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Each month, we recognize one of our Most Helpful Humans in Hosting®.
Meet Ricky Smart
Born, raised, and currently residing in Houston, Texas, Ricky Smart has a BFA in Graphic Design from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Initially out of college, Smart was hired as an illustrator, developing designs for gift products in Las Vegas hotels. After that, he worked as a graphic designer for several different companies and spent a few years freelancing before landing a job at a design agency that specializes in WordPress.
Smart is a Multimedia Designer with Nexcess and has been in this position for just over a year. His work spans making updates and design changes to the website, designing backdrops and collateral for trade shows, creating graphics for social media, videos and motion graphics, and writing and producing commercials.
Why did you join Liquid Web?
A friend of mine told me Nexcess was looking for a designer. After looking into it, I found out how much Nexcess and Liquid Web fit with my mindset and ethos about building on open-source platforms and being very engaged, helpful, and friendly. Previously, I had dealt with many other hosting companies on behalf of clients, and I knew how important having a proactive and engaged stance was for a hosting company. It was very refreshing to see that the mindset of being helpful was deeply ingrained into this company’s bedrock.
What draws you to the hosting industry as a career?
I didn’t initially even think about it since my occupation as a designer typically leads me to work with hosting companies rather than for them. Previously, my impression of hosting companies was not too favorable – or at the very least, I didn’t generally imbue them with a sense of personality or warmth until I came across Liquid Web and Nexcess.
Is there something specific about Liquid Web you just love?
My team is remote, but I feel connected to everyone and the company. The sense of community extends to everyone in the company. That is a rare thing these days.
What’s your favorite part about the company culture at Liquid Web?
Everyone is happy to be here and loves their work.
In your eyes, what’s the difference between Liquid Web and other employers?
The value that the company puts on both its employees and their customers is a real key difference.
What is the biggest milestone you’ve accomplished?
I’ve been really proud of the commercials I’ve produced for Nexcess.
We’ve all been open to having anyone and everyone pitch ideas and concepts, and some of these ideas were seeded by things that were just an initial sketch of an idea. We then determine how the idea and messaging fit with the tone of our branding and the general personality of the company as a whole. It’s been interesting to find the right balance of specifically outlining what we do vs. giving people a flavor of who we are.
Of course, our personality has to come through all those talking points, so producing the bulk of the creative direction in-house is helping us collectively discover core messaging that we might not have ever found otherwise.
Tell us about an amazing customer experience you have had at Liquid Web.
We are currently in post-production with a video that is a customer testimonial for Nexcess. On reviewing the footage, I was blown away by how much they could easily talk about Nexcess and how much the shared Liquid Web model of being helpful and having experts available had, in many ways, transformed his business and alleviated his stress.
What are you known for at Liquid Web? What do people specifically come to you for?
I am comfortable generating concepts and ideas and iterating those ideas quickly. I sort of have a broad background in different types of design. I’m not sure how that translates into how others perceive me, but I hope it means I’m open to tackling just about anything.
What is one thing you wish our customers knew about their hosting?
That we do really care about their site and their business.
Work aside, what are some of your hobbies?
I play guitar and make music. True to the technology theme, I use both an analog and digital signal (MIDI) for my guitar and run everything through a computer using virtual instruments and digital effects.
What is your favorite TV show?
Right now, I’m really enjoying Ted Lasso. Other favorites are Barry, Westworld, The Rehearsal, Arrested Development, and Last Man on Earth.
What is your favorite app?
I’ve found myself going back and spending more time on Reddit. The ability to up and downvote content and comments makes for a much more interesting and positive platform.
If you could have dinner with one famous person [dead or alive], who would it be?
Joseph Campbell. His book, “The Hero’s Journey,” and the idea of the Monomyth were really influential to me.
We hope you enjoyed our series, and stay tuned for the next Helpful Human profile.