Prairie Portrait: George Brooks of Cremalab
Name: George Brooks
Bio: George founded KC-based Cremalab in 2009 with the excitement of fulfilling his childhood dream of leading a team of the most creative people in the world. He is passionate about creating the best experiences for anyone that comes in contact with him or the things he has helped create.
Title: Founder/CEO of Cremalab
Residence: Prairie Village, Kan.
Intro music: "The Golden Age," by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.
Silicon Prairie News: What factored into the decision for Cremalab to relaunch its site recently, and what about the upgraded site pleases you most?
George Brooks: We had quickly taken down our old site when our workload became so much that we wanted to focus completely on hiring. After our team grew, we were still busy and a placeholder site was put back up. We've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about who we are, what we do best, and who we are excited to do that for. Something I'm sure we'll never stop thinking about. As we started to think through a new site, we wanted people to completely focus on the content, and let our work speak for itself. This allowed us to feature some recent successful launches and simplify the message about what we are all about: ”creating amazing experiences for mobile and web!”
SPN: You've said that as Cremalab has grown, you've gone from "designer to creative director." What steps have you taken to groom yourself for the challenges of a changing, expanding role?
GB: I’ve worked hard to bring the right team together. I trust every single person on our crew to be the face of Cremalab, and this means that each person is absolutely key! This has allowed me to work with our clients more effectively to think through the purposes and validity of each feature of a project. Then as we work as a team to execute a project, I am able to work to keep us all on a unified front of what is actually needed, while thinking about every project leaving Cremalab being “Cremalab quality.” The hardest part is that I’ve had to learn to stay relevant on current trends and standards while not actually spending the hours myself working on producing the final designs or development. Our team makes that a LOT easier because they are all wildly talented and passionate about their areas of expertise, and I learn a lot from them.
SPN: When during childhood did you first dream of leading a team of the most creative people in the world? Can you point to any people, experiences or other influences that helped that dream take shape?
GB: I can specifically remember in third grade, we were asked to create a license plate that represented what we wanted to do one day. I said Artist. It didn’t take long to realize that i wasn’t the next Picasso, but I never stopped being the kid that created things. A bike ride service, drink stands, concert venues, service ministries, etc. Coming from a very creative and social family, we loved taking on projects and thinking through how to make dreams realities. After working on a few of my own ideas with friends and family, I found a sweet spot in helping other people take their dreams to reality.
SPN: You were part of the crew that holed up in an RV and helped make Zaarly a reality at SXSW 2011. What five words best encapsulate that experience?
GB: Exciting, Tiring, Unexpected, Educational, Inspiring
What an amazing opportunity to work with Bo Fishback and his crew. I’ll never forget Bo coming to us four days before SXSW, sitting on my IKEA conference table, (which I had no confidence was going to hold up) and talking about trying to redesign and launch a first draft version of both the web and mobile experience of Zaarly. Seeing investors line up outside that RV at SXSW was unreal, and watching it all crash with one tweet from Mr. Kutcher. Look at it now! Huge props to their success!
SPN: Because of the prevalence of coffee mentions in company literature (and, of course, in the name), I feel compelled to close with a coffee question. So, when you're not working from Cremalab HQ, what are your three favorite spots for coffee, and why?
GB: Mildred's Coffee Shop and Bistro is our conference room, since we have no private space in our office. They have become almost like family over there!
Latte Land is another hot spot. The location in Prairie Village (closer to home) plays some great tunes, and when the turn on the fire place (not right now!) it's nice and cozy.
Broadway Cafe in Wesport. No Wifi, no electronics. That would be way too fancy. Just amazing coffee, and great people-watching of art students from KCAI only blocks away.
Credits: Photo by Brooks.
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