Jordan Ritter

condensing fact from the vapor of nuance

Why We Do What We Do


Recently I came across some old nostalgic bits from one of my companies. One of those bits was an email I wrote to the entire company, following a particularly large website and product launch the night before. An incredible amount of time and effort had gone into making that launch successful, and succeed it did.

What stands out to me now, reading this again, is how well it speaks to why I love what I do, and why the great people I’ve been privileged to work with did so alongside me.

This is what all companies should be about:


        I just wanted to share with you some feelings I had from last
night, which relate to the very core of what I think makes Cloudmark
so great.

It was only a short few years ago that we were trying to decide how to
"launch" our products and services, and settled on creating an Outlook
plugin that would establish us commercially in the consumer market.
At the time, SpamNet was about as Beta as you can get -- we had no QA
beyond development itself -- and quite frankly it really wasn't ready
for prime-time.  But, we set an aggressive goal for ourselves, a firm,
finite deadline for us to work towards.  PR/Marcom aimed all the
reviews and newspaper articles and press releases for that date, Web
had gotten all the content prepped and ready to go, and like it or not
we had to ship or otherwise lose the tremendous groundswell of
interest and buzz that most startups only dream of.

Then came the night of shipping.

Most people were still in the office as the 12:00am deadline
approached, huddled around computers, watching and waiting.  There was
a palpable anxiety in the air, but it was the good kind -- everyone
could sense how well we would be received, and we were about to make
our first concerted mark upon the world -- us against those who
doubted us, our technology and even the viability of an anti-spam
industry.  There were last minute compiles, last minute bug fixes,
last minute web content tweaks, last minute server configuration
changes, last minute adjustments to any and every thing that was going
out.  Articles from the Wall Street Journal and LA Times were waiting
to go live, our press release and web site were almost literally under
a big red button, ready to hit the wire at a moment's notice.  And
while we were dashing back and forth to make everything as perfect as
possible, the deadline loomed.  Under an impossible time constraint,
we weren't calmly waiting for it, we were frantically trying to beat

And we did.  We came together as a Team, under immense pressure and
Great Expectations, and we did it -- we shipped, we shipped, we
shipped!  That single moment culminating into release is still as
intoxicating to me now as it was that very night.

And now I am once again proud, almost awed to see that same relentless
energy and unbreakable spirit alive and well.  Huddled around
computers, one group focused on QA, another on development/bugfixing,
yet others working on website content and deployment, all in unison
and everyone pitching in where possible -- hey try this, whoops we
missed that, wow that looks great!  Our deadline loomed, lots of last
minute changes right up until the end, and due to the inevitable
problems from such tight deadlines there was an ever-so-slight patina
of despair in the air -- but nothing broke our determination.  We
would be damned if anything was going to keep us from our goal, come
hell or high water we were going to ship our new website and 4 -- 4!!
products -- all in one night.  No one left until their job was done,
and even then some stayed longer to help, if not in function then in
presence and spirit.  And those that weren't there, either polling the
website, providing suggestions on SILC, or just thinking about
shipping, well, they were there too.

Folks, this is who we are, what we stand for -- as a united team of
talented, passionate, determined people we are a force to be reckoned
with, and one that is easily underestimated.  We can achieve anything
we put our efforts towards so long as we work hard, work smart, and
work together.  While late nights against impossible deadlines
shouldn't be the norm, I consider it a privilege to share in them and
hope that this great spirit of ours never dies.

Cheers, and I hope you all have a festive, restful 4th of July


Indeed, the great spirit does live on.