Hi everyone. It is with immense pleasure that I get to introduce to you Ms. Valerie Liberty, Balsamiq's #2 employee and "Chief Operating Officer, Wow! Division."
I've known Valerie since back when I started at Macromedia in 2002, and have always admired how she can get ANYTHING done, with the incredible capacity of making it fun and painless for everyone. Her enthusiasm and passion are contagious, and her focus on doing outstanding work is unparalleled. Oh, and her resume is pretty darn impressive, if you ask me! :)
Valerie's job title is "Chief Operating Officer, Wow! Division," inspired by Zappo's #1 core value "Deliver WOW Through Service." As such, she will be in charge of most of the day to day administration for our US company, answering sales and pre-sales questions, sending invoices and tracking payments...taking care of book-keeping (we call it "counting the beans"), updating our internal wiki as well as the balsamiq.com website, helping Mariah hand out free licenses, interviewing customers for the blog...and as we grow she'll be in charge of HR-type tasks such as publishing and evangelizing our company values and writing an employee manual...in short, she can do it all! :)
Valerie is based in the San Francisco Bay Area (at GMT-8), while the rest of us are in Italy (GMT+1), which means that we should now be able to really cover the globe when it comes to support...while one of us is sleeping, the other can answer the phone, your emails and your tweets! :)
I love that we're still so small but we have already set up a global support organization, it sounds so cool! ;) Kidding aside, with customers in 56 countries, it's a must. This also means that I will no longer have to stay up until 1:00am every night to keep up with US customers, or at least not every night. I'm SO looking forward to going out to watch a movie with Mariah...it's been well over a year.
I have already made some changes to the site to reflect our new structure, and will be updating the company page shortly:
I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with Valerie every day, and I am looking forward to many years of it! :)
I am confident that our level of customer support will get even better thanks to her, and that we'll be able to keep it as high as we want it (i.e., legendary) even as we grow.
I would also like to publicly thank my adviser and friend Sarah Allen, for helping me realize that the time was right for me to seek help and for putting me in touch with Valerie just at the right time! Here are two quotes from the chat we had about it which really drove the point home for me:
"what would you be able to achieve if you had an extra hour every day?"
"by doing things that you don't like to do you are hurting the company. The company needs you to do what you're best at. Let someone else who loves to do those things take care of them."
Thanks Sarah, you're the best! :)
Chances are you'll be interacting with Valerie a lot in the future, so please join me in welcoming her to the Balsamiq family, either via a comment here, a Twitter message (she is @balsamiqVal) or an email to email@example.com.
Onward, together! :)
[Update: this post was picked up by Hacker News (thanks so much!), so you can follow and contribute to the discussion there if you'd like]