After 10 years, 9 months, and 6 days, it’s time for me to shut down SuperFriendly.
I started SuperFriendly in 2012 for a number of reasons.
My oldest daughter was 6 months old, and I wanted a way to be around her and my wife for as many hours of the day as I could be while still providing for our family.
I believed in a different way of working, and I wanted to test it all out. Remote work and distributed work were fairly uncommon at time, but I believed people could work asynchronously from wherever they wanted and do better work because of it. I believed people didn’t have to be fellow employees to be an effective team. I believed getting paid for outcomes aligned customer and provider more closely than charging for time. I believed teaching clients how to do what I and we do without us is a better service that making them reliant on the partnership. I believed freelancers could simultaneously operated independently and still have career paths, growth trajectories, and community. I believed all of those things fit together under one business model pretty well.
More than ten years later, I still believe all of those things, even stronger than I originally did, partly because I have proof of it now. I’m also happy that there are more people in the world who seem to believe these things too. When I started SuperFriendly, I remember having to pitch prospective clients on the value of distributed team; now much of the world works this way (or at least have had 1–2 years of forced experience in it). Network-based digital businesses were fairly rare a decade ago; now I feel like every agency out there pitches “a network of freelancers, custom assembled for each client.” I’m not arrogant enough to think SuperFriendly was responsible for that progression—heck, I stole it too—but I do like to think we contributed to it in some small way.
I’m very proud of the work we’ve done. More importantly, I’m proud of the way we did it. Personally, through SuperFriendly, I’ve had a chance to do some of the best work of my career. In a lot of ways, SuperFriendly is the best work of my career (so far). One day, I’ll find a way to share some of the work few have seen in a way that honors it.
I’ve made more money than I ever thought possible by running my own business for the first time, and I’ve also spent more money than I ever thought possible by running my own business for the first time.
I’ve learned a lot by running SuperFriendly. But for the first time in a decade, I think I’m running out of things that I want to learn or try through this vehicle. I also believe some new things now: about work, about the design and tech industry, about myself. I’m eager to continue to explore these new beliefs in different ways.
I’ve learned about myself through running SuperFriendly for over a decade. I’ve learned that I love to teach. I love to explore and create new ideas and things and quickly bring them to life with the skills I've learned as a designer. I love learning through trying things. I'm a volatile; I can't sit still very long. I love doing things I haven’t done before, even when they’re scary—maybe especially when they’re scary.
I’m not sure what’s next for me. I don’t really have a firm plan, but I do have lots of things I want to try. Maybe that's a plan itself, or at least enough of one. I’m trying to stay open to whatever might bring me energy and joy or whatever happens to serendipitously cross my path. I have some runway to take time to figure it out but that window is closing, so it feels a bit like a race against the clock. I'm enjoying creating products that seem to resonate with so many people where I can share my stories, knowledge, and experience. I'm doing some consulting with a few teams to level up their product, design system, or DesignOps practices. I've taken some interviews to join an in-house team full-time, which has simultaneously felt exhilarating, humiliating, surprising, and tiresome. I may dust off a few product and business ideas I’ve had on the shelf for a few years and perhaps try my hand at a venture-backed company. If you'd like to collaborate with me on any or all of these things—or if you have a different idea or suggestions for things I should look into—please do send me a DM on Twitter, Instagram, or feel free to write me a long email.
To the hundreds of clients and SuperFriends whose paths I’ve been lucky to cross in the last 10 years: thank you.