When does a 90s beer-powered parking lot discussion become a reality? How do a couple of alt-rock castaways set out to create the standard for workplace culture? Our story starts here. From our modest beginnings, to many more humbling moments, we reflect on where we started and who we are now.
The Story of zu
It’s the early ‘90s and the job market is pretty bleak. After getting degrees and working together at the Student’s Union Print Shop, alt rocker Tony Zuck and music super fan Ryan Lejbak caught the entrepreneurial bug.
“We wanted to run a place our way, whatever it was we were going to run”.
So after starting Pro Print, and tasting the grind of the print trade, early adopter Ryan saw the writing on the wall and Pro Print became the first business in Saskatoon to get internet. This. Will. Change. Everything.
By 1995, “zu.com Communications Inc.” was founded and sold new media services and websites to folks who needed a lot of explanation and convincing a website was a good idea. Legend has it that the start-up days at Pro Print were a “zoo”. But with “zoo.com” taken by the Boston Zoo a week before, they settled on “zu.com”.
Coincidentally, "zu" was one of Tony's unused band names. Tony feels, "Every band guy should have spare band names in their back pocket."
Since 1995, zu’s weathered the generic business challenges all start-ups face and transformed alongside their digital industry peers. From the evolution of hardware, the web, social, mobile, IoT and everything in between there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since the squawk of the dial-up modem. What began as a band of 2 is now a tribe of 32.
We have matured, but our soul and culture of doing things our own way has remained constant.