As we continue to celebrate Kzoom history, we sat down with Dan Martin, Kzoom’s founder, to discuss the early days of the company. It might surprise you to learn that before we were the area’s leading experts on videography, website design, search engine optimization, and digital marketing, we were just one guy in a basement.
From our humble beginnings, we’ve been inspired to root for big ideas. Whether they come from small, bootstrapped businesses or huge companies, we’re excited to work with our clients to turn their concepts into successes. If you want to know more about where we came from (and where we’re going), check out the video below!
Mike: Welcome to the Kzoom Podcast. We’re here for a little story time with Kzoom’s founder, Dan. Dan, how many years has Kzoom been around?
Dan: This is our 20th year.
Mike: All right. And we’re celebrating, remembering, and launching new things, so we wanted to sit down and just glean whatever wisdom, stories, comedy, or whatever we can get from you.
Dan: You can call it gleaning wisdom. You’re just grilling me on camera.
Dan: So Kzoom started in the Millwood subdivision off of Portage Road, not far from 94. So when we bought that house, Sarah and I had no kids, and airplanes would fly right over the lake pretty close. I think we bought it so fast that we hadn’t, like, really noticed until we bought it and moved in.
Dan: But that’s where Kzoom began, in the basement of 2125 Royce Avenue. At that time, there was no concrete vision for what Kzoom would become. I was 24 years old, you know, maybe not as disciplined as the fine-tuned machine that you see today.
Mike: Yeah, and how have we grown?
Dan: Mike, do you want to know where Kzoom has come from? Like, where you just got hired to? Like, do you want to know? Like, the humble beginnings of Kzoom history?
Mike: I mean, I love a good origin story.
Dan: Things were meager, you know? The original start, one of our many cheerleaders through the 20 years, was my father-in-law, Gordon Brinks. And when he heard that I was thinking of running my own business, he said, ‘How much money do you need?’ And he had his checkbook out.
Mike: So he was all in?
Dan: So this was me like going real big. I was like, well, I need a computer and a video camera.
Dan: I said, ‘I’m going to need seven grand.’ And I’m looking at him like there’s no way. There’s no way he’s going to write a check for seven grand. And then he writes it on the spot. So he’s one of the many, many supporters we’ve had along the way.
Dan: Nowadays, they believe in us because they’ve seen us do it before, but I’m passionate about that entrepreneurial spirit. I love coming behind an idea and supporting it and then bringing the creative vision to life.
Dan: So it’s people in our community who are starting out or, you know, it’s the community rallying to add fuel to their fire. I love that. And if they’re earlier in the idea phase, I love being able to look at somebody that’s maybe doubting things. Maybe they’re not sure where they’re headed and I love being able to say, let’s go, let’s do this.
Mike: Let’s find a way.
Dan: Yeah, let’s just take steps. What do you think about this, you know? Let’s jump into it.
Dan: Kzoom’s mission is to advance the greatest causes, so I love that we get to rally behind other people’s causes every day. And sometimes it’s super personal, like a local business owner who’s banked a lot of their money on their success. We enjoy being part of that for someone else.
Matt has nearly twenty years of SEO, copywriting, and digital marketing experience. More than anything, he enjoys developing informed, long-term strategies to improve client visibility.
When he’s not working, Matt loves all-day cooking projects, holding one-sided conversations with his cat, and writing unreasonably large D&D campaigns. A fan of horror movies, he may have Kalamazoo’s largest (and only) collection of Laserdiscs.