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Craftsmanship, the heart of Whimsical

Steve SchoeffelChief Creative Officer
5 min read · October 4, 2023
5 min read
Oct 4, 2023
Link copied to your clipboard
Steve SchoeffelChief Creative Officer
5 min read · October 4, 2023
Link copied to your clipboard

There’s one word that describes Whimsical’s essence: craftsmanship.

I still remember the moment we discovered it. It was back in 2018 when it was just me and my co-founder Kaspars. We were walking down the street on our way to lunch, talking about our hopes for Whimsical. What we realized was that we shared a deep desire to build something truly great and world-class. The word that emerged then and that has guided us ever since is “craftsmanship.”

What craftsmanship means to us

To us, craftsmanship means you care a whole, whole lot. Craftsmanship = extreme quality. For Whimsical, this means creating products that:

  • get out of your way and usher you into a state of flow
  • are loaded with delightful details
  • have spirit and taste
  • empower you to communicate more fluidly and effectively than ever before

Quality requires judgment and art. It requires a point of view. It’s as much what isn’t there as what is there. This makes the pursuit of craftsmanship both exciting and hard.

The main trade-off

Craftsmanship comes at a cost. It’s not free. It generally takes more time to build something that is of the utmost quality. It requires you to slow down and to think deeply. This is a trade-off that we accept. We gladly choose quality over quantity.

The quality mindset

One company whose craftsmanship is both evident and hugely inspiring is Pixar. I love this quote from Creativity Inc.:

“John coined a new phrase: “Quality is the best business plan.” What he meant was that quality is not a consequence of following some set of behaviors. Rather, it is a prerequisite and a mindset you must have before you decide what you are setting out to do. Everyone says quality is important, but they must do more than say it. They must live, think, and breathe it. When our people asserted that they only wanted to make films of the highest quality and when we pushed ourselves to the limit in order to prove our commitment to that ideal, Pixar’s identity was cemented. We would be a company that would never settle.” — Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.

Quality is a mindset. It requires all-out devotion. This is the mindset that we aspire to at Whimsical. We don’t expect to ship perfection every time but we are resolutely committed to quality. It’s a part of our identity and culture.

We acknowledge that quality is a journey. It’s iterative. We are always looking for ways to improve our existing product. We understand that as we’re building something new, the first versions won’t be great. But we will never settle.

Do we perfectly adhere to our commitment of craftsmanship?

No, of course not — but we’re on the path. We actively work to seek, protect, and prize craftsmanship in our normal work rhythms.

For example:

  • When building a new product feature, we focus on ensuring the design and build meet our quality checks versus time boxing the work into a certain number of weeks
  • We have entire cycles of work where we focus on shipping quality detail updates like small UI improvements or bug fixes (we’re in a particularly long one as I write this)
  • Before shipping a new feature, we experience and evaluate it within our team first. By the way, building a product we use ourselves is such an advantage and joy
  • When hiring, we look for candidates with a clear track record of craftsmanship in their discipline

A form of love

Another person who has inspired us (and many, many other product builders) is Steve Jobs. In the book “Make Something Wonderful,” there’s a quote that really resonates with me that speaks to the spirit of creating something of the utmost quality:

In another age, Steve believed, the people on the Macintosh team would have been writers, musicians, or artists. “The feelings and the passion that people put into it were completely indistinguishable from a poet or a painter,” [Steve] said. He called their work a form of love…

Early on, I realized I saw this same passion when watching Kaspars, my co-founder, polish a small detail of the product. Whimsical is and will be his ‘life’s work’—his magnum opus. This compels him to another level of care and I’ve been inspired by that since.

As we’ve built our small team, we’ve taken a lot of care to hire craftspeople here at Whimsical; those who want to do their best work possible. This passion is what enables us to ship a product where care, judgment, and quality are at the heart of every decision. And this is what makes Whimsical, whimsical.

Experience our approach to craftsmanship for yourself. Get started with Whimsical today.

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