We recently caught up with Russell Henderson, Growth Director at Bitwink and all round talent scout. Read on for an insight into his journey through the creative world and, as it's that time of the year, his work organising the #ScotStartups Christmas Party- taking place on Wednesday December 16th at Edinburgh's Mash House.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND?
I'm Growth Director at Bitwink, expert mobile apps developers located at Codebase in Edinburgh. We've grown 50% in the last 6 months and anticipate a further doubling in size during 2016. A big part of my job is finding awesome creative & engineering talent to come work with us.
I previously founded & led 55degrees- one of the first truly integrated digital agencies in Scotland- with inhouse design, video production and software development teams, all working together on ground breaking projects. Our output extended from making short films with the likes of Alexander McQueen for the V&A; through development of the Voxur portable video interview kit; to the AV & ICT for Riverside Museum, winner of European Museum of the Year Award.
CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT IN TO YOUR PRACTICE AND WHAT YOU DO?
Bitwink develop best in class mobile app products. Typically we are hired by organisations with very large customer bases who need to ensure that their mobile offerings are best in class, eg. banking, broadcasting, publishing etc. At Bitwink we work right across the double diamond; from discovery, through definition, to development and delivery. We take great pride in four key things: delighting the end user; differentiating products in the marketplace; developing scalable technical architectures and finally delivering measurable value to the business (ROI).
ANY EXCITING PROJECTS OR EVENTS YOU HAVE ON THE HORIZON?
I also co-organise a number of community initiatives; Startup Surf, ProductTankEdi & ScotStartups. They are all very much concerned with enabling the creation of great digital products, engendering knowledge sharing across the creative industries & celabrating the unique benefits of the Scottish startups community. I'd very much encourage Creative Edinburgh's network to look at each of these initiatives. In particular, we have the #ScotStartups Christmas Party happening on Wednesday 16th. This is an awesome event that brings together people from across the startups community to reconnect and celebrate the achievements of the year. Any member of Creative Edinburgh who is interested in the creation of digital products would be well advised to get a ticket from ScotStartups.com before they sell out.
WHAT MAKES EDINBURGH A GOOD CITY TO BE BASED?
Edinburgh is the exceptional sum of many amazing parts. It has a steady supply of great creative and technical talent from its educational institutions. Some of them, such as Edinburgh University's Informatics Ventures, have been pivotal in kick starting and stewarding the entrepreneurial ecology. Ultimately this has created ground fertile enough to grow two unicorns - Skyscanner & Fan Duel - the importance of which should not be understated. Around them there is now a critical mass of startups and creative companies; many of them co-located in hubs such as the Creative Exchange and CodeBase, the UK's largest tech incubator. This density of population with common purpose, affords even greater opportunity - it's serendipity enabled, if you will. Underpinning this, you have an ancient and very beautiful city, that you can easily get around by walking, cycling and public transport. This amazing backdrop also happens to be home to the world's biggest arts festival. And if all that wasn't enough, you can get to great surfing, mountain biking or hill running within 30/ 40 mins of the city centre.. Really, why wouldn't you be here?
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE THINKING OF PURSUING A CAREER IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?
Collaboration is key. Whatever you want to make or build, you are more likely to achieve it through collaborating with others. It will happen quicker, better, more impactful. That's not to say you should be unstructured in the management of your collaborations: it is vitally important that you have an alignment of intention and agreed vision of the outcomes sought. It is important to be business like in the definition stage of your collaborations, but if you get that right, it will unlock n factor value. I'd also recommend reaching out to established businesses and practitioners for advice. Or better yet, pitch them on a collaboration.
For more information about Bitwink's work, please visit: http://www.bitwink.com