John Wooden, the infamous American basketball player, said: “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” Patrick De Jongh started a small agency in the Netherlands which expanded to a stellar digital agency in Dubai. Patrick tells us how his entrepreneurship journey started, his growing passion for design and why they opted for a .me domain for their website.
The starting point for the digital agency in Dubai
While studying industrial product design in Rotterdam, Patrick was passionate for web design and took it on like a side job or hustle to generate income. He says:
My educational background helps me interact with clients in terms of the soft skills I need when I work on projects, and also helps me think outside the box, to find a solution for each project.
After graduation, he decided to go digital, and started a small agency in the Netherlands, then four years later he moved to Dubai. In 2013, Patrick co-founded TenTwenty, and he’s also the creative director in the agency. The digital agency in Dubai started with a desk rented in a studio which developed into an agency with 30 to 40 team members. The core business model for TenTwenty is website design and development.
They’ve also expanded further into app design and development and branding, he explains:
In TenTwenty, our core focus is to provide our customers with design driven solutions.
Digitalization in the region: The challenges and opportunities
Patrick explains that back in 2013, when the digital agency first started in Dubai, there was a huge opportunity in the market to deliver quality products. Patrick explains that ever since the clients became more educated about tech and consequently the market standards and the quality has gone up.
On the other hand, Patrick says that he faces some challenges in the region when it comes to digitalization, he explains: “I think that years ago there was a huge opportunity for digitalization in the Middle East because at that time the region wasn’t digitally as advanced as the Netherlands and Europe.” He adds that you can now witness an exponential progress in technology in the region, as clients’ demands, and requirements are getting more advanced.
Nowadays, customers in the region are surpassing their counterparts in other parts of the world, as they’re striving to get the latest technologies in their websites like integrating AI and advanced solutions to help serve their clients. Yet, the challenge here will be whether the clients are ready and equipped with the knowledge needed to use advanced technologies or not.
Patrick adds that the usage of websites is a lot more mobile, so building mobile responsive website designs is essential.
Patrick explains that these stats represent a massive opportunity for some industries, while it can be challenging for others. He explains: “When you’re building an e-commerce website, adding all the features to mobile can be difficult, and the user’s experience through desktop can be smoother.”
He also shed light on the recent circumstances and how the current situation affected the digital realm, he explains: “Nowadays, people use the internet differently, as some services moved online and customers are looking into adapting an e-commerce model for their business.”
The award-winning website for the agency in Dubai
TenTwenty’s website was officially created by the end of 2017. They first started with a simple website that featured their projects in a one-page design, then as their business grew and their clients did too, they built a more comprehensive website focusing on case studies. He explains:
We’ve worked on various great projects over the past years and we wanted a way to easily browse and check these projects. Our website serves this purpose as you can check the project’s journey, progress, and end result.
Besides their eye-catching website, TenTwenty has an enquiry form that asks clients about their favorite coffee, so that when they visit the office they can be welcomed with their favorite drink. Patrick says that this small detail helps set their agency apart from their competitors as they strive to build strong relationships with their customers and have a keen eye for all details – even their favorite drink!
Managing their domain names from GoDaddy
When it came to choosing a domain name for their business, Patrick shares with us the story behind the name TenTwenty: “It all started with choosing a name for the company name. Our name has a reference to the Netherlands – where I and my business partner are originally from- my partner is from Amsterdam which is known as 0 20 for regional calls and I – myself – am from Rotterdam which is known as 0 10 for regional calls. So, we thought let’s put them together and name the agency TenTwenty.”
When they started looking for a domain name, that matches their business’s name they found out that the .com domain was unavailable, so they had to check for other alternatives.
Patrick explains why they chose a .me for their domain name:
We chose .me because for us it represents the Middle East region. Though knowing that the domain extension has a different origin, we felt it offered us more opportunities than an .ae domain since we’re operating and expanding in the whole region.
He adds that when it comes to registering domain names for their clients, they generally use GoDaddy. He explains:
What I personally love about GoDaddy, is that whenever you register a domain once you add your product to your cart and purchase it you immediately own the domain. So, you don’t have to wait which is great.
He adds that what really attracts them to use GoDaddy’s products and tools is that whenever they change the DNS of a domain, it’s immediately visible and whenever they point it from the domain to their server it immediately shows. This makes it really convenient and straightforward whenever they want to make a website live.
So, how can you start building your own website?
If you’re looking at creating a website for your business, Patrick shares some tips: “I think it’s really important to check the following when you’re planning your website: Who is your target audience? What is the user journey on your website? And how does that help you reach your goal?” Also, you need to define the purpose of your website: Is it brand recognition? Is it to generate leads through an inquiry form? Is it to sell your products? He adds that it’s good to paint a clear picture before you start a project like that in order to get the results and build an effective website.
He also adds that what’s really exciting nowadays is that businesses now can use website building tools to build their websites easily: “For example, GoDaddy’s Website Builder can help small businesses kick start their online identities by building a website without any coding-knowledge needed. It’s cost-effective and easy.”
He also adds that as your business grows, and as your website’s requirements grows, you can start working with a digital agency to help bespoke your website and add more features and integrations.
For more resources and help to start building your own website check our blog.