In the last post I talked about The Working Group (TWG’) and the startups it hosts, as well as the events it has held and those that it continues to present.

In this post,  TWG partner Andres Aquino gives us a glimpse of TWG’s apps, the organization’s vision and what it plans to do as one studio becomes two.

1THING
1THING screenshot from my iPhone

If you’ve used the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) BlackBerry or PlayBook apps then you’ve seen TWG’s work. TWG helped architect and create the apps that TIFF uses to engage moviegoers, not just during the festival, but all year round.

For another example of what TWG has done check out Fluency21.com, an application that TWG designed and built to help educators make engaging lesson plans for the digital age.

When asked what was the coolest app created by TWG, Aquino said it was 1THING.

iTHING is “a journal to capture things you’re grateful for via an anonymous public feed” where people can publish that snippet of gratitude for other 1THING users to see.

I went to their studio on a Friday. That’s when they show off the latest  iterations of projects they are working on.

Aquino told me the best TWG demo he ever saw wasn’t even a demo. It was a retrospective by one of their senior developers on a big server outage.

“There was a lot of humility in sharing what the failures were and the way we responded to things,” Aquino said. “It was an incredible growth opportunity for the whole team to see how two of our most senior developers handled a tricky situation.”

As the studio lead, Aquino has to keep projects on track and he said that “one of the hardest parts of my job is tempering the scope of a project”.

The Startup Zone at TWG
The Startup Zone at TWG

Aquino believes that digital projects are organic saying that “every time you download a new version on your iPhone, it’s an evolution and a new release of the product. That’s the beauty of Web and mobile technology right now.”

Creating software to help build a better future is the core vision of TWG, according to Aquino.

“Software is the best technology to help us move into a better future, and it sounds maybe a little bit lofty, but that’s what we’re here for,” Aquino said. 

Shortly after he joined TWG, they stopped just building Web sites, and started building Internet software.

TWG  focused on being a stellar dev shop, capable of helping clients solve problems first and foremost. Since then TWG has expanded its capabilities by collaborating with  key design talents. TWG has worked with everyone from national brands to startups and Aquino said he would love to “work with companies that perhaps are a little more estranged to technology and software.”

A picture Andrés Aquino took when he was in NTC for TWG's opening.
A picture Andrés Aquino took when he was in NYC for TWG’s opening.

TWG’s New York studio calls the newly-opened Centre for Social Innovation Starett-Lehigh in Chelsea. Being in New York offers a host of opportunities – from working with American and global brands to a new ecosystem of talent to tap into. It represents the next chapter for TWG and their ambitions to help clients create software that will change the world.

If feels like the next stage of The Working Group is just beginning. When asked where they want to be in the next two years Aquino replied:  “We want to be growing our team so we can deliver to more customers is a goal.”

“We’re never ambitious for growth for the sake of growth, whether it’s the numbers of our team or revenue but now we see growth as an opportunity to service more clients and clients that have larger impact,” Aquino said.

Thanks to Holly Knowlman for setting this up and Andrés Aquino for taking some time out of his hectic schedule to talk to me.

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