In this edition of the Vertical Measures employee interview series, I speak with SEO strategist Jason Hendricks about his SEO experience, his golden locks and his longest-running engagement.
Michael Schwartz: What are your main responsibilities here at VM?
Jason Hendricks: I handle all technical and onsite SEO work as well as web development for our clients. I also work closely with the team to assist with onsite SEO and web development strategies. In my spare time I help James annoy as many people as possible by flying RC helicopters throughout the office.
Michael: You often like to tell me that you’ve been in this field since I was a little kid with a paper route (Editor’s Note: I never had a paper route). Tell us a little about your prior experience.
Jason: I think I actually say “since you were doing wheelies on your bike,” but yes, I’ve been a SEO since 2001. I started in web development in 1998 after getting bored with my job as a desktop support technician. Shortly after learning HTML, I discovered SEO and other forms of internet marketing including PPC. I worked as an in-house SEO and web developer for a couple of years before starting my own company, Tidal Wave Media. Long story short, I love internet marketing and could never see myself doing anything else.
Michael: On the side you own and operate the ClickToTweet Twitter program. How would you evaluate the success of that venture?
Jason: Well, ClickToTweet is such a simple Twitter tool that it’s tough to really evaluate its success. In terms of traffic and users, the site has been extremely successful. As far as revenue generation, not so much. Right now the site earns revenue solely from advertising, but I have plans to launch a Pro version in the not-so-distant future.
Michael: Around the office, your long golden locks are often admired. How do you get your hair to be so perfectly straight?
Jason: Ha, I think I must be the first guy with long hair that you’ve ever been around, because you seem to have an unnatural obsession with my hair.
Michael: You have lived with your fiancée Courtney for 13 years. Do you ever plan on getting married for real or will this just be the longest running engagement, The Office-style?
Jason: We’ve certainly taken our time with marriage and we’re still in no hurry. We already consider ourselves married after living together for over 13 years now, just without the required paperwork. It took Courtney 10 years to get me to finally pop the question, so it will probably take her another 10 to get me to marry her.
Michael: Tell us about your relationship with Vertical Measures employee Scott Wells.
Jason: There really has to be a better way to phrase that … not that there’s anything wrong with that question, but Scott and I have known each other since junior high school. We grew up fairly close to each other and although we attended different high schools, we had a ton of friends in common. We didn’t keep in touch after high school, so it’s great to reconnect with an old friend (and we’re talking OLD here, that guy is ancient) after so many years.
Michael: You’re a partial owner of the LeBron James unofficial fan site. What are your plans for the site in the future?
Jason: I partnered up with a friend to create a fun site to highlight LeBron James’ total domination of the sport. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he’s an amazing athlete. We will begin to focus more on quality content and not worry about monetization since it’s just a hobby for us at this point.
Michael: What’s your favorite sport and why?
Jason: My favorite sport is hockey, hands down. Hockey is by far the most physical and, to me, most exciting game to watch. My favorite team is of course the Phoenix Coyotes, although this season isn’t going quite as well as I’d hoped.
As far as sports that I can actually participate in, skateboarding and snowboarding would be my choices. I’ve been skateboarding since I was 8 years old, while on the contrary I just recently picked up snowboarding. If anyone ever tells you that the two sports are very similar, they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Michael: I know you recently bought a couple of condos for dirt cheap. Are you going to become a real estate mogul on the side?
Jason: I’ve always been interested in real estate and currently have a very diverse investment portfolio including domain names, websites, stocks, commodities … even collectibles like guns and comic books. Adding a few rental properties to the mix is, in my opinion, a wise decision considering how far prices have fallen in the Phoenix metro area and the fact that the rental market isn’t as soft as it was a few years ago.
Michael: Like many people at VM, you possess a love of canines. Tell the good people a little bit about your dogs.
Jason: Courtney and I have two rescue dogs and strongly feel that adoption is the only way to go. Peanut (pictured to the right) is a male black and tan dachshund mix while Tinkerbelle (like the sailboat and not the Disney character) is a purebred miniature black and tan dachshund. They’re definitely more than just dogs to us but we try to keep the spoiling to a minimum (I said try, not succeed).
Michael: What do you like about working at Vertical Measures?
Jason: I really like the fact that we have specialists in every discipline of internet marketing, so there are plenty of great minds to learn from. I also enjoy the family vibe and team atmosphere that the office has because it’s completely opposite of some of the stuffy corporate environments I’ve worked in.