The mid 1990's was a time of great opportunity! The Internet was relatively new and nobody could have dreamed it would become what it has today. Not knowing what was in store, thousands of entrepreneurs chased after dreams of IPO and millions of dollars from this upcoming technology. We were no different.
In 1995, one of the Five Technology partners was spending winter break from college working as a limo driver in Aspen, CO to make a few extra bucks. He ran into a few guys that were interested in funding an interactive kiosk guide in town, so the crew picked up and moved to Aspen to complete the project. In these days there was no mobile phone let alone mobile technology, only the recently upgraded, high flying 28.8 modem that connected to the Internet via a phone line. The kiosks were strategically placed and offered a comprehensive guide to those visiting Aspen looking for dining, entertainment, ski rentals, and more. Think Google Maps of today, but much slower and a whole lot less portable.
A programmer, a graphic designer, a database admin, a network specialist, and a business/sales guy started their quest for the next big thing. We would no doubt be millionaires by time we were in our 30's, but it was going to require 16 hour days working for a dream rather than a paycheck. A whole lot of dreams fell short as part of the infamous dot com bust, instead we ran into a kiosk patent that put Admartek (us) and everyone else out of the kiosk business. Down but not out, we salvaged a healthy start on a content management system (unheard of in those days) and a new project to rebuild Aspen.com.
Our core competency is utilizing Internet technology to build things, so we relied heavily on partners for marketing and new sales. The SMC, or Site Management Console, was one of the first content management systems available to SMB, and it turns out business owners were getting weary of paying their website company $100 every time they needed a simple update to their site.
In addition to word of mouth and referral sales, we were building great relationships with partners such as Blue Tent Marketing who were sales and marketing machines. We focused primarily on making the SMC better, and our partners helped to bring our SMC subscriptions to close to 400 websites.
At a similar point in time, we had started seeing a lot of demand for IT services. While most companies did realize they needed a website, it was not bringing in the revenue needed to fuel the fire. Networks were less complex at that time and most website design companies had a few network geeks for hosting anyway, so it was an easy way to make a few extra bucks. We soon learned that what was once just an additional revenue source was emerging as a must have skill set for any company looking to effectively do managed services.
Call it "the cloud" or whatever the buzz word of the time, but organizations are moving more and more business functions online and a merger of the IT and website worlds had started to unfold.
Our partners were still treating us well but the open source content management era was upon us and competition was introduced to the SMC license. Open source CMS was "free" to use and seemingly a logical move for any website development company of any substance (see more on The True Cost of Open Source CMS and Web Developers and Engineers are not the Same for more on open source CMS topics).
It was going to be tough to rely on our partners moving forward for the sort of revenue we needed, so the time had come to go after the market directly with our own sales and marketing team. Five Technology was now a conversation.
Aaron Weiche (now with Get Five Stars) had made a decision to move on from his previous endeavor and was actively courting bankers about a loan for his Deep Six Marketing business plan. Intrcomm Technology (us) was looking to hit the website design and development market with our direct sales and marketing initiatives.
We desperately needed each other so we partnered to form Five Technology, a technology company that builds business class websites and helps to market them online though search engine marketing services. Over the next couple years Five was able to build a fantastic portfolio, bringing our website design and Internet marketing services to a whole new level.
With our headquarters in a suburb west of Minneapolis / St Paul and remote offices in Vail and Aspen CO, we continually strive to stretch the limits of technology for ourselves as well as our clients. If the business of the future is a distributed model with a central headquarters and remote clients, staff, partners, etc., dispersed throughout, then we've got a jump on that trend. Through online software, incredible leaps in technology (bandwidth, storage, software, etc.), and a team knowledgeable in the entire spectrum, we are prepared for this "Internet thing" to evolve even further.
Five Technology is still working relentlessly to build relationships with organizations as well as businesses needing a partner in technology. We have not abandon nor serviced small clients that have been with us through the years any less. Our growth continues to increase moderately year after year, regardless of the market conditions.
Internet marketing is the cost effective alternative to traditional marketing with a measurable ROI, so down markets should essentially translate to increased business. Our objective continues to be to provide our existing clients a great return on the money they spend with us while seeking a healthy balance of new business each year.
My goal is to double revenue from the site in the next 2 years. Now that Five Technology has built me this powerful portal management web application, I am able to streamline the process of publishing content.Paul Taylor III, SurvivingMold.com
The staff at Five Technology has been wonderful to work with. They are receptive to the needs of the school district and willing to work within our budget. They have gone above and beyond to make sure we are satisfied with the product they are delivering.Traci Lawman, Delano Public Schools
Wow, the transition to the new system was seamless. Kudos to everyone that worked this out. Thank you very much!Vicki Adney, Reck Agri
We have had many comments from our community on the ease of use of navigation and they really have enjoyed the new look and layout. Our staff certainly has benefited as we have used the website more and more as a communication device to our school patrons. I look forward to taking full advantage of the student section for our classes, hopefully next year.Paul Ludwig, Delano Public Schools