Death machines of London

Death machines of London

2 minute read


My experience with Death machines of London can only be described as my baptism by fire. This was my first ever Shopify build, over three years ago, and it was designed and managed by James Hilton. James was the founder of AKQA, which is currently the largest Digital agency in Europe. Before the project even kicked off their were rumours in the office about James, a titan of industry, a man of influence who ruled with an iron fist and a man that shouldn't be crossed. To add to this pressure, James had recently sold AKQA for a pretty penny and DMOL was a personal passion project for him.


Expectation vs reality

The dreaded day was looming, meeting the digital Dragon himself. Expectations vs reality is a funny thing, as the rumours were nothing more than rumours. James, in my experience, was a fantastic guy. As expected he was nothing less than a perfectionist and expected that from everyone that he worked with. He seemed laid back and always happy to have a chat.

The second time I met him, we sat together and ran through his feedback and tweaks. I coded whilst he made his requests. This wasn't a normal feedback session, as this in most situations would not be productive. However, James had run a digital agency for many years and was able to make design adjustments on the fly and understood the impact this would make on the rest of the site. During this time, I learnt how much of a perfectionist he was, he saw a spelling mistake in one of my class names. This would have no effect on the way the site would function and online customers would never see it. He needed this and every reference of it changed. His words were "code is your artform" a statement that I use to guide my code to this day.


"I can say with complete confidence that you are placed amongst those individuals who know that there is no finish line. You have done yourselves proud, and you have excelled at your chosen craft."

-James Hilton, AKQA founder



I'd like to say thank you to James Hilton for knowing and unknowing teaching so much and inspiring me to appreciate the creative process and care for ever detail. I'd also like to say thank you for the t-shirts James sent me and We Make Websites. Mine unfortunately didn't didn't fit but my father in law sure loves it.

Once again I'd like to show my gratitude to Piers and Alex, at We Make Websites, for entrusting me with this project.