In celebration of sending our 100 billionth email, we’re excited to kick off a new series on the blog, “SendGrid Spotlights.” These spotlights will shine a light on the many faces of SendGrid, and aim to give you an inside look at what makes SendGrid and its team tick. We’re thrilled to start off the series with SendGrid’s Co-Founder and President, Isaac Saldana. The following is a guest post from Isaac.
100 Billion Emails
SendGrid just celebrated a major milestone, we sent our 100 billionth email. That’s a lot of zeroes. With this achievement, we now send 1% of the world’s non-spam email. When Tim, Jose, and I first started SendGrid, I never imagined that this was possible. It’s humbling to see how much SendGrid has grown and how much we’ve all been able to grow along with it.
I’ve had the opportunity to think about what’s helped shape my experience at SendGrid—what led to the creation of such a great team and such an inspiring work environment and I’d like to share just a few of these thoughts with you.
In my life, I’ve been really fortunate to be around awesome people—family, friends, and colleagues. At 14 years old, I wanted to move from Mexico to the US to focus on education. While it was difficult, my family was really supportive. After college at UC Riverside, I created multiple startups that didn’t go anywhere, but that still taught me a lot. They helped me build great relationships with co-workers and partners, like SendGrid’s Co-founders, Tim and Jose.
In the same manner, I’ve been fortunate to work with great people at SendGrid, people who focus on values as much as I do. Our company values are the 4H’s (humble, honest, hungry, happy). They are invaluable building blocks to our cultural foundation here. But, like many other employees at SendGrid, I like to think we also have a 5th H, for Healthy. Like a lot of my colleagues, I’m a CrossFit fan. Through CrossFit, I discovered strength I didn’t know I had. It’s great that I can share this passion with my co-workers and that we all share similar interests both inside and outside the office.
And of course, throughout all of this, family has been really important. My wife Laura and sons Isaac and Anthony have been really supportive through the long working hours and financial challenges that come with starting companies from scratch. I feel very fortunate that SendGrid opened an office in Anaheim, where I currently work from, which allows me to be able to focus on my most important team—family.
When starting SendGrid, I relied on mentors to help me grow the business and connect me with the right people. I was able to connect with these mentors through TechStars, a startup accelerator program. Most of those mentors also became investors in SendGrid and part of our board. It sounds too good to be true to get connections, investment, and knowledge from a group of mentors, but it’s true—that’s how awesome they are and I am extremely thankful for it. I encourage anyone who is looking to build and grow a startup to look for mentorship.
My mentors also helped me hire our executive team and provided advice when hiring our CEO, Jim Franklin. Hiring an outside CEO allowed me to focus on my passion, which is building products and making email better. But more importantly, it helped me to understand that the biggest asset a company has is the people behind it.
SendGrid has allowed me to learn from my co-workers and to get better at many things—one of which is public speaking. I was always terrified to give presentations. A cool thing about SendGrid is that we allow employees to go to Decker training to learn about public speaking. This training completely changed my life and now, I look forward to doing presentations and getting better at it. I specifically recall being really comfortable when lecturing a class at Stanford. This has been one of my proudest moments.
I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity that I have to learn from and work with talented employees, investors, customers, and mentors here at SendGrid. It’s inspiring to be part of a company that embraces teamwork, health, mentorship, and personal development both in and outside of the office. So in the spirit of inspiration, I’ll close by sharing a challenge that I offered to my teammates here at SendGrid after we sent our 100 billionth email—when tasked with a seemingly insurmountable goal, ask yourself “how do we get there” instead of “we can’t do it.”