Celebrating evolution: Taoti’s 19th website redesign

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Process
Brent Lightner, Taoti founder, reflects on company evolution and the 19th version of Taoti.com.
A personality picture of Brent Lightner

Brent Lightner

CEO | Founder
Brent started building websites out of a college dorm room in 1996. By 2000, he was running a full-fledge web design company and garnishing press from the likes of Der…

This week we launched the 19th version of taoti.com.

We have had 19 totally new websites in 22 years, which is a little hard to believe. Who the hell redesigns their website 19 times in 22 years? We probably could have solved a major global crisis if we had redirected the incredible amount of energy we’ve spent over the years fighting about how bold to make bold fonts and whether it’s orangish-red or reddish-orange.

We thought you’d never ask! Of course we have a deck of all the home page designs. 

Regardless of whether you like our new site, or if you think we’re crazy for doing a nearly-annual redesign, we want to emphasize one point: Taoti is constantly evolving.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Back to 1996 when I came up with “Taoti,” an acronym for “The Art Of The Internet,” which sounded cooler when the internet was brand new. We dropped the tag line a long ago, but the name stuck. Hey, aside from a Chinese tea company called “Tao Ti,” we don’t have to fight for brand recognition. Anyhow, Taoti started off as just me, coding solo in a college dorm room, building websites in a time before real websites.

As the web evolved, so too did my web building skills. By the time I graduated college, Taoti had legitimate clients and revenue—enough so that, to my parents’ great concern, I decided to forgo med school and build websites for a living. Over the years, Taoti grew from that dorm room to a bedroom to a living room to a basement and finally, we moved into a real office space in Dupont Circle. Then, in 2015, we bought and renovated a building of our very own in the heart of Capitol Hill.  Our office. Our clubhouse. And a proper creative studio.

As we grew in sales and head count, Taoti continued to place value on our ability to evolve.

We used to build websites using whatever platform a client would come up with. It was the wild west of web platforms and we were happy to be at the rodeo. But as the technology landscape evolved to favor Drupal, Taoti also evolved, effectively morphing into a Drupal shop. As Wordpress started to catch up and offer a viable alternative to Drupal, we added WP chops to our toolbox.

Fast forward: it’s 2018 and Taoti has reached another milestone.

This year, we celebrate our evolution from a humble web-dev startup into a full-service creative agency. Don’t get me wrong: Drupal and Wordpress are still the biggest tools in our toolbox, but whereas they used to be our why, they’re now our how.

When we approach projects, we seek to solve problems and accomplish objectives. Clients hire us to figure it out. So, while executing detailed technical requirements is still the bulk of our business, our ability to do so isn’t the driving force behind our engagements.

Taoti understands the needs behind our client’s needs.

We’ve evolved in our approach to combining the right ratios of creativity, innovation and technologies to truly move the needle for our clients. While we know that the tools and techniques we use today will come and go—just like our former websites—Taoti will continue to evolve and leverage the best of whatever is to next to come.

We don’t know what the future landscape of creative will look, but we do know that our ability to evolve will keep Taoti on the right track.