Companies are the empires of the modern age, and they rise and fall in the same way. Just like empires, some companies last considerably longer than their counterparts. The reason for their success is also the same – good leadership.
Great leaders have the ability to motivate employees, help others see and believe in a vision, and lead innovation in their company. Every entrepreneurial journey is marked by ups and downs. Any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that it is difficult to contend with the moments of doubt and failure. However, successful entrepreneurs today are beginning to see the value in opening up about their journey for the benefit of the next generation. One such leader is Dave Fletcher, CEO & DEO of The Mechanism.
Dave is the quintessential inspirational business leader, and has consistently demonstrated his power and ability to create, nurture and transform.
Charisma and Passion
Dave Fletcher is a visual problem solver, creative thinker, committed futurist and a graphic designer. In 1995, while working as a creative director for a computer manufacturer in Cleveland, OH, he shifted his priorities from analog to digital experience design, realizing that his survival in the creative profession would involve a modicum of programmatic cognition.
Dave worked with several dot-com consultancies before launching his own digital design, branding and strategy firm, The Mechanism, in 2001. His career has taught him practical lessons about the value of good leadership and the consequences of poor leadership.
Most agencies in the late 1990s and early 2000s did one thing well: they developed corporate identity or brand marks, or launched online interfaces to represent a brand mark.
With his background in visual identity development, Fletcher instead believed that a company’s entire brand DNA, not just a digital manifestation of the brand, was its sweet spot. He ran with that premise and it proved to be a good strategy right out of the gate.
He has built strong relationships with visionaries, entrepreneurs and individuals from diverse backgrounds on his journey, and has continued to learn and seek advice from many of them over the years.
A Difficult Start
The Mechanism was established in New York City a few weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks which changed the world forever. It was not the best time to start a technology-dependent company anywhere.
However, the vibrancy and resilience of the city’s tech industry, thanks in part to a technology-focused CEOturned- mayor, Michael Bloomberg, created a conducive atmosphere for The Mechanism to grow and thrive in the following years.
Struggles and Motivations
Dave Fletcher has performed the dual roles of both CEO and DEO (Design Executive Officer) for The Mechanism since its inception in August 2001.
Living in the city after 9/11 taught everyone lessons in human kindness amidst the horror. It gave Dave the perspective, poise and desire to not only lead but to follow the lead of the brave individuals that helped get the city and the country back on its feet.
His company has weathered technological and financial storms over the years, and witnessed trends come and go. Most clients don’t have time to keep up with every innovation or technical trend; they just want an effective digital solution and the technological guidance to stay ahead of their competition. Dave believes that experience is a differentiator, strengthening The Mechanism’s ability to predict changes in the diversified, evolving business ecosystem.
The Mechanism has witnessed many disruptions, too. The way businesses start up is very different from the scenario ten years ago when most companies were funded purely by venture capital. Today, crowd-sourced companies follow almost a starter model. Dave recognizes that creativity continues to play a dominant role in the success of any business.
Services Offered by The Mechanism
The Mechanism uses technology to develop authentic and affectionate interactions between human beings. They are the creative conduit between an audience who wishes to engage with a brand, individual or product, and the individuals that manage it.
As an innovative and early force in the digital design and development industry, his company devised some of the first strategies for online digital publishing before it became a necessity. They are honored to have produced websites and mobile apps for popular bands like Flight of the Conchords and My Morning Jacket. The Mechanism also works directly with the biggest real estate companies in New York City and Big Pharma to help formulate their digital and creative strategies.
Change is Good!
People are generally wary of change. Dave, on the other hand, views change – a new market, a new organizational structure, or new leadership – as a positive opportunity.
He has learned over the years that empathy is an invaluable element in all design. Whether designing an app, a website or a hybrid user interface, Dave makes sure to remember the fact that there is a human being on the other side, looking to build an enduring, relevant relationship with a brand, individual or product.
Advice to Budding Entrepreneurs
A good leader in the technological field advances everyone’s potential, not just their own, through innovation and a clear understanding of what it is to be human in the digital age. Aspiring leaders must help elevate individual potential, and deliver on the promise that every interaction we have with devices must be useful, helpful and empathetic.
Dave reiterates a truism: the opposite of movement is inertia, stagnation and eventual failure. He believes that one’s sole purpose as a leader should be to move forward and to move the organization forward. Building a company is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
He also underlines the importance of building meaningful relationships. Just as things connected to the Internet need to provide value, leaders must do so also if they are to engage and redefine this ecosystem.
From a digital design and development perspective, Dave advises that one should not forget that on the other side of the client’s device, there is a human being looking to be astonished and wishing to be connected to something bigger than themselves.