We would like to congratulate our sister company Blue Pony on their 10 year anniversary. Take a moment and read below how Blue Pony got to where they are today!
Written by Nathan Grepke – Blue Pony – Creative Director
Just over 10 years ago I was a young newlywed, somewhat fresh out of college and looking for adventure. I had been working for a video production company in Milwaukee, WI and my wife and I were examining our goals for the future and hopes for a couple kiddos, a dog, and a front yard. We set our sights on heading back home to get closer to our families and to begin the next chapter in our lives.
I was in the midst of assembling a plan to start a business in Fort Wayne when my phone rang. Joel Nichols was on the line and had what he described “A Crazy Idea”. Caught a little off guard, but ended up craving the crazy idea anyway! Joel explained that he had an idea to start a digital media company as a sister company to his existing business, Apollo Design Technology. Joel invited me to come on board as the first employee of the company. My initial task was to figure out the business model – our focus on, what talent will we need, our pricing model, what computers and gear would we need, and more.
I thought, (you want me to relocate to Fort Wayne, collect a paycheck, figure out the best way to run the business, where all the risk and dollars needed, are not mine?) It seemed almost too good to be true. Freedom to help steer Blue Pony into a nice little successful digital media company was as close to the dream job as it could get for a 25 year old. What I didn’t know back then was how challenging yet how rewarding it would be.
First, the challenges. Well, to be perfectly honest the early days were awkward, our target audience changed a little day by day, and getting our name out there was no small task. We patiently pursued our first few opportunities that would give us a shot. Growth and progress were slow and expensive. At certain points along the way I started to wonder and worry whether the business would ever become self sufficient and successful. In fact, things were pretty rough as economic challenges in the marketplace as well as costly production changes with our sister company had me and so many others wondering if we needed to shut it down. I mean, it takes a seriously patient investor and entrepreneur to see past all the dollars spent and the negative opinions. I didn’t want to give up, and thank goodness neither did Joel and Keersten. They believed with unwavering confidence that we were forming a solid foundation for success and that it was just a matter of hanging on a bit longer. They were right!
With additions to team members and through trial and error and resourcefulness, our talents were finding their way into corporate America. We soon found ourselves being regarded as the premium solution for content in the Digital Signage industry and had opportunities to contribute custom content for concert tours like the Eagles, Sarah McLaughlan. Some of our content made it into the Alvin and The Chipmunks Movies, and The Percy Jackson Movie. From there each portfolio piece offered growth. We grew as a team learning how to take care of the customer and produce the work in a high quality manner. We grew with our customers, helping them succeed and leading us to more opportunities with them and their peers in the industries.
With any service based company it doesn’t take long to realize your success is entirely dependent on the people that make up the team. My favorite aspect of Blue Pony is the team. Bar none. We have assembled some of the best talent, and it is so wildly unique from person to person. It is so exciting for me to consider the design talent as each project opportunity is presented to me. And they are good people….FUN people, so that’s a bonus! Check them out here!
At the end of the day we might find each member gearing up for extremely different weekend adventures, but when we reassemble next Monday I can count on the team being ready to serve our valued client base. The 10 years have been a bit of a roller coaster, and as we round the half way point for 2014 we are poised and ready with creativity and capabilities. We look forward to having you sit with us on the next ride!