Taking Stock

Taking Stock

March 09, 2017

We recently crossed two big milestones, 1000 customers and 100,000 daily active users across our products. While this is a significant moment for us, I have to admit to feeling a touch of nostalgia as I remember jumping for joy when our first customer signed up a little over two years ago.

At the time the company consisted of me working out of my bedroom. When we added a sales team they made calls from the laundry room. Fast forward to today, and we have a team of 17 working out of a beautiful converted yoga studio in San Francisco's Mission district. A lot has changed, but some things haven't.

We've always tried to do things a little differently than your typical San Francisco startup, largely eschewing the traditional funding route by building a sustainable business. We've been profitable almost since day one, and while we've made some big bets, we've always been careful to keep costs under control. When you're relied upon at a systems level, it's important that you're here to stay.

We set out with an ambitious vision to make the world's best data provider. Visions take time to build though, and it's all too easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. One good yardstick I've found to measure your progress along the way is by looking at the impact you have on your most innovative customers. Therein lies your future.

Take Segment for example. Clearbit data courses through that company, informing everything from lead qualification, to customized drip emails, to shortening their signup form, to customizing their home page. This is a truly data driven company, and Clearbit is behind the scenes powering a lot of it. We believe this kind of approach represents the future of sales and marketing.

While our market research initially consisted of taking a stab in the dark, these days we do things differently. We work with our best customers, iterating on feedback and improving our products. And sometimes our customers come up with completely new product lines. Indeed, later this year we're releasing a product first conceived by the team at Zendesk.

A good rule of thumb is that the simpler an interface, the more complexity lies behind the scenes. That certainly holds true here. Powering Clearbit is some serious tech that deals with parsing billions of rows of data, looking at government records, ssl certificates, whois info, classifying site text, and technology detection. Our engineering team has built out something quite incredible. Underlying Clearbit are 45 internal APIs and 180 git repos running on a Kubernetes cluster of 100 servers.

At our heart, we're a technology company. And as an engineer by trade, it's important to me this never changes. We've invested a lot in tooling. In fact, we even have an internal company policy that it should never take more than a five minutes to boot up a new API and service. This ensures we scale horizontally and that engineers can feel free to experiment.

Personally the most exciting aspect of this for me, is that the best is yet to come. We've laid the groundwork for something remarkable, and most importantly we have the team to execute on it. I'm looking forward to sharing with you more of what we've been working on this year.

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