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#WeekdayAttitude

Wattanapume Laisuwanchai

Co-founder of Eyedropper Fill

Photo by: @mew.aa

We realized that we love to create experiences..

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Wattanapume Laisuwanchai or Best. I’m one of the two co-founders of Eyedropper Fill, an experience design company. I take care of the creative part as the Creative Director and the other co-founder, Nut, takes care of the finance and client handling as the Managing Director.

How did it all start?

Nut and I studied Communication Design at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi together. Both of our families were worried that our choice of studies might make it tough for us to make money in the future. We talked about this and decided to start Eyedropper Fill in order to try to make a living off of what we love.

You started to make money in university?

Yes. At first we were doing visuals for concerts and making music videos. For music videos, most of them began with us creating an area or space first, and then the story would be told within the space we created. This really made us realise our passion for more things than just music video making. We love to create spaces to tell stories.

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What changed?

After realising that, we started to gear ourselves towards something more physical and not just only on the screen. From then, Eyedropper Fill’s direction changed. We stopped limiting ourselves to only communicating our messages through the camera and screen.

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Did you have any expectations for Eyedropper Fill when you first started?

I don’t think I did. I treated this company like a life journey for my self-discovery. I wanted to really understand myself and what I wanted in life. One thing I knew was that my interests and preferences shift all the time so I tried to do/learn everything and not try to be the best at everything.

NO MORE LIMITATIONS

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Do you think being multi-media became your unique point?

As funny as it sounds, this has become my strong point. If you compare me with a professional filmmaker or typography designer, I surely am not as good as them. However, I can combine different things together to tell a story, and this makes it awesome. This has become the DNA of Eyedropper Fill and it also allows me to try experimenting with new things all the time. I love to experiment, explore, and be exposed to new things. Everyone here is quite happy with this direction of the company. We used to call ourselves visual designers, now we are happier as experience designers.

As the co-founder, what do you find difficult in running a company?

Managing people. The more this business grows, the more brains we need. There were just the two of us and now there are ten. This means we needed to learn to step back, be open minded, and let people do their jobs. It’s been 10 years since we started the company and I shifted from being a designer to the managing role, and I’m still learning everyday. For me, the real Eyedropper Fill was just born this year.

How so?

It took us almost 10 years to learn about who we are and what we are happy to do. This was the first year that we found the perfect teammates who share the same philosophy and love doing the same thing. It was the first year I truly feel that Eyedropper Fill is solid.

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Talking about your role, did you find it difficult to step up from being a designer to a managing role?

Being a designer, to me, was a one-man show and I was working on everything myself. Sadly, I can’t do the things I love anymore. I had to stop worrying and thinking about how I want the projects to turn out. You gotta trust the people you work with so they can express themselves fully.

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The struggle of being a boss?

In this company, instead of acting like a boss, we treat each other more like family. I put my intention towards how I can make my people grow, and how I can encourage them to learn to express their ideas. I’m the caretaker that looks after the people in this world of Eyedropper Fill. I used to see my value through the work I’ve made only. Now, it’s not like that anymore. It’s not just about the good outcomes but also about the happiness of the people in my company. This role has changed me a lot.

How being the boss changed you?

There was a huge incident that hit me hard in the beginning of this year. We were facing a crisis of overloaded work. The problem was that we never really had serious goals, plans, or any job descriptions written before. We would just know who did this or that. When the crisis happened it made us feel really lost and we didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, our juniors had a meeting and they suggested that we should have a team structure. I started to study more about business. I tried to listen to all the business management podcasts. I also took some classes and got a business coach to help us write the structure of this company.

MY TEAM, MY FAMILY

Now that you have become quite well-known, how do you select the projects to work on?

There are only three criteria for us to consider — 1. Time, 2. Money, 3. Our interest in doing that project. Sometimes, there would be projects that we’d love to do but we didn’t have enough time, so we had to decline. Aside from these three criteria, I also categorise the types of projects into three types as well — 1. super commercial, 2. mild commercial, and 3. my own project. Eyedropper Fill is not very egoistic. We listen to the clients and deliver what both parties think is best.

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How do you balance out your own ideas and clients’ ideas?

We are working on being a good listener both within our own team and with the clients. I’d encourage my team to think outside of the box when it comes to the clients’ ideas, but still stick with the purpose of the project. Good designer will provide the right solution for their clients, but we need to have an area where we can experiment with our ideas as well. That’s why I think personal projects are important, but too much of your own personal project might keep you locked up in your own head too. So, the balance is totally needed.

About your personal project, do you expect anything besides getting to experiment?

I cannot say I don’t expect anything at all. We like having the chance to experiment and keep our design thinking skills fresh. That is no.1 reason why we do it. However, sometimes these things come in handy. Once, we recorded the process of our experiment and uploaded it on the internet. Somehow, that brought us more audiences. People started to be interested in or acknowledged our experimental scene. Some of my clients found us through those videos and reached out to see if we could work together.

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Where did the idea of uploading the videos on the internet come from?

I studied communication design so I adopted and adapted what I’ve learnt in school. I wanted to delete that gap of people feeling alienated towards this kind of experience design scene. I try to make complicated things less complicated for my audience and to let my audience, clients, or anyone understand what I’m doing. And of course, I make it look fun!

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Does it help you to sell?

Some clients like them and some don’t. All in all, they seemed to have a good time seeing my experimental works. The key is to portray it in a friendly way.

Friendliness is the key?

To connect with people? Of course it is. Being friendly is the nature of Thai people. It’s not that many people out there get art or consume art. The key to connect the audience to your work is to make them feel a sense of friendliness. You don’t want to chase people away at their first sight. You want to draw people into your creations. Even if the story that you want to tell is complicated, you can find a way to not confuse your audience.

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Are you satisfied with where you are now?

Yes, of course. I’ve never ever imagined being in this spot. I just told my mother a few days ago that I didn’t really think that I’d be doing what I’m doing right now. I’m doing the job that I love, learning to be selfless, and a lot more.

Let’s talk about your lifestyle! Any tips on working on your mind or take care of yourself?

When it comes to lifestyle, I am just an outdated man.  I avoid being in the city area. You would never see me at Thong Lor or Ekkamai. I like to go cycling and running. I don’t go to the gym though. I’m a fan of desserts and anything delicious.

What do you do in your free time?

I love spending time with my mum the most. If not that, I’d just play games and watch movies. I don’t really go out, but when I do, I would go to strange places that people don’t normally go to and take some photos. I like going to abandoned places and parks.

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