We are privately held, for profit business due in part to our desire to influence our for-profit peers to think about business in terms of its purpose.
We view the realm of business more like an act of gardening than an act of war. As such we regularly use verbs such as cultivating rather than competing, tending rather than acquiring, growing rather than winning. Practically this means we have created and we are continuing to create a culture where we foster and encourage the sharing of information that many companies would protect. We demonstrate to our clients how to do many of the things we do.
We train our partners in our approach and processes. It’s an extension of our view of being transparent and upholding people's freedom. Ironically, we are extraordinarily competitive. We just don't view people as the object of our competitive nature. Instead, we view the tilling of the earth and the scaling of mountains as our external competition. Then people, all people, are co-laborers in the toil of surviving and flourishing against that external, non-human, competition.
WE STRIVE EVERYDAY TO SHIFT "US" AND "THEM" TO "WE"
We share the story of ipso in a transparent way in hopes that others will hear the practicalities of getting started and feel inspired that they too can create or start their own business or organization. Our business model is actually really simple. In a market where loads of folks over promise and under deliver, we just tell the plain and simple truth. It’s not rocket science. Do what you say you are going to do. Don't commit to do things you can't actually do. Be candid and tell the truth.
Belief in what we are doing is crucial. There’s a high level of belief among us and we are willing to sacrifice for it. Our sense of mission massively eclipses our focus on profit. Profit is necessary and good, but we'll lose the soul of what we are doing, if we don't keep discussion of profit in its proper place.
As we were forming ipsoCreative, we discussed the fact that we believed in the idea of what ipso represented so much that we were willing to step away if need be in order for the idea to flourish. Our belief was (and is) that high. It supersedes our desire to be a part of the idea.
We thrive on being a collective of sorts where people come in and out all the time. Folks who work in the web design industry will come and work from our office as they apply for jobs or build their freelance client base. Clients will stop by for a cup of coffee when they are traveling near our office. Students from Kent State University and the University of Akron have worked on projects and photo shoots in our office. All of these folks do that because there’s value in being around others who are working and creating. It spurs us collectively toward excellence in ways that are difficult to achieve in solitude. There is something inherent in the act of creating that inspires.
We delight in the surprising looks we sometimes receive when we invite others to join us while we create. More public spaces like coffee shops are expected to be open for such things. But a place of business is largely viewed as a private domain to only be occupied by those who work under its banner. We are striving to iconoclastically remove that fence by welcoming all who cherish beauty and craft and humans to be present with us as we cherish those same things.
While not commonly used, the word edification is such a great word and carries with it the notion of building others up. Basically using your resources (especially time and talent) for the benefit of others. Essentially, the nature of edification is inherently others-centric. Fortunately, some really great brands have deeply influenced our cultural expectations regarding the others-centric realm of customer service. They have been monetarily successful because of the high regard, value, and priority they place in doing what is right by their customers rather than just their bottom line. We share this mindset, but we believe that the business realm has the opportunity to go further.
To overcome disunity by breaking down the walls between us and them, to where there is just "us." Viewed in this way, there really isn't an "other." There's just "us." We believe that business is one of the most powerful agents for the common good. And we are interested in the common good of the collective "us."