Doreyne Douglas – SMB Executive, Mom & VP at PlanetMagpie – Shares Insights on Tech, Design and Advice for Entrepreneurs

PlanetMagpie is a technology and design partner of PerkettPR. They specialize in delivering IT Consulting, Web Design, App Development, Web Marketing, Hosting and Comprehensive Network Support.

Where did the name PlanetMagpie come from?

Our dog Magpie, a black lab, was the company’s mascot. She embodied all the traits we believe any good business should have.  She was fun, smart, a great friend, incredibly loyal and worked really hard to please us. That’s what a true partner should be.

What do you like about living and working in the Bay Area?

I love that there are a million things to do here – plus the lack of mosquitoes and cold weather!

How did you get into tech?

My husband Robert incorporated PlanetMagpie in 1998. Five years ago the business had grown to a size where he needed additional support in marketing so he recruited me to help out. Prior to that, I was in legal marketing and recruiting for 15 years, most recently with the second largest law firm in California; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, probably best known for representing President Bush in Bush v. Gore.

What are three things small business owners and entrepreneurs should be sure to have in place when launching a new company?

1)      A solid IT infrastructure that can grow with them

2)      An identity and brand that inspires employees, customers and partners

3)      A customized, professional website that captures who they are; custom sites are not that much more expensive than template sites and are worth the investment.

What sticks out to you like a sore thumb when you see a badly designed website?

1)      The site is disorganized and all over the place

2)      There isn’t a clear message of who they are and what they do. That is particularly frustrating to a marketer because what they don’t realize is people will leave immediately if they can’t get a feel for what you can offer them.

What are some of the pitfalls or security risks businesses should be aware of when setting up their IT infrastructure?

Be sure to consult with an expert. Just because Microsoft (or any vendor) says a certain software or system will suffice for your business “up to 50 people,” doesn’t mean it will perform equally fast whether you have 1 or 50 people using it.  We see systems meant for 50 slowing down at 20, and that can hurt your productivity.  Build your systems based on your planned growth and be sure they fit your needs for the foreseeable future.  Consulting with someone who has built/used/implemented these systems in the past is your best bet for ensuring you are set up for success.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting their own business today?

After “Don’t do it?” :)

I think the most important thing to remember is what starts twisted will stay twisted. If you don’t have a vision and a plan in place to execute on that vision in an organized way you won’t succeed. Ask yourself, “What is the right way to do this?” – then plan it out from there. A lot of entrepreneurs will just take it as it comes and roll with the punches but they need to develop a plan first.

Secondly, I would say find the right employees and partners. No one gets there alone, and you need to have good people you can trust, that are reliable and loyal to move your business forward. Once you find those people hang on to them. They are the ones that will help you protect your company.

As a working mom and business executive/owner what do you find gets lost in the shuffle most?

Working on our house, which we love to do.  When the economy started taking a turn, we had to abandon our house renovation project mid-stream and devote all our attention to the company.  That was about 2-1/2 years ago.  When we start working on our house again, that will be proof positive to me that the recession is behind us.

What is your favorite tech gadget and why?

If I could only have one tech toy for work, it would be Microsoft Office Communications Server.  The “presence” and “IM” features of OCS are indispensable. My web development team’s collaboration and work efficiency went way up after we implemented those tools.  We can’t work without them anymore.

What inspires you to work as hard as you do?

I guess it’s the midfielder in me.  I don’t stop running until the referee blows his whistle … and that’s usually around 1 a.m.!  But seriously, I do it for Robert and the kids.  For Robert, because I’ve never met a harder working person more deserving of success.  For our kids, because I want to be able to leave them something tangible when we’re gone, to make their lives a little easier and to make sure they have a common place to gather and call home.

What are your favorite blogs?

I like Women on Business, The Business Insider (Silicon Alley Insider), and ReadWriteWeb.  I’m still trying to find a favorite blog on web design/development.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in tech?

If I could do it all over again, I would be a professional soccer player. I play on three soccer teams and absolutely love it.


If you are interested in learning more about PlanetMagpie’s services visit PlanetMagpie or contact Doreyne directly at: doreyne [dot] douglas [at] planetmagpie [dot com]