Like most new firms, Storyminers was born of necessity, opportunity, and desire. After being downsized from my eVisionary role at IBM Global Services, I wanted (and needed) to work. There was a growing demand for better customer experiences and better company operations, given all the digital developments of the dot.com era. Also, I felt an inner urge to see what kind of good I could wreak on the world with new tools that gave voice and volume using my people-centered and outcome-oriented mindset.
It was 20 years ago today (November 29, 2000) that the dot-com bubble burst. After rampant speculation and a NASDAQ gain of 400%, the high-tech market lost 78% of its value by October 2002, thanks to companies that had more bark than bite.
I was unnerved that year, yet I felt heartened. I knew that the tools co-founder Thom Milkovic and I were starting the business with had their roots in creating real value. The kind clients can measure. There was nothing speculative about the approach.
Before going on, I’d like to tell you about Thom. He’s a Renaissance guy born in our age. An artist, photographer, filmmaker, designer, UX expert, and copywriter. Thom has a way of stripping all the BS away from an idea then shaping it into something people want to be with, use, and enjoy. I always feel lucky when I get to work with him.
Thom and I pooled our resources, leads, and thinking, and sold six clients on six calls. We learned that the name, Storyminers, and the story about helping companies find their stories first worked. We were on our way.
Thom and I enjoyed helping several mid-market companies pivot their brands to take advantage of digital. We helped the first:
- pure-play digital insurance brokerage launch in the southeast
- privately-owned digital payment processor in the community banking space to attract additions to its leadership team
- automated linen service for hospitals to expand into new products and markets
- digital film house to circumvent Hollywood’s distribution monopoly
- trial-prep software company to refine its product line-up
Then, we leaned into experience design because I saw what it could do for IBM’s clients and eagerly wanted that success again. It was hard. Clients weren’t ready yet to undertake customer experience and business design work (yet). We had to work extremely hard to earn our position in the customer-experience-with-operational-improvements space.
Next, Thom found love, focused on photography (we continue to collaborate occasionally), and moved to California.