I can’t believe that Matrix Group will be 10 years old tomorrow. A decade. 10 years! When I started Matrix Group in shared office in Georgetown, little did I know that the journey would be difficult, challenging, exhilarating and deeply satisfying.
It feels like just yesterday that I was renting furniture to impress a dotcom client coming in (year 1), getting our own cabinet at the data center (year 3), and celebrating at the Torpedo Factory (year 5).
Looking Back on the First Five Years
I found the e-mail that I sent out to clients, partners and friends inviting them to our 5th anniversary party back in 2004. Here is what it said:
“When I pondered starting my own company in April 1999, I had no idea how wild the ride would be. The first year was all about surviving, begging clients and staff to come on board, launching our first applications, figuring out what we wanted to be when we grew up, and feeling poor when every other Internet company had millions to spend.
The second year was about creating a process that would make us different from other companies, figuring out that clients need us to build their sites AND help them stay on top of Web technologies, and building an internal infrastructure that could support our growth and activities.
The third and fourth years were about deepening our knowledge of Web development best practices, strengthening our ties to clients, figuring out how to keep and retain our excellent staff, and launching a software division.
This fifth year has been about tackling integration projects that other companies won’t touch, hardening our development and testing processes, rethinking how we can do our best for clients, discovering that our software has made all of Matrix better, assessing which of our services to keep and which to abandon, and deciding what we want to be when we grow up.”
The Second Five Years
Well, another five years have come and gone. In the last five years, we have come to define ourselves as an interactive agency. Interactive because we create Web sites that are deeply engaging and interactive, not just flat, beautiful designs. And agency because we provide a full suite of services so that clients can be better organizations, more successful online.
We have also developed hard-core software development capabilities and practices. Our software powers many a non-profit and association; for these clients, a good portion of their work is done online and through our software. For other clients, we have done extensive integration with their back office systems so that, for the first time, their organizations are powered by a master database. In addition, many more clients rely on MatrixMaxx, our association management software, to manage nearly all aspects of their organizations. And just as we have developed more back-end capabilities, we have expanded our front-end capabilities, doing more branding and strategy work at the beginning of projects. Finally, the whole company is committed to complying with the highest Web, programming and security standards; we know that we need to maintain some of this code for a long time, so it better be good!
10 Year Celebrations
All of Matrix Group will be celebrating 10 years during happy hour tomorrow at Rustico in Alexandria. If you’re in the neighborhood, come on down. Esteemed clients, partners and friends will receive a save the date e-mail and paper invitation for the real party in July. (We couldn’t schedule the party during the busy association Spring meeting season and it’s the end of our fiscal year; too much going on.)
Looking backward and forward, I am grateful for so many things. Matrix Group has created a rich history of doing some fun projects for great clients, we’ve created and broken a lot of apps, and we have gotten to know our clients’ organizations and industries very well. I’ve got an amazing crew, perhaps the best this company has ever seen; these are the folks who do all the great work I get credit for every day. :-)
I’m working on a 10-year anniversary DVD slide show for the party. If you have a fond memory or funny story about Matrix Group, please be sure to drop me a line. I’ll also blog in the future about the funniest and strangest things I’ve ever had to do at Matrix Group. Thank you, my staff, clients, friends and family, for your support, friendship and collaboration all these years! Cheers!