Design and Development are not Separate Disciplines. - Tamara Olson - Episode #31

Agencies That Build

Dec 14 2021 • 42 mins

Tamara is the Owner and Head of Operations at Studio Simpatico. Simpatico is a creative agency based out of Manhattan, providing a variety of services from user experience (UX) design & research, branding and identity, to mobile and web design, WordPress development and maintenance, and packaging/print collateral.

Discussion Points:

  • What myth or bogus strategy do you want to bust? 1:25
  • What type of system and processes have you adopted? 4:50
  • Are there tools that you use specifically to manage your projects? 6:55
  • When you started a business, what was your vision? How is turning down the clients and projects helping you grow and scale? 8:52
  • How has your small-sized firm helped you and differentiate from other people or competitors? 15:50
  • What's the seniority level on your team? 17:30
  • What made you quit your corporate job and then start an agency and how did it all start? 19:38
  • What is the biggest mistake you made as an agency owner? 20:41
  • How have things changed w/COVID? 22:14
  • How do you maintain the culture in the team? How do you keep them motivated? 23:10
  • What's your favorite kind of sandwich? 25:30
  • What's the one thing that clients do that drives you bananas? 28:10
  • If you were going to identify a superpower for your agency, what would you say is your superpower amongst you? 33:27
  • As a small child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 36:09
  • What keeps you up at night? 37:45
  • What are you looking at for the future for your agency for growth? 41:11


  • Design and development are not separate disciplines. The design affects how you're going to approach development, so is development affected by design.
  • Introducing people who aren't on the same page about how that process flow is going to go, can introduce a lot of inefficiencies.
  • Saying no, when we don't feel that we can provide, is the name of the game in a lot of respects.
  • There are different purposes for why we do what we do, and the way that we do it. -Jessie
  • Most things can be sorted out if the clients are asking for something, and maybe they don't quite understand something, that's where a little bit of mentorship goes a long way.


Busted Myths:

  • When you have a problem, throwing people at the problem will fix the problem.