The Indianapolis website and app development studio, Oldspeake, was founded in 2016 after co-founder Allen Pieper realized a friend and fellow creative was living in Section 8 housing. Inspired to design a better opportunity for himself and his creative counterparts, he partnered with friend and software engineer, Jameal Ghaznawi to create Oldspeake. The studio primarily serves agency partners and SaaS product teams offering expert technical resources with design savvy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is on average a $20K annual pay gap between graphic designers and web developers in America. And yet, designers are increasingly required to have the technical skills of front-end web developers.
“I knew there was a better way,” said Pieper. “By focusing on a sustainable model, we can offer a minimum thrivable wage (MTW) at the core of our business. The goal of the MTW is to disrupt the market with better opportunities for creatives while also inspiring them to do exceptional work for our clients by removing the typical barriers that dampen creativity.”
And, that message is already resonating. Seasoned marketing and advertising executive, Despi Ross, has just joined their team as Chief Marketing Officer with a focus on scaling the business. Ross brings 15 years of experience working with agencies, non-profits and consumer brands looking to share their stories through marketing and technology.
“Working with Allen and Jameal to scale Oldspeake is a no-brainer,” explained Ross. “As a creative and technologist myself, I see the opportunity to disrupt the tech industry with a new, more equitable model. And as a past client, I know the quality of the work speaks for itself.”
Oldspeake is keenly aware that taking such a stance can attract some clients, but also alienate others – cost being the primary concern. But, the studio is a distributed team – meaning there’s no overhead for the open-concept offices, kegerators or ping pong tables so common in other tech companies. So, the cost to clients is minimized while balancing Oldspeake’s commitment to equitable compensation for top design-focused tech talent.
Pieper and Ghaznawi both have extensive agency experience creating award-winning design and technical work that creates a unique value proposition for their clients. According to Ghaznawi, “It’s rare to find technical resources with our focus on design quality. Traditionally those two skill sets have required two very different people on a team. But, the evolution of human-centered digital experiences requires mastery of both design and technology – and we are working hard to build a team that gets both.”
In 2019, Oldspeake is expanding its Indianapolis operation adding marketing, design and engineering resources and in 2020, plans to expand further. Pieper explains, “By building a robust team with a wide range of skills, we will continually enhance our ability to deliver innovative tech experiences that are truly worthy of the human experience.”