Buffer in January: Transparent Feedback, $5.3M Annual Revenue and 30 Teammates

Feb 16, 2015 4 min readReports
Photo of Joel Gascoigne
Joel Gascoigne

CEO and co-founder @ Buffer

In January at Buffer, we grew the team, made big progress on upcoming new features, launched a new Transparency Dashboard, and started sharing feedback transparently amongst the team.

Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on:

The latest Buffer metrics

  • 2,090,805 total registered users (+4.4%)
  • 183,638 monthly active users (+9.0%)
  • 44,790 average daily active users (+10.8%)
  • $441,108 monthly recurring revenue (+4.6%)
  • $5.29m annual revenue run-rate (+4.6%)
  • $2,084,935 cash in bank
  • 30 team members across the world
  • 23 cities, 11 countries, 6 continents (here’s where team members are)

We’ve seen a great pace of growth for MRR/ARR and active users in January. We’re excited at the possibility of starting to approach the $10m ARR milestone by year end.

Team growth: Fastest pace ever

During January we have continued our big push for growing the team and had some good successes. We had 2 people start their Buffer bootcamp and a further 2 people finish the interview process who will start in February.

We’re lucky that we remain profitable, the bank balance and revenues are growing steadily and we are excited to have additional people to help us move faster and who can also experience the freedom and joy of being part of Buffer.

One great aspect of the move towards self-management is that many team members are now becoming involved in the hiring process, which makes it much more scalable for us and is proving to help us grow the team faster while still maintaining our focus on culture-fit.

Product progress on some big new features

January has been a month of great steps forward on some key new features:

  • We added one-click sign-up options via Twitter and Facebook directly from the blog.
  • We made a lot of discoveries about how successful customers first interact with the product, and as a result have started to work on a new onboarding flow.
  • We improved analytics with new post sorting (for paying customers).

And soon we’ll be launching some of these upcoming features:

  • Power Scheduler (posting the same article multiple times over many days with different text)
  • Calendar View of your scheduled Buffer posts
  • Engaging Images product (to help you create a slick image attachment for your posts)

Our brand new transparency dashboard

During January we fully launched our Transparency Dashboard. I think this is especially exciting for us because this isn’t something you can just put together in a couple of weeks.

transparency dashboard

The dashboard itself only took us that long, but the contents of that page are the result of 3+ years of focus on our culture and transparency.

It’s fun to bring all these elements of transparency in the culture together into a concise page which helps others quickly discover and understand our value of openness.

Spreading Buffer in Asia

As part of embracing being a distributed team, and partially to make my way to Sydney for our 5th Buffer Retreat in smaller steps rather than a very long flight, I chose to travel around Asia during January. I was with Brian for much of the time and a number of other team members have chosen to travel before and after retreat, which is exciting to see.

I spent time in Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta and had a chance to do 3 speaking events, an impromptu Buffer meetup, 2 interviews with publications and several more casual dinners and meetings.

Joel in Jakarta

Part of the aim was to spread the word of Buffer in Asia in an attempt to grow the team there, since it is the region where we have fewest team members.

Another result of the time there was that I realized we have a large number of customers in these countries already, and could have even more if Buffer is localized.

As a result, we’ve started a localization task force to work on translating Buffer. I’m excited to see what impact this can have.

Transparent feedback among team members

This month we introduced a new tool into the set of 3rd party products we’re using to run the team. It’s called Small Improvements and we’ve found it has been great to move our praise and feedback away from email to keep it focused and create a place where you feel comfortable and safe, with the awareness that it is where feedback happens.

A big step we made in the last month is to experiment with fully transparent feedback—quite a crazy thought initially for us because I can’t think of any other company that would be fully transparent with all feedback. It’s especially tough to imagine it working when the feedback needs to get more serious and might eventually lead to someone leaving the company.

However, what we found was that so many of the other aspects of our culture rely on transparency, and without that transparency in feedback too, things started to fall apart.

There are some incredible benefits of fully transparent feedback, such as the ability for everyone else to see feedback and add their own perspective, agreeing and emphasizing further or helping to add context and explain something.

This helps us be fully self-managed, because anyone can build on other feedback and say “this is a repeating pattern now, it feels quite serious” rather than it being channeled and limited to a manager.

We are also calling it “FeedForward,” as a slight twist inspired by our friends at Tint, which helps us all keep focused on the feedback being given positively and moving somebody forward.

A small ask

We’d love your help spreading the word about the unique opportunity of working within the Buffer team with our culture of transparency, remote work and self-management. Here’s a pre-written Tweet:

.@buffer is now a 30 person team with no managers & a fully remote setup (+ travel anytime!). How to be part of it: http://jobs.bufferapp.com/
Tweet it or Buffer it
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