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Emmett McDermott of 1259

Meet Emmett McDermott, founder of 12five9, a web design firm in Ohio City with one employee. The company builds responsive websites that adapt to whichever device or browser they're viewed on.
Why did you start your business?
I had been freelancing for a few years and reached a point where I could no longer take on additional work each month and work full time. I didn't start freelancing with the goal of building a business, I just wanted to make some extra cash. After a year or two I was treating my freelancing like a business and began working toward the goal of starting a web design firm. I was also extremely motivated by the idea that the success of the business hinged upon my hard work.
Where does the name 12five9 come from?
I purchased the domain 12five9.com when I got engaged and made a website for people heading to our wedding in Philadelphia on December 5, 2009. The website told people where to stay, what to visit, etc. After the wedding I started putting my work on the site and the name 12five9 stuck.  
Where did you find your first employee?
On Facebook. I originally placed an ad on Craigslist for someone to do contract work and didn't have much luck. A few weeks later I mentioned to a friend that I was looking to hire a web developer in the Cleveland area. He posted the job description along with my contact info on his Facebook page and I found someone that week.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Cleveland?
In my experience Cleveland is an excellent town for networking. I'm always meeting new people and we're easily able to make a connection through a common friend or business associate, or we may live a few blocks from each other and get takeout from the same places. I don't go to any specific places or meetings to network, I typically just like meeting people day to day. Cleveland seems to have a great mix of big city and small town feel.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company here?
Meet as many people as you can. You never know what will come out of a short conversation with a stranger. And be nice. It’s more of a general rule, but it applies to starting a business as well.
What’s next for you and your company?
At home, my wife Maura and I are busy raising our first child, Finn, who is six months old. 12five9 will continue building websites focused on providing excellent user experiences, whether you are viewing the site on your iPhone, desktop or flat screen TV. It is an exciting time to be in the web design industry as things seem to change and evolve on a daily basis. Our goal is to constantly learn and improve our craft.

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