“At the end of a long day it all worked, and we were all left dripping in sweat and giggles.”
McChesney and Sutton had begun working together at Nixon Newspapers Inc., which — thanks to John Nixon and COO John Mitchell — was always on the cutting edge of newspaper technology.
McChesney had toiled at small newspapers for more than 15 years as a photojournalist and editor. Sutton had grown up with newspapers as the son of Rolland Sutton, a successful advertising director at the Frankfort Times before, during and after my six-year stint as the paper’s managing editor.
“The concept started with [John’s son] Greg Nixon,” McChesney recalls. “He was CEO at NNI. He came back to the company with the idea of putting the Nixon papers online back in 1994. By 1996, we had profitable [NNI] websites and some 300-plus customer sites.”
But as the saying from the Robert Burns poem goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Nixon Newspapers Inc. was sold in spring 1998.
“[The new owners] weren’t believers in the online migration of news yet,” McChesney says. “So they gave us their blessing to go off on our own and launch 1up! We wanted their permission, because it was the right thing to do — to let them know that we wanted to build upon the idea that was started at NNI.
“With a small group of investors, including the Nixon family, 1up! was launched in the fall of 1998.”
McChesney and Sutton began selling their online product nationwide. By 2005, 1up! was hosting more than 500 publication websites.
Sutton eventually left the firm and now works for a competitor, leaving McChesney to manage both the technical and sales aspects.
A lanky 6 feet 6 inches tall with a signature-like mustache, McChesney has an easy-going demeanor that exudes confidence. He often addresses males with “sir.” His upbeat personality, twinned with his technical skills, give him a natural ability to sell 1up! to potential clients.