Biz woman balances optimism, ethics and leading-edge products
FORT COLLINS — It’s a good thing that MediaTech Productions’ founder, president and CEO Maury Dobbie, is an optimist.
Dobbie has faced numerous setbacks, roadblocks and obstacles since she started this latest business endeavor, not the least of which was nearly dying following a doctor’s error.
Dobbie’s strategy echoes Nike: Just get up and “go do it.”
“Ever since I started MediaTech in 1994, I’ve had this sticker that I put on my monitor. It’s a Vince Lombardi statement: ?It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up again,'” Dobbie said.
For Dobbie, the choice is not in getting back up but in how. “It’s how you get up from what knocks you down. … I get up with a very optimistic attitude that I can do it.”
Many irons in the fire
Like the technologies it reflects, Dobbie’s MediaTech Productions has experienced lots of change since its creation. The award-winning multimedia company specializes in video, audio and Web production.
On the video side, Dobbie said MediaTech focuses on producing training programs, TV shows and commercials and other promotional videos. “We’ve aired on the Discovery Channel, Outdoor Life Network, Direct TV and Dish Network.”
MediaTech captured attention early on by producing a popular series of mule-training videos with a local expert.
On the audio side, MediaTech produces radio commercials, telephone on-hold messages, character voices and live Internet radio shows.
And on the Web side, the company designs, maintains and hosts Web sites and provides e-commerce solutions as well as video and audio streaming capabilities.
If MediaTech already has plenty of attention focused on it as an up-and-coming business in the region, its current projects — once completed — could well garner even more attention from farther afield.
“One of our projects is interesting,” Dobbie said. “We are the executive producer of a 2D animated video.” The video is the latest extension of MediaTech’s longtime relationship with mule-training expert Meredith Hodges. It follows 10 training tapes, 26 half-hour shows and four books.
This latest project features a character called Jasper the mule in what Dobbie described as a whimsical family cartoon built on character issues and life’s lessons. It draws together the work of an award-winning animator, music from Emmy award-winning Riders in the Sky and celebrity voice-overs by actor Lee Horsely.
MediaTech will take an introspective look at the project as well and produce a related product. “We’re going to produce a half-hour documentary on how to produce a 2D animated cartoon.” In addition, the company will launch a Web site to extend Jasper the Mule’s reach.
Live Internet radio show
Another current project with wide-reaching potential is a new, live Internet radio show for teens that MediaTech recently began producing. TeenNationUSA.com started with a partnership with the Poudre school district. “We created a once-a-week live Internet radio show with students as DJs. It’s a for-student, by-student show.”
If audience members don’t catch it live they can hear the archives any time, from anywhere, Dobbie said.
As is typical for MediaTech, the Internet radio show represents a two-pronged effort that’s both community-service and business-based.
“We wanted kids to have a forum to talk about issues important to them. What’s important to us is that they also have a component of character building.”
So far, TeenNationUSA.com is solely underwritten by MediaTech, but Dobbie sees potential for broad-based advertising and sponsorship sales.
“I’m a believer in using our talents to better our community if I can afford to. TeenNation, although we’ve never received anything from at this stage, I think is the right thing to do. We want to build it into a money-maker, but we believe it will make a difference.”
Further, it represents a wave of the future on the Internet, she said.
“This is actually a product that’s good for any group of people,” Dobbie said. The audio streaming technology it relies on has applications for CEOs who want to address shareholders or communicate with employees, for instance, or associations who want to tap into a specific demographic group.
“Audio and video streaming will become the norm,” Dobbie said.
Thanks to her involvement with technology, as a businessperson, Dobbie has long walked that fine line between cutting edge and bleeding edge. “We are risk-takers,” she said of her firm. “We try to be innovative. We really like to think outside the box.”
The challenge is to be at the leading edge but not too far out in front in an industry that seems to change minute by minute. Walking that line successfully has meant finding the right people, Dobbie said.
“I learned early on when I was younger that you surround yourself with the people who are the technicians and are good at what they do and then don’t forget that they got you there.”
Dobbie has learned a few other things along the way. She works at staying focused, she said. “I’m more purposeful in building this company.”
Humor helps. So does optimism. “You have to be able to look at things positively or else you kind of wither and die.”
Dobbie stresses fairness and objectivity. “And that goes a long way with relationships when you’re building a business.”
And what’s most important? “Keeping my ethics. If I lose my ethical business behavior I’ve lost everything, and money and wealth can never get that back.”