Q&A w/ Jesse McCabe
Q: Who was your first client?
Roundtable, a small agency in Champaign. I started freelancing with them independently, but they suggested that I incorporate.
Q: What was your favorite concert and where?
Twenty One Pilots in Moline, IL in 2017. I feel like I have to justify this since they are such a mainstream band, but I’ve seen a lot of great shows, and their performance was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. Plus, it was my son’s first show of his favorite band … that’s a special moment.
Q: What is your favorite business book, and why?
I’ve got a lot of favorites that I think are relevant to building teams and business operations, but the book that was the most eye-opening was The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. The reason I appreciated this book was because it articulated the way I like to sell.
Q: What was your first coding/software project?
I can’t remember my first project, but the first one I got paid to do was a website for a Amish Furniture company in Arcola, IL. That was in 1994.
Q: Where do you see Solid Digital in 10 years?
I see us becoming more specialized and finding a niche that suits our expertise. My goal is to continue to have a small team that is highly valued for our ability to use innovative technologies and concepts.
Q: What is one of your favorite things about Solid Digital’s culture?
Drama-free. I believe we have developed a respectful, professional environment that allows us to focus on our client’s work and not internal interpersonal issues.
Q: What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Quitting my job in LA right after my son was born, moving back to Illinois, and starting my own company.
Q: How do you keep Solid Digital’s team motivated?
I am a big believer that motivation comes when you feel like you own your work and are able to influence an outcome. I feel like standing on a stump and trying to be the motivating coach isn’t really me. I like empowering individuals and recognizing good work.
Q: Choose a movie title for the story of your life.
Q: What is the “nerdiest” thing you do in your spare time?
I don’t get to write code for work anymore. In my free time, I usually have some scripting project that I’m tinkering with. Sometimes it leads to actual software. For example, I wrote a plug-in for Google Docs called Doc Variables that now has over 15,000 installs. I’ve also done a couple of Alexa apps, and I have done some robotics programming with my son.
Q: What technology innovation has made the most impact on your life?
The Web. My job, our type of company, didn’t even exist 25 years ago.
Q: What is your favorite sport to watch?
Football, for sure. However, I love playing Cornhole with my family and I recently watched a 2018 professional tournament on ESPN2. I don’t think I’ve ever been more engaged with a televised sporting event.
Q: Do you play any instruments?
Yes. I am most proficient at bass guitar, but I’ve gotten pretty good at piano and drums, as well.
Q: What would be the ultimate gift for you to receive?
Outside of world peace, probably a Tesla.
Q: If you could live in any period of history, when would it be?
I assume this means I can’t live in the future. I would love to be alive when we’re able to travel beyond our solar system. In terms of the past, I think the timeline for my life is so incredible that I believe this is the most amazing time to be alive. To think about how much has changed in daily life since the 70s is just mind boggling.
Q: What is the most important personal attribute that you bring to your job?
I like to think it’s empathy. I hope it is… I tend to be able to resolve issues, relate to business needs, and recruit strong candidates because I can see the world from different viewpoints.
Q: What would you like to be known for?
Making an impact in the world that helps humanity move forward.