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February 04, 2013

Our Story, Part 1: Getting Started

February 04, 2013

So what's up with the name?

It was early 2006 and our soon-to-be CEO, Jeb Banner, was freaking out. Having abruptly left the auction house he co-founded 5 years earlier, he felt a little lost. He knew he wanted to partner with Joe Downey to build websites but everything else was fuzzy. A lifelong music lover, he decided to walk off the stress and listen to some music.

"I was listening to my iPod and I became fascinated with the fact that so much music could fit on this little thing – this small...box. It spoke to my desire to do something big with very little. So I ran with it.”
- Jeb Banner, CEO

And so goes the name: SmallBox. We never thought it was the world’s greatest name. But we’ve learned that meaning snowballs over time. It means something now. We hope in hearing our story you will also learn that meaning.

That's what this website is for — it exists to tell you our story. Also, we hope we can help you tell your story. But let's get back to 2006...

Hard to imagine now, but in 2006 MySpace was king. Facebook was just a site for college kids and Twitter had yet to tweet. It was during this transitional time that SmallBox founders Jeb Banner and Joe Downey left the auction business to start SmallBox.

In the beginning SmallBox was just a development shop — no design, marketing, etc. We were known for building websites using our proprietary CMS (content management system) that Joe coded our first year in business. 

Clients really liked our CMS, which pleasantly surprised us at the time. We were just building what we'd want to use. This was what we sold, and it sold well. But we also had a "customer is always right" mentality that led to us doing some work we weren't proud of. We can admit it now — we had trouble saying no.

During this time we ran across several local agencies that needed CMS powered websites for their clients. Through these partnerships we soon found ourselves building bigger and better websites. This grew our team and we began to dabble in design and SEO. What we lacked in experience we made up for in sweat.

But, looking back on it now, in 2006 hardly anyone was "experienced." The web was still pretty new. Of course, some day we will be saying that about 2013. The web is a wild, crazy thing and we love trying to tame it.


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