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Guest Writer
May 5, 2017

Meet our Members #1: Filmmaker Lenny Leiter!

Lenny Leiter is a mountain person - he grew up in the Alps in the very north of Italy surrounded by free-roaming cows. Contrasting his upbringing, he moved to Bolzano and Vienna to complete his masters in Media Technology and went into a two year LA adventure working as a film assistant for Peter Bogdanovich. After that, he moved to Berlin. And that’s when Deskish came along.

Deskish is a pretty unique product. There are not many competitors out there. How did you have the idea? What is it exactly?

Deskish is a visual online playground for creative people – a place for experiments, inspiration and instant expression. It allows people to drag & drop any content from their computer or other websites into a blank browser window. There, it can be freely positioned & styled and then shared with others via a link. The result can be a meme, a moodboard, an individual collection of favourite Youtube videos, or even a sophisticated client proposal.

With that in mind, you could also say that Deskish has A LOT of competitors, simply because it can be used in so many different ways, each of them plastered with specialised competitor solutions. But its versatility is its biggest strength: Many creatives like myself have to do many different tasks fewer (a few?) times, rather than one specific task all the time. A simple & versatile tool like Deskish can spare us from having to sign up and learn an entire array of more specialised solutions.

Tell us about your team and how you work together.

At the moment, we are  (there are just ) two people working on it:  a developer-friend of mine, responsible for everything code-related, and myself, doing everything around it. Since he is based in Vienna and I’m here in Berlin, we discuss our progress via Skype about once a week. However, he is starting a new job soon, so I’m actually looking for someone to join the company as CTO. The plan is to raise money soon to step up the game. Anyone interested?

Where does the name Deskish come from?

After months of nerve-racking brainstorming we finally decided against "Deskly", "Dskr", "Deskify", and "Windows" and went with "Deskish".

No, seriously: We thought "Deskish" describes best what we wanted to create from the very beginning: We wanted a tool that is as easy to use, self-explanatory and versatile as a real desk. It's not a real desk, but it still kinda feels like one. It's “deskish”…

 

The Deskish home page

The use of gifs and video seems to be an important part of it. Do you think this is the future?

Absolutely. Auto-playing 360-degree Facebook videos, animated Snapchat live filters and Instagram ‘stories’ collages are already omnipresent. More powerful devices, better software and AI will make producing all sorts of “moving” content even easier – for professionals and non-professionals alike.

I think a variety of bite sized “mixed media” is the future – on desktops, handheld devices, AR, MR, VR and whatever-R. Deskish wants to be a part of it.

You mentioned the concept of infinite collage. What is that?

In theory, a so-called “desk” could become infinitely big. Meaning that you could grow the canvas forever by moving content further and further out. But I doubt your device would make it all the way to infinity. Still worth a try though, maybe, on a quiet Sunday.

 

You are a filmmaker as well, how do you use Deskish in your work?

Agencies hire me to come up with ideas and scripts for all sorts of films. Once they’ve briefed me on the goals, message, time table, and constraints of the project, the first step for me to do my own research on the company, their style & belief system, the target group, etc. Next step is to gather video examples and music that inspire me and help me to communicate the “mood” or style I have in mind.

In both those stages it’s helpful to lay out all the gathered content on a “desk”. It allows my mind to jump quickly from one thought to the next and my creativity to flow freely. Afterwards I sometimes share a “tided up” version of the desk with the project team or client.

How do your clients react to it when you use it to present your proposition?

They love it. Normally they would receive an email with lists of plain links and attachments that require switching back and forth between various apps. With Deskish, everything is in one place and instantly visible.

Fun fact: If it’s new clients and if I put some more effort into styling the collages, they don’t even realise that what I sent them isn’t a “real” webpage.

How do you see Deskish evolving during the years? Any monetisation plans?

The plan is to make Deskish continuously more powerful without making it more complicated. We want to make it the ultimate tool for visual communication.

In the near future, we are going to focus on developing our community of creatives. That gives us some time to implement features that are essential for a more professional use. Eventually, we want to introduce a pro version that aims at creative professionals and agencies.

Did moving to Berlin have anything to do with founding Deskish?

It did. It’s well known that Berlin is a great place for early stage startups. Apart from that, the city is a magnet for creatives in all fields, which is exactly who we want to approach. And there was my ex-girlfriend who was very persuasive…

How is working at betahaus influencing you and your work?

Betahaus has become more than just a place to work for me. I love spending time with all the positive, passionate people here. Betahaus really excelled in building and curating a vivid community.

 

‍Lenny presenting at BETABREAKFAST

What have you learned from founding a company that you want to share with others?

It’s tough, but absolutely worth it. No regrets.

What would be the gif that best represents you/your state of mind right now?

I love the internet culture and its never-ending stream of little surprises. Mostly, it’s just random stuff that gives me a giggle. So let’s go for something random like this piano playing… fish?

 

Check out Deskish!

Want to join Lenny and other entrepreneurs at betahaus? Learn how here! 

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