Ten Minutes With – Dan Jesse

We are very proud of the folk who call the Guild home.  To give you a flavour of what these Guilders are like we have had a series of conversations with them.  Our first was with Dan Jesse who has been with us from the start.

Dan Jesse (Sparrow Digital and Jackrabbitt)

We recently caught ten minutes with one of our original Guilders Dan Jesse.  Dan talked to us about the development of Sparrow Digital who we used for our Guild website and Jackrabbit a brand that you will hear more about in the coming months.

We started with the crucial question, what’s his favourite Leonardo Di Caprio Movie?

Wolf of Wall Street or possibly Catch me if you can

Then Dan briefly shared his journey so far:

At 16 had done my GCSEs and wanted to do what my brother did (he was a graphic designer; my uncles were script writers and just generally involved in film, and dad was into film making and I was interested in that).  So, went to college to do new media in print but then focused on the media production.  

Everyone said if you wanted to get into film don’t go to university BUT start at the bottom and work up.  At the time we were encouraged to go university and so I signed up for a Multi Media Design and Digital Degree.  Best teacher was a 3D animator and really enjoyed this course BUT 3D animation is a long process and I fell out with the process.

Picked up lots of technical skills like HTML and CSS in my own time and started using these in Jackrabbitt, for university snowboard trips etc whilst at university.  

Got married early and had kids earlier than most of my friends, so had a slightly different perspective to life to them.  Glad we did this early on.  

I blagged my first job at Moffat, in terms of money it was terrible, most of the pay went on paying for travel to get there, I lasted for two years.  Eventually left to work on my own. Then I realised how hard it was working for myself and we went to do a snowboard season.  

Got back from snowboarding and worked for myself again.  I realised I wasn’t learning much on my own and so went to work at Hydrant for three years where I worked with Dan and Lee.  I learned a lot of what I use now in that time. At Hydrant I was approached by a (via our Jackrabbitt site). Worked well with the new business BUT the owner struggled to adapt to having staff.  Got totally frustrated in the end couldn’t work for them so we split and I worked with them. Learned from this experience as I started working for myself…it’s all part of life.

I then set up in an office with Dan working on projects together.  We wanted to set up a collective of like-minded people rather than a company.  We also sublet desks in the office to others, we pitched the idea of extending this to other parts of the building BUT the landlord wasn’t as interested because their business took up the majority of the rest of the building.

Then met you guys and you got the idea of shared space and so I moved into the Guild.  Have been here two years now, business is growing and I am gaining all sorts of new knowledge.

Of course, we had to ask what his favourite thing about the Guild was:

The variety of people and knowledge all in one space.

If you have a problem you can voice it and not struggle along with it alone.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a technical or business problem someone will always have a solution.

It’s a professional environment and a great place to bring clients into.

Going deep we asked what piece of advice he would give a child?

Don’t get involved in politics

Dream big and don’t be afraid to dream, but also don’t be afraid to change mind.

Don’t let money drive you – let experience take precedence.

No-one else has taken your path so don’t worry about it.

Then, we asked what’s next for his business?

For Sparrow Digital we are focusing on professionalising our business model. So, we can take on more clients and provide better services in the area.

For Jackrabbitt we want to become a well established brand in the adventure industry.  We want to do more events and help people get outdoors.

People are my passion… helping them enjoy themselves.  I want to do more with people especially encouraging them to have a healthy life style that will change their life and I enjoy been part of that process.

Then, we asked him to explain coworking:

You work in an office BUT you’re working on your own thing.

You have the benefit of working by yourself and the benefit of working in an environment with other people who you can chat with and share tea making.

It’s a great way to start as a small business.  It allows you to have a professional space whilst keeping costs low.  It is an open environment where work is often shared round. You can make new contacts and networks are created on a day to day basis..  It encourages creativity on a day to day basis.

Finally, here are Dans three top tips:

Get lots of sleep

Be spontaneous

Don’t forget to save

Dan is a great guy based here in the Guild, if you want to talk websites or get involved in Jackrabbit give him a shout.

www.sparrowdigital.co.uk & www.jackrabbitt.co.uk