Today we’d like to introduce you to Tom DeGerlia. They and their team share their story with us below:
I moved to Denver from upstate New York with my parents when I was only a few years old. My parents were hippie parents, and my earliest memories are of living on Downing Street in Capitol Hill. Both of my parents are free thinkers and artists. My father attended Wharton School of Business on an academic scholarship, worked as a video engineer at Denver Channel 9, and then became self-employed as a fine artist – so the influence of art and business, and the implements thereof, was inescapable in my household.
They passed along many of their values to me, like being honest to a fault, and gave me a unique perspective that was un-jaded by social upbringing. In a way, they raised me to be free of the shackles of traditional value systems, and as such I focused on individual intellectual growth relatively uninhibited.
In my primary schooling I was not particularly socially adept nor athletic. Instead, I started two magazines, and led a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) group as the dungeon master (in other words, the creative leader of the group).
I was an instant computer geek. I learned almost immediately that computers were very particular, and that a difference between a 0 (zero) and an O (letter O), while very subtle to the human eye, can be catastrophic to computer code. In Junior High, I founded my first software company and developed a suite of basic video games.
I was an early adopter of GUI OS architectures – I owned the first Mac, the Mac 128k. Also an early adopter of online technologies – I had a 300 cps modem (yes 8×300 bits per second) and hosted a bbs, an early dial-up online service that was a component of what became the internet.
But when I went to college, I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and started a career as an analytical chemist who specialized in Mass Spectrometry. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I finally transitioned to software engineering.
I became frustrated with the lack of effective software development practices in the corporate world, and founded Denver Data in 1998 at 28 years old with a three-year plan to grow and then sell the company.
I quickly found that software and related technology problem solving was my passion, and have never looked back since. Now 24 years and three significant recessions later, Denverdata Web has not only survived but thrived. Over that time, I’ve grown in ways I had never imagined. My mastery of principles of management and customer service were hard-fought through many challenging projects, customers, and employees.
With the encouragement, guidance, and assistance of many advisors, partners, and team members, I believe Denverdata Web has grown to be a leader in digital strategy and implementation.
The values and team culture at Denverdata Web have become amazing. I never imagined such a caring and competent team of professionals working together in such a harmonious and productive environment, and this has really accelerated our growth and quality of life.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Hasn’t been as smooth as I thought it would be. Started this company in 1998 with a 3 year plan to grow it then turn around and sell it. Didn’t prove to be so simple!
The three recessions (year 3/4 , year 11, year 21 – covid) were all very challenging, but we thankfully survived because we are historically very adaptable and lean-and-mean. We also have focused on real customers with real technology problems, and these have helped weather the storms.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business? Denverdata Web was founded in 1998.
We deliver tailored digital strategy solutions to our clients, using web design, web development, and digital marketing.
Along with our other services, we offer a package called the Denverdata Web Complete Solution, or WCS™. The WCS™ website program packages professional digital strategy, website design, high-performance hosting, unlimited website support, and SEO digital marketing into a manageable fixed monthly plan that includes a new website every three years.
Because we provide marketing services and also development services we have some consistency across different economic conditions. When the economy is strong, people spend on infrastructure/capital investments which is development. When it’s weak, they spend on marketing.
What sets us apart –
1) Our expertise spans both marketing and technology. Few marketing or technology vendors can bring these two disciplines together.
2) Our business is about serving great customers with potential and helping them reach that potential. We operate as a true partner to our clients and want to see them succeed – as such, we focus on retention over new sales.
3) We serve an underserved market of serious customers who are small to midsize organizations that are well established or in a growth period, and need a vested partner to deliver tailored solutions that produce demonstrable return on investment.
4) Everything we do internally and for customers is data-driven using metrics called KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators.
5) We have an abundance mindset, and we don’t compete with anyone, instead we collaborate
I’m most proud of how we are true partners with our clients and everyone on our team is passionate about helping our clients succeed. And I’m proud of our innovative WCS™ package!
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Having the hard skills does not translate into an immediately successful business!
Also, it’s important to be friends with the people you serve. The bond of trust between your business and the people you serve is absolutely essential, and to establish that it’s not a business function – it’s a human function. If you don’t have that human element in your business, it won’t thrive. Focus on the people.
You can also learn something from everyone. When I first started out, “I knew everything.” I’m learning each and every day that I know less than I thought I did, and that everyone has wisdom and knowledge to share. This includes your clients/customers!