Ray Samuels is Co-Founder of Wripple
Technology is transforming the creative space. Wripple is the first agency services platform that lets you find expert, on-demand teams. We interviewed Co-Founder Ray Samuels for more insight into the mission to make it easier to find and hire talent and what this means for space in 2021.
How is today’s remote work climate affecting the agency and creative work?
So much of what makes agency and creative work rewarding is time spent with your team, which has obviously taken a hit since moving to a remote model. In this grand experiment, what has been really inspiring is how teams organically found new ways to work in a 100% remote world. With everyone at home, meeting times and cadences shifted to try and balance more efficient collaboration, heads-down time and personal life. In a sense, teams have naturally evolved how they operate to be more agile while also setting structured boundaries to maintain some semblance of balance in the new world order.
Beyond the mechanics of how work gets done, remote limits the positive impact culture, team chemistry and spontaneity have on the creative process. Moments like the hallway conversation or an unplanned lunch that spark new ideas or get teams ‘unstuck’, aren’t happening the way they used to. To find some of this magic, teams have carved out online moments — ranging from Zoom happy hours to ad hoc virtual meetups — just to simply connect on a variety of topics. We’re social beings and this has helped sustain connections that fuel creativity.
Despite the challenges of a fully remote model, what’s been a constant source of hope is the intrepid commitment to quality work. Especially early on in the pandemic this required sacrifice, and some brute force, but delivering great work has remained the central driver.
Tell us about Wripple and how this new technology is creating a solution?
Wripple fits in by helping organizations strengthen their teams with direct access to professional digital freelance talent that is agile, highly adept at working remotely, and passionate about their craft. We started Wripple about two years before the pandemic, but in many ways, we were built for this world of remote working where everyone has to do (lots) more with (lots) less. On Wripple’s Agency Services Platform clients are matched, based on their specific needs, with complete project teams or individual freelancers. The platform works very much like an e-commerce platform where clients can curate, contract and onboard bespoke talent. This is all on-demand and automated providing speed, flexibility and much-needed cost efficiencies. It’s like the TaskRabbit app married a leading digital agency.
What are the keys to hiring great talent?
Wripple is solely focused on working with top agency talent that has chosen to go freelance. Candidates apply to be on the platform to promote their business and capabilities to potential clients. Applicants go through two rounds of interviews. For us, these guiding principles are key to finding great talent:
- Bake in a consistent approach to getting to know your candidates. We start with a first-round interview based on the same 6 dimensions that help us assess whether someone has the background to be successful in our model. This standard approach creates a common baseline to determine a candidate’s fit. It also provides data for a more objective perspective with deeper analysis. If it looks like a good match, we then conduct a second interview that focuses more deeply on a candidate’s work product and capabilities.
- Make sure to deviate from the script. Get to know what makes candidates tick, what inspires them. In other words, let them digress. It’s essential to get to know the whole person.
- Let them interview you. You can learn a tremendous amount about a candidate based on their questions for you. What they’re curious about and their expressed level of interest in the organization and opportunity can shed light on a rock star or someone that might not be the best match.
- Treat them like a client. Candidates deserve the same level of respect and responsiveness as clients. In many respects our candidates are clients. Once they are approved to be on our platform, we work hard to find them meaningful client projects and sell their capabilities. But just like with clients, open and honest feedback throughout the selection process is essential if everyone is going to be successful.
How can agencies and businesses use this kind of platform and what are the benefits?
Wripple’s Agency Services Platform helps the entire industry, including agencies, marketing departments, and in-house organizations, become more agile with direct access to highly skilled on-demand professionals at a lower cost. On one platform, clients can build and manage teams to meet their specific needs. Wripple offers 3 services, with dedicated support from a Wripple Client Lead:
- Find and curate cross-discipline freelance digital talent.
- Clients can source talent in two ways: 1) ready-made teams with pre-defined scoped for over 50 digital marketing and experience projects and 2) individual freelancers searchable by over 30 roles and 100s of skills.
- There is transparency throughout. Clients can review talent profiles and see project pricing upfront. No black box.
- Support Frictionless Onboarding & Delivery
- The platform offers tools that make it easy and efficient to onboard a full freelance project team or individual freelancers. Wripple ensures complete business and project knowledge transfer based on client requirements. There is also a repository for brand assets and guidelines that support continuity. The goal is to take the pain out of onboarding and ensure a fast ramp-up.
- Because most organizations already have a preferred workflow tool, Wripple will integrate with popular software tools for a seamless transition from sourcing and onboarding to delivery.
- Manage Freelance Operations
- The RFP and contracting workflows are automated on the platform and facilitated by a Wripple Client Lead. Wripple holds all talent contracts and manages payments and 1099s/W2s to ensure compliance.
- Clients can also create custom talent pools for future projects, providing quick access to the right talent for their ongoing needs.
- Finally, the platform provides access to dashboards for insights and optimization: view history of talent relationships, project delivery stats, spend data, etc.
What does the future look like for creative work moving forward throughout the year? Any predictions on what’s ahead in the space?
Based on what we see and hear we’ve got a few ideas about what trends might take hold in 2021:
- Digital transformation will continue to fuel downstream project-based work focused on new customer experiences and meaningful engagement with high-value content across channels.
- With continued pressure on budgets, and the need to do more with less, organizations will continue to find ways to deliver with smaller nimbler teams.
- One way to field more agile teams will be a push to work with strong hybrid talent that can stretch to play multiple roles. In some cases, specific expertise is warranted but on many projects, the role fragmentation can be a drain.
- We also see increased diversity in the type of teams that get work done in 2021. Based on needs and budgets, teams could be all internal, some combination of full-time + agency + freelancer. We also expect a rise in enterprise freelance teams that take on complex long-term projects that typically went to professional services firms.
- There will be continued testing of new ways to get work done. The crystal ball is murky here, but assuming an effective vaccination program, we should see increased use of technology that helps us find and sustain a better balance between onsite vs. remote. Ultimately this is about trusting teams with greater flexibility to define how quality work gets done. It will be exciting to watch this space to see how organizations empower teams to find better ways forward.
Ray Samuels is Co-Founder of Wripple, the first-ever digital services platform that lets you shop for expert, on-demand teams.