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Buffer's 2018 in numbers
▾ What happened in 2018?
Our company values are a blueprint for everything we do and, as so much has changed at Buffer in the past five years since we initially defined our values, we decided to take the time to refresh them in 2018. After an extensive six months of teammate interviews, nearly 200 pages of notes, 50,000+ words and five drafts, we unveiled our six updated values in April!
During our first fully remote hackathon in July, our entire engineering team spent three days working on small projects to innovate in our product, codebase, or their way of working. After an energetic and collaborative hackathon, over 75 percent of the projects were shipped, including adding emojis into the Buffer composer (a customer favorite!). This experiment inspired our data team to have their own two-day hackathon this December!
We had some exciting things to celebrate this year — with GIF parties, of course. We were incredibly honored to win a Webby Award in the category of Mobile Sites & Apps: Best Practices, receive an Inc.’s Best Workplace Award, and make the Inc. 5000 list this year!
Four wonderful babies joined the Buffer family this year, and sparked many smiles across the team whenever they popped into a video call. Welcome to the world, Gael, Baylor, Zachary, and Mara! We look forward to seeing you in your Buffer onesies! (Three dads and one mom took family leave to spend time with these adorable babies.)
When our distributed team can be together on one live Zoom call, it’s a special experience. It’s more than simply a company-wide meeting; it’s an opportunity to see everyone’s faces, celebrate all of the accomplishments and life milestones across the team, feel united by the Buffer vision, and spot some furry friends or cute babies coming in and out of view. We also held two “All Hands Spotlights” where we highlighted one specific area within Buffer — this year, we shined a spotlight on our Customer Advocacy and Finance teams!
Outside of the regular vacations, sick/personal days, bereavement leave, family leave, and bank holidays of each teammate’s country, we also decided to fully consider Buffer “closed” for seven days this year. For the second year in a row, we’re closing Buffer from December 24 to January 1, putting up the proverbial “Sorry, we’re closed” sign, and giving our team some much-deserved time to rest and be with family and friends. We also gave everyone the day off on Friday, July 27, encouraging folks to take a long weekend mid-year to de-stress and recharge!
We started organizing individual area on-sites in 2017 as an additional opportunity to get together in person beyond our annual full-team retreat. This year, 10 areas within the team met up across the world from Nashville to Amsterdam to Lisbon to focus on specific projects, high-level vision, strategy, and more. As an added benefit, this gave several teammates the special and uncommon chance to show off their home towns!
After a year and a half of bringing our hiring to nearly a grinding halt, we excitedly got our hiring train back on the tracks in 2018. We welcomed 21 uniquely wonderful folks to the Buffer team, including one teammate who flew for 20 hours to have her very first day at Buffer at our Singapore retreat, meeting the entire team in one day! (This was equally an amazing experience for her and for the rest of the team!)
Our engineering team values transparency and has been working hard to make sure Buffer’s codebase is more open source. Having open sourced code allows others to see our code, learn from it, use it, and share it, and we love that this helps engineers around the world build amazing things, without needing to start from scratch. In 2018, 22.2% of our code was open sourced.
A team of multifaceted and creative people from around the world brings with it a plethora of interesting passion projects! Among the 37 side projects that we counted this year, our teammates are building dog accessory online shops, creating apps, organizing non-profits, launching podcasts, and writing books (among many other interesting things).
A lot of our teammates have been enjoying practicing their public speaking skills this year. Twelve Buffer teammates collectively spoke at 39 conferences this year, from Social Media Marketing World in San Diego, to The Next Web in Amsterdam, to Running Remote in Bali, to Droidcon in four different cities!
As reading is hugely important to our team, we wanted to find a way to support International Literacy Day on September 8th, a day focused on reminding the world of “the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.” In the spirit of the day, the Buffer team and our community around the world collectively donated 189 used books to go to charities, local schools, friends, strangers, libraries, or anywhere else where an extra book might make a difference.
We love writing blog posts — a lot. This year, across three of our blogs, we published 205 posts! We shared our learnings and research about digital marketing, building a remote team, experimenting with work culture, and everything in between. Here’s the breakdown: 116 posts on the Social blog (about social media marketing), 67 posts on the Open blog (on our work culture) and 22 posts on the Overflow blog (from our engineering team).
Vacation days taken
Taking time off to rest and recharge is important to us, and it’s why we implemented a minimum vacation policy a few years ago. Between a teammate traveling to visit his family in Armenia, another taking a multiple-week road trip across Canada, another attending a family reunion in South Africa, and many many others, our team collectively took 1,410 vacation days, an average of just over 16 days per person.
One of the most beloved benefits at Buffer is our unlimited book perk — any teammate can request and receive any Kindle, audio, and physical books that they like. This year, we gifted 1,446 Kindle books (not including audiobooks, or physical books, which were added to this perk late this year) across the team. Ready Player One was a popular one!
Earlier this year, we started a Buffer team on Charity Miles and challenged the team to use the app to track their movement. From July to November, we walked, hiked, ran and biked a collective 2,778 miles around the world!
Dollars spent on swag
Buffer was built on sending handwritten letters to our very first customers and this is a tradition we’re committed to keeping alive. It’s a joy to surprise and delight our community around the world with gifts of Buffer T-shirts, socks, notebooks, stickers, and more, and so we spent $3,511 on sending out swag this year!
In order to help encourage a culture of learning on our team, we offer all teammates $20 a month to spend on classes and courses related to learning and development. Teammates can use this stipend to learn about anything — topics that are related to their work, or not! This year, we spent $4,358 on supporting teammates in learning to write code, facilitate group experiences, learn new languages, be great leaders, and much more! (This number doesn’t include sending teammates to conferences.)
Our powerhouse team of 30 engineers was busy this year — collectively, they made 5,150 updates to our codebase in 2018! From making huge changes in the code to small tweaks, our engineers are always working hard to make sure Buffer is a high-quality product for our customers.
Alas, these were not edible tacos. Maybe next year. But these ones are exciting nonetheless! The entire Buffer team uses a Slack bot called HeyTaco to recognize accomplishments, celebrate milestones, and share gratitude for teammates. To do so, we give out taco emojis to one another, which can be redeemed for special rewards. We got quite taco-happy this year, giving out a total of 8,238 tacos!
The whole reason we are able to do what we love every day is because we have incredible customers using Buffer to power their social media marketing and grow their businesses. We are privileged to have had 32,991 people sign up for a paid Buffer plan this year (Buffer Pro, Business, or Buffer Reply) to bring our total number of paying customers for 2018 to 73,991.
Our Customer Advocates spend all of their time caring for our users — in fact, they sent over 106,220 emails back and forth to users this year! Among all of those interactions, our Advocates resolved 50,580 support tickets and resolved 52% of them on the first reply, with an average first response time of 6 hours and 49 minutes.
Dollars set aside for charity
One of our company values is to “act beyond ourselves,” considering the bigger picture beyond our work, listening to multiple perspectives, and helping to build a better world. As a profitable company, we feel a responsibility to use our financial stability to give back to communities and causes that are making a tangibly positive impact. Therefore, we are committing to donate a portion of our net income to charity each year.
Our podcast, The Science of Social Media, has been going strong for over two years! We recorded 50 episodes of the weekly podcast this year, and those episodes were downloaded a whopping 771,254 times. Our episode topics included Instagram Stories strategy, small business marketing, how to launch on Product Hunt, neuromarketing, and many more.
As a fully remote team, we relish the moments that we can see each other’s faces over a video chat. Zoom is our video chat tool of choice for all gatherings — one-on-ones, masterminds, team syncs, brainstorming discussions, Halloween costume shares, “Bring Your Parents to Work Day,” and, of course, our bimonthly All Hands. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our team had an average of 27 Zoom calls per day, and we collectively spent 1,008,639 minutes on Zoom this year. That equates to over 700 days of video chat time!
Fans and followers on social media
We feel so lucky to have such amazing fans and followers on social media — folks around the world who are thoughtful, kind, generous with their support, and all-around wonderful. We are grateful for every single one of our 1,196,413 followers across Twitter (1,035,443), Facebook (118,370) and Instagram (42,600) for always engaging with our content, sharing ideas, offering feedback, sending us fun GIFs, and brightening our days!
From entrepreneurs launching brand new companies, to marketers helping small businesses steadily grow, to social media enthusiasts building their personal brand, and everywhere in between, we had so many different kinds of users start using Buffer this year. In total, 1,415,697 users created new Buffer accounts in 2018.
New social accounts added to Buffer
Have you ever stopped to think about how many social accounts exist out there in the vastness of the internet? Well, we don’t know exactly how many exist, but we do know that 2,267,168 social accounts were added to Buffer this year! Our users added 942,350 Facebook accounts, 592,877 Instagram accounts, 428,323 Twitter accounts, 197,259 LinkedIn accounts, 80,984 Google+ accounts, and 25,395 Pinterest accounts.
Dollars spent buying back investors
In July of this year, we made a significant decision to set us on the path to long-term, sustainable growth — we spent $3.3M (about half of all the cash we had in the bank) to buy out our main venture capital investors. It was important for us to give investors a return, create better alignment within our shareholder base toward the path we are on, and do all of this transparently. Moving forward, we are committed to continuing to build great products our customers love, and cultivate a meaningful workplace culture of trust, freedom, and flexibility — all in our own unique way.
With millions of social accounts connected to Buffer come millions of posts getting sent out. Our users sent out a total of 206,923,284 posts throughout all of 2018! Perhaps not a surprise, Twitter came in with the highest number of posts (93,932,467) and Facebook came in at second (64,177,252)! The others: Google+ (15,798,846), Instagram (14,966,416), LinkedIn (14,828,694), and Pinterest (3,219,609).
In the past year at Buffer, we've focused on making good business decisions that help us be a sustainable, profitable company for the long run. We are committed to a long future ahead continuing to build great products that customers love, and cultivate a workplace of trust, freedom and flexibility.
Thank you so much for being on this journey with us. By making the choice to be profitable and grow through revenue, we have the privilege to continue building Buffer thanks to the customers we are lucky to serve.