That’s 140 in dog years! ...and about 1,572 (and a half) in Internet years.
When we started the company, there was no:
- Wikipedia (2001)
- Skype (2003)
- Facebook (2004)
- YouTube (2005)
- Twitter (2006)
- or iPhone (2007)
Google was just becoming popular (remember Alta-vista?!), and we were still using Netscape 4.72 as our primary browser!
Fast forward 20 years, and we've survived:
- The original dot com implosion
- Two of our original three clients going bankrupt shortly after
- The 9/11 attacks (our office was in lower Manhattan at the time)
- The 2008 recession
- Four US Presidents
- A global pandemic (currently in progress)
- and the Macarena
So what have we learned?
Well obviously not enough, or we'd have had a multi-billion dollar IPO by now!
But seriously, here are some key takeaways after nearly two decades:
One of the questions I had going into business in New York City was if I could do it with my Midwestern sense of fair play and high ethical standards. Without greasing palms to get things done or screwing clients to make profit margins work, could one survive—or even thrive?
The answer is: yes, but it's hard.
Running a small company in a big city is expensive, and it is easy to see why some might be tempted to cut corners or scare people into forking over their cash. Technology and marketing are confusing, and there are those who could easily take advantage of that fact and make clients scared and dependent on them.
I'm proud that we've always strived to be transparent and educate our clients. We could have made a lot more money making it harder than it has to be—but it feels so much better to have loyal clients who trust our advice and thrive because they know more and can make solidly-informed decisions.
Great people make all the difference
One of the things we've tried very hard to do over the years is to create within the company an environment of trust and respect. We are human, and some days are better than others—but overall, I think we are much better than most. Because of that approach, we've been able to hire and retain smart, talented people. We've even had a few clients come to work for us, which is a huge compliment.
Great people are insightful, give good advice and make great products. Great people challenge the status quo. Great people make a great company. I love the people at Animus Rex and am very grateful that they give it their all.
Customer service is key
Animus Rex is not a technology company or a marketing company or a website company.
It's a service company.
Our entire reason for existing is “to be of service.” The point is not technical wizardry for the sake of being clever, it's about how we can help our customers solve problems and, from time to time, even anticipate them. There are lots of choices out there. One of the reasons that we're still standing after all this time is that we truly care about our clients. Without them, we have no reason to exist.
The other reason is that we're just too stubborn to quit!
Technology is a ruthless Darwinian. If you're not flexible and can't adapt, extinction will soon follow. This applies not only to our toolset but also to soft skills. We have learned and unlearned and relearned. But with age, also comes context. We know why things are the way they are now and can use that context to help our clients make better decisions and grow and change in a way that does not repeat old mistakes others may have forgotten.
The point is connecting
One of our core creeds is this: "Technology is a powerful tool. But at the end of the day, it's important to remember that we're trying to connect and engage with a real human being at the other end of the screen. Let's start the conversation there."
That's a simple but profoundly grounding statement. It's easy to get caught up in the latest trend or technique or initiative. Remembering that we're doing this to connect keeps us in the right headspace, which in turn allows us to advise our clients in a way that keeps them in the right headspace.
So, 20 years and still going strong! It's good to feel relevant and vital in this industry after so long. I'm thrilled we've done so well and have helped so many people along the way. Here's to another 20!
With gratitude to all our clients (past and present) and to a great team!