How it all began...
In 1996, Shannon Swenson and Nigel Prentice shared a cubicle at Power Computing Corporation, a rapidly growing Macintosh clone maker in Round Rock, Texas. Both began working as Service and Support reps and quickly advanced to positions in process improvement, training, technical writing, protocol documentation and systems evaluation.
In any call center, the phone representatives are the eyes and ears of the company. They foresee trends and problems in all areas of the business. This background would later instill within Shannon and Nigel a deeper understanding of the logistical and communication challenges that face any company's business units.
One of the many images that helped launch Power Computing into the high tech spotlight.
Learn more about Power Computing.
By early 1997, Power Computing management had embraced the Internet as a viable medium to conduct business with suppliers and customers. Fortunately for Nigel and Shannon, they were allowed to gain considerable knowledge and experience building web-based applications to support Sales & Marketing, Service & Support, Finance, Human Resources, Manufacturing and Fulfillment.
By the end of 1997 Apple had purchased back Power Computing's rights to clone Macintosh machines for $100M USD. A PC laptop named PowerTrip was in the works, but loss of the Macintosh business effectively closed the young company's doors.
Facing unemployment, Shannon and Nigel saw a growing market for Internet and Extranet design, specifically database integration to the web. Both turned down lucrative offers with high tech companies in Austin. Instead, they decided to leverage their network of professional contacts with their skills in technology and management to partner directly with clients. Using their severance pay, personal savings and an employee purchase program they bought their workstations, several servers, a whiteboard and a stapler.
They made the right decision. They quickly found clients across the United States, even before they had an address or a name for their business.
Is a rose not a rose by any other name?
It seemed to take forever to choose a name. They wanted a name that melded art and technology. It also had to have an available web address. Somehow, the right combination of Tex-Mex, SportsCenter and InterNIC WHOIS queries finally produced the name Stream Studio Web Architects.
"I came up with the idea for our name, but Shannon would have you believe otherwise. 'Stream' refers to a stream of consciousness. I suppose this idea came after a long brainstorming session. 'Studio' suggests the type of atmosphere we work in," says Nigel. "'Web Architects' helps communicate our company's e-business services."
"The idea for our name really came from me," offers Shannon. "Most people would also agree that I am smarter than Nigel. They might say something like 'Shannon is confident, but not over confident.' A well rounded fellow."
"Shannon really annoys me sometimes."
Shannon continues, "Sometimes people confuse our name with 'Extreme' Studio. I can see our mistaken identity emblazened on minitrucks the world over. This is not the imagery we want to project."
In 1998, Stream Studio set up shop in a small office at 816 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. Consulting and development projects concentrated on small business sites, enterprise applications and plenty of community volunteer work. By 2000, the business had grown to eight employees and a client roster that included industry leading companies Technicolor Entertainment Services and Dell Computer Corporation. And Nigel and Shannon still shared an office.
In 2003, Shannon bought Nigel's share of the company and concentrated on serving larger clients like Northrup Grumman, The State of Texas and Southwest airlines. Both co-founders still work closely on various projects.