Meet Jelly VIP: Ryan Hanawalt, Domain7

June 3, 2016


Name: Ryan Hanawalt

Position: President

Company: Domain7

What do you do?

On a regular basis, I’m looking after the strategic direction of the company and working with the team to provide clarity with where we’re going, and setting the team up to move us there. I do a lot of work with our accounts, our products and our business and how we can be successful together.

We specialize in user experience and platform design. It’s all centred in web technologies and tools. The orientation of work that we’re looking for is how to use these tools to create.

What’s your passion?

People! I love the opportunity to work with bright, switched-on people. I have the opportunity to hopefully contribute at some level in their growth or success.

What is the misconception your clients have about your work?

“You’re the website guys, hey?” Businesses are becoming more aware of the opportunities that data provides for them to rethink their business and how they engage with their customers, and there’s a greater understanding of customer experience and service design. I still think people come to us and think “oh, you make the website”, and yes, we use the web as a connector, but it’s not all that.

Do you think the misconception gets cleared up?

Most of our work comes through referral, and when we’ve gone out and made connections with people and understood the opportunity with them. We’ve had the chance to talk and converse, and people lead in with asking what we do.

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to your business?

Today our biggest challenge is talent acquisition and getting the right people on the bus to meet the demands that we have. Our strategy and where we want to be heading is how to preserve the culture of the business, and balancing our innovation with that.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

There’s been inflection points in the company, I’ve been with them for 9 years. Going from serving small businesses in the Valley to being recognized as a player in the Vancouver market, that was a big change for us. Also, [some achievements are] when I saw us shifting out of providing marketing support into experience and platform design, and when we were courageous enough to define what we wanted. It’s tough being a client services business, as you’re wired to be responsive, and to take that time to have that discipline to say “this is who we are and who we want to become” and realizing it, you have to be very intentional to make that happen.

How do you handle failure?

Scotch. And the next day is a new day.

The failures that cut the deepest to me is when we’ve let the team down and let people down. Those are the ones that sting and don’t just leave the next day.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing right now, what would you be doing?

I’d have infinite money and time at my fingertips! I would go take my family and we’d move somewhere out of North America for six months and have a new experience. When I come back, I would be creating the ideas and platforms that i have and making those happen. The responsibility of the business can sometimes inhibit going after those aspirations, so I would grow those ideas that I have.

Would you want to be in a career that you don’t have?

People are sort of my driver. I would want something to do with technology, but I would go with whatever life throws me.

What’s your favourite flavour of Jelly?