Acid Tango in 2020, the year we lived dangerously

Corporate Venturing Dec 23, 2020

What. A. Year. At some point of the last 12 months, most of us have thought, wished, dreamed, and invoked all sorts of supernatural powers for 2020 to be over. I mean, this website pretty much says it all.

Accurate moods

If you don’t consider yourself to be in that group: congratulations. We’re dying to get to know why, so it would be great if you leave us a comment with your reasons for why 2020 should not be deleted from History accounts. But hey, no hard feelings 2020. We’ve come a long way and, with only one week to go, this seems like a good time to reminisce our main accomplishments as a team this year.

We actually started the year in a pretty jolly mood: projects were flowing nicely, the team saw some great incorporations, and we refactored our website with a brand-new look and feel. It took us a bit of sweat, but since we launched it the amount of users has increased by a whopping 333,4%, the number of sessions grew by 314,6%, and page views increased by 322,2%, as compared to 2019.

We got quite excited after this so in February we launched this very own blog, The Lemon Crunch (if you’re reading this then you’re contributing to its success, cheers buddy). This is a project we cherish and are most proud of since it isn’t always easy to find the time we’d like to have to take part in it. All posts published have demanded an extra amount of work and that effort is to be praised. Only in the last month, we’ve seen a fantastic increase in the amount of visitors by 26%, and almost all of that traffic is organic.

If you were wondering, our top 3 most-read articles for this year have been:

In March… in March we went home. Did something happen in March? Can we move onto the next months so we skip this dark void?

But then spring came, and we definitely had a bit too much caffeine. They say after a storm comes the calm. We would rather put it as after a dark storm came a brighter hectic one. We set in motion our Recovery Rocket campaign offering a week of free services to all companies that had been economically affected by Covid, so you can imagine how our days were. Here’s more about how we did it and the experiences we learnt from the process.

Right after this, we opened our office in Amsterdam. Besides being quite an into gouda cheese (Dutch beer isn’t entirely bad either) we really felt our services could make a difference in such a vibrant and creative innovative hub. And so our international adventure began!

What up Benelux

We’ve also been pretty busy consolidating our tech stack. We've added new weapons to our arsenal, incorporating expertise in many JavaScript technologies such as React, Typescript, Nest.js or infrastructure technologies such as Terraform, Google Cloud or AWS. In the mobile development area, we've worked both with React Native and device-specific implementations. There are additions, but our goal of implementing code using well-thought code quality practices remains the same.

However, coding and sketching are not the only things we do in Acid Tango. When summer came, some of us seized the moment to get some melamine far from the office. Taking the time to get to know the team in a more relaxed environment was a great opportunity to bond and understand common values. We’d be lying if we said we aren’t waiting for the pandemic to be over to plan our next road trip.

As the second wave of Covid started and our tan began to fade, we braced ourselves for the last quarter of this crazy year. The Business Strategy team also went the extra mile and pushed even harder to get more opportunities, which are now crystallising into what looks like a promising 2021. We also sent our first corporate newsletter, whose click-through rate has steadily increased since then (you can subscribe here if you’d like to know our juiciest news).

Despite the crisis, our team has kept growing and becoming more diverse. Most of our new colleagues joined remotely, which has been a challenge for all of us. Suddenly, we were all reading about online teambuildings and other initiatives to promote engagement, which is how our Coffee Machine Slack channel was born and other socials, such as online board games and role-plays. Everything’s been pretty organic, and it’s been beautiful seeing how some of our colleagues did a nice effort to incorporate everyone to our internal dynamics. We’ve also learnt a lot from our peers from other countries, as well as from many different Spanish provinces. We certainly wouldn’t be here without understanding the importance of a good arepa or the meaning of ‘companaje’.

Being under these circumstances have made us truly realise culture is the most valuable asset you can have as a team. We look forward to applying this learning in the years to come through more activities, internal documents, homogenisation of methodologies and processes, and of course, more beers together.

We’ve also learnt a thing or two about business strategy in such uncertain times, so let me end this post (and year) with a 100% practical wrap-up of what we’ve picked up:

  • We’ve practiced empathy a lot and adapted our brand voice to the context. Markets went from 100 to 0 in a matter of days, and everyone around us was worried to some extent. Tough times demand to step into other people’s shoes and aim for a carefully conscious communication to match their state of mind.
  • We’ve put a great effort in anticipating changes in our customers. Despite having a sound experience working in the mobility industry, we realised consumer trends were about to be reshaped. That’s what crises do. The Business Strategy team worked fast enough to understand which sectors and business models were about to disrupt so we could ride this wave.
  • We’ve focused on highly strategic, innovative projects. Innovation not only increases the chances to react to changes and discover new opportunities, but it can also help foster competitive advantage as it allows businesses to build better products and services (most times with fewer resources). We’ve tried to choose these projects over more conventional ones, as they’ve put us at the forefront of digital product development.
  • We’ve made the most of going global as a lever to overcome the crisis. Benelux was not the only market we opened this year. The US and Mexico are in our agendas too, with some projects already underway. Simply put -as my grandma used to say- don’t put all your eggs in one basket. While Covid has hit worldwide, not all markets have reacted the same. Different governments have applied different policies. The key to succeed here is daring to think out of the box, trying new things and iterating fast.

What have we got in return? A sustained growth of 30% during Q3 and Q4 (after downcreasing our billing 20% in the 2Q) together with a strong consolidation in the Spanish market as one of the leading innovation studios in Europe.

So, upon reflection, I guess this roller-coaster we’ve called 2020 hasn’t been completely bad. Cheers to that, to the fantastic team we have, and to an even more exciting 2021 -ideally without nasty pandemics, please Santa.

Elena González Castillo

Marketing & Communication Manager at Acid Tango. Coffeeholic and History lover.