Today started out like many others at Infinite Web Design. Get into the office and ask how everyone is doing on the myriad of tasks they have in progress, jump on slack and check in with Kyle who is working remotely in Traverse City and then double check my email to make sure all the websites we manage are in good working order. After putting out all the fires and grabbing a cup of coffee Kevin and I hit the road.
We had interviews lined up back to back all day to recruit new interns and full time developers. We were fortunate to have Dr. Issa at GEE who was willing to lend us his conference room at their headquarters in Ann Arbor to interview all the applicants coming from U of M. Kevin and I were looking forward to meeting a lot of bright students and they did not disappoint. We have a lengthy technical review we go through with each applicant. It was really fun working with each person to see how much they have learned so far at U of M. Hearing about their goals and aspirations for this coming summer and what they see themselves doing after graduation got me thinking. It made me recall my experience preparing to graduate and start my career.
Kevin and I founded Infinite Web Design in 2000 and got our start working for friends and family building small informational websites. Nothing super fancy but we were learning and it allowed us the time to figure things out and develop our way of doing things. As I was preparing to graduate in 2005 we were introduced to Dan Cobb from Daniel Brian Advertising. He was working on a plan for a new e-commerce platform for Henry Ford Health System. This was the break we had been waiting for we just didn’t know it at the time.
Dan is a one of those people you meet and know right away that you want to work with him. His energy, excitement, passion, and vision are contagious. Coming right out of school all I knew was that I wanted to build awesome stuff with smart people and have fun doing it. Having someone like Dan to partner with on such a large project was truly a gift. We learned so much about what it means to work with big clients and how complex that process really is. The guidance and support that Dan and his entire team provided to us was invaluable.
That project turned into another project which turned into another project. Before we knew it we had office spaced rented in downtown Rochester and we were hiring more people. One day we got a call from Dan because he wanted to meet to discuss a new idea. Dan’s new project was ambitious, technically challenging and good for the community. We loved the concept and knew that if Dan believed in it that we should give it a shot. Little did we know how much work building this project would require. We also didn’t realize what a great opportunity it would be and how much it would impact the future of Infinite Web Design and Kevin and I personally.
Fast forward to present day. We are working through our 4th interview of the day when Kevin got a call. He looked at his caller ID, jumped up and ran out of the room. I didn’t know it at the time but it was Dan calling. I continued on with the technical questions and about 15 minutes later Kevin returned. We wrapped that interview up and just kept moving on to the next one. 8pm rolls around and we finally closed the book (MacBook) on our last interview. We had to run off immediately to meet Dr. Issa because he needed an hour to go over his current projects with us.
We met up with Dr. Issa to discuss our current goals, challenges and plans for his projects. Dr. Issa is one of those people just like Dan. Smart, ambitious, hard working and generally just a great guy to work with. We arrive to the meeting and he has dinner waiting for us. Knowing we had not eaten because we had so many interviews scheduled today he went out of his way to pick something up for us. It’s details like that where someone goes above and beyond that make you really appreciate how incredible they are. We devoured our food and then got down to business. It was a great meeting and we closed up shop around 10pm and hit the road back to Lake Orion.
On our drive back I remembered Kevin’s quick exit and the phone call he had to take. It turns out that Dan was calling to let us know that the project we had spent so much time working on with him would be winding down operations. We had stepped back from our role in the project awhile ago to focus on some new opportunities. Kevin and I were both disappointed to hear the fate of such a great project and the loss that goes along with winding down any business venture. We will however be forever thankful for Dan and his role in making Infinite Web Design the company it is today.
I can’t help but feel like today I was sitting in Dan’s chair looking at some soon to be college graduates hoping for their big break. I just hope I can be the type of mentor and inspiration to these graduates as Dan was for me.