Now that his company has been acquired by THINK New Ideas, Joe Nicholson has time to do what he really likes to do: be creative. The 38-year-old founder and chief executive officer of Stoneham, Mass.-based BBG New Media has a background in mechanical engineering and an M.B.A.-but please, don't think of him as dull or unimaginative.
"Creating things has always been my slant," Nicholson insists. "My passion is technology and applying technology to communications, and the more time I can spend on that, the happier I am."
Since the acquisition of his company in November, Nicholson has been a happy guy, indeed. His 65-person shop, once one of the largest independent new media agencies in New England, now enjoys the clout and resources of its much-larger parent company. And Nicholson, with the new title of executive vice president and managing director of THINK-Boston, can now devote himself solely to developing new business and working with his creative team.
"It's relieved me of the more mundane tasks of running the business," confesses Nicholson, who started the firm in 1985. "It's very liberating."
THINK-Boston's client list includes large, global companies headquartered nearby, including Progress Software, Fidelity Investments, EMC, BankBoston, John Hancock and The Gillette Co. Although Boston's commercial giants lean toward the conservative side, Nicholson says the days when he had to convince clients of the benefits of the Web are over.
"We're just seeing tremendous growth opportunity from all our clients," he says. "Everyone at the senior level now recognizes that they better have a strategy for the Internet. It's still kind of risky for clients to put a big budget against something where the technology is changing all the time, but (the technology) is starting to stabilize a bit. We can now plan a project over the course of a year."
Nicholson hedges in making an estimate of the company's growth post-acquisition; he hasn't quite learned what he can and can't say now that he's part of a public entity. But he gladly offers this: "The old BBG focused on strictly online digital media. Now, I like to categorize our capabilities as either off or online. The whole premise for the company is we're trying to build one large operational company as opposed to several satellite offices that each have their own distinct areas of expertise. We're trying to form project teams based on competency rather than geography."