A synopsis of my full presentation at The Digital Agency Summit April 2017. Watch the full presentation above or on YouTube.

“Remember, with great power comes great responsibility…”

—Uncle Ben to Peter Parker.

Our clients always ask us how we come up with creative ideas with some of there most difficult problems. My answer is always “our team”. Since we’ve always been asked how we attract top talent I thought I would share some of our secrets.

Perception attracts top talent through various ways:

  • Having great projects to work on
  • Having a great core team and culture
  • Meet as much talent before they come to the studio
  • Being selective with outside freelancers
  • Mining for the right talent
  • Speaking at conferences and schools
  • Be social!

Magnetic Projects that Excite

One of the biggest attractions at Perception are the projects we get to collaborate on. Since we spend our time divided between the parallel dimensions of fantasy and reality our team gets to really stretch creativity and technology to its limits. We could be working on a Marvel film, conceptualizing the next futuristic technology for a hero to save the world and in the same week start a collaboration with an automobile company exploring what the next vision of autonomous vehicles will be. Having some of the most challenging and exciting projects to work on definitely helps when it come to finding and retaining top talent.

If you ask any core member why they work at Perception they will tell you “project diversity” is top of the list. Not every project at Perception is a thrilling feature film or a breakthrough technology user interface exploration, that’s when the team needs to inspire each other and make the “ordinary” projects extraordinary by showing our clients how passionate we are about good design and how we can change their perception of their product.

Solid Core Team and Culture

Our core team at Perception is like a family. It’s something that started way back, when Perception started and has evolved through our current team. The team will do whatever it takes for our clients and for each other, they live and die as a team! We have been in situations where team members have stayed overnight and wont leave until the project is up to the high standards we follow. I have been amazed at some of the brilliant work our team creates and they make it exciting to come to work and see “what’s cooking” in the Perception lab of ideas.

One of the attractions about the culture here is autonomy. Every one here knows what needs to get done and by what time. We understand creativity doesnt happen between 9-5, sometimes you need to just get up and go for a walk or come in on a weekend when no one is at the studio.


Being Selective with Outside Resources

Since our projects are exciting, we can be slightly selective. Security is very high since we deal with sensitive film and technology projects! Having our expertise in futuristic UI for film and tech is selective enough, what we try to look for in all our resources is the ability to come up with thoughtful solutions. It’s not about a UI that looks cool, but a UI that is well thought out and has meaning. Any resource that has a chance to collaborate with us can tell you that it’s a creative opportunity to work here. Meeting with all candidates one-on-one gives them a good sense of our culture and also lets them get a “behind the scenes” look into how Perception works. We thoroughly vet and go through a stringent review process for all outside resources, before they can join  the team – only the best need apply!

Mining for the Right Talent

“Everyone wants a JOB, but no one wants to WORK”. Finding people that fill a seat and want a job is easy, the true test is finding the right talent and making sure they love to work. We have an uncanny knack for finding great talent for the different projects. This started with Jeremy (Co-Founder Jeremy Lasky) when the company was small and needed help finding the right designers and animators to help us when we were a motion graphics studio in 2001. He has trained our production team to find the RIGHT people for the project.

Speaking Engagements

When you speak at enough conferences and do presentations and critiques at schools across the country top talent end up seeking you out. We have been asked to speak at various conferences around the world. Showcasing our work and guiding inspiration sessions at places like Apple, Ford, Samsung, Google, Boeing and SpaceX to name a few, start to broaden your vision to a different type of problem solver. We have also had success at speaking at schools where you find the raw and hungry talent of a student about to graduate who is passionate about finding the right place to call their first job.


Being Social

We try to be very conscious of our social sharing. Updating our followers with the latest tech news and great work coming out of Perception. Believe it or not it’s a great way to find talent as well. I think this is a place where a lot of companies miss the mark in telling not only potential clients but potential employees what type of work you are crafting but also what type of company you are. We find our social channels have helped tremendously in attracting talent more than our website.

Something that helped Perception once we attracted the talent and met for the first time was sharing our Perception hand book with them. After our first discussion they get an idea of the variety of projects we did but the hand book really took them deep into the culture and helped them make a decision about wanting or not wanting to be part of the Perception family.

Danny Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez started his career at R/GA after graduating from St. Johns University where he received a BS in Business. For 6+ years he lead the visual effects team for feature films, global ad agencies and broadcast networks. In the Fall of 2001, Gonzalez co-founded Perception with an RGA colleague, Jeremy Lasky. They formed a motion graphics studio that lead the revolution in creating groundbreaking design and visual effects on the desktop. Now in it's 18th year, the studio has sharpened its focus to become global experts in designing futuristic UIs for both feature films and for the most powerful brands in technology. From Iron Man to IBM, from The Avengers to SpaceX, the studio has an extremely unique niche that truly bridges the gap between science fiction and science fact. Gonzalez co-leads new business initiatives, shapes the company’s growth, while overseeing a full-time staff of 15.

Perception has been featured on Engadget, Art of the Title, Cinefex, Gizmodo, ACM Siggraph, ADC nominated at SXSW for Best Title Sequence and twice nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Gonzalez has lectured/guest speaker on design and technology at OTIS, SCAD, Boeing, Carnegie Mellon’s ETC and NYU ITP. He's also given presentations and workshops at some of the biggest tech giants in the world including Samsung, SpaceX, Intel, Microsoft, GE, Northrop Grumman, Audi, Mercedes, Ford, Chrysler and Apple.

Gonzalez’s past work has been showcased on the film screen and televisions across the world, while Perception’s work can be experienced on the big screens, in smart homes, automobiles and mobile devices across the planet!

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