This July marks the second birthday of our company. I was reflecting the other day on how far we've come, and marveling at how little the core values of our company have changed since our humble beginnings.
Two years ago this month we began our great adventure with our acceptance to Portland Incubator Experiment. Part of the curse of being a visual learner with an unreliable long-term memory is my need to document my days by taking (mediocre iPhone) photos.
My co-founder Sean and I arrived at our new office on July 23, 2013. Here are the photos from our first three days. We (in order): flew over Mt. Hood, discovered the popsicle freezer on the roof, received our stock certificates, settled in with our office mates, stopped by our first tech party at Puppet Labs, bought stationery, attended a Creative Mornings talk, and sent rainbow keyboard stickers to a Thought Leader™.
One year later, in the same July week of 2014, you could find us at another community event, onboarding a new customer in person, and celebrating during our first annual company retreat (again, at Mt. Hood).
As I revisit my photos from this July—two years since our start at PIE—there remains some uncanny symmetry: snaps, again, of popsicles, mountains, friends, our beautiful (new!) office, customers and users who inspire us, and a heap of thank you notes. Some things never change, yet we've come so far.
Here are ten achievements I'm especially proud of as I look back on the last year:
- We have incredible customers. We work with schools and organizations from across the country that believe in empowering their members. They love Switchboard so much that they scream it from the rooftops and say really nice things.
- We have the kindest users. Every day, people on Switchboard help one another. We marvel at their generosity of spirit and celebrate them with cake.
- We have the most committed team. We wake up each morning knowing that what we build improves people's lives and makes the internet a kinder place.
- We receive an outpouring of support. Our investors, advisors, mentors, leadership angels, and generous companies advance our mission in ways big and small.
- We live in the best city. From sharing our office with Ride, a company that improves local bike infrastructure; to our weekly team lunches at Nong's; to launching our first municipal Switchboard for the city of Portland; we're surrounded by kindred spirits who believe in growing local economies and investing in software as a public service.
- We give back. We support causes like Women Founders Forum and Hack Oregon that work to diversify tech and build stronger, more engaged communities.
- We partner with people underserved by technology. From farmers and manufacturers to veterans and Montessori schools, we offer Switchboards to users who are traditionally overlooked by startups. People take notice and invite us to share what we've learned.
- We ship solutions. The new features we roll out improve user experience and increase their likelihood of their success when they post.
- We mark our days with wonder and awe. People use Switchboard in ways that are beyond our wildest dreams.
- We couldn't have done this without you. Seriously. We could not have achieved any of this without you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Ad astra is our motto as we embark on our third year of building a generous internet.
Mara & Sean & Team Switchboard
(reporting to you from Lippman's Party Supply, the happiest place on earth)