Creative Perspective: Mike Lannen

Burlington, Vermont's, Mike Lannen, started Eternity Web from his college dorm and 12 years later boasts multiple offices and a highly skilled team. He shares why he feels there's "there is always a solution in MODX!"

By Jay Stephen Gilmore
May 31, 2012
Creative Perspective: Mike Lannen

Creative Perspectives is a series of interviews with Designers and Creatives discussing their tools, design and how they use MODX. Want to share your Creative Perspective? We'll let you know how in an upcoming post.


Who is Mike Lannen

Names: Mike Lannen
Location: South Burlington, Vermont
Titles: President and Founder
Company: Eternity Web
Twitter: @eternityweb

Mike Lannen is President and Founder of Eternity Web, located in amazing South Burlington, Vermont.

He started the company from the ground up from his college dorm room nearly 12 years ago (in 2000) and now has multiple offices and an amazing staff with whom he turns ideas into reality.

Over a decade of experience has shown the team at Eternity Web that a satisfied client is more than a customer. They are a partner for the long term. Launching a web site is really just the beginning of a successful project. MODX makes that success a reality!

Interview

Remember your first computer? What was it? Any interesting stories behind it?

My first computer was a Commodore PET. I won it in a 4th grade writing contest and I first learned to code in Q-Basic. 10 years old and already a geek. This is where it all began and I continued to learn more about coding, design, and usability all throughout grammar school, high school and college.

So...Photoshop or Fireworks or both/neither and why?

Photoshop all the way. While Fireworks looks to have some amazing prototyping options, Photoshop is always my go to application for web design.

Who is the person who inspires you the most creatively, and what you admire most about them?

I always find myself deriving creative inspiration from competition. Keeping an eye on what those around you are doing only motivates you to strive for something newer, better and shinier!

What are young designers and upcoming art directors missing today that you got to experience first-hand, when you were starting out?

The pure and unadulterated pleasure of playing BBS board games on a 2400 Baud Dial-Up modem. You just don’t get any better than that! L.O.R.D all the way!

Similarly, if you had to do it all over again, what do you wish you knew then, that you know now?

Learn responsive design before anyone else. Develop for mobile first.

Quick, name your favorite 3 “must-have” apps and what makes them so?
  • Basecamp – management of projects
  • Browserstack – browser/OS web site testing
  • iTerm2 – for server management and editing html/css
What HTML editor do you use? (or are you secretly using DreamWeaver in design view?

SSH and Sublime Text 2. Dreamweaver adds to much random hidden code that adds to the weight.

So, how long have you been using a CMS? What led you to start using MODX?

I have been using a CMS for over 8 years. I used Drupal (sad face) only once before trying MODX. As soon as I templated our first design, we knew MODX was “the chosen one” and we use it exclusively for every single web site project!

What are some “must-have” features and add-ons or features you like most about MODX?

PHx is by far one of the more versatile features of MODX. It has allowed us to not only make our sites more dynamic but also extremely user-friendly for our customers.

What capabilities does MODX give you and your team that you appreciate most, and why?

MODX gives our team the ability to integrate with almost any design allowing for very unique layouts for every site. Also when a customer wants something very customized in the admin or on the front-side, there is always a solution in MODX!

Who touches your CMS? All members? Freelancers? Your Clients? How is that working?

All members touch the CMS: our staff, freelancers and our clients. The ability to create multiple users with varying permissions makes for easy maintenance by a team.

What are the most important things you’ve learned, using a CMS, versus the “old days” of static web sites?

A CMS allows for such flexibility when making changes to multiple pages. It also makes for redesigning a web site much easier.

Bonus Question: If you hadn’t decided to go into the creative realm, what do you think you’d be doing today?

I almost went to medical school to become a neural surgeon. I have always had a passion for learning how things “tick” and helping others.

More from the Creative Perspectives Series

If you enjoyed this Creative Perspective take a look at the complete Creative Perspectives series for more inspiring and interesting stories from designers who use and love MODX.