We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Forte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I would say one of the most important factors behind my success is first finding individuals that have what I want, taking them out to lunch (and picking up the bill!) and developing long lasting relationships where those individuals mentor me. There have been countless times in my career where I have done this and many of those individuals are still in my life today! Many people want to recreate the wheel or try to find the next big idea. If you have the big idea, great! But many of the largest and most successful companies didn’t start a new product or service from scratch, they just made it better! Steve Jobs didn’t create the first mobile phone, he just made it better. Elon Musk didn’t create the first electric car, he just made it better. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make the first social network, he just made it better. Find something that you are passionate about, and develop it into a world class business, product or service. You don’t have to recreate the wheel!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business’ name is D-MAK Productions, named after my business partner Danny McManus (his nickname is D Mak). We started the company in 2013 and we mainly work in the corporate video and events space. One thing that sets us apart from others is our large network of resources we pull from for each individual production. Not every person is right for every job, so we pride ourselves with building each production from scratch, and getting the best and the brightest for each individual area of the production. From directors and cinematographers, to technical directors and animators, we know who are the A team, and we make sure we get them involved where needed. We got to where we were today business wise by being very smart with our resources. We could’ve balled out when we first got involved in the production business, taking out loans, having a huge studio space and purchasing the highest quality production equipment. We didn’t do that. We started small and paid for everything in cash. If it wasn’t for this mindset, we would probably be out of business due to the coronavirus. I know a lot of companies are struggling, but we’ll make it out of this pandemic just fine. One thing I’d like the world to know about our company is that we live and die by our core values. They are as follows: Respect – Be in service of. Creativity – Everyone has it, we cultivate it. Synchronicity – The details make it art. Integrity – We are our words and our work. Freedom – Make things that matter to you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If one of my best friends was coming into town, I would have the perfect itinerary for them! One place I would certainly take them is the Hole in the Rock in Tempe for sunset. It’s a perfect place to see the night fall with the view of Phoenix skyline in the background. For food I would certainly take them to Joe’s BBQ in Gilbert as they have the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten. Another food spot is Gilbert Pizza and Pasta in the Gilbert as well. Depending on the time of year, I would take them to a Spring Training Game in Scottsdale to see the San Francisco Giants, a Phoenix Suns game in Downtown Phoenix or a ASU Sun Devils game (football or basketball) in Tempe, AZ.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The one person that without a doubt deserves a shout out is Ken Liljegren. Ken has owned Spectrum Video and Film since the early 1980’s, and all it took was a Subway sandwich to have this man enter me and my business partners lives. After a couple of larger production jobs that we got hired for and collaborated on because we were way over our heads to do them solo, he invited us to rent an office space in his studio. He has poured endless amounts of knowledge and wisdom in me about not just business, but life. We would never be in the position that we are at this point in time if it wasn’t for Ken. And the best is truly yet to come!