Simplify, design and develop your ideas for market

Our Process

We discover, build, launch, and grow ideas. Our projects are guided by best practices, collaboration and momentum. We’re definitely scrappy, and we fight for our projects. By treating each engagement as a partnership, we fully invest ourselves in the success of our clients. By focusing on this simple process, we’ve successfully launched hundreds of products, brands, sites, and campaigns for ourselves and our clients.

The Place of the Way

In Western Japan, the dōjō serves as a special gathering place for the study and mastery of style and strategy. We believe Doejo is not only a place where creative people can come together to learn and grow, but also a mindset that helps us iterate quickly to produce a momentum that our clients need to be successful. With the capabilities to build nearly anything, we choose to work on ideas led by founders that are passionate and understand the importance of our process and why we do things differently.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2007
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 3128 N Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60657
    United States

Reviews

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Audio Recording iPhone Application Development

"They don’t stop working until I’m satisfied. If I’m not done, they’re not done."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
3.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

doejo designed and developed an audio recording app to compete with Soundcloud. They spent a long time just imagining opportunities, functionalities, and designs, then iterated the app until it was right.

The Reviewer
 
1 - 10 Employees
 
Los Angeles Metro Area
Srini Kumar
Inventor, TinyVox
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

At its core, doejo has its finger on the pulse of what’s current and interesting in development today. They don't let up until they deliver results. Their main developer left for another position, so they need to hire more talent, but overall, they are easy-going, talented, and creative.

BACKGROUND

Could you give a brief description of your company?

I’m the inventor of TinyVox. It’s a SoundCloud competitor. It’s the underappreciated part of the Internet experience. I’m the kind of guy who is sick of being on videos and in photos. So, I thought, “audio.” 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Why did you approach doejo?

When I started, I was casting about for an agency that knew how to present itself in a way that was sub-culturally relevant to what I wanted to do, which was hip. Hip is a really good mental folder for one of the sides of doejo. The owner, Philip Tadros, and I spent two months before I spent any money just thinking about the possibilities of audio. I was about to do a Web application with them when I got my first iPhone and thought, “This should be an iPhone app.” doejo took it like a personal mission to do something really cool. I’m not sure if we were the very first iPhone app they did, but we were really close to the beginning. The resources that I got access to were right at the top level of the company right away.

One of the areas that I was looking for in an agency was not just a functional thing, but a product design attitude which is we’re going to make something that really works. The way I found out about them is because they were in the 37Signals orbit. Anyone related to 37Signals has to be good. If you want to hire 37Signals, but they’re not [available] on the market, you hire doejo. 

SOLUTION

Can you tell us more specifically about the scope of the work?

We let them do almost everything at the beginning. doejo created a platform for me so that if I wanted to expand the scope later, that was easy. The word that comes to mind immediately is flexibility. They’ll create it. I want to add Dropbox. I want to add YouTube. I want to add Instagram. They built it in such a way that I can. It’s modular and flexible. You want that scope to go places. They built it so you can customize it overtime. 

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative, either in a cost range or personnel work hour estimate?

They’ve probably put in about 800 hours, and it cost about $80,000 to $100,000. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

How would you describe the results of the project?

The results have been consistent. The chemistry has been outstanding. They want results as bad as I do. That is the thing with doejo. I think other companies may not have this. Until they get results, they’re just not going to let up. They’ll do anything. If I want to bend them into some crazy situation with some API [application programming interface], they’ll throw row men into it. They’ll learn it so that they can apply it to the next clients. That was always something that I knew that they would do. They would learn things with my app. It is about you creating a system where you are in love with what you’re doing and then doejo falls in love with it.

What makes your app successful?

I’ve made about three times my initial cost, which is pretty cool, and I think that I’m just getting started. The key result is that they don’t stop working until I’m satisfied. If I’m not done, they’re not done. The results of the future are vast.

How would you describe doejo’s performance?

One of the greatest things was you would tell them what you wanted, and they would come back with a high-quality vision. The artwork they do is so good. These are really smart people.

I’m a hit maker but doejo is my studio. They’ll make it happen. They make sure things come through. You need to have really good visual people, people who know what it ought to look like and know intuitively. They’ve got this talent. That, to me, is what makes a really hot project. Because it all runs on Basecamp, it’s really good. doejo taught me a lot about project management.

They’re like friends. That’s the other thing. If you work with doejo for a year, you have these friends in Chicago now. They’re good dudes and girls. They have a nice office.

Hanging out with doejo, you just get absorbed more and more into this feeling of they appreciate your courage. They have talent. I feel like I’m eight small contracts away with doejo from perfecting it. It took three years. I don’t have to hire a coder for $140,000 a year. If I want to make an app, I just pay doejo $3,000 or however much it costs. Having talent on tap, there is your synopsis. Doejo: Talent on tap.

Is there anything doejo needs to improve upon or that you would do differently?

I have to just to be completely fair, they need mobile developers. Their best guy, the guy who helped me build TinyVox, he just left the company for Yahoo, which is natural. He’s been there for years. If there’s any way that they can attract more mobile developers ASAP, I think that they’re very, very easy to work with.

Do they still provide ongoing development and support?

Yes, they do. Again, I’m waiting for them to get a replacement for their mobile guy. My app right now got messed up with iOS7 very badly. That’s a problem. But, they’ll really sit there and listen to you. The more they listen to you, the more excited they are to take it to the next level and make a meeting happen. 

5.0
Overall Score They need to get those mobile guys and girls together.
  • 3.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I’m not a deadline guy. Get it done. Do it whenever. I believe in you.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Sticking to the original estimates. Obviously things creep. I’ve spent a good amount of money.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    If you open up your imagination to doejo, doejo will give you that imagination back. They’ve got soul...I’m so greedy about doejo that I don’t want anybody else to use them. doejo is mine...I know that is what you’re looking for.

Private Social Club Website Design and Rebranding

“They were very creative, very young. They created a very professional look.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. 2012 - Jan. 2013
Project summary: 

doejo developed a Clubessential website to increase the club’s viability with a younger demographic. They customized the basic software to represent a distinct brand image.

The Reviewer
 
11 - 50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Controller, Private Social Club
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

doejo delivered a creative, vibrant website that has earned a 20 percent increase in page views per visit. They managed to create a hip and youthful energy while conforming to the more demure existing style. The team demonstrated patience, dedication, and thoughtfulness throughout.

BACKGROUND

Could you give a brief description of your company?

We’re a private member club. The governance is an executive committee, and then we have volunteers. There’s a board, and a number of committees as well that are volunteer based. There’s a staff that supports them.

What is your role and how does that relate to the work with doejo?

I’m the controller. We’re a small organization. We’ve got about $7 million in revenue. In our job descriptions, IT actually falls under me. We were looking to reinvigorate our website. I was the staff member that was the project manager for doing that.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Why did you want to redesign your website?

We were giving off the image of being a stodgy, old club. We needed a tool to attract a younger set. We actually didn’t approach doejo ourselves. They were brought in by a third-party consultant that was trying to define who our members are and who we are trying to reach. The consultant recommended doejo and one other company to come in. doejo was selected. I was not part of the selection process.

SOLUTION

Can you talk more about the scope of the project?

The project itself was two parts. There was a software service called Clubessential that had the basic building blocks to create the website. doejo was brought in to enhance what Clubessential already offered. It was to take the basic software and add a creative side to it that brought out more of the branding. It came down to things like menu choices and what we were trying to say. They developed the style guide that we used for updating the website when it comes to posting articles or pictures. They worked with Clubessential on the programming, I believe, to make their vision work with the Clubessential software.   

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative?

I think doejo’s piece was about $20,000. The project lingered for about a year, not for any fault of doejo. It was more our internal [delays]. The man hours were way beyond what it should have been. I can’t even begin to tell you what that was.

When was it completed?

January of 2013.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project?

What we’re seeing is a vibrant, robust website. We have seen a significant increase in hits. We’re seeing about a 20 to 25 percent increase [in page views per visit] in a year’s time.

Do you feel like you selected the right company to work with?

Yes.

How would you describe their performance?

They were very creative, very young. Again, I do work for a place that is a bit more stodgy although we try not to give that image. They created a very professional look. Garrett [Galayda, doejo’s creative director] in particular was very hip and got what we were looking for. They spent some time looking at what we wanted to be. I think they had it.

Looking back on the project, is there any area that you think doejo could improve or that you would do differently?

I applaud doejo on their patience and getting into our bureaucracy. I think the biggest thing we would have changed was the timing. I think a lot of what ended up dragging our feet the most was just when we were trying to do the work [in the summertime, the club’s busy season]. All in all, I think it was a good experience. There’s nothing from doejo’s perspective that we would have done differently.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

E-commerce Website Development for Commercial Real Estate Procurement Platform

“They’re creative. They’re an agency so they can handle a lot of different things that we throw at them.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

doejo provided web design and development for a B2B e-commerce platform. Features include search and filtering items, access management, payment processing, purchase reports, and spending limits for some users.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Peter Hepner
CEO, Purchasing Platform
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

doejo had a firm grasp of the platform from the getgo, and they wrote code that was easy to maintain. Project management is not their strong suit, but they always meet their deadlines. The team has expertise across many technologies; if they don't have the skill, they know someone who does

BACKGROUND

Could you give a brief description of your company and your role?

We are an e-commerce procurement vehicle for commercial real estate operators. If you owned a bunch of apartment buildings and you had managers at each of those apartment buildings, we help those managers as well as their maintenance staff onsite get anything they need to run their properties. Whether it be paint or appliances or office supplies, we aggregate all those items into one e-commerce solution.

What is your role at the company?

I’m the CEO. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

When you approached doejo, what was the business challenge that you were trying to address?

We needed them to build the site. We had the vision; they needed to build it.

Did you already have a website previously?

We did not.

What goals did you have? What did you want on the site?

It was an enterprise-level e-commerce solution. It wasn’t something where we could just buy an off-the-shelf e-commerce product and then kind of tweak it to our own internal needs. The functionality that we needed with this Web application had a lot of different variants to it. We went to doejo with the vision. They created the scope of work and then kind of took it from there. 

SOLUTION

Can you tell me a little bit more about the scope of the project?

It was anything from just your standard run-of-the-mill e-commerce website with the ability to search for certain items and put them into your shopping cart and check out. We also put in functionality like what you can do in any e-commerce site, favorite-ing certain items. 

We started to go deeper than that, and this is where it needed to be more of an enterprise-level system. For example, the system needed the ability to define who the employees [of real estate properties] are and what locations they manage. We also needed to have the ability in the system for credit cards to be assigned to certain properties or across the entire company’s portfolio. We needed the ability for supervisory approval where if you had a property manager that you only wanted to be able to spend $200 on any individual order that if that threshold was exceeded, the order, when they click submit in the checkout process, wouldn’t be pushed out to all the different vendors. It would actually ping a defined supervisor in our system and that supervisor would need to go in and approve the order before the POs [purchase orders] were punched out to the vendors. One additional piece of technology that we needed integrated into the system was the ability to map each individual company’s chart of accounts to our product categories in our system, essentially making it easier for the operators to download activity out of our system at the end of the month and upload it into their accounting system.

Did they also provide training and support for the website?

Yeah, they told us how it worked. It’s more of an entrepreneurial shop, so it’s not your large agency structured kind of process. We go there every Wednesday, and we sit down with them to talk about priorities and tasks, and they review with us the things that have been done and we talk about it. It’s not formalized training but, yes, I suppose they did train us.

Did they also do design services for you, such as photography, branding, and/or logo design?

Yes. They did.

What was your process for selecting doejo to work with in the first place?

We interviewed close to 40 agencies all around the world. We considered offshoring it and quickly decided that because of the complexity with the platform that we were building that we wanted to keep it onshore. After talking to probably 25 different companies that were stateside, we narrowed it down to three and ended up choosing doejo. We felt like they understood better than anybody else what it was that we were trying to accomplish.

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative either in a cost range or personnel work hour estimate?

It’s ongoing. It’s sort of like a never ending application. There’s always more to do. We engaged them in June of 2012, and they’ve been working on it ever since. It’s been more than 3,000 hours that they’ve worked on it during the past couple of years.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

You say that the work is still ongoing, but are there any metrics that you can share or any feedback in regards to the success of the project?

It works. People are buying stuff, so that’s good. Because it’s a B2B [business-to-business] platform, when we bring on clients, we’re bringing on large chunks at a time. The system needed to be able to scale quickly. They set it up to operate that way. As with any application, there are always the issues that need to be addressed and things that you want to change; we try and keep those to a minimum. Overall, we’ve been very happy.

How would you describe their performance? 

I would say their performance has been very good. We felt like they understood what we needed to build. They just started building it. My challenge with technology is that it’s so hard to set deadlines because you envision this big project. How do you set a timeline on that? What we needed to do was create the scope of work, define what it looked like, and then just stay involved along the way to make sure that they weren’t getting off track, and to be more agile as things were moving along to make sure that we weren’t spending a lot of time going off in the wrong direction.  

As far as staying on track and meeting deadlines, we didn’t really have many deadlines. There have been occasional ones where we’ve been like, “All right, you have to get this done by this period of time.” Sometimes, they’ve been met; other times, they haven’t. In rare occasions when I say that it’s their fault, I think it’s just technology’s fault. Sometimes, it takes more time to tackle it. 

My barometer for determining whether or not the code doejo has built is good or bad is how easily manipulated that code is. If I asked them to make a change, if they came back and said this is going to take two months versus they say they can get that done in three days, which tells me the quality of the code that they’ve produced for us. In almost every single instance, they said it’ll take three days to get that done. It tells me that they’ve done a great job with the code.

Was there anything unique or special about them compared to other companies that you may have worked with in the past?

They’re creative. They’re an agency so they can handle a lot of different things that we throw at them. There’s only a couple of occasions where they’ve said, “This falls outside of our bandwidth or technical acumen.” They’ve had to pull in third-party resources at that point, but everything else has been pretty much them.

Looking back on the project, is there any area that you think Dojo could improve upon or that you would do differently?

I would say, at times, during the past couple of years, project management has been lacking a little bit. That would be the only place where I would offer them improvement and they know that. I’ve talked to them about it.

Do you think that it has a negative impact on the overall project?

No. We can do our own project management as well which we basically have done.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Broadcast Media Corporation WordPress VIP and Mobile Application Development

“They know how to design and build things in a nice, elegant way. I take my high-design projects to them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Apr. 2011 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

doejo migrated a suite of websites off the Ruby on Rails platform to Wordpress VIP. They designed the platform to be easy to use for subsidiaries across the country. They also modernized 20 associated apps.

The Reviewer
 
10,000+ Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
VP, Broadcast Media Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The apps and websites all have a modern feel and have been adopted by hundreds of thousands of users. doejo could work on their communication skills, providing more updates on their progress, but the team is full of good, talented people who deliver results. They met all timelines and budgets.

BACKGROUND

To start, could you give a brief description of your company and your role?

I work for a large broadcasting company. We own and operate 42 television stations across the United States. I head up all of the technical operations related to websites, iPhone apps, Android apps, and anything digital that is involved with the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

When you approached doejo, what was the business challenge that you were trying to address?

We were on a legacy platform for both Web and mobile including the apps. It was a large, old Ruby on Rails stack that we needed to migrate off of. It was built in 2005. This was in 2011. It needed to go to a more modern Web stack, and we wanted to find a WordPress developer to help us do that. We ran across doejo as a very high design, really Web modern, friendly type of development agency that we started to talk to.

What were your company’s business goals for the project?

We needed to migrate off aging equipment. We needed to get on to a more modern Web platform. We needed to make something easy that was simple enough for producers around the country to add and edit content to the website. We wanted to reduce our costs. Using WordPress hosted by WordPress VIP has some significant cost savings for very high traffic websites. We were eager to get on to a less expensive, more open platform that we could build on top of.

SOLUTION

Can you talk a little bit about the scope of the project?

The first thing we did with doejo was to start completely from scratch. They did a deep dive content and metric analysis on our old sites and helped to make us understand what our sites were good at and what they weren’t good at. Then, we sat down in design and sketched out what our sites would be like. They took them into OmniGraffle and built them as wireframes, took them from that into Photoshop, iterated on that again for a little bit, built them in the browser, and then released them as a product. That was part one of the project.

Part two was then to take the same thing and do it to our iPhone and Android apps, which was 20 iPhone and 20 Android apps at that time. Look at them, see what people want out of them, do a new design on them, rebuild them, put them together, and release them. We did that with them as well. They provided on retainer ongoing support for both desktop theme and mobile stuff for quite a while now. The training part of it we kind of handled ourselves. WordPress is so easy to use. We don’t really need an outside trainer to come in. They didn’t necessarily train us on how to use the sites, but they do provide a significant amount of ongoing support for us on the development of them.

How long did these projects take?

Part 1 was 2011. It started in April, and it went through the end of the year. That was probably a seven- or eight-month project to get everything built and launched and done. It was probably a six-month project in earnest to do that, and then the apps were another six-month project on top of that.

What was it that made you select doejo to work with?

I knew I wanted the host on WordPress VIP. doejo wasn’t a WordPress VIP developer yet but was interested in becoming one. We were able to take a small upcoming Web shop doejo in 2011, bring a big project to them, and help them develop into ultimately the shop that we want to work with in the big picture. What I liked about them in particular was they were small, agile, and really hungry for business at the time, and had some very smart people who were really good designers. We knew that the pattern working with them that whatever they designed on paper, and they were actually able to build us as a product. Whereas other companies, they’d sketch something out, but the end product wasn’t really that close to what the original drawing looked like. We’ve always noticed with doejo that they’re able to build what they set out to build in a nice, elegant way. They were very competitive on price, and they were very competitive on timelines. Between price and timelines and really liking their design skills, it worked out well.

Was there anything else unique about them that you found compared to other companies that you’ve worked with in the past?

I think they are a really solid design shop. They do very good work. They have good technical skills in the backend. They’re very good people. They’re responsive. Like I said, they know how to design and build things in a really nice, elegant way. I take my high design project to them. I take my easy stuff to a smaller team.

Can you give us a sense of the size of the initiative either in dollar terms or in personnel work hours?

I’d say it’s more than a $500,000 project.

When was the project completed?

We do 100 to 200 hours a month of ongoing development every month now from 2011 until here we are in 2014. The base project took six months for desktop and six months for apps. Ever since then we’ve just building on top of it. The project hasn’t even ended yet. It’s continually ongoing. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of the results of the project, are there any metrics that you can share that indicate success?

Yes. I have boatloads of them. It depends on how you quantify it. If you say the amount of downloads that we have for our app users, it’s very hard to quantify because obviously when a new iPhone comes out, we get a billion new downloads. We have almost 2,000,000 people using the apps they built for us, and we have around 50,000,000 people a month visiting the websites they built for us. The traffic continues to grow overtime.

It’s hard to say that on day one something went from X to Y because day one has stretched out for three years now. We also have these 42 television stations that are huge in their own rights. It’s really hard to quantify a direct one to one on that.

Do you have any qualitative feedback that you can share either from employees or customers about the apps or the website?

Yes. People notice that, for our industry, our websites and our apps are very progressive and very 2014 feeling. In the newspaper and broadcasting industry, websites don’t always look and feel like the modern internet. Sometimes, they’re a couple of years behind the curve. We like to pride ourselves that because of our relationship with them we’re at the forefront and, in some ways, ahead of the curve because we’re able to tap into people that know how to design for the modern Web.

Looking back on the project, is there any area that you think doejo could improve or that you would do differently?

I think that they need to work on communication. That’s something that I think almost every single dev shop in the world does. They need to continue to work on communicating with clients along the way really well and making sure everyone’s up to speed on what the project is, what the scope is and what the end goal is. Fortunately, we’ve had a good experience with them. Like in any project, there are certain things you have to battle.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We pass them around a lot.