Creating smart user experiences with Jet Cooper

Toronto, Canada is a hotbed of young entreprenuers starting up companies in the technology space. I recently had the opportunity to interview one of Toronto’s most active and energetic people. Satish Kanwar is a partner with start-up, TwestivalTO‘s organizer’s. Here is my full interview with him. I hope you enjoy.

Hi Satish. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

No problem. Thanks for the opportunity Karim.

In twitter style, what is Jet Cooper?

Jet Cooper is a digital experience agency based in Toronto, Canada. We work with technology companies (from budding start-ups to major enterprise) to strategize, design, and develop smart end-user experiences for the web.

So you’re not just another web-design company? What makes Jet Cooper different than another company in this space?

We humanize digital. We are in a day where the most prevailing factor of success in digital is your user. Our team is devoted to humanizing the web applications, social networks and sites we work with using the right mesh of technologies, social platforms and open thinking. Traditional agencies will prioritize client needs and form. We put user needs and functions first. What this actually means is that we go through a rigorous planning process, provide detailed web architecture, and commit to user-centric design and development with all of our clients.

That’s interesting because most users feel trapped by personal ignorance. Now I understand you’ve recently started Jet Cooper. What were you doing previous to this and why did you decide to create Jet Cooper?

Verne Ho and I started Jet Cooper only 6 months ago, but have been in the technology and creative industries for our entire careers. My professional journey began with managing marketing/community programs at major technology companies – including Microsoft Canada and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Canada. Prior to that, Verne and I also spent 3 years together managing a boutique creative agency. It’s funny you ask why, as I’ve personally done some presentations on the topic to students and other entrepreneurs. We’re both entrepreneurs to the bone. There’s no getting around the fact that we LOVE building a business, from the most top-level strategy down to washing the dishes. Jet Cooper lets us live that experience time and time again, not only with our agency, but with the many start-ups that we see from ground zero to launch.

In developing Jet Cooper, were there any companies or people that you wanted to model?

We’ve built Jet Cooper ground-up in the way that make sense for our approach. We call it being real – being the collaborators, partners, and people to work with. It’s the result of having always been in the “agency world” from a self-start perspective. In developing our business, we have become fans of the user experience work at Nick La.

I understand you have only been operating for 6 months. You’ve shared your passion for being an entreprenuer, however, what insights can you give our readers on what challenges you faced in starting a tech company in Toronto?

Number one, people. We have a very lively Toronto tech community, but it’s surprisingly difficult to find the right talent to add to a new tech company. After months of job postings, tapping into networks, and calling literally everyone we know, we were fortunate to meet Darcy Clarke and Mustafa Al-Qinneh. Surprisingly we met both of them through Twitter, versus any of the expected hiring methods. Second, infrastructure. With people in place, we had to ensure we had the right technologies, hosted applications, and office space needed to grow. We’ve learned to always put ourselves one step ahead of where we are when it comes to these things – meaning there’s no longer a chicken and the egg dilemma. If it will be needed in the future we want to see for our business, then we won’t settle for a band-aid solution now. One of our biggest challenges has been prioritizing our long-term internal requirements above immediate client ones. The result of this is not having our website completed, enough furniture in our office, or a microwave…yet.

I went on your website and saw you don’t really have one. Why is that?

We know we need a website, but we know you need one more. There’s no masterful plan. The reality is that we hit the ground running and haven’t stopped to launch our own website. Having said that, we’ve had some amazing ideation sessions and are planning some really exciting features that you wouldn’t otherwise expect on an agency website. You can expect to see Jet Cooper’s own digital experience in the new year.

Interesting. What do you want Jet Cooper to be 5 years from now? Where do you want to see it going?

Our story changes every day. The industry that we are in and the technology clients that we support are always changing. That means that our business also needs to evolve with every client, project and interaction. As of today, we look forward to becoming a Canadian leader in user experience strategy and design. We want to be a vibrant studio of business and creative minds, coming together to produce real results through human interactions on the web. Always keeping it real, always having fun, and always growing.

Thanks for this Satish and best wishes to you and Verne!

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Our team is always available to the community, please feel free to reach out to us at, @skanwar, @verneho, @darcy_clarke, and @overmeunderyou.