People always ask me how I got started in this business. Well, it all started with music back in the early 90‘s. My little brother, Glen “Alex” Joel's band Mirror Mirror and my band Poink were performing live and recording under the Site 51 label. The Site 51 name is the birth-child of Alex and his wife Rachel Joel (seen in the photo above) and inspired by their enthusiasm for the paranormal, conspiracy theories, and "The X-files."
PHOTO: Glen "Alex" Joel on stage with his band Film and Silver circa 1995.
PHOTO: Thomas "A-Tom-X" Joel, Mike Ballamis, Darrin "Spoon'r" Newland and Antonio Garcia on stage as Poink circa 1995.
Alex was already involved with computers and IT and it wasn’t long before he merged his passion for music with his interest in the new digital media technologies that were just coming of age. In 1996, (with help from several of the label's bands and technical help from Paul Luscher and Herman Joel -my father, a computer engineer), Alex and Rachel independently produced “Projectile, ” Salt Lake City’s first non-commercial, enhanced audio CD (CD-ROM), featuring seventeen tracks, from seven bands on the Site 51 Production label. The audio production included an HTML-based library of images and articles about each artist and a behind-the-scenes autobiography of the efforts to create the CD.
PHOTO: Paul Luscher and Glen "Alex" Joel on stage at the Projectile Release Party.
PHOTO: Our dad, Herman Joel, computer pioneer, artist, comedian, and source of inspiration.
After tremendous publicity and good reviews from the Salt Lake Tribune, Site 51 Productions took on a life of its
own. With content hosted on Alex and Rachel’s home server, musicians and businesses alike started to connect with them and get help putting their bands
and companies on digital media and online in this pre-dot-com era.
One of Site 51's first sites to serve customers was audiodock.com. At a time when big sites like mp3.com started, audiodock.com was offering individual pages geared towards musicians who could not afford the cost of developing their own complete website. The site is still running today as a tribute to the Site 51 Productions label and all the projects, music and bands that it featured.
By 1998, we were all supplementing our incomes with the business of hosting websites and providing web and graphic design with Site 51 Communications out of Phoenix, Arizona and myself operating independently out of Los Angeles, California.
Enjoying the wave of new business generated from the dot-com-boom, I joined up with Jeremy Kidd to create Digidome Designs, LLC. based out of Venice, CA. Despite our tremendous success during our first two years, the beginning of the dot-com-bust and the tragic events that occurred on 9/11 forced us to change course and go our separate ways.
In October of 2001, I created IAMTEEJAY and began serving the needs of both independent small businesses and even celebrities to market themselves on and offline in this new, post-9/11 era.
In 2010, when the economy was suffering from the 2007-8 housing market fall-out, Rachel and I agreed to merge the two independent businesses of Site 51 and IAMTEEJAY into to one family business as the Joel Media Group, Incorporated. This re-alignment would allow ourselves to better serve our customers. We enjoyed moderate, but steady success until 2014 when the worst tragedy we could ever suffer happened. My brother and the founding member of our family business, passed away unexpectedly. In the aftermath of our loss and considerable deliberation, Rachel stepped down and I closed the doors to the family business.
PHOTO: Beloved Brother, Husband, Father, Musician, Poet, Programmer and Founder of Site 51, Glen Alexander Joel - 1970-2014 (RIP)
I miss my brother, Alex every day. After being in this business he pulled me into for over 23 years, you can see there is a quite a bit of history, gratitude and love involved.
And that, is how I became a small business owner and website developer.
FEATURED PHOTO: Digital Internet pioneers, my brother, Glen "Alex" (1970-2014) and his wife, Rachel Joel