August 7, 2009 by Mark Taylor
Prior to attending WordCamp Dallas 2009, I’d never heard of TAYLORMARK. By the end of the first day, not only had I heard of the company, I’d unwittingly become a huge fan – - walking away with a brand-spanking new MacBook Pro, compliments of TAYLORMARK, one of the event’s sponsors.
Mark Taylor, the company’s founder, had graciously donated the notebook to be raffled off as the grand prize. It was he who placed the computer in my hands. Preoccupied with my windfall, all I observed about him at the time was that he had short, dark hair, sported a closely trimmed beard and exuded a very laid-back, friendly demeanor. My intuitive read on his friendliness was accurate: Mark later approached me and said if I needed any help with my new computer, to just give him a call.
The following week, I visited with Mark at the company’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The first thing I noticed was the distinctive corporate logo above the door instead of a name, which made the office easy to locate. Upon entering the lobby, Caleb, a TAYLORMARK crew member, greeted me warmly and said Mark would be joining me shortly. After easing into an oversized, comfy leather chair, I took in the calm space around me. A sign propped against the wall announced the company is a member of the Apple Consulting Network, which is a network of Apple-certified experts.
Soft piano music played in the background as I wondered at the absence of a cash register or other store-like accoutrements. A mobile spun lazily overhead. Tropical foliage gave the room a Zen-ish feel. The only door leading out of the lobby and into some inner sanctum was guarded by an access entry keypad. “What do they do here?”, I silently mused.
The door swung open and suddenly, Mark was shaking my hand, acknowledging an email on his phone and asking me if I needed anything, all at the same. “A genuine multi-tasker”, I thought.
Before asking questions about my new Mac, I wanted to know more about TAYLORMARK: who are they? How did they get here and what is their intent is as a company? Over the course of the next half-hour, I caught a glimpse of the interesting visionary sitting across the table from me.
“The company began in 1999”, Mark explains. “The focus at the time was basically my brain for hire, which didn’t require a whole lot of overhead. An Apple Engineer loaned me a computer and I got started in the consulting business.”
Somewhere along the way, he was surprised by the revelation that most people don’t really understand how technology works, and he was further amazed that people would “pay you for stating your opinion”. Mark worked in the technical support arena for a number of years, which honed his talents to the point he felt comfortable presenting “How Your Mac Works” at Apple’s corporate office, located in the Dallas Infomart.
Over time, clients from diverse industries sought his expertise: a medical software company; the City Attorney’s Office for the City of Dallas; a large school district and others.
One day, shortly after the first Apple store opened in Dallas, fate collided with experience in the form of a meeting with the store’s manager, Ginger Mollo. “We became fast friends and with the addition of the referrals from Apple Retail I had more business than I could handle”, Mark recalls.
“What niche does TAYLORMARK fill?” I inquire. Mark chooses his words carefully. “Systematic Fault Isolation is what I do well. I’m an ultra-generalist. I consume a lot of information about seemingly unrelated topics. My particular strong suit is connecting the dots, kind of like having perspective without boundaries.” I ponder this response. Perspective without boundaries. I think I’ll have to mull that over for awhile.
“What gets you up in the morning?” I query. “What motivates you?”
“Looking at the big picture, thinking beyond tomorrow or next week or next year. I have a bit of an imagination. The way that I see this business is as though it is already a very large corporation that helps people: a) make decisions, b) do the work recommended, and c) be the first to come to the general public’s mind when they need help in their Digital Life. I often brainstorm about what that large company would be like in its infancy and what decisions were made along the way. Adapting and learning… adapting and learning along the path.”
This process helps me clearly identify what the business should be today and what preparations to make for our future. This is our first prototype storefront, my own personal petri dish, if you will. The intent is to have multiple locations where people can obtain the four core services of TAYLORMARK: Digital Life Consulting, Digital Life Support, Digital Life Recovery and Digital Life Banking.”
I ask Mark to explain what exactly a ‘digital life’ is.
“Every business, every individual, has a Digital Life. If your house was burning down, more than likely, before running out the door you’d grab the laptop off the kitchen counter before pulling pictures off the wall. Frankly, people’s lives are on these machines. One core service called Digital Life Banking is geared to create a plan.
As if on cue, the doorbell announces a customer’s entrance. Caleb quickly enters the front reception area to meet her. I turn to see the worry on her face as she gets right to the point and asks Caleb if he thinks her data can be recovered. Caleb responds with the assurance that TAYLORMARK customers have come to expect: yes, it’s possible that it can be recovered. Her next remark underscores Mr. Taylor’s previous comments: “Thank goodness! My whole life is on that thing!”
‘Perspective without boundaries’. I think I’m beginning to grasp the concept. Mark has imagined a future in which his clients feel safe and secure in their digital lives.
Stay tuned for future blogs, in which we will cover each of the four distinct services that TAYLORMARK provides.