Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Featured Artist: Potato Mou.se

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Lyndz: I’m Lyndsay Hooper and I’m the designer of Potato Mou.se. I did a lot of design work at university, and spend my spare time hooping.

Josh: I’m Josh Stevens and I’m the developer at Potato Mou.se. I have a background in computer nerdery, and I write a lot of code for the websites.

What is Potato Mou.se?

Josh: We are a web design and development company and we specialise in creating responsive websites for small up and coming business. So the idea being we create the same sort of quality for businesses as you would get for a big company, so these days it’s getting more and more prominent to have a website that works on a desktop, a tablet and a phone, but we want to make it accessible to everyone to have that without any extra costs.

Why did you create the business?

Josh: I think we would fairly often come to each other for advice in our own specialist areas, I would go to Lyndz for design, she would come to me for code, it made sense to put our heads together .

Lyndz: As well, after university I sort of couldn’t see a job, if you look for design jobs now it’s difficult to find a job that seems suitable because all the applications say you need to know six or seven, sometimes even ten different creative programs and it’s quite off putting to jump straight into that environment and quite intimidating. We were getting asked quite to do websites , and I wouldn’t have been able to design and code, it just made sense to work with each other.

Josh: We’ve obviously got our specialist areas, and we can probably do 10-20% of the other person’s job, but not to the same standard.

Lyndz: It speeds the process up quite considerably.

What is it that draws you to this sort of business?

Lyndz: It’s a mix of things I think-

Josh: There’s a lot of bad design around.

Lyndz: Yes, (laughs) bad code yeah.

Josh: There’s a lot of new technology around and a lot of people don’t seem to understand the benefits of using this new technology.

Lyndz: It’s something that’s growing, I mean more and more businesses are going online, it’s a first port of call, for example with my dad, he says he’s seen a massive increase in his class because they’ve come through the website. It is
a business card. It’s not “Oh, have you got a contact number?”, it’s “have you got a website?”. As Josh said, there’s so much bad design out there, it’s infuriating. (laughs) And there’s such sloppy code on websites as well, it’s nice to have a bit of a change. The customer interaction as well is quite nice to help people realise what they want and how they want to project their business.

How did you come up with the name, ‘Potato Mou.se’?

Josh: We were trying to be quite clever, by incorporating the end part of the URL. So where you have ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’, we wanted to have something that would incorporate the business name as part of the website name. So because I was based in Sweden, we thought we could use something with either ‘.se’ or ‘.us’ or something like that, maybe a Swedish word. Originally we came up with the name of what I thought was ‘Mashed Potato’ in Swedish, which was ‘Potatis Mus’…errr which my girlfriend who is Swedish then told me meant ‘Potato Mouse’, but then we decided that that would be more of a fitting name.

Lyndz: It’s a bit more memorable as well.

What has the business brought you so far, and where has it taken you?

Lyndz: It’s a learning curve every day, so, how to use different programs, so within Photoshop I’ve taught myself a lot more, things about web design that I thought I knew, design processes.

Josh: I think that a lot of the stuff that I picked up from university, the majority of it doesn’t have much use in the real world. I mean we can apply some things. I studied computer science and there were all sorts of methodologies, ways of creating things, well that’s great but we haven’t put any of those into practice and I can’t think that we’d ever need to put those into practice. But on the flipside if I didn’t have a basic understanding of some of these tools I wouldn’t have been able to learn more about them and find why they’re good or why they’re bad.

Lyndz: I think it’s a working process as well. University has taught you to work within a set time period. At uni for us it was like 12 weeks for a project, this latest project with Potato Mouse we have to punch out in 2 or 3 weeks, which is a much shorter timescale. You sort of jump into the ‘business realm’ and it’s quite scary, like this morning we’ve been trying to sort out accounts and stuff, and how we are going to pay ourselves. It’s really
scary! But when you get to grips with it it’s like, “Oh my God, this is amazing! I’m doing it for myself.” It’s very liberating.

Josh: We sort of think that we’re doing our own specialised areas and this is going to be fantastic, then you have to think of oh, how are we going to get paid, how are we going to do tax?

Lyndz: There’s so much that you don’t think about in the beginning but it’s good, and I’m glad I’m doing it.

Are there any other projects that tie in with it?

Lyndz: Not so much, we’re trying to make this our main job really, we both do stuff on the side.

Josh: I think we’re both nerds in our own right, I mean personally for me my interest is computery and nerdy things so things I pick up from here and there come into-

Lyndz: he’s always got like a link to a new app or a program or something really cool that’s code based.

Josh: Yeah I mean, everything that is new and up and coming and I’m like “I wana use this”; but it’s waiting for the opportunity to use it.

Where do you hope to go with Potato Mou.se in the future?

Lyndz: AS BIG AS FACEBOOK. (Laughs) I said that the other day and was like “Oh God.” An office in Sweden and an office in London would be nice, with several employees.

Josh: I don’t think it’d be good to be a huge business, we’re obviously developing for quite a small market aren’t we, people with small businesses multi-medium, it’s not quite the same as developing software that’s used day to day; but we would like to be a name that is recognised, at least in some areas.

Lyndz: I’d like to be able to live off it, I’d like to go to work everyday and do this.

How did you meet and come up with the idea together?

Lyndz: We met on Facebook a long time ago, because there was an argument going on about Mac and PCs; and I think we both agreed that Mac was the superior machine. (Laughs) I’ve constantly badgered you on advice for coding, because I was trying to make my own websites. People locally were asking me to make websites and I was like “No.” because it took me like 6 months to code one website. Josh was like “Where are all these people coming from?!” (Laughs) So we decided to work together, and after Blockbusters went under it made sense and I had time.

Any unusual facts about yourselves?

Lyndz: I can touch my elbows together…party trick.

Josh: I’ve lived in three countries in the last two years and speak three languages.

And of course Potato Mou.se have their own brilliant website at the following address:




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