This summer, Wordsmithie celebrated its fifth anniversary, and what a wild joy ride it’s been. As we roll back to work after the well-deserved Labor Day holiday, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’ve grown as a company, how I’ve changed as a founder and coach-player, and how our team has evolved into an all-star band of writers, editors, designers, strategists and project managers.
How Wordsmithie started
We were founded in 2010 after I left Google following nearly five intense but exciting years as a senior content strategist and editor. I was eager to stretch my legs again as a freelancer, but it quickly became apparent that the demand for tech-savvy content developers far outstripped my solo capacity. So Wordsmithie began to grow from a one-person shop. First, we added Jim Leeke, my long-time writing partner (and now our Editorial Director), and his wife Jane Clark, who served as our first project manager.
As word spread, the work kept coming, so we kept growing — with a mission to gather together top-tier creatives for all kinds of content and, increasingly, design. We added talented Xooglers (aka former Googlers) including Miriam Wynn, Marlene Tam (who leads our design team), Katina Johnson, Alex Kenin (our amazing Google studio director), Jennie Cohen, Sammie Sachs, Lisbeth Kaiser, Fritz Holznagel and others.
Wordsmithie five years on
Now, five years later, our team includes an array of collaborative rock stars who handle everything from social media (take a bow, Khaleelah Jones) to our client-writer matching service, Copywriter Central (thank you, Erik Eppel and Gib Reimschussel). In the last year, we’ve gone global, with a team in Asia (based in Singapore and led by the talented Mark Fernandez), and expanded our EU operations thanks to Michael Gaylord, our irreplaceable European team lead and Chief Creative Officer. We have our COO, Dan Ross, to thank for his operational acumen as we continue to scale.
Everyone who’s touched Wordsmithie has made us smarter, stronger, and swifter off the block — and that includes our remarkable clients, not only at big brands such as Google and Fujitsu, but at mid-level clients such as Stripe, Eventbrite and Quantcast, and at the array of startups whose communications we enjoy fostering. It’s a pleasure and privilege to work with them all.
Before the Academy Awards orchestra plays me off the stage, I want to share a bit of what I’ve learned in the past five years…
– Hire people who aren’t simply smart — seek those who are also collaborative, compassionate, and inquisitive. And reward them well.
-Leave your comfort zone in the dust: You can’t expand your offering or stretch your skills by doing the same thing over and over again. Unless of course you’re a chocolate-maker (in which case, carry on.)
-Learn from your mistakes. Duh.
-Be nice to strangers. You never know when one might become your next superstar talent, favorite client, or dear friend (and in rare instances, all three).
-You can do anything — but you can’t do everything. Delegate, collaborate or partner whenever possible or practical.
-Don’t burn yourself out every day — or any day, for that matter. The work will still be there tomorrow, but you might not be if you don’t pace yourself.
-If you start sounding like a fortune cookie, stop writing the anniversary post.
Here’s to another five years, and then some!