This February, 10up wrapped its ninth year with much to celebrate. The company saw continued team and financial growth, with our most significant expansions across our European division, productized Managed Services offerings, and strategic Audience & Revenue consulting services. We also doubled down on our contributions to a broader open web community, and team culture.
The result: We continued to expand our client roster with some of our most impressive wins to date. In 2019, we welcomed some of the most respected brands and organizations in the world into our portfolio, and expanded existing relationships with industry leading clients like Google and Microsoft.
Consistent Revenue And Team Growth
10up’s eighth anniversary celebrated significant financial and team growth, which continued into our ninth year. We achieved 18% revenue growth and gained 48 new clients across verticals including healthcare, publishing, government, high tech, architecture, and financial services. We’re especially pleased by the increased diversification of that revenue across pillar accounts, which we see as vital to a healthy, sustainable workplace in the services sector. While in 2018, 20% of our revenue came from a single client, 2019 included five seven-figure clients, with the largest accounting for only 9% of company-wide revenue.
The growth of our client portfolio along with our commitment to exceptional client delivery drove the expansion of Team10up to 200 full-timers. This includes two full-time, in-house recruiters and 10uppers spread across six continents and twenty-four countries (tell Antarctica we’re hiring). The executive team also expanded, as we welcomed our first full time Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Barlett, and made three internal promotions:
- Sarah Williams, VP, Client Delivery
- Phil Crum, VP, New Client Strategy
- Martha Schmidt, VP, Account Strategy
The European division’s revenue more than doubled, adding five new notable clients in 2019.
Led by a dedicated Managing Director, Director of Client Delivery, and Director of Engineering, all located in Europe, we now have highly-focused sales, delivery, and account teams providing local 10up caliber consulting, strategy, design, and engineering to our rapidly expanding European clientele. Our regional presence was on display at notable European events such as the Digiday EU Summit, Web Summit, and WordCamp Europe.
Managed Services Growth
10up Managed Services, which provides productized services and SaaS like ElasticPress.io, also experienced notable growth. SiteWatch, our proactive website maintenance and support package, saw a 5x increase in clients. ElasticPress.io, our WordPress-optimized Elasticsearch service that seamlessly integrates with our popular plugin and extends the native WordPress search functionality, doubled its subscribers and monthly recurring revenue.
Expansion Of Services
With increased focus on measurable business outcomes and digital marketing performance (audience and revenue services), the Audience & Revenue team doubled in size. We formalized our SEO and SEM services, developed expert cross-team specialization in web analytics, hired a full-time email marketing expert, and became Google Certified Publishing Partners. Our partnership in the Google News Initiative Revenue Accelerator helps local publishers keep pace by providing technology resources to drive insights, traffic, engagement, and revenue yield.
Our experience design discipline saw 70% team growth, spanning seven time zones. Our team is delivering content strategy, copywriting, user experience design, design research, visual design, interactive/motion design, and even illustration. Just a few notable design projects — that we’re allowed to share publicly — include:
- FanSided 250: the ultimate ranking of the 250 best fandoms in the world;
- Collaborating with LearnDash to reimagine and design the software’s admin interface;
- Partnering with Google to design the UX and adapt Material Design to the first version of Google Site Kit;
- Working with GoDaddy to design new WordPress themes and block-based editing experiences for small businesses and individuals on their Managed Hosting platform.
Open Source Practice
Our commitment to an open web community and open-source technology ecosystem was on full display since our last anniversary. Sixteen 10uppers contributed to the WordPress 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 releases. We attended, presented at, and sponsored several flagship events in the WordPress community, including WordCamp US, WordCamp Europe, and WPCampus. Our long-term support for the WordPress project was spotlighted on WordPress.org’s new Five For The Future feature.
Our efforts included nearly 5,000 hours invested in open-source initiatives, 3,659 commits across our official open-source projects, 796 pull requests closed, and 105 releases across 31 projects.
The last year saw the release of several new open-source developer resources, such as our project scaffolding application suite, our Open Source Best Practices, and two solutions that leverage GitHub Actions to streamline and simplify WordPress plugin release management. We contributed to the new WordPress block editor through the development and release of SlotFill and launched three new WordPress plugins: ClassifAI, Insert Special Characters, and Autoshare for Twitter. We also made significant updates to our flagship plugins:
- Distributor saw improvements in performance, smarter media syndication, and enhancements to the content “pull” feature.
- ElasticPress introduced a simple and friendly user interface right inside WordPress for managing search result weighting and customized results.
- ClassifAI added automated image tagging using Microsoft Azure Computer Vision, the ability to search for images by alt text and tags, and additional developer-centric features.
Cultivating Company Culture
As exciting as those figures are, some of our most endearing statistics showcase our investment in a healthy, vibrant team that doesn’t only grow together, but knows how to have fun together.
Fun facts from this past year:
- 10uppers took 11,000 hours of personal time off, not including an all-team extended holiday break to close out the year!
- $80,000+ was spent on professional reinvestment, not including time away from work.
- From travel and TV shows to hobbies and food, we have more than 85 Slack channels dedicated to fun and shared interests.
- We have a rock band! What began as an adhoc jam session in a bar in Boulder, Colorado has turned into one of the most loved 10up traditions — around 25 team members play and participate in Summit Rumors.
- We organized 15 local holiday parties, for 10uppers living near each other.
- More than 61 people have participated in Music League — our version of Fantasy Football but with music.
Our team’s palpable sense of accomplishment and fondness was most felt at our annual summit, held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Once again, 10uppers from around the globe left their desks and daily grind behind for a week of learning, fresh perspectives, collaboration, and fun.
“As I return home from the #10upSummit and reflect on the week of wonderful talks, tasty meals, and Walt Disney World fun, one thing sticks out — the genuine feeling of gratuitously appreciating and excited celebrating with colleagues who have become good friends.”
— Jeff Paul, Open Source Practice Manager
Along with insightful peer and partner presentations, highlights included dinner with Mickey and Minnie at Epcot, dessert on the World Showcase Lagoon shores for the Epcot Forever fireworks show debut, our first Family Feud game show, live music and dancing with Summit Rumors, late night shenanigans on the Boardwalk, and group outings to various Disney parks, Universal Studios, and the Kennedy Space Center.
We also held the Uppies — our annual award ceremony that recognizes individuals and teams that exemplified 10up goals and values. 2019 saw the addition of the “Downies”, “honoring” leaders not normally eligible for Uppie awards. Post-Summit, we expanded our awards program to include the Muppies (Monthy Uppies) to more regularly acknowledge and show appreciation for team members’ achievements and efforts. We also launched a new initiative — Radical Caring & Coffee — a candid, monthly town hall that celebrates recent individual and collective accomplishments, spotlights challenges, and promotes open dialog and discussion.
As we march forward towards our tenth anniversary, 10up is well-positioned for ongoing success. We are excited to lean into data-driven digital audience and revenue consulting, deliver first class design and creative, and continue to expand our engineering services into new markets and technologies. I’m especially eager to host our 2020 Annual Summit outside of the United States for the first time.
If you read this year in review and thought, “This is the kind of company I want to work with,” we would love to speak with you about how 10up can turn your business goals into reality. If you instead thought, “This is the kind of company I want to work for,” we’re always hiring and we’d love to hear from you.