Why We Do What We Do

Recently I came across some old nostalgic bits from one of my companies. One of those bits was an email I wrote to the entire company, following a particularly large website and product launch the night before. An incredible amount of time and effort had gone into making that launch successful, and succeed it did.

What stands out to me now, reading this again, is how well it speaks to why I love what I do, and why the great people I’ve been privileged to work with did so alongside me.

This is what all companies should be about:


I just wanted to share with you some feelings I had from last night, which relate to the very core of what I think makes Cloudmark so great.

It was only a short few years ago that we were trying to decide how to “launch” our products and services, and settled on creating an Outlook plugin that would establish us commercially in the consumer market. At the time, SpamNet was about as Beta as you can get—we had no QA beyond development itself—and quite frankly it really wasn’t ready for prime-time. But, we set an aggressive goal for ourselves, a firm, finite deadline for us to work towards. PR/Marcom aimed all the reviews and newspaper articles and press releases for that date, Web had gotten all the content prepped and ready to go, and like it or not we had to ship or otherwise lose the tremendous groundswell of interest and buzz that most startups only dream of.

Then came the night of shipping.

Most people were still in the office as the 12:00am deadline approached, huddled around computers, watching and waiting. There was a palpable anxiety in the air, but it was the good kind—everyone could sense how well we would be received, and we were about to make our first concerted mark upon the world—us against those who doubted us, our technology and even the viability of an anti-spam industry. There were last minute compiles, last minute bug fixes, last minute web content tweaks, last minute server configuration changes, last minute adjustments to any and every thing that was going out. Articles from the Wall Street Journal and LA Times were waiting to go live, our press release and web site were almost literally under a big red button, ready to hit the wire at a moment’s notice. And while we were dashing back and forth to make everything as perfect as possible, the deadline loomed. Under an impossible time constraint, we weren’t calmly waiting for it; we were frantically trying to beat it.

And we did. We came together as a Team, under immense pressure and Great Expectations, and we did it—we shipped, we shipped, we shipped! That single moment culminating into release is still as intoxicating to me now as it was that very night.

And now I am once again proud, almost awed to see that same relentless energy and unbreakable spirit alive and well. Huddled around computers, one group focused on QA, another on development/bugfixing, yet others working on website content and deployment, all in unison and everyone pitching in where possible—hey try this, whoops we missed that, wow that looks great! Our deadline loomed, lots of last minute changes right up until the end, and due to the inevitable problems from such tight deadlines there was an ever-so-slight patina of despair in the air—but nothing broke our determination. We would be damned if anything was going to keep us from our goal, come hell or high water we were going to ship our new website and 4 — 4!! products—all in one night. No one left until their job was done, and even then some stayed longer to help, if not in function then in presence and spirit. And those that weren’t there, either polling the website, providing suggestions on SILC, or just thinking about shipping, well, they were there too.

Folks, this is who we are, what we stand for—as a united team of talented, passionate, determined people we are a force to be reckoned with, and one that is easily underestimated. We can achieve anything we put our efforts towards so long as we work hard, work smart, and work together. While late nights against impossible deadlines shouldn’t be the norm, I consider it a privilege to share in them and hope that this great spirit of ours never dies.

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