The Think Blog

Think Company at the Close of a Decade

Russ Starke Chief Executive Officer December 17, 2019

I’ve been seeing quite a few “end-of-decade” recaps recently, but holy smokes—in 2009, we were two years old and ten people! We’re like a whole different species compared to back then. But it has all been leading us here, of course.

There have been many milestones over the course of our 12+ year history (ooh, we’ll be teenagers in 2020!) that have prompted us to take a pause and think about how far we’ve come. But I have to say that of all of those events… all of those awards… all of those numbers… I don’t think any has had as much impact on me as a brief moment this year, when I was standing in the empty space that was to become our expanded location in Philadelphia.

The main lounge area of our new Philadelphia studio during renovations in the spring. See some “after” photos in this post.

Sure, I knew what our intentions were on paper, but the first time I was able to physically see from one side of the building to the other (a full city block—right in Center City), knowing it was all going to be for just us—it had me sort of checking myself and thinking “woah, we’re… this now?”

And that doesn’t even take into account our Conshohocken studio (now housing only a quarter of our Philadelphia crew!) or growing presence in Denver.

So, yes, 2019 was marked by our biggest buildout yet, and so much more. It was a year of continuing to refine our internal processes and engines for acquiring the data we need to make smart business decisions. It was also a year of looking more seriously into physical expansion beyond the greater Philadelphia area, where we have a good sense of what the market looks like for us on an annual basis and the team we need to have on hand to deliver all of this great work.

From top left: 1) Tom and Abby at the CIO Executive Summit, 2) our late-summer Think Picnic, 3) team Think or Swim at this year’s Dragon Boat Festival, 4) Neha and Christine talking with the Jefferson University Graphic Design program about designers and developers working together, 5) Joe, Allison, and Dhiraj getting some window sun in the Philly studio, 6) Phil, Ryan, and Chris preparing to rappel 29 stories down a Center City building to raise 7K for the Outward Bound School, 7) John, winner of the Q3 Uncle B. award, 8) Holly speaking at Confab 2019, 9) Lorenzo, Chris, and Summer celebrating the end of a project with clients; and 10) Dave, Bill, Nick, Alex, Mark, Chelsea, and Joe enjoying a team meal in Denver.

We’re still doing something (a lot of things) right, because we were named to both the Philly 100 and Inc. 5000 for the 7th time, even though we were in the “hall of fame” for both organizations after the third year!

We remained committed to our identified company causes for giving back, Broad Street Ministry and the Neema Project, and donated an additional $30K to causes identified by our Thinkers ($100 per year of service to an organization of their choice). We continued to get more deeply involved in the Economy League of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, both currently focused on addressing the serious inequality issues we face in our great city.

Finally, of course we’ve also continued to invest time, treasure, and talent into organizations working hard to improve our industry in a number of different ways, like Code for Philly, PhillyCHI, Research Rewind, BarCamp Philly, PACT, Philly Tech Week, and TechGirlz. And let’s be clear: we’re planning on supporting all of these folks again in 2020 and then some.

2020 is going to be another big one. Our main goal is simple: to continue to refine everything about what we do and how we do it so we can remain confident in telling our clients “we’re the best at what we do; you’re the best at what you do—what we can do together will be game-changing.” That means being open to feedback, having the hard conversations when we need to, and continuing to use our core values as a barometer when making decisions. And even as we look toward big goals that can seem really overwhelming at times, to quote Anna in Frozen II (you can tell what I’ve been up to with the family this holiday season): we need to most importantly just focus on doing “the next right thing.”

In a world facing a lot of big, scary problems that can sometimes just make us want to curl up in a ball, may all of us continue to support one another and soldier on, build bridges and connections with one another, remain mindful of how very much we have in common rather than focusing on where we disagree, and even when we’re unsure of the big picture and how to make an impact on the macro level… just do that next right thing.

Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday season!