I remember some random guy actually snail mailed me a newspaper article from Japan about the site, it was all very surreal. Then Macromedia called me because they wanted to know how I did the project because it was beyond what they imagined Flash was capable of.

Your name, plus your original "web name/handle"

Todd Purgason

Toddhead, first used on AOL pre www inspired by the band Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

At work I was given a few nicknames over the years by the team I think the one that stuck the longest was Dreamhammer. Inspired by how I could beat good work out of people weather they liked it or not.

Your first web encounter, year etc.

I downloaded Netscape in 1995 and started doing HTML shortly after that.

I was an Architect at the time but was doing a fair amount of Interactive work with Macromedia Director.

I read about the Web in Wired and started playing with it. It was so ridiculously simplistic back then. I couldn’t call it web design because it was so limited so I called it web putting together.

I remember the day we were finally able to wrap text around an image and it was worth throwing a party over hahaha.

What our readers might recognize
you most for, when you first hit the web.

I cofounded JUXT Interactive in April of 1998.

Flash was new and it was a good tool for creating lightweight design, I started with a 1200 baud modem. Additionally, it gave me more freedom to design as HTML back then was pretty limited.

I designed and built our first web site LundstromARCH and in less than a week we were getting emails from all over the world asking us how we did it.

I remember some random guy actually snail mailed me a newspaper article from Japan about the site, it was all very surreal. Then Macromedia called me because they wanted to know how I did the project because it was beyond what they imagined Flash was capable of.

After that we started getting lots of press and work found us pretty regularly. It was one of those in the right place at the right time things.

God Blessed me at JUXT way more than I ever deserved In fact if it were based on what I deserved we would have tanked as a company in the first year hahaha.

Your digital journey since.

Well I ran JUXT (creatively) for about 15 years and watched the Internet go from this freakish nerd thing to something with the power to topple governments.

A lot has happened I could write a book on it, but after I wrote my first book I swore I would never do that again.

I’ll try and summarize it.

When we started JUXT I was young, dumb and immature. When I left JUXT I was older, fat and a bit more mature smarter in some ways but still dumb in many.

OK maybe that is too brief.

We grew JUXT to 50 people in two offices and we did lots of interesting projects for fun small brands like Volcom to big brands like Coca-cola, Scion, Target and a lot in-between.

Our strength was in being adventurous with creative and interactivity. Our weakness was business and leadership. We were very passionate about the work and I was a pretty driven and ambitious guy in that regard.

Thus we often delivered way beyond ourselves and over delivered for the client. Our clients loved us because when we made a promise we kept it and we worked very hard and always over delivered.

I was very fortunate to work with some really amazing people that were so very talented. But I was not the best of leaders, sure I pushed people and they saw how much more they were capable of in the process. But for most my years at JUXT, I did that with a very heavy hand.

Despite doing good work making our clients happy and winning awards I was not a very happy person. And this made JUXT not the happiest place to work. Our management team was not very strong but to be honest most of our problems were really all my fault.

Fortunately, we were able to sell JUXT in 2008 I was able to buy out my partner and bring on some better leadership. I got mentoring that I should have gotten a decade earlier and we were really able to fix our culture.

The last four years at JUXT were far from perfect but they were so much better then before. Our So Cal office was a really special place to work, great people, great culture and we were doing our best work.

In that stretch we started doing physical interactive installations for Scion and Toyota and others and some other really interesting things for Cisco. It was a lot of fun and I’m really proud of that team and all they achieved.

What are you up to now

Well I left JUXT about a year ago and took a little time off to catch my breath and think about what next.

It was a real blessing form God to not be responsible for anything (other than my family) for a change.

But I never did sit still well. After losing a bunch of weight surfing a bit and sailing a couple times with friends I got really bored. So it was time to get on with it.

Being realistic, I think I would last maybe a week working for someone else before I would get fired for one thing or another hahaha.

So I set off to create a new startup venture. Not another design agency, but something that matches my personality and something I believe in. We got our seed funding so we are working on building the prototype.

I wish I could share it but it is too early.

It is a lot of fun building your own brand and being your own client. The process of doing this in contrast to how JUXT started is pretty shocking, but I’m a bit older and wiser these days.

So Lord willing this summer my next adventure will be out. I’m hoping to get the chance to build a company in which I can take the many lessons I learned at JUXT from the successes and the failures and make something special. Otherwise what was the point of it all.

I was asked to do this interview so many months ago and I put it off because I’m pretty over talking about myself.

At JUXT I was the nucleus that drove the company, but it was really all the amazing people I worked with over the years that deserve all the credit not me. I will never forget them and how much they gave and the amazing experiences we shared.

Now I don’t have to be the boss I get to be their friend. Also I hope the people that are running JUXT now achieve a level of success well beyond what I was ever capable of helping JUXT reach, some really quality people there still.

If the readers will indulge me…

I’m not sure why you're reading this and what your connection to me or JUXT is/was.

If you are reading this for inspiration, this is what I would like to share.

You can do WAY more than you think you can if you set your mind to it, and are willing to work very hard to achieve it.

No matter what you want to do you need great people to help you do it.

If you think you’re the smartest guy in the room, and even if you are, your stupid to even have that thought.

Two heads are better than one.

The key is to learn how to work with people to do great things leveraging each persons strengths and unique perspective and experience.

Set goals, throw your TV in the trashcan, work really hard, inspire your team and then go out there and make it happen.

However, be warned, when you reach your goals it is not what you think it will be, it never is. You have to enjoy the process of going after it.

Achieving it is fleeting, so enjoy the ride or you will probably be disappointed in the end.

Life is about the journey not the destination, it is the daily challenges and rewards along the way that are the point not the big getting there moment.


Todd Purgason, Then and Now
Todd Purgason, Then and Now

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