It’s not what we’ve done, but who we’ve become.
I’ve had the privilege of starting a company and watching it become something quite special over the last 15 years. From the outset, I knew I wanted to build a company that did great work, had amazing people on-board, and thrived in a uniquely creative environment. And thrive we did — in 2015 we were recognized as the “Most Effective UX Agency” as well as one of the “Top 100 Places to Work” in the country.
Reaching a goal that 15 years ago seemed somewhat obtuse, left us wondering what to do next. What would be the best path forward to enable us to have an even greater impact?
The solution presented itself late last year and in January 2016, Slice of Lime was acquired by a close partner of ours, Pivotal. Pivotal is “Transforming How the World Builds Software”. Slice of Lime is joining “Pivotal Labs”, the consulting arm of Pivotal. Pivotal Labs has a balanced team approach (think “UX Design meets Development and Product Management”). Pivotal Labs not only creates solutions with real business value, but also enables clients to bring what they’ve learned from Pivotal’s unique process back into their own companies.
15 years is a long time, especially in internet years. What’s to be learned from such a tenure at a company? My business partner and I certainly had a front row seat to the trials of building a business from scratch! It was like getting your MBA in real-time. There are little fun moments that stick out like Skyping with Roger Ebert, helping a Girl Scout troup get their UX Design badges, and being surprised as we got called up on stage for the first time as one of the fastest growing companies in Colorado (an award we’d win almost every year after that).
There’s obviously the client work to be proud of and thankful for. We’ve had the good fortune of getting to work with a wide range of stellar clients from startups to enterprise accounts. Beyond that, our business was always 90% word of mouth, so it’s those same clients that helped keep us succeeding even after the initial project was done. Thank you!
If I’m honest, though, it isn’t the work that we did that defines what the Slice of Lime experience was all about. Hands down, it’s the people — and what all of us became, for the better, by being a part of Slice of Lime.
We’ve of course become better designers and researchers over the years, no question. What we mean when we say research now is so much more advanced than what we meant 15 years ago!
We’ve become community galvanizers. I’ve watched as individuals at Slice of Lime took the leap into public-facing events like leading UX Meetups, sitting on panels, running workshops at Denver Startup week, and countless other things.
We’ve become leaders. We’ve led each other and helped one another grow. We’ve led with the thoughts shared through the Slice of Lime blog, speaking at conferences, and beyond.
We’ve become mentors. We’ve mentored the Techstars Boulder companies since day one and have evolved that into also helping the Boomtown, R/GA, Disney, and Nike accelerator teams. We’ve hosted office hours at Galvanize and have always been available for a cup of coffee to help a startup out.
We’ve become volunteers. We’ve put together bikes for “Wish for Wheels” which gives bikes to underprivileged kindergartners on graduation day. The looks on their faces!
We’ve become teachers. We teach each other, but we also reach outside our own walls. The LittleBits TeKids Lab in Denver was funded by Slice of Lime and started by a Slice of Limer. It teaches kids the basics of circuitry on Saturdays once a month.
We’ve become artists! It’s been incredible to see the hidden talents of our employees present themselves in myriad ways, from music to silk screen printing, to Instagram drawing challenges.
We’ve become friends. Long ago I learned that a great culture cannot be forced. The best that I could do was to set up the right environment and hire the right people. Great things can happen from there. Our people have developed strong friendships, their own traditions (Country Fridays on the Sonos was maybe the worst), and their own inside jokes.
As for myself, I became a husband and a father. I became a good listener and, I hope, a better leader. We’ve accomplished a lot with Slice of Lime and I’ve learned many lessons over the last 15 years. There’s a lot to be proud of.
What I value most, though, is that I was able to create a company that the most amazing people I know chose to spend their time at and put their hearts into. I’m forever grateful to our team and the amazing experiences we’ve created together.
Here’s to the amazing experiences that lie ahead!