Chief Executive Officer
Steve Jackson joined Smashing Ideas in February 2005 having been active in the new media industry for over 12 years. During Steve’s tenure as CEO Smashing Idea has experienced 3x growth, expanded into mobile, ePublishing and cross-platform development. Together with the management team, Steve successfully led the sale of Smashing Ideas to Random House / Bertelsmann in May 2011. Prior to joining Smashing Ideas, Steve was President and CEO of Applied Semantics, a Santa Monica, CA-based producer of software applications and creators of AdSense for the online advertising, domain name and enterprise information management markets. The company realized a half billion unique impressions a month across its domain-name network, with a click-through rate of 50 percent on many of the listings. Applied Semantics was acquired by Google in 2003.
Before joining Applied Semantics, Jackson served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of iXL, Inc. during which time he created the global Media & Entertainment division, which produced innovative consumer-focused Internet sites and revenue-generating business-to-business online initiatives. Under Steve’s direction, the division grew annual revenues 7x under 18 months. iXL went public in 1999 and reached a market capitalization of $3.5 billion with 38 offices globally.
An entrepreneur and early Internet provider, Steve was Founder and CEO of Spin Cycle Entertainment which he sold to iXL. While overseeing the implementation of numerous Web sites for Spin Cycle clients, Steve directed and produced six TV shows for Universal Studios as well as the Microsoft television special on the launch of Windows ’95. Steve’s company (a Smashing Ideas client in 1998) was credited with creating Universal’s first Java-enabled online game with Jurassic Park, as well as the first utilization of streaming audio for a Waterworld online game over 14 years ago.
Brian Burke joined Smashing in 2005 and currently serves as President. In this role he oversees studio operations and business development, with a keen eye to strategic areas of growth and studio leadership in market defining trends and digital experiences for all screens.
Prior to Smashing Ideas, he held leadership positions at several pioneering digital companies, including Zango Inc, where he served as Senior Director, creating the company’s online, advertising supported content business. Burke was also with AtomFilms (now an MTV Networks company) from its inception in 1998, leading business development efforts and building the company’s multi-screen, content syndication business. Through the merger with Shockwave, Brian served as Vice President of Syndication for the combined company, AtomShockwave. He has also held senior roles at Vendaria Media Inc, and Imation Publishing Software (formerly a division of Adobe). Burke received his M.A. in European Studies from K.U. Leuven, Belgium and earned his B.A. in Communications Studies at Seattle University.
Director of Business Development
Charlie Barr has over a decade of experience developing deep partnerships in the digital and brand ecosphere. Prior to Smashing, Barr helped start and build Pinch/Zoom, a mobile consulting and development agency focused on building market-defining digital experiences for global Fortune 500 companies and consumer brands such as ADP, Deloitte, HSBC, BBC, Shutterfly and others. Charlie's core interest lies in helping clients to define their market presence in digital, with a focus on relevance and growth in this emerging space.
Charlie has also spent years straddling two different worlds. One foot in business development and the other in the art community. This gives him a unique perspective as he works with clients to build a creative vision to effectively drive their business. When he's not donning the proverbial business suit you will find him in his studio working on his next series of paintings. He continues to pursue his passion as an artist with representation in prominent art galleries throughout the U.S. Charlie received his B.A in Marketing, Fine Arts from Gonzaga University.
As Executive Producer at Smashing Ideas, Jen leads cross-functional teams in concepting, designing, and building digital experiences for clients such as Mattel and Random House. Jen started her career at ESPN, and also worked at the National Basketball Association and a few Seattle startups before joining the team at Smashing Ideas in 2008.
Director of Product
Executive Creative Director
Chad Otis serves as Smashing Ideas’ executive creative director and brings more than twenty years experience in the digital industry to the company. Having been an art director, designer, illustrator, animator and game designer Otis brings his extensive knowledge of graphic design, animation, illustration, interface design and character design to the company and manages a team of twenty five people. Prior to joining Smashing Ideas in 2005, Otis was art director for Cricket Moon Media where he played an instrumental role in building the company and developing some of the first games and stories for a nascent Disney Online. Prior to that Otis served as lead designer and art director for Edmark where he lead a group of more than thirty artists and illustrators during a time when the company shifted its focus from producing printed educational material to creating educational CD-Rom edutainment for pre-readers and early learners.
Otis has won numerous awards including Communication Arts Illustration Annual- Outstanding Illustration Award; MacWorld Magazine’s Annual Editor’s Choice Award; Newsweek’s Editor’s Choice Award; and PC Magazine’s Top 100 CD-ROM for his designs. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the University of Washington. He lives in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Chief Technology Officer
Victor Allen has more than fifteen years experience providing technical leadership to creative agencies. Previous to joining Smashing Ideas he led award-winning teams at The Buddy Group and Juxt Interactive. At Smashing Ideas, Victor oversees the web development group, working on content and community sites, mobile web applications, game servers and APIs. In his role as CTO, he works to maintain the engineering culture at SI and builds relationships with clients, their technical teams and vendors, providing critical insight during substantial back-end architecture and front-end implementations of consumer and enterprise sites and apps.
In his free time, Victor maintains his geek credibility through the traditional pursuits of comics, games (video and otherwise), and taking cat photos. He also hikes, bikes and practices yoga.
Director of Finance
Drew Erickson is Smashing Ideas’ Director of Finance with responsibility for accounting, reporting, financial planning & analysis, and HR. Drew brings more than 20 years financial management experience from a range of technology products and services companies. Drew entered the industry with publicly traded Aldus Corp (acquired by Adobe) and has gone on to serve in a range of early stage, venture backed startups as well as corporate development work in mergers & acquisitions. Drew holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Washington State University.
Director of Strategy
Brian brings over 15 years of experience in product management, marketing and digital media to the Smashing Ideas team. He is passionate about working with SI's clients to create the strategies that drive their customers engage with a brand in deeper and more meaningful ways. He has been fortunate to work for several great companies, including HP and Microsoft, in roles focused on new product introductions, transmedia storytelling and social media. Prior to joining Smashing Ideas, Marr was Director of Digital Strategy at the Wexley School for Girls advertising agency where he worked with clients including Microsoft, Pepsico, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Seahawks, Wilson and TBS. In his spare time he is an adjunct lecturer for the Master of Communications in Digital Media (MCDM) Program at the University of Washington and is an avid cyclist.
Director of Public Relations
Britta Gidican is the Director of Public Relations at Smashing Ideas responsible for media relations and communications strategies to amplify the innovation, leadership and cutting edge work taking place within the company’s walls.
Prior to Smashing Ideas, Britta held positions at top global public relations agencies including Edelman where she drove PR strategies and campaigns around the launch of Microsoft’s Office for Mac 2011, high-profile Microsoft Store openings across the nation, Best Buy’s Black Friday efforts, Greyhound’s BoltBus and Greyhound Express service launches nationwide, and several Washington’s Lottery game launches including the introduction of $2 Powerball and the world record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot in 2012.
Britta also worked at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide where she managed analyst relations in the IT Security and Privacy space for Microsoft Trustworthy Computing. There, she also worked on the Microsoft Online Services Business to support Bing and launch MSN’s Homepage redesign. Britta holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a Minor in Psychology from Central Washington University in Washington.