I decide that Gang, 57, is serious. And dedicated.
He convinces me with a tale about a project that started in August last year with Gannett for its flagship newspaper, USA Today.
“It didn’t go well,” he says matter-of-factly.
Gang’s company, Perfect Sense, waaaaaaaaaaaaaay underbid the project, which involved pulling together tens of millions of records so that USA Today could publish an online high school sports page.
The project took twice as long as Gang thought it would. It was twice as expensive as he budgeted. Gang, who prides Perfect Sense on its efficiency, didn’t charge Gannett another dime beyond his initial estimate.
“We lost a ton,” he said. But he finished the deal, and USA Today is still using the platform he built for its high school sports page.
“I remember when we switched managers, the Gannett guy called me and said, ‘I am blown away by the fact that you are still working on this project and anyone else would have said I’m done with this project and would have been out the door.’ ”
“We never left the room,” Gang said.
Gang cited the Gannett implosion as proof that reputation is everything, even if he is losing money on something. His business is based on word of mouth, and word of a person’s integrity can travel far.
What Perfect Sense does is build and service Web sites. Think of it as the online version of your home architect, contractor, plumber, electrician and interior designer — all rolled into one.
“We take ideas from executives and bring it to life — creating designs, organizing the pages and telling a story,” Gang said.
Gang, who serves as chief executive, founded the Virginia company with chief creative officer Lisa Malmud, both AOL veterans with extensive contacts in the tech world.
Perfect Sense began while the two sipped coffee at Panera Bread in Reston. Both had left AOL and WebMD and were pondering their next gigs. Gang started getting calls from a friend at Scripps, asking for help building Web sites for several television shows.
“She kept calling. I finally said I would come up and visit,” Gang said. “I went to New York, spent a week talking to her about HGTV and the Food Network. I said, ‘Here are things I would do if I were you.’ ”
The Scripps executive was sold. Gang called Malmud and said, “I think we found our first client.”
That was in 2008, and Scripps is still the biggest client.
“When Food Network launched, David and I thought ‘What are we going to do next?,’ ” Malmud recalled. “Then we looked up, and the Scripps leadership had lined up work for us through the next five years.”
Today, the firm’s roster of clients includes several well-known names in the Washington area: Hanley Wood in the District, U.S. News & World Report, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, FedBid, Special Olympics, SnagFilms and Indiewire. Ted Leonsis and Steve Case, both bosses from Gang’s AOL days, are friends. Leonsis in particular is a mentor.