BlueTone Media: The First 15 Years
By: Brad Graham
The Early DaysIt all started like several other tech companies, except instead of a garage, it was a guest bedroom.
Our CEO, Jimmy Honsinger, always had a love for technology and computers. He built his first website way back in 1995 for a local movie theater, and had the innovative idea for business owners to buy ads before the movie trailers started. In 1999, Jimmy moved to Wilmington where friends and colleagues would pay him with pizza to fix any of their tech issues. A few years later, he decided to save his waistband and make a living out of doing something he loved, thus BlueTone Media was born.
To start, BlueTone only had 3 official clients, a vast change from the 400+ we have today. It was just Jimmy and a graphic designer friend working out of that guest bedroom. After adding an intern and then Jimmy's wife to the team, the 10x10 room wasn't cutting it anymore.
The Murchison BuildingBy 2006, with the client list and team growing, plus a baby girl on the way, the original makeshift office was about to be turned into a nursery, so it was time to see what other offices were available. After looking at a number of commercial spaces, the group saw the Murchison Building. It was love at first sight.
Not counting it's history, quaintness, amazing views and downtown location, the Murchison Building offered something else BlueTone needed - room to grow. To help keep up with our clients' needs, a sales and account management team was added next. Over the next few years, we saw our team quadruple in size, and had to transition from the scenic Battleship view on the 9th floor, to the bubbling Front Street one on the 6th floor. But hey, it's still a great view!
Website EvolutionIf we've ever suggested a site that we originally created for you be redesigned, there's a reason for that. The web is constantly changing. Gone are the days of Flash animations and square designs. Monitors are getting larger. Phones and tablets are beginning to dominate the device categories. You have to adapt.
Just take a look at some of our earlier sites:
Wow. Just....wow. But at the time, that was cutting edge and people loved it. You should always be evolving and making your product the best it can be. It's one of our Core Values, and we really try to stress that with our clients.
Speaking of which, over the last few few years, we've tried to work on how we do everything, to figure out what separates us from other web companies and what we can make better. We've reworked and created so many things, like company goals, metric tracking, internal processes, and core values. Our core values are what we really stand for and try to follow on a daily basis. Because we try to always put the client first, we wanted to share those core values here with you:
- Communication - It's important to listen, not just talk, so we can understand our client's needs
- Accountability - We aren't perfect and know mistakes will happen. We strive to own them and resolve them quickly when they do, though.
- Responsiveness - Prompt phone call and email replies are important in this fast online world.
- Excellence - Always put the clients' needs first, and never settle for mediocrity. Always be improving.