CLICK NY: Michael Lebowitz, Founder of Big Spaceship


Michael Lebowitz, off Big Spaceship started of saying he’s not going to show any client work but talking more about things he’s learned running his company. (YAY!)

Michael stressed that Big Spaceship is not a ‘web design shop”, not a full service interactive agency, not an ad agency and not a production company. Michael defines Big Spaceship as a digital creative agency, that creates engaging experiences for brands.

Some of Michael’s philosophies in running his company:

everyone’s creative! He despise the term ‘the creatives’.

small is good. (but it’s hard not to grow) scale can be the enemy of quality. creative is about culture.

don’t hire assholes! No amount of talent can compensate for the negativity that a Ass* brings to a work environment.

stay flat.

hire to be the dumbest person in the room. surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. somebody who is of excellence and passion.

experiment constantly

focus on culture

give autonomy. manage by exception. They are in a team system and they exist as autonomous units within the company. This creates ownership of the work they’re doing. Their teams names such as : “cheapie’s playhaus’, flash ‘merica, cobra kai and the special bears.

What I absolutely loved is when Michael spoke about how he set up his office, physically. They have these huge tables where he places teams in aisles, so that when they need to discuss something, all they have to do is turn 180 degrees and they have an instant team meeting. This makes conference room meetings unecessary. Fantastic! (BS’s teams consist usually of 7 people: 2 producers, 2 designers, 3 developers.)

This presentation was my definite highlight so far. This is why I come to conferences: To hear people passionately speak about their personal experiences in our industry, to hear them talk about what they’ve learned. I am so incredibly tired of looking at slideshows of work that people have done. Thank you Michael, this was inspiring!

3 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Grüezi Frau Swissmiss – thanks for the great aggregation services. always to the point and very well selected topics. My favourites are design- and typo-related matter. En herzliche Gruess aus Zürich, Isao

  2. This is so great! I love Michael’s philosophy of being the dumbest person in the room. Good people are hard to find and it’s nice to see someone appreciate his team like that. And big ups to you Tina for taking your eyes off the screen to blog for us who are 3000 miles away. Thank you!!!!

  3. I definitely agree to the fact that this presentation was great!
    His presentation was honest, personal, down to earth … I am a huge fan myself ’bout inspiring & motivating people this way.

    And it works! People enter and leave my agency with a big smile … every day. Walking out of the conference I even thought about applying to one of their job-openings ;-)

    P.S. James did a great kickoff (nice portfolio ;-)) & a bit disappointed that Tom didn’t have more time.