In a talk by Nathan Huening, hilariously titled “How to create a billion-dollar business in 10 minutes or less,” he talks about the early days of the iPhone, before the App Store was a thing; like the nascent smartphone, Webflow is a revolutionary piece of technology with an energized user base that’s on the verge of explosive adoption and growth.
With that, we are not only just at the beginning of a shift toward how we’ll build the next phase of the internet, but we’re also at a critical juncture in developing the concept of a Webflow agency, and Edgar Allan would like to help lead with the chorus of companies that are reshaping how the web is being built.
Yes, we were early adopters of the platform almost 10 years ago, but we came to it because we wanted to help clients tell a better story with their customers and needed a way to share “real” ideas faster in context — in a web browser. We adopted Webflow and continue to advocate for the platform because it allows us to shorten the distance between ideas and execution.
We learned early on that we could bring the best strategy, research, and brand position to a client. But if they couldn’t use that as a starting point and learn with their customer in the market, the heartbeat of those ideas would die in a PDF or get lost in a series of SCRUM tickets in a developer’s queue.
Today, I see Webflow as a vision: More than a technology, it’s the embodiment of a bigger idea of how we can shape the web for the next 100 years.
Yet, like anything powerful and intangible, ideas can be fragile. So I also see part of our job as an agency is being an extension of Webflow — embodying the values and mission that it has brought to life within the digital space and articulating them in our work and how we exist in the digital space.
“We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”
- Father John Culkin, SJ (Later popularized by Marshall McLuhan)
TLDR: As a Community, we are building a new business model. And building something new is always incredibly difficult.
The challenge with the democratization of the web is that the digital agency business model needs to be completely restructured. In other words, the goal of this opening up of access to powerful tools should mean that creating the web is a less specialized skill.
Reading between the lines (if I dare to say the quiet part out loud), most major digital agencies make their money selling overly complicated technology platforms at a high markup and/or selling support services for these systems. The idea is to have an offering that creates client lock-in, and thus predictable revenue for the agency. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of the client being able to use these properties as part of their marketing efforts.
The challenge in the digital agency space is that there’s a disincentive for many to recommend a solution that empowers authors because that would come at the expense of their bottom line.
The good news is that creative destruction eventually wins out. As an example, if we look again at the iPhone analogy, BlackBerry was a fine solution until it was made obsolete after a few short years. So, this change will come — and we plan to be on the right side of the wave when it’s here.
At Edgar Allan, we want to help Webflow grow and help others in the agency space grow.
We know this might sound counterintuitive. After all, doesn’t that mindset mean that we’re just growing our own competition? Not really. We believe that as we help the market grow, overall opportunity for everyone will grow. A rising tide lifts all boats.
That opportunity is the opportunity to build a better web.
Here’s the deal: Webflow as a platform accounts for 0.5% of CMS solutions used to build the internet. So, if as a community we view our “competitors” not as each other but as all of the other platforms, and as a group we help evangelize the platform, then we will attract more companies to Webflow… and our circle of creative community amazingness. Really, if we can help get the percentage of Webflow sites to just 1% — double today’s rate — this would create a huge opportunity for the digital creative community everywhere.
As a community, we need to break out of the Webflow “bubble.”
This means that in order to grow, we need to find new ways to bring more technologies and skillsets into the platform. We’re working on this every day, and are excited to share our progress with everyone as we move along.
But if we’ve learned anything during these past nine-plus years, we’ve found that we don’t have to go it alone.
Building a business is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be a solo sport. We don’t have to operate solely as individual contributors; we can work side by side with others who have complementary strengths to amplify our collective abilities.
That’s the power of community that Webflow provides.
At Edgar Allan, we’re thankful every day to have a strong support group on whom we can call — on the best (and worst) days. And we’re constantly inspired by our own team members and by the Webflow community. It’s a feeling of being part of something much bigger than yourself.
It’s these relationships that are at the core of what it means to be a Webflow agency. Bottom line: We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this narrative, Webflow’s trajectory, and the limitless possibility that lies ahead. After all, we’re just getting started.