Tightrope Media Systems is one of the oldest companies in the digital signage ecosystem, with roots tracing back to 1997 in Minneapolis.
Co-founder J.J. Parker bought a stack of books and taught himself coding to come up with what was then called a video bulletin board system for local schools. They managed to sell a license, and another, and another, and Tightrope turned into a real company with employees.
More than two decades later, Tightrope is still at it, and doing well, with some 40 employees and a digital signage product called Carousel that's focused on two key markets - education and workplaces.
An interesting note is that Carousel works on Apple TVs. It's not one of those cases where a developer got something to work, and not much more. The platform is integrated with enterprise-grade management platform called JAMF, and Apple's education sales team actually buddy-calls with Carousel.
Parker kindly took a half-hour away from a working vacation in Madrid with his family to walk me through the roots of Tightrope and where things now sit.