What’s Your Story?

Here's the original wizard

What’s Your Story?

I was recently asked what’s the story behind my company name and realized I haven’t told that story in a while. So for those of you who might be curious here it is.

In my last corporate job, before the internet existed, I was a systems admin / network manager / trainer. It was my job to make sure everyone in the Creative Department had the software, equipment and training they needed to perform their duties.

I felt like Santa Claus every day – always bringing people fun new stuff and teaching them. I was the go-to person whenever anyone had a problem – and loved it! Every day was something new and definitely had its challenges. There was always something new to research to improve productivity and streamline the process.

Here's the original wizard

The original wizard

One of my biggest training challenges was a copywriter. She needed more hand-holding than the others and I spent a lot of time with her. After several months working together she came in with this piece of artwork – a pink wizard. She said “This is you. You are a wizard. There isn’t anything you can’t do. And if you don’t know, you will go find the answer.” I will never forget those words. I was deeply touched and I proudly hung that wizard in my office.

Moving on to the next phase

In 1999 things in the Creative Department were running smoothly. No turnover, so no newbies to train. Equipment had become stable and I was getting bored. My boss said to me “There’s this new thing called the web and we want to be on it. Are you interested?” I couldn’t say YES fast enough! I started learning about building websites and transitioned from Creative to the IT department. I had the same attitude there. It was all cutting-edge and it was up to me to learn how things worked. Again, there was no “experienced” person to ask questions. Having both a graphics background and an IT background certainly helped.

On the move again

By 2003 technology had improved dramatically and I was downsized. I actually helped program my way out of my own job.

A few months later I was rambling around the house trying to figure out what to do with my future and came across the boxes I brought home from the job. There was the wizard. I remembered what the copywriter said and the wheels started turning. I wanted to help people with challenges with their websites. I’d already built some sites for a few friends so why not?

While on the job, I’d been working on massive e-commerce sites that needed many people to manage them. I knew I couldn’t do that on my own so it would have to be simple ones. So there it was Simple Wizardry. That would be the company name. I know now that I broke branding rule #1. But I didn’t know what branding was way back then. I’ve learned a lot since then and have yet to stop learning!

The wizard went through some transformations over the years and is now retired. But I do want to thank Linda the copywriter for giving me the inspiration and courage to take that big step over 14 years ago. Sometimes courage comes from the strangest places.

What’s your story? Please tell me in the comment box below. I’d love to hear it.