Mixing the best of both worlds - they've got an aptitude for that
START-UP NATION/Fluid Ink: Two brothers-in-law have joined forces, merging artistic and programming talents, to form a web and app development business that is client centred, writes JOANNE HUNT
IT ALL CAME FROM a chat at a family christening, when two brothers-in-law realised their fine art and computing skills might just make a good match. A year later, web and app development house Fluid Ink is hiring more staff.
“I’ve a background in Fine Art and I’d been working in a design agency for 10 years and he was finishing his Masters in Computer Science,” explains David Cooke of his pairing with Barry Gough. “We just thought it would be really interesting to work together and last year we decided to make a stab at it.”
Combining “a high level of design and an extremely high level of programming” their nifty web and app work is winning a broad following including clients as diverse as the Irish Caravan and Camping Council, the Association of Judges of Ireland and the OPW.
With 10 years design agency experience behind him, servicing big corporate customers such as eircom, Cisco and some county councils, Cooke is well attuned to client relations. He enjoys steering them through the whole new world of branding and sales possibilities brought by apps.
Specialising in Objective C development for iPhone and iPad, Cooke describes brother-in-law Gough as “the techie guy” and jokes “talking to him could be a bit baffling for clients”.
“I think a lot of programmers are used to a certain language that a lot of the rest of us aren’t used to, there are certain terms that baffle even me,” says Cooke, who acts as interpreter.
“Coming from a design background, I’ve been grounded in the idea of hand-holding clients and being very client-focused. A lot of our workflow is around including the client in what we do and educating them.”
With the world increasingly conducting its affairs through mobile devices like smart phones and tablets rather than desktop computers, Cooke says its a trend every company with a web presence needs to get to grips with fast.
He says Fluid Ink’s clients fall into two different camps – those who want to charge for an app they have developed, selling it through the iTunes or Android markets and those who create an app as a way to get their content out to the broadest audience possible.
“We did a project with the OPW last year which was an iPad version of an art catalogue. Their remit was to try to get the content out to as many people as possible, so obviously they didn’t want to charge for it.”