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1 step. 1 dream. 1 family. 1 home. Area 1.

This is a love letter.

I’m finishing this on our last morning together. 1 more day. Soon, 1 more hour. And then 1 more minute. 1 more moment.

We met on the corner of California and Birch in Palo Alto at the end of winter in 2014. Of course, back then you were just an idea. Still, while Oren and I spoke about you, I fell helplessly, hopelessly in love with your promise.

“We could change the world.”

“Yeah… Want to meet the rest of the guys?”

Oren and I walked around the corner to find Phil, Blake, and Nathan playing with a parking meter, wondering why they were in California; and why Oren had turned this recruiting meeting into a scene out of a budget spy movie; and who this blonde psychopath was Oren had brought them to meet. We all shook hands, and that’s how it began.

I named you. We fed the investors some insanity I wrote about how “Area 1” means we catch hackers in the first stage of their attacks, but that’s not the the real story behind your name. I joked with Oren that we’d call you Area 1 because we’re 50 areas better than the next best guy, but that’s not the full story either. I selfishly named you Area 1 because I was number 1 — your first employee — and I was yours and you were mine. I named you Area 1 because “1” is the most fiercely independent number. I named you Area 1 because mathematicians call “1” both the “identity” and the “unity”, and I wanted both for you. You’ve lived up to your name.

You aren’t a metaphor anymore. We’ve grown up together. You aren’t an idea or a company. For over three years you’ve been my home and my family. The people most dear to me are those who taught me who I am. You’ve let me spend every day with them. Together we’ve done amazing things. Together we made the world a bigger place.

It’s natural, I think, at times like these to hear “goodbye” and think “forever”. But life is too short to only live once. Come Monday, you’ll be you, I’ll be me, and together we’ll be apart. And I’ll wonder every day what you’re doing and dream every night about standing on my balcony with Oren and Troy, screaming wildly into the dark because we landed Series A. But I’ll know that you’re still there — all of you — writing the next chapter in this story, building a better world.

The time’s come for me to build you a sister, but you’ll always be my first. And the people I’ve met here, the friends I’ve made, they’ll always be family. And the house we built, will always be home. Building a business never mattered, and hopefully never will. Bringing these dreamers together did. Finding people who saw the world as it is and imagined it as it should be did. Looking each other in the eye and deciding to take the plunge did. That’s Area 1. We’re Area 1. This chapter is over, but in the next, maybe we’ll do it all again — somewhere else, sometime else — together as one.

I love you. Always.

1❤,

PJ$

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