CNY’s Best Companies: Terakeet
There’s a now famous story about Maclaren Cummings, the CEO and Co-founder of Terakeet that explains why this is one of the best companies in Central New York. Today Mac and his co-founder Patrick Danial run one of the most successful companies in the region, but their first try wasn’t successful. They had raised over half a million dollars from investors to start the company, but after three hard years the business was failing. The thing is, neither of the founders stopped working. In classic startup fashion they pivoted from a voice-recognition software firm to a leading SEO and reputation management company. Ten years after the original investors thought they had lost their investment, Cummings and Danial returned the money—with a decade’s worth of compounded interest. They’re still running the business today, and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate.
That story captures the essence of what makes Terakeet a great place to work—no matter what happens, they take care of their people.
You would expect to find a national leader in online branding and marketing in Silicon Valley or near Madison Avenue, but the founders are adamant about the quality of life in Central New York. That devotion to the region hasn’t held them back; Terakeet employees work with some of the largest companies in the world—think Coca Cola, American Express and NBC Universal.
Beyond the A-list clients (including the current occupant of the Oval Office) the company is building its success on the talent available here in Central New York. In a 2012 story on Syracuse.com about the company, Cummings made it clear that they are working to improve the region as they build their business: “We’re hiring people out of Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, Cornell, SUNY Oswego. We’re doing what the economic development people and the mayor are trying to figure out how to do: to attract young people and keep them here.”
Many large companies claim to be devoted to their employees, but Terakeet has gone beyond the talk. Cummings and Danial run Terakeet from the Neal and Hyde Building in the heart of Armory Square, Syracuse’s hippest neighborhood. The office vibe is cool, casual and competent. They offer employees perks like gym memberships, and to keep everyone at peak performance, created a best-in-class employee development program called TerakeetU.
The pace of innovation in the digital media space can be exhausting. The founders developed TerakeetU to not just keep up with the changes, but to prepare their people to advance into emerging positions. That’s a significant challenge. The Technical Analysts at Terakeet have to be comfortable interpreting web site data and analytics and have a good understanding of search engine ranking signals. In the case of the Google search engine, they’re looking at over 200 signals (everything from the structure of website and mobile code is formed, to the words used inside web DIVs and HREF links, to the mobile engagement times on key pages) and an algorithm that is updated every few months in response to new behaviors and new technologies. TerakeetU keeps employees informed about the most recent developments allowing them to help clients reach key audiences and markets.
The result is that Terakeet isn’t just a great company, it’s a great team.