2018 Year-In-Review

2018 Year-In-Review

2018 was a very exciting year for Solid Digital. Over the past year, we moved into a new space, expanded service offerings to better support our clients, and worked with some amazing people along the way.

Every new year tends to start more or less in the same way; an empty page, a clean slate, a blank canvas ripe for creating new memories.

A new year brings new opportunities and plenty of excitement—and although we are certainly very excited for 2019, 2018 was a very special year for us. We got to work with some some amazing clients who challenged us, collaborated closely with our team, and enabled us to put out some pretty cool (in some cases, award-winning) work. Last year also brought us new team members and traditions that have helped make our company culture even stronger.

So as we march into the year ahead with optimism and open arms, we wanted to take a quick look back and share some of our favorite memories of 2018.

Fun Events We Attended & Hosted

We wanted to be more active in attending events in our industry this past year. So, our Marketing Department kicked off the first quarter of 2018 by attending Digital Marketing Masterclass & 20th Birthday Do & Brew At MightBytes.

As a way to connect with our community Solid Digital hosted an agency tour for Designation.io.

Giving our team the opportunity to host a cohort of designers in their UX/UI Bootcamp and introducing them to our Creative Team for them to learn more about our agency, and our process.

One of the biggest events of the year for us was the EO Chicago’s 2018 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, where we were honored to sponsored and participate along with many other influential organizations.

A New Home For The Portland Team

For our Portland team, moving into a new space designed by our COO has been a game changer in the way we do things. Our space gives us the ability to work independently in quiet areas, and also come together to collaborate in many areas in our office. It has also provided a nice gathering place for lunches and team events.

New Faces in Each Department

Throughout 2018 each department had a new addition to their team, as we welcomed 4 talented individuals into the Solid Digital family.

Pete Ziegel joined our Creative Department as the team’s UX/UI Designer, Sarah Achler joined our Marketing Department as the new Marketing Support Manager, Amber Stansfield joined our Production team as Director of Production, and our newest addition is Mike Le-Reiver, joining the Technology team as a Web Developer.

We Created New Traditions

Our passion for music opened the door to 2 new traditions for our team. On a monthly basis, our team curates a playlist of themed music to share on Spotify. Our second musical tradition is Project Playlists, our project managers work together with the team to put together a playlist for the day of the project’s launch. We share these with our clients and play them at both of our locations on launch day to celebrate the project.

We also created #SolidDailies on Slack, a channel dedicated for daily questions that allow our team to get to know each other, have some fun, and on occasions earn points. #SolidDailies has become one of our team’s favorite daily activity because it’s simple, it doesn’t take to much time, and we can all participate and have fun.

We Won Some Cool Awards

Our team is extremely proud of the awards that were received throughout 2018, We were named One of Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, along with being named Leading Agency in Portland.

We also received two gold W3 Awards for the work with did for our clients at MSCI and Edlong, along with receiving a silver Davey for the work we did for Edlong.

What’s To Come

We anticipate that in 2019 will be just as productive and exciting as 2018 (and with any luck, even more-so). Our team is thrilled with what we were able to accomplish in 2018, we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.

Happy New  Year!

The Importance of Celebrating Website Project Completions

The Importance of Celebrating Website Project Completions

Celebrating website project completions is something our team has been working very hard on incorporating into our process, because stopping and celebrating your work matters.

Website Project Launch Celebrations Matter

How many times has your team been so busy that when you finish with one project, you just jump to the next one? We have all been there, but that is not an excuse not to celebrate the great work you and your team have worked on. Celebrating website project completions is something our team has been working hard on incorporating into our process, because stopping and celebrating your work matters, showcasing all the features that your team helped create matters, and most importantly giving praise to all those who made it happen matters.

Recognizing Wins and Celebrating Together

At Solid Digital, we encourage recognition and celebration for all types of accomplishments and the way we celebrate continues to evolve based on the needs of our team. No matter how big or small the celebration may be, sometimes just acknowledging a win during a team huddle is all that is needed.

Recognition is a key success factor that impacts your team’s environment and culture.

Celebration reinforces and acknowledges the team’s hard work and reinforces the importance of collaboration. We work together, we celebrate together. There are times where things may not go as planned, but it’s important to recognize the wins no matter how difficult the situation or how small the win is.

Ways We Celebrate

At Solid Digital we have many ways in which we try to celebrate.

We do things like putting together a digital presentation where we showcase all the highlights of the previous week, including project launches. We use 15Five as a way to give digital high-fives to our team members, sometimes we bring in treats for the office, or go out to celebrate over beers.

In more recent website project completions, our team has started to create a Project Playlist, full of curated songs that remind us of our client or the work we did for them. Along with the project playlist the tech team usually sets up a live-stream where we can all join and see the launch in real-time. It’s a fun way for everyone in the company to get involved and get excited.

Project completion celebrations allow the whole team to have a moment to appreciate and showcase the work that was done for our client, it allows for individual shout-outs and provides the team with a finish line to rally around.

Make it Count

Not every celebration needs to be a lavishing party, but it has to be sincere. It’s important for management and team leaders to foster a culture of recognition and celebration. Don’t be afraid of taking that stressful time when your team is wrapping up a project and add some fun. People will appreciate it.

Talk to your team about the types of way that you can incorporate celebration into your web design project completions.

Solid Digital, Award-Winning Web Design Agency, Named 2018 Davey Awards Winner

Solid Digital, Award-Winning Web Design Agency, Named 2018 Davey Awards Winner

Solid Digital is proud to announce being named a 2018 Davey Silver Award Winner in the Food & Beverage category for our work with Edlong.

Award-Winning Web Design Agency

We are extremely proud to announce that with 3,000 entries from across the US and around the World, we have been awarded a Silver Award in the Food & Beverage Website category for the work we did for the Edlong website.

The Davey Awards is judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 700+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. Current membership represents a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms.

Click here to the 2018 Davey Awards Winners List

About the Davey Awards

The Davey Awards exclusively honor the “Davids” of creativity, the finest small shops, web design firms, and digital marketing companies worldwide. David defeated the giant Goliath with a big idea and a little rock – the sort of thing small agencies do each year.

The annual International Davey Awards honors the achievements of the “Creative Davids”, who derive their strength from big ideas rather than big budgets. The Davey Awards is the leading awards competition specifically for smaller agencies as they compete with their peers to win the recognition they deserve.

Visit www.daveyawards.com for more information.

Building a Cohesive Team Culture Across Multiple Offices

Building a Cohesive Team Culture Across Multiple Offices

For us here at Solid Digital, culture is something we focus on a lot, and having two offices on opposites sides of the country has made it challenging to create a cohesive team culture, but not impossible.

Now more than ever organizations are focusing on their teams and their culture.

It’s no secret that the people that are entering the workforce want to work for organizations that share their same values. They want to feel like their work has a purpose and can make a difference. Culture has also become a way for organizations to set themselves apart from the competition, build a brand identity, attracting the right talent, and increase performance and employee satisfaction.

Company culture continues to evolve daily as new employees, clients, and other environmental factors are introduced. For us here at Solid Digital, culture is something we focus on a lot, and having two offices on opposites sides of the country has certainly made it challenging (but not impossible) to create a cohesive team culture.

Prospects

From the moment one of our Directors identify a need to open a position here at Solid Digital, we ask that they focus not only on their prospects’ qualifications but also their personality. This is important because the overall dynamic that particular person can bring into our company can enhance culture or damage it*. That being said, we want to make sure that the people joining Solid Digital are not only good at what they do, but that they are passionate about the team, the culture, and the work we are doing.

Just like we want people to be a good fit for the team, we want to ensure that Solid Digital is a good fit for them as well. Our company values and information about our culture is shared with a prospect at the early stages of the interview process, so they know what to expect without being surprised.

*Read: Harvard Business School Study on Toxic Workers

Communication

Communication is key to having a cohesive team, especially when not everyone is in the same room. Slack is one of the communication tools that Solid Digital uses that has been highly impactful to our culture. Everyone in the company uses it actively—we have channels specific to projects we might be working on, channels dedicated to each office sub-culture, and a #General channel where major announcements and company-wide communication takes place.

We have also expanded those channels to things like #Random, where you are allowed to share fun and off-beat content with the team. Recently we’ve even created #Solid-Dailies, a channel where we all interact and learn more about each other through questions and trivia.

Along with Slack, we host a weekly company-wide team huddle, which is a way for us to interact with the whole team, share our wins, good news, upcoming company events, and occasionally host a guest speaker or a team member showcasing some of the work they have been doing.

Actions

We understand that our office culture in our Portland and Chicago locations are not going to be exactly the same due to varying personalities, traditions, and sub-cultures.

Although our company personality and culture may not be identical across our offices we all share common goals and values. We have a dedicated person on our team that focuses on culture initiatives and we have a culture committee where members of both offices can come together to discuss activities and events that are similar but tailored to the culture of each office.

Simple things like having our company values in both locations, sharing information in real time through our Slack channels, planning and executing events with the right focus in mind are all things that can help team members feel connected and valued.

We don’t have a cookie cutter approached to how we influence culture, but we do influence it with positive actions and encourage our team to cultivate it by participating in activities, speaking up when something is not working, and simply being the very best that they can be.

As we continue to grow and our team continues to evolve, our company culture will continue to change. It is our duty to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of our culture, make changes to continue improving what is not right, and continue to reinforce the things that are working and people enjoy.

Solid Digital Named 2018 W³ Award Winner

Solid Digital Named 2018 W³ Award Winner

Solid Digital wins two W³ Gold Awards in the Manufacturing and Food & Beverage Categories.

Solid Digital is proud to announce that, among 5,000 entries, it has been named a GOLD winner of the 2018 W³ under the Manufacturing and Food & Beverage categories for our clients, Metal Service Center Institute (MSCI) and Edlong.

Click here to see the 2018 W³ Gold Award winner’s list.

The W³ Awards celebrates digital excellence by honoring outstanding Websites, Web Marketing, Video, Mobile Sites/Apps & Social content created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers, and creators worldwide. In honoring the best of the web, the W³ Awards is the first major web competition accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.

“We are honored to have relationships with clients like MSCI and Edlong who have given us the latitude to create meaningful experiences and improve their digital value. We certainly appreciate the recognition of the awards.”

– Jesse McCabe, Solid Digital CEO

 

The W³ is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA). The AIVA is an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, interactive, advertising and marketing firms. AIVA members include executives from organizations such as Brandweek, Disney, HBO, Microsoft, Monster.com, MTV, Sesame Workshop, Victoria’s Secret, Wired, and Yahoo!.

Solid Sit-Downs: Meet Jesse McCabe, Solid Digital Partner + CEO

Solid Sit-Downs: Meet Jesse McCabe, Solid Digital Partner + CEO

At Solid Digital, we believe a robust, thriving culture is just as, if not more important to our long-term success than our technical expertise. In this new content series, we’ll be sitting down with some of our team members to get to know them a bit better.

Jesse McCabe, Partner + CEO

Jesse has a passion for helping businesses reach their full potential. Since founding Solid Interactive in 2006, he has helped hundreds of companies turn their ideas into reality. He guides the Solid Digital team to consistently create top tier products, services, and experiences.

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.

Team

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.

Our New Portland Office

Our New Portland Office

It has been an exciting journey for Solid Digital, and we look at this new location, as a new chapter for our Portland team.

We are excited to announce that our Portland team has moved to a new location in downtown Portland.

We spent the previous five years at the American Bank Building less than a mile away from our new location — our old office served us well, and we made great memories (and worked with amazing clients) there, but we couldn’t be more excited about our new space here at 200 Market.

“We moved downtown over 5 years ago from the central east side. We’ve seen lively performers and big music acts, to parades, marathons and protests. The experiences that we’ve had in Pioneer Square have been memorable, to say the least, and I will always think back to the many great team activities that we had at the American Bank Building. Now, that chapter of our story is closed and we are excited to move down the road a little bit to a space designed by us, for us and all of the unique things we provide to our clients. I am ecstatic to think about what we will create in this new space and we are proud to call 200 Market our home. The weekly building happy hour with beer and bocce ball didn’t hurt! If you are local, keep an eye out for our open house invitation. It will be in the mail soon.”

— Travis McHattie, COO

 

The new office is in the famous Fountain District in downtown Portland, putting us in a more quiet area of the city. This move is something that has been in the works for about a year now, and after several meetings with our realtor and many, many tours of different offices, we found the perfect location.

This space gave us the  ability to start from the drawing board and put together an office that meets our team’s needs. The design encourages collaboration and creativity in an open-layout space.

“The new office space is well organized around a central team area. The large desks provide plenty of individual space, but the open environment allows me to quickly and easily collaborate with other team members. If a group needs to round up without disturbing the rest of the team, the extra breakout rooms are a great addition. Overall, I find that focusing on the task at hand is easy in this building, due to great noise-damping insulation in the windows and walls (it’s surprisingly quiet), along with the peaceful setting provided by sweeping views of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge and Portland Tram.”

— Andrew DuBrock, Project Manager

 

It has been an exciting journey for Solid Digital, and we look at this new location, as a new chapter for our Portland team. We’re still working on getting settled in and adding some artwork to our walls, but we’re incredibly excited to be in the new space. We’ll be hosting an Open House soon for local clients, and friends. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop in and say hi!

The new address is 200 SW. Market St. Suite 975, Portland, OR 97201.

Solid Digital Wins National Best & Brightest Award for 2017

Solid Digital Wins National Best & Brightest Award for 2017

Solid Digital wins the National Best and Brightest Company to Work For® award for the second time in two years, adding this award to its recent list of awards and recognition. Winning this award recognizes the high value Solid Digital places on work-life balance, employee satisfaction, company culture and retention.

The National Association for Business Resources has recognized Solid Digital, as a 2017 winner of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation.

The “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” is a national program that the National Association for Business Resources provides the business community with the opportunity to gain recognition, showcase best practices and provide strong evidence on why they are an ideal place to work at.

According to Brian Glassman, Marketing Director at Solid Digital, “Being named one of the Best & Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation is an honor—and certainly well deserved, given this organization’s unwavering commitment to employee satisfaction, personal, and professional development.”

“It’s an honor being nominated as a 2017 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for In the Nation! We are among great peers and we have a lot to live up to in receiving this award. Our company focus for 2018 is to enrich the experiences within our company and with our customers. We will do this by focusing on investing in education and culture to ensure that we are the experts in the room that people want to work with. Congratulations Solid team!  This award is a reflection of the people in our organization and the work that they have put in.”

— Travis McHattie, COO

About the Best and Brightest Program

The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® competition identifies and honors organizations that display a commitment to excellence in operations and employee enrichment that lead to increased productivity and financial performance. This competition scores potential winners based on regional data of company performance and a set standard across the nation. This national program celebrates those companies that are making better business, creating richer lives and building a stronger community as a whole. There are numerous regional celebrations throughout the country.

To see a complete list of the winners visit: 2017 Best and Brightest National Winners.

Solid Digital Named Top Portland Web & Software Developer By Clutch

Solid Digital Named Top Portland Web & Software Developer By Clutch

Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform. They produce research evaluating the leading development, IT, digital and marketing firms. In this report, our team was recognized for expertise in all these fields!

There is nothing more important to our team than pleasing our clients and providing them with top-notch services. This is why we are thrilled to announce Solid Digital is featured in Clutch’s recent report highlighting the top agencies in Portland!

Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform. They produce research evaluating the leading development, IT, digital and marketing firms. In this report, our team was recognized for expertise in all these fields! Specifically, we were listed as a top performer in the software and app development categories, as well as branding, content and digital marketing and digital and web design.

Due to Solid Digital’s success on Clutch, we are now featured on their sister website, The Manifest, too! We are excited to also be highlighted here as one of the top mobile app developers in Portland.

To determine the leaders, they used a proprietary methodology based on verified client reviews, a company’s past work and their ability to deliver. The client reviews make up the largest part and our two, 5-star reviews largely helped us earn this recognition. Check out the awesome feedback they shared with Clutch:

“They offer exceptional flexibility, accessibility, and expertise. They took the time to understand our vision and were open-minded.“

“They are process driven and their team is organized. They collaborate really well together…Their attention to detail, their tenacity, and their overall coding skills from the development side were on point.”

Solid Digital Nominated One of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation

Solid Digital Nominated One of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation

For the second consecutive year, The National Association for Business Resources has recognized Solid Digital, as a 2018 winner of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in Chicago.

We are very proud to announce that for the second consecutive year, The National Association for Business Resources has recognized Solid Digital, as a 2018 winner of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in Chicago.

The “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” is a national program of the National Association for Business Resources that provides the business community with the opportunity to gain recognition, showcase best practice, and provide strong evidence of why they are an ideal place to work.

“We are honored to be considered one of Chicago’s Best and Brightest, again, this year. We are committed to becoming better and brighter every day” said CEO and Partner, Jesse McCabe

To compete, organizations are sent a survey that employees fill out grading the enterprise in areas like communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, retention, and more.

Having our team participate in the survey allows us to see how we are doing at both the company and industry level. It gives us insight on what we are doing well, areas where we need to improve, and an overall understanding of how our team is doing.

“I am extremely happy our team was recognized as one of the Best and Brightest companies to work for in Chicago. Their tireless efforts and focus on our culture and the impact it has on customer service is insurmountable. Kudos to a great team doing great work for great clients, we promise to keep working at it and being the best we can be.” said COO and Partner, Travis McHattie

We value our culture and want to ensure that we do the best to influence it in a positive way, where it allows every team member to feel comfortable, inspired, and provides a sense of belonging.