Whats is like to working on WordPress projects that are $200,000+? We discuss this and more in our insightful interview with Tracey Halvorsen, co-founder of Fastspot, a leading digital agency based in Baltimore, MD. We discuss with Tracey what it’s like to work on large WordPress projects.
Over the years, Fastspot has built a great reputation with universities and colleges, allowing Fastspot to build deep relationships in this sector. Tracey also goes into detail about the requirements needed to work on large educational websites using WordPress, Drupal, and BigTree, an open source CMS her agency created.
Full Transcipt Of This Weeks Interivew With Tracey Halvorsen
John: Welcome to WP-Tonic episode 216. I’m really excited about today’s guest because today we have in the house Tracey Halvorsen of Fastspot.
John: Also want to introduce my co-host Jonathan Denwood.
Jonathan: Oh. Hi there folks.
John: We’re going to jump right into it. And I want to start by saying like, Tracey, people who are not familiar with you, people who are not familiar with Fastspot, give us an elevator pitch of who you guys are and what you do.
Tracey: Okay. So our elevator pitch, let’s figure we’re on a little bit of a longer elevator because I’m not really good at the six-floor elevator. We are an Interactive Agency focusing a lot of our work over the years on working with Higher Eds, Cultural Institutions, Non-Profits Associations. That’s expanded over the years, more recently to include lots of different interesting clients that we can talk about. We started the company in 2001. And we’ve always really been a company and an agency that’s focused on that combination of creativity and great technical execution. Because ultimately, we’re creating something that, not only do other people have to use, but other people have to power. So we’re creating something that is a tool. It’s an experience. It’s integral to people’s businesses so it’s very very important. It’s complicated. And because we’re involved from the beginning of projects, strategy research all the way through to CMS implementation and beyond, we form really deep lasting relationships with our clients. That’s been, I think, probably one of the reasons for our success over the years.
And we’ve always really been a company and an agency that’s focused on that combination of creativity and great technical execution. Because ultimately, we’re creating something that, not only do other people have to use, but other people have to power. So we’re creating something that is a tool. It’s an experience. It’s integral to people’s businesses so it’s very very important. It’s complicated. And because we’re involved from the beginning of projects, strategy research all the way through to CMS implementation and beyond, we form really deep lasting relationships with our clients. That’s been, I think, probably one of the reasons for our success over the years.
It’s complicated. And because we’re involved from the beginning of projects, strategy research all the way through to CMS implementation and beyond, we form really deep lasting relationships with our clients. That’s been, I think, probably one of the reasons for our success over the years.
John: No. Awesome. It sounds definitely like you guys have it figured out. And those are some things I definitely want to touch on for sure. But first, before we get into those details, let’s hear the origin story of Fastspot. How did you come to start an Agency? How did you first get into the world of Web Development?
Tracey: So my background is, I’m an Art school person. I went to Art school. I’ve always been a painter and was really in love with Art. And so, I went to College in ’89 to pursue a Degree in Fine Art. Hadn’t really been exposed to computers or much technology in my education experience. But was just super geek on the side. My favorite movie was War Games. If I could have learned to be a hacker, that would have been a dream job. I just certainly just didn’t have the access or the necessary skills to pursue that fantasy. But anyway, I just really was fascinated by technology and also how technology and creativity were merging. So when I got out of Undergrad and was living literally as a starving Artist, one of the first things I saved up money and bought was a computer. I was just really interested in how that could actually help me as a Fine Artist market and reach people by being able to show my work online. And from there, I went on to Graduate school which brought me to Baltimore and brought me to Maryland to do College which was a fantastic experience because I could do whatever I wanted in Grad school. It was a very open ended program. So I started taking classes to learn more skills in things like Photoshop or After Effects. Started learning Flash back when it was like future Flash or something. Literally, it was just a really good field to get into. I really enjoyed the work. So I could work part-time and then keep my painting studio. And this is around ’98, ’99. So all these companies are popping up and offering all sorts of great opportunities. And so I started working in those agencies and finding
If I could have learned to be a hacker, that would have been a dream job. I just certainly just didn’t have the access or the necessary skills to pursue that fantasy. But anyway, I just really was fascinated by technology and also how technology and creativity were merging. So when I got out of Undergrad and was living literally as a starving Artist, one of the first things I saved up money and bought was a computer. I was just really interested in how that could actually help me as a Fine Artist market and reach people by being able to show my work online. And from there, I went on to Graduate school which brought me to Baltimore and brought me to Maryland to do College which was a fantastic experience because I could do whatever I wanted in Grad school. It was a very open ended program. So I started taking classes to learn more skills in things like Photoshop or After Effects. Started learning Flash back when it was like future Flash or something. Literally, it was just a really good field to get into. I really enjoyed the work. So I could work part-time and then keep my painting studio. And this is around ’98, ’99. So all these companies are popping up and offering all sorts of great opportunities. And so I started working in those agencies and finding
It was a very open ended program. So I started taking classes to learn more skills in things like Photoshop or After Effects. Started learning Flash back when it was like future Flash or something. Literally, it was just a really good field to get into. I really enjoyed the work. So I could work part-time and then keep my painting studio. And this is around ’98, ’99. So all these companies are popping up and offering all sorts of great opportunities. And so I started working in those agencies and finding there’s tons of other creative people that didn’t think very differently from a Painter or a Fine Artist at all.
From the Graphic Designers to the Programmers to the User Experience people. What I did find that was lacking was a really healthy company to work in. So I worked for a lot of very unhealthy companies. A couple good ones mixed in there. But certainly, the most I learned was from the last company that I worked for which was just very toxic, unhealthy, ran poorly. And being someone who understands how important your environment is to your creative process coming out of Art school and working in studios, it just struck me that if you want to do great work in this industry, you need to bring environment which means you need great leadership, great team, great clients, great motivation, great feedback and great learning opportunities. And so, that really is why we started the company. Because we just thought, “I want to do great work and I need to do that in a great environment”. And that just started to then expand to include employees and to include an office and then more employees and more structure. That’s really how it went.
John: No. Definitely. You wanted to be the Agency that you saw lacking in the world.
Tracey: Yeah. And the Agency that I would want to work for. So, yeah. There’s a pool table and a bar. But also, people are going home at 6 o’clock. They’re not working until 2 in the morning. People get some say over their deadlines and the work that we’re doing, the clients that we’re working with. Good people matters more than, being good person matters a lot here. And it matters a lot for our clients to be good people. So we’ve defined core values and we revolved the company around those things. And it can sound really cheesy until you realize how important it is. And I did not believe in any of this crap for a long time. And then one day I woke up and I thought, “Oh my God. We actually really need these things. Otherwise, we’re just bullsh*titng ourselves”. And so, if we’re going to be a company that’s full of good people, we want people to adhere to that, we need to define it. We need to walk the talk basically.
John: What you just said is really fascinating and I want to focus on that for just one additional minute. When you say culture is important and was there a turning point like an event or maybe just the general vibe that was going on. And what made you put more effort into culture? How have you seen your Agency transform in the time since then?
Tracey: I think there’s probably always a little inflection points that impact culture along the way and we’ve had a long road. So I would just say that the most recent thing 14, 15 people to 25 pretty quickly. And when you have that size change, you really have to look at culture. You can’t really enforce it. But you can make sure that you at least set it up as, “This is what we’re looking to pay attention to”. And then give people, I think, the autonomy to support that culture themselves. So in a really great example, is we use Slack to communicate. We have few remote people. And we have a room called the 404. And it used to be where everyone would go. And it’s just internal facing and everyone would just complain like, “Did you see the feedback from a client? It was like 10 pages long”, or, “Oh my God. Don’t bother me today. I’m slogging through this”. And it was everyone commiserating which was great. But they were all commiserating around problems and negatives. Our Director of Ops, Stacy LaHam, heard about HeyTaco! And I was like, “What is HeyTaco!?”. And it was a way that people could give each other Tacos as
And it used to be where everyone would go. And it’s just internal facing and everyone would just complain like, “Did you see the feedback from a client? It was like 10 pages long”, or, “Oh my God. Don’t bother me today. I’m slogging through this”. And it was everyone commiserating which was great. But they were all commiserating around problems and negatives. Our Director of Ops, Stacy LaHam, heard about HeyTaco! And I was like, “What is HeyTaco!?”. And it was a way that people could give each other Tacos as
I’m slogging through this”. And it was everyone commiserating which was great. But they were all commiserating around problems and negatives. Our Director of Ops, Stacy LaHam, heard about HeyTaco! And I was like, “What is HeyTaco!?”. And it was a way that people could give each other Tacos as sort of like, “Hey. Thanks for getting me lunch today. Here’s a Taco”. And she was excited about it. And to be honest again, I thought it sounded really stupid, being totally honest. And one of the things I’ve learned is, “I need to shut up and let other people do things they’re excited about because I don’t know what’s best necessarily”. So I’m like, “Okay. Sure. Yeah. Tacos. Go for it”. Now that we’re 6 months, a year later, that channel now is completely transformed to people thanking each other and recognizing each other specifically for core values through a hashtag that they’ve implemented.
And it’s amazing to see people, now they’re not bitching about the client feedback, they’re thanking someone for helping them see the way to turn that client feedback into a really great transition for the design or for someone helping them solve a problem. It’s a little shift, but it’s monumental to the way things feel in the office. And people spend more time with their colleagues at work than they do their family, their free time, their hobbies, their passions. And so, you don’t want it to just be negative. It’s work. It’s not called vacation. It’s called work. And it’s hard. And it’s frustrating sometimes. But it’s great to see everyone support each other. And that’s a real culture shift for us.
John: Wow. Yeah. That’s definitely some great lessons here. So I wanted to ask you, how do you success on projects?
Tracey: That’s a good question. It’s funny. When we sit down with clients, we write success metrics into our creative briefs. So we talk with the client about what success looks like for them. Because we’re a service industry. We might love something. If it doesn’t work well for the client, it’s not successful. Now we need to deliver that successful solution within certain parameters. The company needs to be profitable to run well. So we’ve got success metrics for ourselves around meeting our scope deadlines, meeting our time deadlines, our deadlines for delivery. But also, does this set anything new or innovative out into the world, if it was an appropriate project to be focusing on that. Have we tried something new in mobile that’s going to make a more useful experience for the user? Have we tried something on
So we’ve got success metrics for ourselves around meeting our scope deadlines, meeting our time deadlines, our deadlines for delivery. But also, does this set anything new or innovative out into the world, if it was an appropriate project to be focusing on that. Have we tried something new in mobile that’s going to make a more useful experience for the user? Have we tried something on
Have we tried something on desktop that is going to create a better connection for this user and the organization that’s trying to talk to them? So I think that sometimes awards are a great way to gauge that. People just talking about the work, noticing it. We see a million things every day. If I know that somebody’s stopped and took 5 extra seconds to look at something and then Tweet about it, to me that’s a major signal of success. But for our clients, it’s really usually about moving some significant metrics for them.
John: I think that’s excellent. And like you said, pushing the boundaries helps your Agents and it helps your clients. So one thing I want to ask is, we were talking before the show about growing the Agency and how those shifts happen. Everytime that you double in size or every time you hit a certain level, things start to shift in an Agency. How have you dealt with those shifts that happen as you’ve expanded in size? And have you reached out to other Agency owners to get input? Are you part of an Owners Camp or something like that?
Tracey: Yeah. I have to give major shouts out to Carl Smith and to Greg Hoy and who started Bureau of Digital and Carl’s running it now. We got invited to a very early gathering of other Agencies. They were testing the model out. That has been definitely hugely informative and helpful to us growing in our company. There’s nothing better than sitting around and talking to other people who are dealing with the exact same problems you are. And I remember someone saying a long time ago that, “Employees are not necessarily going to be the people that can help you solve the problems of”. So if you own the company or you’re in a major leadership role at the company, you need to talk to other people in the same role as the other company’s, if at all possible to find solutions. I love the camaraderie that’s in our industry. I count a lot of people who, you could call competitors and their friends. Sure. Sometimes we go up against each other. But in the bigger scheme of thing, we’re all trying to do something great together. So I’ve learned a ton from going to the Owner Camps, the Owner Summits. Started some of the people who’ve elevated up into leadership positions here to some of the other ones like Digital PM.
And that’s connected me with Agencies who are also doing their own things. And they’re talking about it. The things that Nancy Lyons was doing out of Clockwork in Minneapolis around culture and around growing the company are tremendous. And they’re very open about sharing that stuff and they’ll talk about it whenever you want. I think that I’m constantly trying to learn and get better. I’m always trying to be the first one to admit when I don’t know. I will tell you. I don’t how to run a company.
I went to Art school. I have no background in this. So I try and read as much as I can. I try and be humble and be fully willing to say, “That is a better way to something than what I thought”. But then at the same time, I have built this company up with my partner Amy Goldberg. And I do have to trust my gut. It’s gotten me this far. I don’t want to give up too much control. And sometimes, you really do need to step in as a leader and say, “This might buck the trend of what everyone else is saying. But I really believe we have to go this direction”. And those are the hard decisions that you have to make sometimes.
John: One more question before we hit our mid point break. And that is, I’ve noticed that you have a lot of client in Education field. A lot of Universities. A lot of these big launches. They’re very very impressive. Did you set out intentionally to serve Universities and Colleges? Or was that something that just sort of happened? How has that impacted getting future work from similar institutions?
Tracey: Well, thank you. And I would say that, no, it’s was not necessarily intentional, but I don’t know that anything was intentional at the beginning. So, to be fair, I think when you start a company the way did, you’re just happy to get work. You’re just trying to figure it out. We had some opportunities to work with higher education organizations very very early within the first couple months of the company when it was just Amy and I and then one employee.
And what I found, is that there was a great synergy around the appreciation for the complexity of the problem. The Higher Eds that we work with, they understand the fact that this needs to be a cultural shift for the organization. We need to have everybody on their side participating and caring and willing to get in and keep this alive and getting better and better as it goes along. Our successes started happening with partnerships where we had these great people who were like, “We’re ready to work on this together”.
A College is going to be different than a start up. They’re not to make their investors happy by launching products in 60 days. They are committed to a much longer standing challenge. And so, those kinds of timelines are great for creatives too. Nobody wants to be constantly under the gun when you’re trying to be creative and be innovative. It can become a burn out situation. And so the timelines that we get to work with which Higher Eds were very agreeable to how we wanted our process to go. We wanted to be able to have time to do the right work in the right ways and not cut corners. And also, I would just say that it’s meaningful work. I think when you’re trying to tell a story of a College or a University, it’s not about fluff, it’s not about Marketing BS. It’s about trying to understand what truly does make this place special and usually, that’s the people there and what those people are doing out in the world.
So I think the team here really connects with, we’re trying to help people make a very important decision. And those people could go on to have very big impacts in our world. So it feels good. It feels like something worth putting our effort behind.
John: Oh. That’s excellent. I agree with you. Doing meaningful work makes a big big difference. We’re going to go to our mid-point break. And then when we come back, we’re going to be talking more with Tracey Halvorsen of Fastspot.
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John: We’re coming back from our break. We’re talking more with Tracey Halvorsen of Fastspot. And before the break, we were talking a little bit about serving Colleges and Universities as a Digital Agency. And one thing I wanted to ask you, I think we touched on it a little bit, but what are some unique challenges that Universities have as compared to clients in other vertical?
Tracey: They have a couple unique problems and challenges and opportunities. They usually have a fair amount of bureaucracy in place that is usually a little bit more democratic than another organization that might just say, “We’re not going to involve this group no matter how much they complain because the CEO says so”. In a University setting there is strong desire for that community support and engagement. And so, we’re often times asked to do the unthinkable which is to let a project be run with lots of different input points and lots of different engagement points. So that can be a big challenge. I think we’re actually really really good at handling that particular challenge. That’s something that we enjoy.
We like educating the clients and the community on the client side. But that’s definitely a challenge. The other challenge that is unique to them I think is that, they are existing in a very similar playing field that has traditionally not had to be as aggressive around Marketing, especially digital interactive engagement as other market places. College was a no-brainer for a long time. People made it work. They got their applications came in. Everything happened in this one world. And it was very complicated process, but it worked. And to see everything have to change over into this digital space, it’s a lot of turning around or big ships that have existed for a long time going one direction and that’s hard for a lot of clients to do in these big Universities. Everything was in paper and in print for a very very long time.
Having to make that shift over, which means systems and the technical side of things can become a priority. And so then, you end up in a situation where the IT team are the people who hold all of the strings when it comes to the website. But the website is communicating with the outside world. So there’s a big disconnect. So that’s a challenge that they have faced because of the, I think just the natural clash between what a Technology Group typically did for College and University and what a Marketing Communications Group typically did for a University and how those things need to merge and shift now with the Internet.
And then I think the last thing is that they are, again, competing in this space where that is getting more competitive. I think more expensive, more challenging, more pitfalls in it. And they have to let go some of the generic stuff that they’ve said about themselves that’s been okay in the print world. By that I mean, they all say, “They’re global”. They all say that, “It’s about the teacher experience”. They kind of all have these things that they’re used to saying that make them special. Those things, if you translate that into an Internet website, it all looks the same. They all sound like they’re saying the same things. So how do we surface what’s genuine and authentic about this place and what they want to be connecting with their audiences that gets past that buzz word mentality.
John: That’s excellent. One other thing I wanted to ask before I pass the mic to Johnathan and see if he wants to take it. When these Universities approach you, what are some problems when it comes to that? What causes them to say, “We want to invest the money and resources into doing a redesign of our site”? Are some of the things that you touched on? Or what are some of the motivating factors that finally compel them to invest that time and resource?
Tracey: Sure. It’s the things I just talked about. But also, sometimes their websites, it’s amazing how quickly something that seemed workable can become horrific. It only can take sometimes a few short years. Anybody who had a site developed before Responsive was sort of the industry norm, is having to revisit things because of the horrible mobile and tablet experience that they know their users are having. I think there’s also been kind of a late to the game recognition that, “This is it. This is first stop. This is the first stop for the world”.
They’re not seeing anything else, going anywhere else, talking to anyone else. It’s the website. It’s that important. And I think as you have leadership at these Universities start to realize that, even if their application numbers are fine or they’re endowments are fine or their reputation seems fine, they recognize that it’s a little bit of a black eye and it’s a little bit of a blemish to let this site just linger out there when it’s obviously so important. It would be like if Yale let their front gates just crumble and rust and start to fall over because, “Everyone goes through there, but then they get into the rest of the campus and it’s beautiful”. So I do think that they just realize how important it is and how quickly people make first impressions and make assumptions about a brand and quality and experience within the first few moments of experiencing a website. So whether you like it or not, that’s the world we live in. And I think to let your website sit out there as an eye sore can do a lot of harm. It’s correctable.
John: That’s sage insight. Jonathan, do you have anything that you want to ask Tracey? You’re on mute.
Tracey: Can’t hear you.
Jonathan: Sorry. I apologize.
Tracey: That’s all right.
Jonathan: Traditionally, based on my experience, a lot of Universities look at Drupal or ExpressionEngine as a platform. Have you had any kind of problems with getting Facebook accepted, especially by University IT Departments as the platform that should be used?
Tracey: It’s always a very important discussion. We work with Drupal. We work with WordPress. And we work with BigTree. And those are the three that we will actually write a proposal for and support the implementation around. Those are wildly different Content Management Systems. To say there’s anything common about them except that they’re open source is uneducated. Drupal, from my experience I would say, if you don’t have a really strong in house team that knows their way around that CMS, or if not prepared to ramp up around that CMS, do not think that just because you heard it’s a good one, that that’s the one you should use. And so a lot of times, we try and build in a period of consultation around a CMS.
As long as we know a client’s willing to go with one of those options, we’ll say, “Look. The price can change depending on what you decide. But let’s talk about it”. If the IT team knows Drupal, but you need the Marketing team and the Communications team to run the website, you don’t want to be in the same situation where every request has to pass through IT who’s also dealing with the internal servers and the internal applications and security. Things that are probably higher up on their job responsibility list than updating Faculty bio for the Universities website. We don’t want to see those situations happen. Usually I find the best thing is to take the people who will be using the Content Management System and walk them through three different experiences of creating a page. Literally doing something that you will have to do in your day to day work once this website is live. The great thing about technology, if look at Apple as an example, the great success of Apple is that they made working on the computer pleasurable. They made work feel creative and beautiful and streamlined.
The CMSs are mostly all still failing in that regard. I’m not going to tell someone, “Oh. Well, you’re going to hate using this. It’s going to frustrate you. It’s going to scare you. It’s going to break a lot. It’s going to give you a lot of headaches. But it’s the best solution”. I can’t tell a client that. They’re all different. But I think that in a lot of cases, we’re steering clients towards BigTree and WordPress because of the user experience and the ease of use. They need to walk through all that complexity of Drupal to do what they need to do.
Jonathan: Oh, great answer Tracey. As the business has grown, have you had to build a Sales team? Have you had to increase your Content Marketing? Have you had to build up more of a position of having a team that has to go out looking for work, rather than being passive and work just coming to you?
Tracey: That’s a good question. I would say that we have assumed that, yes, we are going to need to get more aggressive about going out and looking for work. But the reality is, that doesn’t usually generate the same kind of growth that is from more of our inbound or word of mouth growth. I’ve been talking to our new Business Director and our Marketing Director about this recently and those are two new positions within the last 3 years of the company too. I used to do all of that with the help of whoever I could grab. But now what we’re trying to do, is just make sure that we’re sharing our knowledge and our ideas and our approaches to things in as wide a distribution as we can so that we can get on to people’s radars if they’re looking for us. So if they’re looking here, I want to be found here. If they’re look here, I want to be found here. We’re reaching out if we see someone maybe in our stats that’s looking at a lot of different articles.
We might reach out to them and just say like, “If you’re working on an RFP, if you’re thinking about anything that we can talk to you about, feel free to get in touch”. I get like 20 of those in my inbox every morning. “Hey. Still haven’t heard back”. I’m like, “You haven’t heard back because I don’t know who you are”. I’m not going to just read any email. In our industry we’re talking about really long engagements with clients where we really have to work closely together. And those things don’t often through your traditional outbound Content Marketing kind of approach. Not in the way that I see value around nurturing our existing relationships, looking to grow in different kinds of ways. We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had a lot of happy clients. And when you have happy clients and you do good work, that can support your business. Your business will continue to do well if you’re doing those things. And if you’re keeping a team happy, that as well.
Jonathan: Oh, definitely a totally fantastic answer. But there is a lot of competition in the Higher Education market, isn’t it? From Drupal houses, from a lot of experienced Agencies. When you are bidding, have you gotten sense why you achieve getting the clients you do?
Tracey: It’s always usually about the people. Oftentimes, I always ask, whether we lose or we win, why did we lose or why did we win? And it’s always more interesting, I think, to hear about why we won because you’re not always getting the truth when you ask why you lost because people want to be nice. I think that clients look for our level of expertise in the field. It’s nice to know you don’t have to train someone up to understand what the terminologies mean within Higher Ed. We have an appreciation for the bureaucracy and some of the politics that need to be massaged and catered to throughout the project. But we are interested in trying to move the needle for folks that we work with. And we’re interested in trying to put out amazing work. We’re not really interested in trying to churn out work. So even as we’ve grown, those core philosophies at our Agency have not changed. And if a client feels like we’re going to be the team to do that, if that’s what they’re looking to do, then I think you can feel it in the room and it’s usually a natural partnership that moves forward. I think that some organizations don’t need that level of engagement. Some organizations do just want to check the box, new website, new CMS. Everything’s fine. Let’s just make sure there’s a video on the Home page and we’re happy. Those clients exist and that’s fine. We’re not really the right firm for that because we want to be engaged and going after something pretty ambitious with our clients. And that also means that we’re going to need to spend the kind of time that’s going to, it’s going to require a budget. There’s instances where we can’t do the project for the budget that the client has. And oftentimes, that’s where we have to actually pass.
Jonathan: That’s great. Got a final question John before we go on to some bonus content?
John: Yeah. My final question would be, when it comes to case studies, how important are those in sealing the deal or getting new work? Do people come to your site and specifically read those that are decision makers at major Universities?
Tracey: Yes. Critical. Most important, I think content on the website. It should be the case. And it’s actually something that we’re trying to improve right now. It’s very easy to get to the end of a project and everybody just wants to, “My gosh. It’s been a year. It’s been a lot of work. Site launch. Whoo hoo”. And then we’re on to the next thing. And to me, until we know how that site is performing, until we know how the client is using it, how are we impacting the success metrics? Is the race car winning races? Until we know if what we’ve built is doing well, we don’t really have a lot for a case study. We can talk about the challenges. We can talk about, “Oh. We solved them in these great innovative ways”. And that’s all fine and good, but for me, the best case studies are the ones where we can continue to work with the client to evaluate how well the work is doing, which has so much more to do than like winning awards or getting recognition or increasing some analytics. Ultimately, it has to impact the business. When we’re able to obtain that feedback and when we’re able to know that we truly had those kinds of success metrics with the client, those are the most powerful case studies because they show the transformation that we’re trying to achieve with the work that we’re doing. And those are the case studies and those are the projects that we then constantly hear about when people call us. They say, “We love the work you did on Bucknell or for Hamilton or for Emerson. And we love what we saw or we read about it and we love seeing how that all transformed, transpired and all that”. That’s gold for us. If we don’t have those kinds of projects, we don’t get calls.
John: Excellent. So we’re going to wrap up the regular part of the Podcast. Hopefully Tracey will stick around for 5 to 10 more minutes. We’ll get a little bonus content for the YouTube Channel. But, Tracey, how do people get a hold of you online? Where do they find you? And anything you want to promote.
Tracey: Yeah. They can find me at traceyhalvorsen on Twitter. And you can spell it a bunch of different ways, but I’ll tell you to spell it T – R – A – C – E – Y – H – A – L – V – O – R – S – E – N. Twitter: @traceyhalvorsen You can find me through our website fastspot.com. I’m in the Bio section, Culture and happy to receive emails or reach outs on Twitter any time. And the one thing I would promote is just continuing to have open dialogue around Agencies. I think it’s great when we can get together. We’re stronger together than we are a part. And also shout out to BigTree CMS, it’s a fantastic open source CMS. We developed it many many years ago, released it open source. So we still have a lot invested in it, in terms of blood, sweat and tears. And we believe that it’s a really fantastic open source option for people.
John: Excellent. Jonathan, how do we get a hold of you?
Jonathan: Oh. It’s really simple folks. You can get me on Twitter @jonathandenwood. You can email me at wp-tonic. That’s [email protected] or you would leave a remark on Facebook. They’re probably the best ways to get a hold of me John.
John: Cool. And before I let people know how to get a hold of me, I just want to say Tracey, I’ve been a lot time follower of yours on Twitter, a long time fan of Fastspot. This has been such a great interview and I’m thankful that you came on. I know that our viewers and our listeners on the Podcast are going to get a ton of value from it. So thank you so much. Definitely.
Tracey: Thank you John.
John: You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Anyone who wants to get a hold of me, you can find me at my website which is lockedowndesign.com. You can follow me on Twitter . So I want to say for the WP-Tonic posse in effect. Peace out and get your dose.
More About Tracey
Tracey Halvorsen is a consultant, designer, painter, author, and speaker. Her background in visual art and computer-based technology and her hands-on style of leadership has helped Fastspot consistently create award-winning and industry recognized websites, applications and marketing campaigns.
Tracey has been a speaker and presenter at numerous industry events and conferences. Her speaking career started with the groundbreaking premiere of the interactive project “Memoire” at NYC’s 2001 Flash Forward conference, which went on to win the coveted Flash Film Festival award in Amsterdam. She was a panelist on one of 2010 SXSW’s most talked about presentations entitled, “We F*cked Up. Now What? Exploring Failure with Happy Cog and Friends” and spoke at the 2010 NYC Case Summit for Advancement Leaders. More recently she presented “Become a Storymaker” at Confab London and at SEER in Philly, as well as “Creating Healthy Client Relationships” at Owner Summit, Austin 2015. She also presented “The Art of Content” at the Wharton Web Conference in July 2015. In 2016 Tracey was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
Halvorsen, known for her innovative thinking and creative problem solving, is never short on opinions or ways to make things better, and she shares these observations in Fastspot’s blog and through in-person presentations and workshops.
Tracey keeps her focus on big-picture trends and how business is evolving and transforming within the interactive marketing arena. She ensures Fastspot engages with the “right” clients and works to inspire her team and colleagues to deliver outstanding results.
A native of Bethesda, Maryland, Tracey earned a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She also spent time studying painting and sculpture in Lacoste, France, but her French is limited to “I’d like a beer, please.”