The title of this blog post is not a confession of my dependence on being digitally connected at all times. No, this post is about my not-so-new role at SendGrid (affectionately known as the Grid by insiders). In October, I passed my 1-year anniversary of joining the SendGrid family as CEO, and the milestone provided me an opportunity to reflect on my time here so far.
Gratitude and Getting Up to Speed
When I think of this past year, my first emotion is one of gratitude. It’s been a privilege to join this team, who has done such an incredible job building a great business and service (long before I showed up). The Gridders have welcomed and embraced me as one of their own, and taught me about our great 4H culture. That culture is core to employee satisfaction—but I also believe it’s a big part of why our customers like doing business with us.
I’m also grateful to my family. Taking on a CEO role of a growth-stage company always requires sacrifice. But the distributed nature of our team and the associated travel made the impact on family particularly pronounced. Those first 6 months were tough from a travel perspective, but that investment in time was likely the best I made in my early days with the company. I couldn’t have served our company in the way that I believed was required if not for my wife’s (who is a software executive in her own right) and my family’s support.
Since that first 6 months, we opened a new office in Redwood City and now have an office from which to recruit some of the best talent in Silicon Valley. Given the scale of SendGrid—we are sending over 20B emails per month, which is more volume than Twitter sends out tweets—we have some cool technical challenges to tackle that attract great software and operations engineers. And since we had a few transplants from each office relocate to the Bay Area (to make sure that we were seeding the office with people who reflected our culture/core values)—we have some great Gridders to help welcome them.
Continuing the Momentum Via our Products
As grateful as I am for the support I’ve received, I am equally excited about our future. We continue to invest in making our system the most scalable, reliable, and secure email-sending platform in the world. We’re now consistently in the top 3 email service providers in the world. And we have some new capabilities and products coming to further help our customers improve their deliverability—as they say, “watch this space.”
This month, we launched Marketing Campaigns. It’s helping us break down the silos between transactional and marketing email, giving our customers a single view of recipient engagement—and at 50% of the cost of most email marketing tools, we think it has great potential to disrupt the market. We’re already off to a great start, with over 1k new customer sign-ups in our first 4 weeks!
With this new release and more updates on the horizon, our innovation engine is just getting started.
Continuing the Momentum Via our People
We’re also continuing to bring in experienced leaders who can help us continue to scale. In addition to our recent hiring of Craig Kaes as VP Engineering and Yancey Spruill as CFO/COO, I’m excited to announce the arrival of our new Chief Product Officer, Steve Sloan, and our new Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Heimes.
Steve joins us from Marketo, where he held the title of SVP Product and Engineering. Prior to that, he honed his craft at Amazon and Microsoft (in one of his roles, he led product management and business strategy for Exchange).
Scott was previously CMO of Digital River, where he led marketing, communications, strategy, and partnerships and also managed Digital River’s marketing services businesses including email service provider, BlueHornet. Prior to that, he was CMO for WebMD Health Services and was a senior marketing executive at Target.
To say that Steve and Scott know a little about email would be a dramatic understatement.
If this first year is any indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait for the next 10. Life here on the Grid wouldn’t be what it is without the customers who got us here—they push us to be better and I can’t wait to share all the new ways they did that here next year.