As we continue to make magic happen here at AtmosFX, it's now time to introduce you to AtmosFX's very first employee: Cam Anderson, Director of Operations & Product Development. As someone who has been part of the company from its earliest days, he offers a great perspective on what it's like to see a company grow from the ground up.
Cam spent much of his early career working in marketing, project management, and business development in the Seattle tech sector at Microsoft and its Xbox division. Later, while at an independent video game design firm, he serendipitously met The Two Petes while they were in the process of launching what would become AtmosFX. When they asked Cam to join up, he jumped right in.
Those early days were not easy. “It was exciting, it was scary, it was exhausting,” Cam recalls.
Exhausting, but essential. Cam was busy setting up the backbone of the company. He had to research and establish from scratch just about anything that had to do with operations from setting up sales channels to finding product manufacturing services to researching and testing new product offerings. "Because it was just a few of us in the beginning, I had my hands in every part of the business. It felt like a trial by fire and every day was a marathon of new challenges. It was fun but it was also a LOT of work."
Fast-forward a few years. As AtmosFX hit its stride, Cam was charged with an additional task: improving AtmosFX's gear line from both an operations and a product development perspective. For Cam – whose off-time is spent creating and building things like bikes and camping gear and furniture – this was right up his alley. His intimate knowledge of AtmosFX from its early days helps too. "A lot of other companies ask themselves what is the bare minimum quality decorators are willing to accept and what's the cheapest way to accomplish that?" Cam adds. "We don't do that here. I love our customers because they expect a certain level of quality on any product that features the AtmosFX name. Our fans challenge us to not compromise and my primary drive is to give them the product experience they deserve."
What will that mean for the gear product releases in 2017? He’s not ready to divulge everything quite yet – those announcements will be made in the coming months. But he’s confident AtmosFX fans will like what they see. “AtmosFX is the pioneer in Digital Decorating and we are set on keeping that uncontested title. Not only are we constantly evaluating how to make better products, but we are also looking into new and innovative ways to digitally decorate. We are dedicated to our fans and there are a lot of exciting exploratory projects in the hopper with some set to come out in 2017! Anyone who considers themselves passionate about decorating needs to keep their eyes firmly stuck on us." he says.
After all, he’s been an AtmosFX fan from the earliest days, too.
Q: You were the first employee hired at AtmosFX. Looking back, is there any one thing that has changed over the years that surprises you?
Cam Anderson: Honestly, I am surprised at what this company has accomplished. We started from very humble beginnings, and it was only a few of us at the time. I outfitted the office with trips to Goodwill, our first retail order was packed on leftover pallets from the local grocery store. Our mobile tradeshow booth was built from stuff bought off of Craigslist and eBay. Seeing AtmosFX as a still small but growing business, with fans who have stuck with us from the very start – that’s very, very cool.
Q: Similarly, how have AtmosFX fans changed since the company’s earliest days?
CA: AtmosFX fans haven’t changed much since the beginnings. They are still the creative, passionate and fun people who care about having the best head-turning decorations. They have always had an expectation of quality and creativity – setting the bar we look to leap over every year.
Q: Are there any scenes, or gear products, that you think we should create here at AtmosFX, regardless of whether or not the decoration would sell well?
CA: I’ve been happy to be part of a company that’s always discussing how we can take advantage of existing and future technologies. I can’t leak anything, but there are some big things in store for both this and next year.
Q: Not including Halloween, what is your favorite holiday?
CA: This is a tough one. There will always be a special place in my heart for Christmas, but 4th of July might just be my favorite holiday. It’s a shorts-driven holiday; it’s an excuse to grill and eat ungodly portions of meat; and you shake hands with death every time you light a firework.
Q: What is your favorite movie genre – and what are your top 5 favorite movies within that genre?
CA: I don’t really stick to any one genre when it comes to film.
- Conan the Barbarian
- The Jerk
- The Thing
- Army of Darkness
- Ernest Goes to Camp