My day job is being the owner of Astuteo, a web design company that specializes in manufacturing clients. I’m a web designer and developer. Although I started as a print designer, I love the freedom the web allows. I’ve very revisionist and the web allows you to constantly tweak and improve.
I knew for a long time that I was supposed to run my own business. I was working as part of the marketing team at the newspaper when my father-in-law sat me down and asked me if I wanted to be the head of a newspaper someday. I didn’t, so he advised I quit my job and start the business I did want to run.
I was at the right point in my life — pre-kids! — so I took the leap and launched my own business.
Astuteo works mostly with manufacturing clients, and we’ve come to understand that there’s a certain size and level of internal capability that’s a good fit: Our clients tend to have internal marketing resources but not an internal digital team.
We handle every aspect of web design and development, and strongly believe in creating partnerships. It’s not unusual for us to be in contact with our clients every day. If you just want a company that will create a website and hand it off, we’re probably not a good fit for you.
Our clients tend to be in industries where there are four or five key competitors. Their products typically have long sales cycles, and there are multiple stakeholders involved in the decision to purchase their product. Each of these stakeholders might be coming to the client’s site looking for specific, disparate information and it’s critical for them to find it easily. We take the time to understand what those stakeholders need and deliver it effectively.
If we can help our clients get 10% more leads or drive 10% more sales conversions, we can make a huge difference in their business. We have a good track record of doing that.
My most memorable caffeine would be hard to say. I’d have a hard time coming up with a standout cup of coffee; I’m very pattern-oriented and I tend to link coffee to times in my life.
For instance, when I worked at the newspaper, one of my co-workers would get a cup of coffee every day about 10 o’clock and I usually got one too—that was the first time I regularly drank coffee.
When I started my business and was working downtown, I found myself at the Ancora on King Street multiple times a day—it was just across the street and the people I shared office space with would go there throughout the day. Now I’m close to the Barriques in Middleton and end up there multiple times a day.
There’s no one cup, but the thousands of cups attached to each of those periods and locations.
My current caffeine of choice is always black coffee. My dad drank black coffee; my mom drank black coffee. I didn’t start until after college and opted for black coffee too.
My favorite places for caffeine have typically been close to where I work. I like decent coffee, but I’m not picky. If there’s a pot of coffee that was sitting there since yesterday, as long as tastes at least like average-grade Folgers, I’d probably still drink it (which is not to say that any of the places I mentioned have that kind of coffee!).
The people I’d love to share a cup of coffee with are Jesus and Thomas Jefferson.
The choice of Jesus just cuts right to it: It wouldn’t really even matter if you’re religious, an atheist or an agnostic. Getting to talk with Jesus would allow you to learn so many interesting things from an historic perspective, a cultural perspective.
I’d love to meet Jefferson because it just blows my mind how much one person was able to accomplish.
There he was, writing the rules of how this country should be run and executing it in parallel. Debating what ends justify what means to accomplish our goals. Though I think I’d rather just be a fly on the wall—otherwise I’d feel so unqualified to have to sit down and talk with him!
World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: Having the time and energy to deliver on the great ideas that each of us has. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were eight “yous?”