IQ News: connect

When you visit Phoenix-Pop’s Web site to check out the company’s management team, you’ll immediately get a sense of the San Francisco-based Web development shop’s corporate culture. All of the company bigwigs are clad in orange jumpsuits, which were handed out to the firm’s 100 employees by Phoenix-Pop co-founders Bruce Falck and Simon Smith at last year’s Christmas party.
No, it’s not a cult, just a company dedicated to building entire startups from an idea on a napkin to a fully realized e-business–while having some fun along the way. Founded in 1996, Phoenix-Pop’s client roster includes Productopia,, and The company’s billings have increased five-fold from 1998 to 1999. And they’re determined to continue enjoying every minute, according to Bruce Falck, the 29-year-old CEO of Phoenix-Pop.–Janis Mara

So what’s with this obsession with the color orange?
Orange has been our company color for years. We have orange pillows, orange walls, there are orange jellybeans at the reception desk. It’s impossible to resist grabbing a handful of orange beans. By now I think everybody at Phoenix-Pop is thoroughly sick of orange jellybeans.

You are known as a full-service shop. What are some of the services you provide?
We can build an entire startup from just an idea. With Productopia, a company that does content reviews, we built their content management system. That was the core system that allowed them to do business. Everything from how they edited and released content to how the content was released to the consumer. For Wineshopper, we built a system that allowed them to sell wine across state lines that was in compliance with legal regulations with the three-tier shipping system.
We get to see companies evolve from just ideas to real businesses that are employing people, earning money and, hopefully, contributing to the social fabric.

Do you think you can have fun and continue to be successful in today’s more bottom-line-oriented atmosphere?
Yes, we’ve always taken the running of the business seriously. In order to have fun, you must be a going concern and stay in business. I don’t see that being profitable and having fun are mutually exclusive. n