Ideawire is a company now, but it didn’t start that way.
It started as more of an idea. What was the idea?
Before I tell you that, let’s start from the beginning.
A 9 year old boy sat on a tram heading from the Disneyland Theme park to his family’s hotel. He clutched his wrinkled comic book in his hand and as he turned the page, he completely tuned out everything around him, the epic battle between good and evil enveloped.
Soon the faint but familiar sound of pencil to paper distracted him and as he looked up, he saw a man sitting in the seat across, penciling one of the coolest pictures of Wolverine. “Hey, you like comics too”, the unabashed boy exclaimed. The man, in his 30’s, wore a scruffy beard, disheveled clothes but high-class loafers. He gave nothing more than a faint smirk as he continued to work on his sketch. The boy got out of his seat and walked over to the man to get a better look. “You are very good. I’m probably a little better, but you’re pretty good. I practice my drawing all the time”, the boy intruded in a conceited fashion. The man looks up to see the boy hovering over his finished sketch. “Well thanks. I hope I’m at least decent, this will be the new cover of Wolverine”, the man quips.
The man holds out his hand to the boy, “Hi. I’m Michael Golden… with Marvel Comics.” If there was a semi truck around, you could have driven it straight through the boy’s eyes as they became so wide they nearly popped out of his speechless complexion. The tram slowed to a halt, as the man scrawled a signature on the paper, handed it to the boy, got up and began to exit, “You keep that. Have a wonderful stay at Disney.”
“Life doesn’t give us purpose. We give life purpose.”
– The Flash. DC Comics
The path of an artist is long and a bit dusty at times. Mark Harlien perfected his illustration skills well before college and decided to enter the world of Graphic Design. His early career days were spent working for the newspaper. The journalism field seemed fitting at the time because he could continue to tell stories with his art, something he was very passionate about.
Mark decided that he wanted more… a purpose and legacy. In 1995, he made one of the hardest decisions in his young life. He started a business. I use the term business loosely because it was actually in his living room. He bought an expensive Macintosh computer and began doing illustrations, logos, brochures and whatever else he could sell.
“I tend to always think things through to the Nth degree… it annoys people. But when I finally make up my mind, there is no turning back. I just go for it and there is no one or nothing that can stop me.”
– Mark Harlien
When Mark made Ideawire enough money on his own, he decided that Web Design was the wave of the future. Back in the late 90’s, It was just catching on. The advent of Google and other web companies were just gaining traction. His next logical step was to hire a web designer/programmer. But he didn’t want to hire just anyone, he wanted them to be special, like he was. Passionate about their craft. Mari Garza came on board which made Ideawire one of the first web design firms in San Antonio.