technology problems. I think there is tremendous value in making your own products, but I also believe there is phenomenal opportunity in helping to build many products. The specialization and knowledge that is growing within the Pixafy office is astounding, and the fact that we are always able to push the envelope in terms of our thinking and implementing technologies is amazing.
Q: Qualities you most admire/look for in Pixafy employees?
Uri: Every employee at Pixafy took a chance in deciding to come here to work, and that’s what I admire the most about them. They took a chance and believed in what we were trying to accomplish. All of this is possible because of them. Other qualities are the more obvious ones: team work, dedication, putting your heart into your projects, and as the popular phrase around the office goes, not thinking of any solution but the elegant one.
Q: Outlandish prediction about Pixafy for the remainder of 2012?
Uri: I think every prediction I’ve made about Pixafy has seemed outlandish to me, but has come true. So, I predict we’ll be at 40 employees by the end of 2012!