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What is Killer Infographics?
Killer Infographics is one of the world’s lead infographic design agencies. We serve a diverse, global clientele ranging from small startups to large brands like Pepsico, Starbucks, Microsoft and more. In a world where time is money and attention spans are dwindling, information communicated visually has the best chance of reaching today’s new media consumer. This is why infographics are now a necessity in any brand or product communications strategy and Killer Infographics is uniquely positioned to help clients harness the power of visual marketing. Run by marketers in tandem with some of Seattle’s best designers, we offer a turnkey solution that combines research, design and distribution for infographics, motion graphics and interactive design.

What’s your traction been like thus far?
Killer Infographics has grown beyond our expectations. When we began in October of 2010, we had 2 employees (myself and my business partner), 2 freelancers and 1 client. Now, we have 20 full time employees, 5 specialty contractors and 250+ clients around the world. We have grown out of 4 previous offices and have recently found an office to grow into in Fremont. We complete an average of 100 projects per month and have diversified our offerings to include motion graphics and interactive infographics over the past year. We have felt both humbled and honored to work with some absolutely amazing clients on very exciting projects and continue to move forward with great momentum.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started Killer Infographics?
Don’t start a C-Corp if you are running a self-funded startup with more than 30% overhead! When my business partner and I began, we sought the advice of other entrepreneurs we knew, and all told us to start a C-Corp. At the time though, we had a very different business model where a C-Corp made more sense, as we were NOT planning to grow a large team or have a lot of overhead. Our original business model was to run affiliate and lead-gen websites, since that’s the world we came from. We were successful with those sites and had developed a number of infographics to continue our success. One thing led to another and we began designing infographics for other companies, and this is where our pivot story began. A C-Corp though, doesn’t make a pivot easy since it’s not an entity that allows you to leave a lot of money in the bank at the end of each tax year. Luckily, we made the shift to an S-Corp, but it wasn’t until after we had spent an arm and a leg on taxes, just so we could keep a healthy amount of op-ex in the bank to provide extra security for our employees. I suggest avoiding a C-Corp structure entirely and starting either an LLC or S-Corp (LLC is probably best). The pass-thru taxes allow you to invest back into your company, whereas a C-Corp makes this very hard.

What’s a hypothesis that you’ve had that has failed? And how did you respond?
You should never pay more than $1000 for an infographic. This was a hypothesis we had when we started our company, and one that we pushed until the winter of 2012. At that time, it became apparent that we could only sustain this pricing model at the expense of quality and service. We had an option: become the fast food vendor of infographics or raise prices to deliver a quality service and become a leader in the industry.

To be honest, we had to debate between the options. The fast food industry is a billion dollar industry after all. That said, we wanted to be proud of what we were producing, and couldn’t do that as a cheap/templated alternative… so we raised prices.

With thousands of infographics produced everyday, a design has to stand out to be a success. This requires an expert team to identify a marketable topic, provide an engaging storyline with thorough research, design with a talented eye and highly unique mindset, and distribute the final product to ensure it connects with a client’s audience. This is not a fast food service and cannot be done at fast food pricing.

Luckily, we’ve created a very thorough process to ensure all steps are handled while also providing top-notch designs. Setting a process has helped us remain competitive in our pricing and turnaround time, but we are far more realistic about the cost of quality.

How would you describe your company culture?
Our company culture is transparent and highly collaborative with a lot of fun mixed in. There hasn’t been a day yet where we don’t bust out laughing as a team about something that happened or that someone said. My business partner and I believe that company culture should always be a top priority for any startup. Because of this, we provide multiple ways for our employees to chime in about their needs and help set company goals and expectations. We avoid being “corpo” at all costs, providing our team with flexible hours, attire, team parties and a fun atmosphere. The office space is wide open without cubicle walls or separate offices to divide everyone and each team works in “pods” allowing for open communication at all times.
We just won Geekwire’s Geekiest Office Space award because we have created a space for our ideas to flourish and to ensure we all enjoy coming to work (which includes kegerators, a climbing wall, standing desks and more).

What’s your favorite startup in Seattle? (Besides your own!)
TinyPulse – TinyPulse sends a weekly question out to our employees to gauge how happy they are at work. Employees answer anonymously, allowing them to be very honest and giving my business partner and I the opportunity to identify areas for improvement with regards to how we run our company. As a small startup where every employee is key to our success, keeping the team happy is a must and TinyPulse has allowed us to identify issues before they get too large, to keep our team and company healthy.

What’s your favorite thing about being a startup in Seattle?
A lot of rain plus great coffee at every corner combine to produce some incredibly hard workers. Of course, when the sun comes out it’s really hard to get anything done, so maybe that’s not my absolute favorite thing about being a startup in Seattle. I think that being a startup in Seattle opens doors that a startup in other cities wouldn’t have access to. Seattle isn’t cut-throat, instead it’s a city where everyone builds each other up for the greater good of our economy. Businesses here want to work with other local businesses and long-term entrepreneurs are eager to help fledgling startups succeed. Seattle has become one of the best places to start a company in the US and it’s because there is a camaraderie among businesses here that doesn’t exist anywhere else.

What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
I’m a work-a-holic that thrives in a creative environment, which I think is what drives almost any successful entrepreneur. I prefer to wear multiple hats so that I can be a part of every phase of a big project. As an entrepreneur, I’m not just 1 step in a long process, instead I get the opportunity to come up with ideas and then carve out the time to implement those ideas and produce a quality end product. It’s incredibly rewarding and keeps me on my toes.

What does the future hold for Killer Infographics?
Killer Infographics is just getting started. We have some great interactive projects on the horizon and are diving deeper into motion graphics to become a one-stop-shop for all forms of visual marketing and communication.

Seahawks, Sounders, Mariners or Huskies?
Um… Seattle Storm… you know, the multi-year WNBA champions 

If Killer Infographics were an animal, what would it be and why?
We were asked this question on TinyPulse. Here are some of the answers that our employees submitted:

Jaguar: 

We have evolved to become one of the top infographic agencies in the world, similar to how the Jaguar is at the top of the game as an apex predator

We have great style, as does the Jaguar.

We have extreme speed and agility in our abilities to produce Killer Infographics. Fast and agile like a Jaguar!

Octopus:We are clearly an octopus, since we’re so flexible. And they change colors, which is awesome.

Charizard: 
1) We kick ass. 
2) We get things done fast
. 3) People are probably impressed by our mad skillz
. 4) We have evolved from Charmander, which is really tiny (aka a tiny startup) and now we are bigger and awesome.

If you were to take Killer Infographics on a date, where would it want to go?
Karaoke at Rockbox – We’d enjoy some cocktails, turn the lights down low and sing until the sun came up. What would we sing? Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Queen… a lot of Queen.

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