The Built for Mars mission

Built for Mars is more than a UX consultancy—it’s a place for people to learn more about crafting beautiful, and memorable products.

This was a friend's living room wallpaper—nuts right? This was a friend's living room wallpaper—nuts right?
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Why this exists, and what I’m building here

I hate how UX is often portrayed right now—as something of a science, or a skill you could learn in 60 days if you pay for a $1000 digital course.

Or, what's even worse, is the image of someone surrounded by a thousand post-it notes—this is typical UX 'keyword bingo'.

Building great UX is a mixture of an art, personal preference and understanding human behaviour. It's not a set of fixed rules to follow, but rather a process of creatively solving new problems.

That's why I started Built for Mars: to demonstrate that UX design doesn't have to be daunting. It can, actually, be really simple—if you strip away the noise.

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FinTech exit

January 2018

My FinTech start-up, Movem, was acquired in a PE-backed deal. It was a company which I started while at uni, and 6 years later had created an industry-defining piece of technology. It's since been copied by everyone.

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Finding my feet

As most post-acquisition founders would attest to, I didn't know what to do with myself. So I started helping friends with their companies, and ended up focusing on user experience—something I'd spend tens of thousands of hours obsessing over at my start-up. This eventually turned into paid consulting.

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Founded Built for Mars

December 2019

I was sat in a Costa, and thought to myself “I'm creating these UX presentations privately for companies, but I bet people would benefit if I could post them online". But because I’d signed NDAs with all my clients, I decided to do a mini-study on Rightmove.

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The first few case studies

Private case studies are super detailed, and take me weeks. So it took me a few months to find a good balance of humour, memes, UX tips and a coherent story. That's why the first few studies aren't amazing—I even deleted a few of them.

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The bank study

January 2020

I released the UX of Banking—a 6-part mega study comparing banks in the UK. It went viral, and is probably how most people learned about Built for Mars.

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Helping unicorns

Although I'd been working on Built for Mars full-time for quite a while, after the success of the bank study I made a conscious effort to improve how I ran the business.

This meant saying no to a lot of small design jobs, and focusing on helping some world-class products (Notion, Klarna, Pitch, Octopus Energy, Quickbooks, Google).

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Built for Mars v2 launch

May 2021

The original Built for Mars website was a Wordpress site I'd knocked up myself, and it was terrible. The irony of a UX blog having terrible UX was not lost on me.

So at the end of 2020 I asked my subscribers for feedback, and had hundreds of responses. I then started trying to design the best possible reading experience for my work. It's going to be the launchpad for something much bigger.