CEO of Blackstone Media, Taylor Trusty, celebrated his 30th birthday and the 10-year anniversary of his company, by packing up his stuff and moving to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. He’s been “dabbling in New York for years,” said COO Rebecca Brady, but relocating there has been a life-long dream.
He started flirting with the city around 2012 and developing relationships. Northeastern clients were excited at Blackstone’s lower rates than New York City digital media firms, Brady said, but saw working with Blackstone as “outsourcing.”
Now that Trusty is working out of a Manhattan office in the financial district, that won’t be the case, said PR coordinator Leslie Radcliff.
The market prices will be different for client projects in New York versus work done for Louisville or Midwestern companies, but that has always been the case. There is no set “menu” of prices for Blackstone’s services. Each client is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the company said.
Blackstone prides itself on working with the most cutting-edge digital media technology available, and New York is always an early adopter for those technologies. The day IL visited Blackstone Media’s spacious Main Street offices, many members of the team were playing with virtual reality tech.
The Louisville office is now run by Brady. Every Monday, Trusty “joins” the staff meeting via Skype, and he says he’s always available to Skype into client meetings.
Blackstone has 19 employees. Clients include Toyota’s forklift divisions, a hospital in Boston and the Sons of the American Revolution headquarters in Louisville. For the latter, Blackstone is helping to innovate SAR’s genealogical system.
IL asked Trusty what his biggest takeaway was from running a business for a decade.
“I’d say the biggest lesson learned has been learning — and continuing to learn — how to best manage conflict. I don’t think it gets talked about enough,” he said. “Conflict and friction is a natural part of being human — especially in a group of driven, smart individuals that are working together eight-plus hours a day.”
He added: “I firmly believe how an organization handles conflict is a great proxy for how healthy the organization is. Is conflict allowed or swept under the rug and ignored? How do managers handle conflict? What about when individuals on the team disagree with a decision leadership has made – how do they react? Do they feel comfortable bringing it up or does it become gossip?”
He said the Blackstone team had made progress in this area. “We’re not perfect at it, but it’s something we discuss and think about often and invest in getting better,” he said.
Brady cites her “knowledge-hungry team” as the source of Blackstone’s success thus far.
She said that the ultimate goal of Trusty’s relocation to New York wasn’t just a matter of his own personal desires. She said, “It’s so we can bring Midwest charm to New York and New York innovation to the Midwest.”