• Transform magazine
  • March 27, 2023


Five minutes with Studio Everywhere


Transform chats with Studio Everywhere co-founders David Brabbins and Jason Berg, and partner Aaron Cole, about the consultancy’s establishment of its decentralised, member-controlled creative consulting network. Launched in 2021, Everywhere DAO’s mission is to ‘unlock the opportunities of decentralisation and Web3 technologies for the creative services world’.

Please could you tell me a bit about Studio Everywhere and the principles, as a creative consultancy, it was founded on?
David: I was working for a large consulting firm at the time as a partner in Asia. I was frustrated that some of the projects I was selling and the in-house talents available. I was not able to really solve them as effectively as I knew I could if I was using the people outside of the company I'd been collecting for 15 years. With this amazing, esoteric bunch of freelancers, I was pretty sure I could solve these problems much more quickly if I was able to curate the best teams for any job using external resources, rather than using the ‘next cab off the rank’ – people I hadn't chosen who were often not the best fit for the project’s needs. That pain point led me to wonder if there was a better way, and in 2018 I decided there was and founded Studio Everywhere.  

I got my business cards, went to a party one night, met Jason and he said, “I'd love to help you build the world's creative consultancy!” And four years in, it turns out there was a market for a kind of conventional offer in that we provide similar things to traditional shops, just with an internet back end so we can a global network of curated talent who have opted out of the system and now can collaborate from anywhere in the world at any time on projects.

We think talent and opportunity is everywhere and our job is to arrange the meeting. We're not a talent network, we're a consulting firm - we take ownership of the problem solving and take responsibility for the outcomes and we enjoy doing the work ourselves. We get shit done just with the people of our choosing and it's grown super nicely.


Tell me about the creation of Everywhere DAO and why it was something you wanted to venture into?
David:  I wouldn't call us a talent network, we're not a headhunting firm. We are a consulting firm; we own the problem/solution part. So, we are different to some of those people who are just matchmakers. Really, it's more for our own needs that we had to manage our own network, database and talent. We've got hundreds of these amazing people and the nature of having a database is that you're not deploying all of them at once at full capacity. So that got our brains ticking. These amazing people are often much better at doing work than finding work, so how can we bridge the gap? If we're building tools for ourselves, what would it look like if we opened them up to other similarly minded agencies and they can tap into people that are outside their organisation? They could be in a beachside village in Bali or a penthouse in Bangkok - we don't really mind as long as they get the job done.

Jason: Over the time that we built Studio Everywhere, there's a lot of things that exist that are out there, so we kind of were going through that process to see where that whitespace is in the market. In the meantime, we ended up doing a branding project for a cryptocurrency called Seeds, which is where we got introduced to the construct of what a DAO was. We participated in that by submitting a proposal through their system whereby any contributor to the project goes through a semi-automated process where the entire community then votes and is engaged in the decision-making and collective action of that organisation. Everybody's earns an ownership share based on the contributions that they make.

But what created this really interesting construct and idea around, not only could we layer technology, but is there something in this new technology and framework to bring together the otherwise fragmented independent workforce where everybody's working for themselves but they're also collaborating at the same time.

Aaron: I think what's really interesting as well is that we are a consultancy and we run a product. I think that's exciting and it's one of the reasons I joined. It also allows us to learn because, in theory, we're our own client as well, which is great. And then we have other clients that want to be part of our product that aren't paid consultancy clients. So, we're always a consultancy and a product and we're learning in multiple ways. It keeps us busy, no doubt, and at times very stretched. But it means we have a very different team building the product than we do doing the consultancy. It can only be good learning because it's all future facing. For instance, being within that DAO and Web3 world has allowed us to pick up projects for clients to try and help them discover what's next in those spaces, and so the learning and the doing feeds back into the consultancy as well.


What do you believe Everywhere DAO’s creation will do for the industry at large?
I might be a bit idealistic, but what I think is so exciting about this is that the potential impact on the industry is pretty profound. There's been this constant shift from larger agency embedded within these big organisations through to independents, and people have gone through that journey for a reason. There's that entrepreneurial spirit. There's that ownership of their work and the decision to pursue the creative pathways that are the most specific to them and allows them to specialise in certain fields, gives them freedom, autonomy, flexibility, all those things that I think are so core to us.

That independent path has become increasingly viable for more people. Now, I think that it's still a scary road. I think the infrastructure for it is still very nascent and again, the infrastructure at a big firm is still nice because there's a safety net and there's resources available. With Everywhere DAO, you're taking all of that infrastructure behind something that provides the benefits of an agency for the workforce but doing it in a much more autonomous way that enables independence. So, I think the advent of Everywhere DAO and anything else within that vein creates the opportunity for people to go down that path and work in this more future-forward way. It not only enhances their work life, but also personal life as well.