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Devrims #TechTalk 016: Vito Peleg Discusses Agency Life

Ibtisam Bhatti

Devrims #TechTalk 016: Vito Peleg Discusses Agency Life

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Vito Peleg is the Founder and CEO of Atarim.io, a visual collaboration and workflow platform for digital teams. Atarim helps teams to communicate and collaborate more effectively on creative projects, by providing a centralized platform for storing, sharing, and tracking work.

Vito started his journey with a GeoCities site, which was like Wix but in the 1990s. Let’s just say there was no stopping him. As he toured Europe with his band “Chase The Ace”, he was honing his skills in digital marketing and web design. Sadly the band broke up, but Vito’s entrepreneurial streak continued.

In this interview, you will learn how Vito Peleg and Atarim are helping web agencies around the world with getting things done.

Devrims: Please introduce yourself and what projects you are currently involved in.

Vito: I’m Vito Peleg, co-founder and CEO of Atarim. My main focus is helping our team deliver on our mission of making the web collaborative. We help teams (both internal and client-facing) help turn around endless creative projects in days instead of weeks, if not months, all by allowing them to get on the same page, centralize their workflow and most importantly – get to work

Devrims: Would you like to share your entrepreneurial journey and the experiences you’ve gained?

Vito: When I was 14, I built my first website on GeoCities for my school’s skateboarding crew. Around the same time, I picked up a guitar and formed a band with some friends, which is very much like entrepreneurship (in some ways) – while managing my band, I learned about business and digital marketing, even getting certified as a business and digital consultant. Our band eventually signed with a British label and we toured Europe, gaining quite a following.

Simultaneously, I was working on the digital side of things. I was noticed for my design skills and online campaigns, leading to freelancing opportunities. On the road, McDonalds became my office, leveraging their WiFi to work on client projects. However, the band split up after some time, and I decided to focus solely on my freelancing work, leading to the inception of my web design business.

I reached my 6-figure goal within the first year, bootstrapping the entire process and serving hundreds of clients over the years. However, as the agency grew, I encountered issues that affected our profitability and productivity. Clients were slow in providing content, approving designs, sticking to our systems, and utilizing the websites we created for marketing. Managing each project individually led to fragmentation and inefficiency.

Seeing these challenges, I decided to build Atarim, an all-in-one agency management system. It centralized all tasks and requests, making the process more streamlined and efficient. It’s been a long journey and we still have a long road ahead of us but it’s now widely agreed that Atarim is the world’s leading visual collaboration platform.

Devrims: What were the primary goals you set out to achieve when you began your association with Atarim?

Vito: We first started building Atarim for our own internal use so the first goals are quite similar to the problems we still solve for web design agencies (one of our customer profiles) including speeding up turnaround times, improving communication with clients and saving their team’s time by avoiding the endless back & forth of trying to communicate about creative work without visual collaboration. 

It was only after we rolled it out internally and shared with a few peers in our space that I really started to understand the true potential of bringing a solution like this to market and the impact that this could have on an entire industry. Of course, I knew it would help us and we wanted it (so it was likely that others would too!) but validating that was definitely where it all changed. 

Devrims: You recently teamed up with InstaWP. Could you tell us how this collaboration is going?

Vito: We’re beyond excited to have partnered with their team (read more about our partnership and integration with InstaWP here). The partnership pays homage to one of the core principles of Atarim (as a company and software solution) which is efficiency. 

If there’s a way we can improve the user experience of our product, we are looking into it – especially when it relates to efficiency. Because in any business efficiency = profitability. 

Devrims: How about a bit of rapid-fire questions:

Devrims Vito
Mac or PC Recently moved to Mac and I’m never going back
Streaming at home or Going to cinema Cinema! There’s an IMAX close by that my wife and I enjoy.
Gutenberg editor or Classic editor Painfully, I’m still in the Classic Editor camp for pages, but already moved to Gutenberg for posts.
Mountains or Beaches Definitely beaches
Tea or Coffee Coffee for sure

Devrims: You love working with WordPress. Please provide some guidance on selecting the most suitable WordPress hosting plan.

Vito: That’s a really charged question! But I think that every host should find their own differentiator in the market. There are definitely enough users to go around.

The answer is dependent on the person’s needs.

Sometimes you need a quick install for a tiny side, in which case a shared host or even setting up your own server through a management panel is enough.

Sometimes you need peace of mind for a properly working site and then I recommend using a managed service where you can offload the headaches to the hosting platform.

And, sometimes you have a site that has very unique requirements, like high scale traffic, ecommerce, or enterprise level reliability. In such cases, finding the hosting partner that is an expert in that area would be the best.

Devrims: The involvement of AI is increasing in the industry, what are your thoughts on the future of WordPress?

Vito: Another loaded question I could write an entire essay on! Fortunately, I recently had the pleasure of giving a talk at Human Made’s Word on the Future: AI for WordPress summit: 

Where I dive deep into the topic, share a lot more of my thoughts on AI and how we currently view it in the industry… 

Devrims: Could you share any tips or strategies with us to improve organizational skills and productivity?

Vito: My approach to productivity is all based around protecting my time. I’m very grateful to have a team that enables me to focus on the areas that really do require my attention which – at the moment – is supporting our enterprise clients and partnerships. 

Although, we are still in what I would say is the transition phase between startup and scaleup. However, we are always looking to maximize what we can achieve in the time we already have, instead of needing to work to get more done.

A big part of this is working in the concept of “buckets of time.”

Everyone has a limited amount of time per week, regardless of how much we can expect from them. In fact, the same concept applies to any service business including agencies. You have a set number of people onboard and as a result, a set number of hours to work.

Work therefore needs to be prioritized, which comes before you can look into individual productivity. Then, in terms of individual productivity, you want to make it as easy as possible for you (and by extension, your team) to get through what is on your plate – the best way I’ve found to achieve this is with the concept of buckets of time.

Context switching takes up hours of your day and is what leads to the days where you’ve been at your desk for 8 hours non-stop only to not even be able to remember a single thing that you’ve done.

In fact, this is something that Atarim was designed to help with as well – since it eliminates having dozens of communication channels, at least for creative projects.

This means that nobody on your team should be checking emails, WhatsApp, Slack, or Facebook Messenger to get the inbox down to zero. Because if that’s the case, on average each person would have a dozen inboxes to “check and get to zero”. This is a huge time sink and energy drain that prevents you from moving forward. 

Devrims: How do you usually de-stress after a long day? What is your typical routine for calming yourself?

Vito: I have 2 small kids and I enjoy spending time with them at the end of the day. But when I need some alone time, I just sit in the hot tub and relax a bit.

Devrims: What guidance would you offer to a small business owner aiming to collaborate with a more prominent agency?

Vito: Some general guidelines / advice: 

  • Spend time getting to know the agency, their team, and their processes. You want to know if they have things figured out and are in a good place to help you. If they’re unable to share or when doing so it feels as though they aren’t being 100% transparent, this can be a red flag. 
  • Be ready to work with an agency that you respect, and treat as a proven partner and trusted advisor. 
  • Try to be as clear with what you want from the start. This isn’t about having it all figured out, but reducing uncertainty is something that you and your agency should be working to achieve together. It’s a shared effort, not something you can delegate and expect to just be happy with. 
  • And always make sure that you read the fine print. Some agencies, especially as of late, have been adding clauses to their contracts when it comes to who owns the website, designs, etc. While this can make sense for websites when they are sold on subscriptions – as with any agreement, before signing, you definitely want to be absolutely sure you know what you’re paying for. 

Devrims: Can we have a glimpse into your office space?

Vito: Of course, here you are! 

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