Behind the Scenes: Life at Applied Intuition

October 10, 2019

It’s been over a year since I left Google to join Applied Intuition, and from my very first day here I’ve been consistently blown away by the caliber and expertise of our rapidly growing team.

But technical excellence is only part of the equation. What makes my experience at Applied truly meaningful is that I’m surrounded by co-workers who also choose to be positive and thoughtful towards others 🤗 And as we add to our team, we’re looking for people who actively embrace both qualities.

That’s why I reached out to Slow Clap, a dedicated video production company based in San Francisco. Their values of authenticity, diversity, and simplicity align closely with Applied’s ethos so I knew they’d tell our story well.

The result of our collaboration is a short video that highlights a few of our team members, describes how our work differs from other companies in autonomy, and yes — answers why we wear slippers in the office:

This seems like the right place to mention that we’re hiring 😅


Dan, Nicole, and the rest of the Slow Clap team were ideal creative partners from beginning to end, so I asked Dan if he’d give more insight into the process of shooting Life at Applied Intuition.

Justin: The headline on Slow Clap’s homepage says “Tell your brand’s authentic story.” What makes a brand’s story “authentic?”

Dan: I think “authentic” can mean many different things, but basically, it boils down to the reality of today’s media landscape — people have a million different options at the click of a button. If a brand is trying to paint a picture of itself that’s anything less than authentic, audiences are just a few investigative clicks away from the truth. So good companies communicate that truth in their media output, otherwise audiences will click next.

We’ve found telling an authentic story for brands often means leaning into the genre of documentary, which is probably the fastest growing type of video. The best corporate documentaries feature authentic interviews from real people in the company. That means we don’t come in with a script and we’re open to capturing great moments as they unfold. That’s what we do best for our partners.

Fahrzin and Mary preparing for their interviews

Justin: What was your approach in telling Applied’s “authentic story?”

Dan: We had Applied identify a few employees that represented the culture, work, and vision of the company before conducting phone interviews with them to learn more about company. It’s best to go into the process with an open, curious mind, and Applied’s actual products are so complex it took a while for us just to “get it.”

Again and again, I heard about a culture of intrinsic mentorship, curiosity to learn, and positivity in the face of so many undefined challenges. So, that’s really what we honed in on.

Once we got over that hump, we identified a few core, overlapping themes behind what Applied’s team loves about working at the company. As it turned out, the most consistent theme we heard from people was…the people. Again and again, I heard about a culture of intrinsic mentorship, curiosity to learn, and positivity in the face of so many undefined challenges. So that’s really what we honed in on.

Jonathan walking through Alan’s interview spawned a custom :happy_alan: Slack emoji

Justin: What were the main challenges or creative constraints you had to consider with this particular project?

Dan: Corporate documentaries are always challenging because of the baseline constraints: in an office environment, 80% of the activity takes place between someone sitting at her desk and the screen in front of her.

We were lucky that Applied has a lot of fun and visually interesting office features, but we also worked closely with Justin and Qasar to bounce around less conventional visual ideas. What resulted was a mix of staged and fly-on-the-wall visuals that gives the viewer permission to imagine what it’s like to work at Applied.

Time was another challenge— Applied had a few big press opportunities coming up, so our timeline was condensed. We tried to compensate with a few long nights and weekends, but sometimes the creative brain just takes time. We always wish we had more of it!

The video showcased some of the custom keyboards used by different members of our team

Justin: In what ways did you use music, lighting, framing, montages, etc. to reflect the unique characteristics of Applied?

Dan: Applied’s culture is both lighthearted and serious. They’re solving some of the craziest technical challenges on the planet, but they do it with a smile on their faces and manage to dish out quite a few jokes in the process. So we tried to have the visuals — as well as the story told through interviews — have that nice ebb and flow of what it’s like to spend a day at Applied.

We started the video on a very serious note but quickly transitioned into a fun, silly moment. Then back to the serious technical challenges — people working diligently at their desk — then a little break, some slippers, and some laughter. If you spend a day at Applied like I did before our shoot, I think you’ll experience that same story.

Justin: Thanks Dan! Everyone at Applied was thrilled with the end result and we know that we’ll be working with the
Slow Clap team again in the future.

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