It’s been two years since Jay Fanelli and I quit our jobs to have a go at building a business. By any measure I can imagine, it’s been a successful enterprise. We have fun, we make enough money to stay off the streets, our peers respect us, and our clients think highly enough of us to come back for more. Here’s to a happy anniversary.
A few highlights:
Matt Chambers officially joined the team June 1 of 2010. With his help, we’ve gone from static and simple CMS-driven websites to complex applications and iOS development. While we enjoy designing and building content-driven sites, crafting the UX for applications is an entirely different challenge—one which we enjoy immensely.
After two enjoyable years of working from home, we found a sweet space in Pittsburgh’s Strip District to call our own. It’s only been a few weeks, but it’s hard to imagine life without an office.
In March, we made our first trip to the place the industry gathers once a year to
listen to speakers hang out and talk, SXSW. Good times. We’re looking forward to going back in 2012.
Writing is part of our DNA. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re ready and willing to comment on any topic. We’ve had a few posts receive some attention during this time. The top five according to page views in the last two years:
- An iPhone + Google Voice Solution.
- The Withering Away of Flash.
- Big Cartel Review.
- In Defense of Comments.
- So You Want to Make T-Shirts.
Or maybe you want to read all 329.
We also had the privilege of publishing articles on two popular sites. First, Typekit. We’ve pointed every client we’ve worked with to the Typekit blog as the ideal company blog. They’ve got a smart, friendly tone and have a wonderful mix of product news and educational resources. We were honored to contribute a Type Study about our United Pixelworkers design and programming decisions.
Second, A List Apart generously offered to publish an article I wrote on crafting proposals. We’re proud of our process and glad to have had the opportunity to share it with the ALA audience. And, hey, it even got a mention on The Big Web Show #53 from Zeldman himself.
We started with one client. Since then we’ve had a dozen-and-a-half, some of whom can be viewed on the home page and several more that will be live in the near future. And we treat ‘em each the same. Respect, firmness, integrity. That’s what brings the next customer in the door and lets us sleep peacefully at night. We know who we are, and so do our clients.
On the Side.
In and around client work, we managed to build a few things for ourselves and our friends.
United Pixelworkers. We’ve been floored by the community’s response to the pretend union we dreamed up. There’s a real desire for solidarity among those in the greater web industry. We see it in the conference attendance, the Twitter and blog discussions, the Dribbble camaraderie, and the local meetups. It’s been a blast providing regional shirts that allow our colleagues to represent their home base and enable some exceptionally talented guest designers to flex their creative muscles. We’ve got big plans for the future, and we know you’re going to like them.
We also released Traceable, an iPad app that simulates a light table, and Two Letters, a mobile web application for looking up two letter words for use in Scrabble or Words With Friends. Neither earned us any money, but both were well worth the time investment. In the case of Traceable, the experience we gained designing and building an iOS application led directly to client work which will be in the app store soon. That’s a powerful testament to the value of pursuing interesting side projects.
That’s it and that’s all.
Two years. Full Stop has been a thing for two years. It’s fun to say it out loud. Two years ago we took a gamble on building a company in our image: insolent, dedicated, ambitious. That we’re still here (and thriving) is a testament not to misplaced confidence but the value of fanatical devotion to good work and good relationships. We can’t wait to see what happens next.