Hi. I’m Laurie McConnell.
I foster deep connections by creating lively and soulful online spaces that engage visitors, using an innovative variety of platforms, with strategic insight from two decades of working in the digital space.
I work with people who send models to the moon, serve outrageously great food in the most unlikely of places, cultivate aboriginal leaders, convince people to free fall into gorges in Africa, save salmon species, make a mean mohito in Cuba, counsel people going through rough times, come together in the thousands around common interests, and tell outrageously good stories.
The thing you and these people and companies all have in common is that you see your web site (and social media engagement, and apps and tools) as an extension of yourself into the virtual world.
Ultimately, you know that people today crave connection, and I’m going to help you do that.
I am a self-taught web designer and digital strategist with a background in print production, community newspapers and creative writing.
I started my business in 1997, under the name ‘Bad Dog Design’ and have totally enjoyed working with people from all walks of life and occupations.
I started my business because my first daughter slept almost 20 hours a day. Literally she was awake for feeding and changes and 10 minutes of play and then I was back to full-on boredom, having taken maternity leave from a hundred-miles-an-hour local newspaper production manager gig that regularly saw me working 70-90 hours a week. Full stop was really hard!
So, house clean, food home cooked, baby lolling the hours away, I decided to learn HTML from scratch in the fall of 1997, and participate in the then-ubiquitous newsgroup chats, where I discovered everyone thought I lived in that other Sunshine Coast in Australia.
I set about building one of the first multimedia web sites devoted to destination information for visitors and people unfamiliar with my Sunshine Coast just a 40 minute ferry ride out of Horseshoe Bay.
That business, Bigpacific.com: Salt & Soul of the Sunshine Coast, took off gangbusters when I began promoting local businesses in the tourism industry, many of whom didn’t even have an email address. I said, as long as you can answer your phone, you’re good!
Soon I had businesses dying to get their own web sites done, and I picked up my first client, a replica spacecraft modeling company. What a rush! I was working with a guy whose replica spacecraft flew to the moon, graced the homes of astronauts, resided in museums around the world, and lived in private collections of space enthusiasts crazy about the work y client delivered.
This company now manages the site in-house, and of course we upgraded/redesigned a number of times over the years, but he represented my ideal client: ambitious, perceptive, excited about change, and prepared to invest into what became the sole sales tool for his incredibly niche business. And he’s still going strong too, 17 years later.
I have met amazing people doing this job, and many clients end up becoming friends (and I’m known to hug, both in person and virtually :). I get to use all of my skills and passions to lift other people, businesses and organizations up, and support them as they grow. I still love. what. I. do.
Getting a wife on Craigslist, building community capacity, hoarding, and tormenting offspring & animals… all in a day’s work.
Hey, you’re still here. Cool. Me too.
I like knowing people I’m working with and really dislike when there’s no ‘about’ page on a web site and the identities of small business owner is hidden. After all, this job is about people, not computers or the web. So here’s me:
I describe myself as a geek-loving, tie-dyed, creative time artisan & general rabble rouser, and in my second work life a passionate conduit of Sunshine Coast stories, myths and fables.
I’m also described as an enthusiast. I bring ideas, energy, dynamic drive to everything I do, to the point that sometimes people have to say STOP, I’m inspired enough now! Let me get some things done.
I recently married my partner of almost 7 years, Diane Mueller, also a geek who works for Red Hat Software as a Director of Community Development for their open source project, OpenShift. She travels the world speaking about cloud computing… so you can just imagine the conversations around our dinner table. We’re both part of the Sunshine Coast gay & lesbian community, which technically also includes bi, trans and queer folk. I can honestly say I got her on Craigslist, the deal of my life!
We’re the parents of two amazing creatures, curly haired goddesses aged 14 and 19, who fascinate and entertain us equally.
I’m also big on tourism industry development, and community economic development with a social component.
I’ve helped start organizations on the Coast and served on a number of boards and organizations. I currently sit as a Board member for Community Futures Sunshine Coast, where we are active in the aforementioned kind of economic work through character lending, equity financing, and various programs and services we deliver to our rural area. All of our tools to measure whether clients are a fit for our organization include social returns, which are often as important as financial returns.
I’m also very involved in the local tech network, SCTechHub.ca so if you need to connect with a different kind of geek, chances are I know them and can hook you up!
I love foraging for edible mushrooms, hiking, kayaking, tormenting my dogs and children (I ask you, is that not what they are for?), helping my wife build out her 3D Mobile Printing Studio project, volunteering at the cold weather shelter and don’t-eat-alone dinners, shopping at thrift stores for vintage comic or early video game t-shirts, watching dystopian future flicks and falling in love with Scandinavian crime dramas, and scoring AMAZING shoes and sunglasses for my collections. So if you see size 8 1/2 or 9 Doc Martens, Converse or Fluevogs text me asap!
Oh, and I am usually laughing my ass off and trying to crack everyone else up. My tombstone will probably say: “Thought I’d die laughing.”
Oh, yeah, and there’s nothing more exciting than helping good businesses grow.
Everyone needs a bit of crazy in their life – sign up for my newsletter and stay in touch!