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June 30, 2011

The SmallBox Manifesto!

June 30, 2011

One of the projects we worked on as we holed up for Factory Week was writing the SmallBox Manifesto. Several months ago when we did the 5 words experiment, we began exploring questions like:

What kind of company are we?
Why do our clients choose us?
How do we describe ourselves and the work we do?

All of the deep thinking was meant to inform our manifesto. After much internal discussion and wordsmithing, we're ready to set it free into the wide world. You can see the manifesto in a visual format on our site here, or read the full copy below. We'd love your feedback!

The SmallBox Manifesto

We are passionate about web marketing because we know it works. We love to solve problems and believe that finding the right solution requires diligent curiosity and creativity. We do our best work when we partner with other believers. Collaboration and team work are in our DNA. We lead with listening, understanding and then recommending.


To be the most effective web marketing team anywhere. To stay small while offering big solutions. To have two virtual lines outside the door of our Broad Ripple offices. In one line we have every ideal SmallBox client waiting to get on our schedule. In the other line we have every perfect SmallBox employee waiting for an opening on the team.


To provide effective solutions for worthy businesses and organizations. To provide ourselves with meaningful work in a fun, collaborative environment. To pursue and realize our own ideas whenever possible. To have a positive impact in our community with a focus on music, arts and culture.

Who we are

We are a team that loves solving problems. We look to grow everything we touch. We believe that work is life and life is work, and there is no need to separate them. We believe in beer Fridays. We believe everyone should take regular, real vacations. We believe work doesn’t have to be stressful. We know we do our best work when we are focused, loose and having fun.  We all come from different backgrounds and we love what each person brings to our culture. Together we form a unique, creative whole.

How we work

We play well with others. We thrive on interaction with our clients, partners and with each other. Our goal is to create a “fail safe” environment at SmallBox. A place where great people can try to do big things, knowing that everyone has their back. When we fail, we learn, adjust and keep moving. We look for passion, focus and a sense of urgency in our team members. Momentum cannot be overvalued. Trust must be continually earned. Quality is fixed, quantity is the variable. Expectations are routinely set and then reset as needed. We don’t avoid hard conversations and all of us hold each team member accountable.

What we do

We use the web to grow businesses and organizations. The special sauce is how we get our results. This starts with really getting to know our clients. This means understanding their fundamentals — what they are selling or providing, who their audiences are and what actions they want them to take. Then we make recommendations based on years of experience and expertise. We are solutions agnostic in the sense that we look to recommend the right solutions, not just our solutions.

Our Name

Why call a company SmallBox? What’s up with that? Ok, here’s the deal. Back in late 2005 when our CEO, Jeb Banner, was thinking of what to call his new business, he took a walk. Jeb, a certified music lover, brought along his iPod for the walk. He started thinking about how his entire music collection could fit in this, uh, small box. He thought about how his phone, even in 2005, was more powerful than the super computers of 30 years ago. This is where everything is going — smaller, faster, better. He envisioned an agile team with low overhead that could do impressive and effective Web design, development and marketing work — SmallBox.

Core Values

Creativity – To solve any problem you need creativity. You have to pull that big idea out of the clouds, pitch it, defend it, change it and then realize it. Every marketing problem requires creative problem solving. Even the most common ones.

Results – We are a results-focused business. We know that is why our clients have come to work with us and that is why they stay with us — we get them results. We simply don’t take on projects if we aren’t confident we can create results.

Collaboration – We are a collaborative team. We work well with others and enjoy partnering with clients and agencies. We hold each other accountable with a focus on constant improvement and growth. Creativity lays the foundation, collaboration builds out the solution.

Community – We are fiercely passionate about Broad Ripple and our fair city of Indianapolis. Community involvement and giving back are ingrained in our business. In particular, we want to see Broad Ripple become a hub for web and tech companies.

Fun – Not a day goes by that we don't make each other laugh and we think that's one of the best things about working together. That, and Beer Fridays.

Curiosity – We believe in diligent and persistent curiosity. Curiosity means going the extra mile on a gut feeling, uncovering an opportunity. Everyone at SmallBox, from intern to CEO, knows they can, and should, ask “why?” whenever they feel the need.

Growth – Bob Dylan said it best: “He not busy being born is busy dying”. We believe in constant, continual growth. SmallBox is populated with lifelong growers. We will never be finished.

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