2013 was an amazing roller coaster year at Lincoln Loop. This is a long post, so I’ll skip the intro and dive right in.
Of all the things we did and built, I’m most proud of what we accomplished with our charitable giving program. We donated $12,000 dollars to charities we feel strongly about including Doctors without Borders, charity: water, Wikipedia, and the Ada Initiative. Each month, a different Looper chooses a charity that is near and dear to them. Although many of the donations were to global charity, our program lets us give back to the communities where our team lives.
We also became Gittip patrons, donating another $200-300 per month to open source developers who make the tools we rely on everyday.
In May, we closed up shop and packed our bags for a week-long company retreat in Greece. Working remotely, most of our interactions take place via a computer, so having a week together to relax, hang-out, hack, and discuss the future of Lincoln Loop was incredible. On top of that the location was almost perfect. After a quick stop-over in Athens, we convened at a secluded house on a Grecian Island with breathtaking ocean views. It’s going to be tough to top it this year, but that won’t stop us from trying.
We were featured on 37signals’ blog, Signal vs. Noise in October as part of the promotion of their latest book, Remote. We received a mention in the book as well! We’ve always looked up to 37signals (now renamed Basecamp) as a company. They are bootstrapped, successful and strive to create a sustainable workplace for their team. Having them take notice of what we’re doing was an almost surreal event.
Consulting and Development
Our highest-profile project of the year and one I’m immensely honored to be a part of was the relaunch of Smithsonian.com. We worked with them to migrate from multiple different platforms and some proprietary vendor locked-in software to a solution built entirely on Django and open source software. The project was a huge undertaking, including architecture, legacy content migration, responsive design, accessibility, performance tuning, deployment, and more. We’ll be pushing more sites to their new platform and look forward to continuing our work with the great team at Smithsonian in 2014.
In addition to Smithsonian, our team had the opportunity to work with some great people on the following sites and services:
Our client work is usually focused on design, development, and deployment. We work closely with technical and business teams, but often don’t get full insight into the level of effort it takes to make a product profitable. Our products have been a huge step forward for us in that regard and have given us a crash course in sales, marketing, and what it takes to support a project long-term. We didn’t get to invest as much time as we’d like in our products, but hit some big milestones nonetheless. Our recently open sourced IRC logger, BotBot.me, saw steady growth and logged just under 8 million lines in 2013.
Ginger is not just a product of ours, but the glue that holds our distributed team together. Quite frankly, sales were abysmal for much of the year. We decided to make a drastic move and change our pricing model from “freemium” to all paid plans with a free trial. Sales in the last 2.5 months of 2013 were almost double what we had done over the previous 1.5 years. It has been an incredible breath of fresh air and has us eager to continue to improve the platform and our sales effort.
No doubt, 2013 was an incredible year for us. I’d love to say it was all as amazing as portrayed here, but this is only our highlight reel. Like any good team, we had our fair share of disagreements, failures, and disappointments as well. Perhaps I’ll share our lessons learned and lumps taken in another post, but for now, our sights are focused forward. We’ve got some exciting new stuff planned for 2014… stay tuned.