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Fireside chat with Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick

Who is Barry Schwartz?

Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. RustyBrick sells custom web software including advanced e-commerce, custom content management systems, social networking sites, CRM applications, custom web-based business software, iPhone applications and much more.

Barry Schwartz is the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and has covered search for over 17 years. Barry is also the News Editor at Danny Sullivan‘s Search Engine Land. Barry hosts the Search Marketing Expo in Israel and is a speaker, moderator and coordinator at many search marketing conferences, including Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, La Red Innova Madrid, Spain, PubCon and many other marketing and technology events. Barry is always at the forefront of the latest news and trends in search. He was also the former News Editor at Search Engine Watch and is a moderator at several search marketing forums. Barry has and currently provided an advisory role for GoogleYahoo! Search, Microsoft’s Bing, and several other Internet companies and many startups. In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land and in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the “US Search Personality Of The Year,” you can learn more over here. Please also see my writer disclosures and disclaimers page.

What’s the story behind RustyBrick?

RustyBrick is owned by my twin brother, Ronnie, and myself. We started the company when we were in high school at the age of 14, in 1994. We’ve grown the company over the years to have hired a couple dozen full time salary staff, mostly software engineers. We primarily build custom web and mobile software for companies to replace their spreadsheets, get them off of software like Salesforce or to build really custom and unique web and/or mobile platforms. We have built everything from ER hospital software to taxi cab software to cool startup ideas. Many of our customers have been bought out or IPOed over the years.

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

Honestly, we were teenagers, it wasn’t difficult. We had no expenses. We just wanted to build cool things for our customers. It is probably the most relaxed way to start a company. Maybe the hardest thing was getting jobs from larger companies because of our age. But that changed over the years as we’ve aged.

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

I am most proud of our employees and how amazing they are. I am so lucky to have employees that have been with us for well over 10+ years. A lot of companies say this but we are like a family. This attitude trickles down to our customers, who we also treat like family. We deeply care about their businesses and their employees and build and maintain software for them that we treat as our own. We just deeply care about the people we work with and for.

What is your vision for the future of RustyBrick?

The number one priority is to make RustBrick a safe place to work but physically (not just with COVID) and mentally. Ensure the business is run in a way that gives our staff the freedom they need to take care of their families, because family is first. So I always want to make sure that the employees and our customers are happy. I am not looking to make insane profits or to go public, I just want everyone we work with to be happy.

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

Each business is unique and sometimes businesses try to fit inside a box that does not fit them. Often that box is pre-built software or using standard spreadsheets to run their business. It becomes super inefficient and makes it hard to manage their employees, the job workflow and their customers in any environment. But this is more so when it comes to remote work; where your employees are home or more socially distant and your customers are not as willing to come into your business or workspace. Technology can help in these ways in a very big way. It just isn’t one answer for every business. Each business is unique and that is where a lot of businesses get it wrong.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

Without getting too technically about the coding languages, I’ll mention some platforms. Slack, we use it a lot, even well before COVID. Our internal task system to make sure we are getting our jobs done and clients are aware of where those tasks are in the process. Of course, email is key for our business. I can get more technical and geeky and talk about our open source PBX, the use of Docker for virtualization of software and much more, but I won’t go there.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

I just finished reading No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, I recommend it.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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