In the Tenth Year
In Japanese, ten【転】means to shift, move, or turn. As our name suggests, Tenten has built its business by helping brands shift perspectives, move towards the future, and turn to embrace the new.
***There also may or may not be a Naruto character that goes by the name Tenten. You’ll have to ask our founder, Erik, about that.
In our tenth year of operations, Tenten is also looking for a shift. We are years beyond our start-up days, but insist on operating like one — working with speed, agility, and purpose. And in true always-be-optimizing start-up fashion, we are ready for a new way to work.
Tenten can be anything you need it to be. Digital design agency, business strategy consultancy, user experience researchers, start-up incubator (not quite three words but we’ll let it slide) — the list goes on.
We started as a one-man show designing and coding websites and web apps back in 2010. Since then, we have opened a second office in Manila and grown into a digital-first agency that operates in product, brand, marketing, and strategy. We found initial success in developing digital identities for the APAC branches of multi-national corporations. While our clientele has diversified to include local and global brands alike, we still stick to our east-meets-west design roots. We have made a name for ourselves by making things make sense across multiple contexts with solutions that transcend cultural boundaries.
We do a lot for a team of give-or-take a dozen people and three dogs. We operate Gogoshark (our foundational website development service), Tenten Venture (an incubator for Asia-based, early-stage startups in need of creative capital), Tenten Agency (a one-stop-shop for all things marketing), and Tenten Sprints (a five-day boot camp to get ideas off the ground). We also built our own content streaming platform — more on that later. More or less, Tenten is an international team of designers, marketers, strategists, and developers specializing in not specializing.
We operate on the philosophy of open collaboration. Good work does not happen in silos (that’s why our office has an open floor plan). Yet, we have come to realize that our post-cubicle layout and agency-wide Slack channels are not enough to support uninhibited collaboration. Tenten has always prided itself in challenging the traditional agency model by testing beta-releases of new technology and adopting future-thinking productivity tools. As we have evolved and expanded our services over the years, we have tried to label and re-label our agency model to pinpoint exactly what we do and how we work. In the process of reducing our practice to a name, we only fractured our workflows instead of achieving clarity. And we now realize a decade late that “marketing-oriented digital design agency” and “design-focused business strategy consultancy” don’t quite roll off the tongue.
In our search for a new agency model, we went back to basics. Our mission has always been simple: to help businesses turn ideas into impact. The vision for the coming years is to maximize impact through true collaboration, not just internally but within the entire Tenten ecosystem. Ecosystems flourish when all parts, from the non-living to living, work in synergy to nurture and grow. Meaning: pure, unadulterated collaboration. We envision the same for the Tenten ecosystem, in which collaboration is seen as a long-term partnership that cultivates growth and evolution from milestone to milestone. And instead of labeling it, we’ll just call it our New Agency Model until it no longer feels new.