News that Macquarium is connecting Synoptek is the beginning of a new chapter for one of the “OG” technology companies in Atlanta. But there are earlier chapters in the company’s story that are worth visiting again.
Because of its headquarters on Peachtree Road in Buckhead, the company actually helped shape the web and its media as we know it.
The Macquarium homepage states that the company is an agency “transforming the customer experience in the digital world.” Behind this slogan is a story that it reads a bit like an unlikely epic technology story that has a few twists and turns to many of the technology services we all use today. It’s also a story that involved the birth of several new companies and products over three decades dokonce and even has a bit of Hollywood flair built in.
But before the technological adventures, founder Marc Adler was at Emory College, where he worked for a video production company.
In the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was nothing more than a brochure that “was not very useful,” said Adler Hypepotamus. But it needed great graphics and content, something Adler and Macquarium promoted soon.
After Adler moved into multimedia production (remember CD creation and early animation for clients), Adler bought a dozen Silicon Graphics supercomputers and in 1994 moved its eight employees to an office in Midtown.
“It simply came to our notice then. Everyone needed a website, “added Adler.
That was probably the time Macquarium acquired its first two major clients of the website, The Weather Channel and Cox Communications, through links established in the MBA class, which he audited when he was still a student. Company In the mid-1990s, she created a website for the International Olympic Committee and a number of other important clients.
But the Macquarium certainly did not stay that way. To better serve clients in a rapidly evolving digital space, Macquarium has created some of the first iterations of digital products that we take for granted today. And here we begin the epic technology story.
Adler and his team built the first content management system (CMS), known as Dynabot, in 1996. The goal was to create a self-service “dynamic robot” for clients who want to change website content. It was so important to the beginnings of the Web that it was commemorated in 2000 in the Smithsonian Time Capsule. Eventually, it evolved into a product information management (PIM) tool.
Macquarium has also created Antfarm, a proprietary site monitoring and analysis tool. Adler said it was Macquarium’s “secret sauce” and gave the company a huge competitive advantage because it was able to “watch what was happening with [customer’s] long before other digital marketing tools such as Google Analytics hit the market.
In 2002, Macquarium entered the developing world of online transactions (which we now simply know as e-commerce). After creating a database, technology and building the necessary transport capacity, misterart.com has launched consumer products in the arts and crafts.
It was a concept that Adler had begun to play with when he was still a student at Emory has seen unique business support by launching such products on the online marketplace. The place eventually grew into what Adler described as An “consortium of art-related businesses” in the early days of e-commerce.
Over the years, Macquarium has also built a browser-based point of sale (POS) system and helped dozens of household names – from Chick-fil-A to UPS – build their interactive media needs.
Between building formative technology for clients, the team has established itself in the digital media space. With the launch of its animation studio Fathom Studios, the team created the first independent CG film, Delgo, starring Freddie Prinz, Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt. (I told you it had a built-in Hollywood taste).
His short film Chroma Chameleon also earned recognition for his filmmaking and technical work.
While the Macquarium has opened offices in Houston, San Francisco, DC and North Carolina over the years, Adler has always kept the company firmly out of Atlanta.
“You want a center of excellence where you can gather as many people in the same area as possible,” Hypepotamus said. “Atlanta was so great because it was so easy to hire people. It’s about talent. I don’t think there is another city in the country that could compete with Atlanta at this level, and I think every other company understands that, too, because you see the mass migration of these companies to Atlanta. ”
There are other chapters in The Macquarium story, which had to be left on the cutting floor for this bit, but distilling 31 years of history for a fast-growing company is no small feat.
This next chapter began with the announcement this spring Synoptek acquired the company, it certainly isan important milestone for the legendary society. It’s also a unique moment on the overall Atlanta business scene. Hard to find a a digital customer experience agency that has had such an impact on Atlanta’s technological ecosystem or has done more to get the city on the map for its technical and media talent.
And that’s why it’s a story worth sharing.
Photos provided by Marc Adler