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Modern Tribe Joins Liquid Web

A new adventure begins.

Modern Tribe has been acquired by Liquid Web. This simple fact has prompted lots of complicated feels. Happiness. Anxiety. Enthusiasm. Overwhelm. 

You name it, we’ve felt it.

And this isn’t even the first time we’ve partnered with them on an acquisition! Which shows how much we like their leadership and believe in this shared adventure.

Everyone has been asking, “Why did you sell after 15 years?”

Honestly, if you’re asking that question, you probably haven’t owned the same business for more than a decade. 😁

Reid and Shane used to tease me, saying that if we didn’t have a new opportunity queued up every three years, I’d make one myself. This wasn’t completely farfetched. 

The business has been my vehicle for adventure. We’ve built and sold multiple lines of software (the first iPhone streaming surf app and The Events Calendar suite), scaled an agency to global recognition, and run many (many) conferences. Remote working has even provided me the flexibility to move my family to the west coast of Africa. 

After selling TEC, the question was, What’s next?

None of the partners were terribly interested in the challenge of scaling a mega-agency. We love serving clients but much bigger and we’d be full-time bureaucrats only worried about pipelines. 

Peter was ready for something entirely different but wasn’t sure what. Reid wanted to get closer to the work. I was looking for a niche to fill. We’d been planning on creating a products incubator. 

Some deals are serendipitous. The agency purchase was not. Liquid Web has been in our orbit for quite some time. 

Their brands Stellar and Nexcess are active agency clients. We’ve worked on everything from business strategies to marketing to technical infrastructure for them. While Liquid Web wasn’t looking to acquire an agency, our collaborations revealed a real need that we could meet. 

They wanted to add strong leadership with vision and a team with the skills to execute quickly. We were offered an opportunity to build the incubator we dreamed of with a serious toolbelt on day one. It was truly a win-win.

What about the agency?!

The agency will continue to operate independently, led by our general manager Carly Strelzik. We have our own budget, maintain a separate entity, and focus on delivering top-shelf solutions for world-class clients. 

If you’re an existing client, it’s business as usual. As for us, we’ll continue to learn and grow, pushing the boundaries on how technology drives user experiences. 

So what will Reid, Peter, and I do personally now that we’re no longer partners with a capital P? 

I’m not sure yet, but that’s what I love about being an entrepreneur in residence. We’ll get to chart the path together. 

Reid has already kicked off the incubator and is working across a number of properties. I expect to engage heavily in partnerships, M&A, research and development in the incubator, and guiding culture and leadership as we scale an amazing family of brands.

My personal identity has been so deeply intertwined with Modern Tribe that this acquisition both freaks me out and fills me with excitement for what the future brings. 

I’m so grateful to my parents who personally supported us in the early days. Reid’s first Modern Tribe client was my mom and at the time of sale, he led thousands of properties—too many Fortune 500s to count!  Such a change.

I believe in luck. Connecting with the open source WordPress community in its infancy and having the blessing of participating, contributing, and riding the massive wave of web publishing changed our fates. 

And I value the friendships along the way more than anything else. To each of the humans who count Modern Tribe as part of their own journey, THANK YOU. Our goal was to leave the world a touch better place, and I consider our greatest success the platform we build to grow people’s careers. Maybe someday, we’ll have a Post Modern Tribe meetup.

See y’all on the other side of this adventure.