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.
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.