I am thrilled to announce that my very good friend Natalie Gould has joined the Balsamiq team!
We're not sure about what her final job title will be, but "like Valerie, but on Central European Time" should give you a pretty good idea... :)
Based out of our brand new Bologna office (I know!), she will help with sales inquiries, customer support, handing out free licenses to do-gooders and helping me run the Italian company smoothly - dealing with invoices, contracts, expenses and all that good stuff I'm terrible at doing. She will improve our response times for our European customers and free up some of my time for coding, yay! :)
She will also join Valerie's blog, which we are renaming "Life at Balsamiq".
Natalie and I first met in 1999 in San Diego, where I was doing an exchange program with school. We shared a flat in La Jolla and became instant friends.
She's been one of my closest friends ever since... she was even my "best man" at our wedding! :)
There are many reasons I am so thrilled that Natalie agreed to move to Italy and join our company.
Just like Valerie, she's instantly lovable: funny, kind, polite, humble, a great listener, driven by an outstanding moral compass. I know she will be able to handle anything that comes her way... she has the "I'll learn what I need to learn and get it done" attitude that I value so much on every member of our team. If she has one fault it's that she's SO organized it makes the rest of us feel like total slobs. ;)
I can't wait until you get a chance to interact with her, you'll love her.
She's going to spend July and August ramping up and relocating from her current home in northern California, ready to go full-speed starting in September.
It's no secret that my vision for the company is to build "a little 5-star restaurant on the web": family-run, lasting for generations, delighting you each time with an extraordinary experience while making you feel at home at the same time. :)
With Natalie, I think our little restaurant is now fully staffed!
Look at our company page:
Add to that a proven network of awesome contractors, and voila', dinner is served! ;)
I know it doesn't really make sense, given that we are now over 2-years old, but the feeling I have is that Balsamiq really starts now. All the pieces are now in place for us to do whatever we set our minds to.
Another way to put it is that my dream when I started was to put together a stellar little team exactly like this one. Now that we're there, I'm ready to start thinking about a new 2-year plan. In fact, I already have one, although it might be unconventional: I would like everything to stay the same for the next 2 years - a wonderful small group of people doing what they love together, making a good living by helping lots of people be happy because they're building delicious software that makes their own customers happy. Nothing wrong with that, right? ;)
Given our rate of growth, staying small might be hard to do. The fact that we were able to support more than 23,000 customers with 1.5 full-time support staff is encouraging. With 2.5 people, a lot of bug fixes and a good dose of back-office automation, I'm confident we should be able to go up to 75,000 and beyond. We'll see... we hope you'll want to join us for the ride! :)