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September 29, 2010
by Bill DeRouchey

Our First Week As a Team

Two team members in a meeting on their computers.

After closing on our funding a month ago, BankSimple pushed forward into its next phase, assembling our current team.

Before last week, nobody on the newly-formed BankSimple team had met everyone else face-to-face. Four of us had only been working at BankSimple for less than two weeks. Two of us hadn’t even started full-time yet. Spread between Brooklyn, Portland, and San Francisco, we’d been in frequent communication electronically, but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to come together in person.

Last week, all nine of us gathered in Portland. We began the week by revisiting the original email exchange between Josh, Shamir, and our first investor. From the perspective of someone relatively new to the team, it was amazing how much of the problem and potential solution Josh captured in that first email.

From there, we covered a multitude of topics over the course of the week. We traded war stories. We shared our backgrounds and interests. We drank way too much coffee, and just enough beer. We talked about how we want to approach design, engineering, operations, and customer service. We took staff pictures and chuckled at the bad ones. Without question, the single biggest victory of the gathering was how naturally we gelled as a team. We ended our week excited, energized, and ready to get building.

The tasks ahead of us are huge, challenging, and fun. Understanding our customers, designing an optimal user experience, prioritizing the appropriate set of features, honing a visual style, developing the software that powers it all, connecting with our partners’ systems, ensuring the security of what we’ve built, testing it out on actual cards and then launching to the public; that and more is what we’re going to spend the coming weeks and months on. To build the best service we can, we’re digging into the history of banking and economics, the psychology of decision making, and the communication of data, amongst other topics.

We couldn’t be happier that a lot of people are excited about what we’re doing. This will take time to get right, and while we’re eager to get feedback and adapt, we want our initial release to be as stable and trouble-free as possible. We’ll continue to keep you apprised of our progress and what we’re thinking about.

Onward!