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2020 Retrospective: Moving forward together, quickly

It’s nearly impossible to predict the course of an unprecedented event like the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as we substituted handshakes with “elbow-bumps,” we could hardly predict how quickly and dramatically things would change. Almost overnight, we pivoted to host our first-ever hybrid meeting for our board of directors. And no sooner than we had formally approved our budget for the fiscal year, we realized we would need to update it with a modified version.

In life and business, unforeseen circumstances require us to be nimble. In many ways, the pandemic has reinforced how the principles of agility apply to the modern workplace. At the business level, our team deepened an agile mindset and took quick steps with the understanding we would inevitably face unforeseen challenges. 

“Keep your eyes on the horizon, but don’t trip over the step in front of you.”

The extent of impact was significant

After the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in cities on the west coast and New York, the extent of impact varied greatly. In cities with high transmission rates, there was genuine fear. Some of our team members contracted the virus, had loved ones who were sick, or significant others who were frontline workers. While not everyone was directly affected by the virus itself, almost everyone knew someone who had been impacted in some way or another. 

Transparency and communication are critical in the best of times, but they took on even greater importance in such uncertain times. Being able to ensure that our employees and their families were safe, healthy, and happy was our first priority as a company. When our leadership team determined how we could weather even our worst-case scenario, we moved quickly to let our employees know that no one would be laid off. By dispelling the anxiety of potential layoffs, our team was able to breathe, manage their personal lives, and adjust to working from home.

The humanity of coming together

The transition to remote work also landed differently across our employees. While some employees were accustomed to working from home, others worked primarily from the office. Some team members lived alone, while others shared home offices with significant others, spouses, and children. Conducting Zoom meetings from dinner tables brought us into the homes of our colleagues and made our interactions more human. If one of our engineers needed more flexible hours to accommodate their children’s remote-learning schedule, their teammates rallied to support them. That culture of support has always been present within the Seismic family, but it took on newfound meaning this year. 

Everyone has a role to play 

The impact of the pandemic has touched everyone. Trying times ask us to come together to support one another. As a leader, I feel responsible for ensuring the health and safety of Seismic’s 1,000 employees, just as team members are responsible for their families and friends. As an organization and a business, we also share a responsibility to deliver solutions that empower our customers to do the same within their organization. 

At its core, the Seismic platform embraces many of the values and lessons inherent in this past year. Our tools enable sellers to grow their business by listening to customers, understanding their needs, and delivering personalized experiences that help them to grow their own business. Looking back over the past year, I’m grateful for the dialogue with our employees and customers and how they’ve helped shape our product guidance in support of the greater Seismic community. With this year’s acquisition of Grapevine6 and launch of LiveSocial, I’m hopeful that our customers will continue to find new and creative ways to make their interactions more personal.

Happy New Year from Seismic!

Our brightest moments this last year wouldn’t have been possible without you, our customers. Your continued support and feedback have made this a year of growth. Over the course of the past twelve months, the Seismic family has expanded across employees, customers, and product offerings while bolstering its recognition in the industry.

As we move closer to a new year, I’m inspired by our team’s cohesion. If I’ve learned anything from the past year, it’s that planning five years out is crazy. Planning five months out may not be easy. Instead, keep your eyes on the horizon, but don’t trip over the step in front of you.

Doug Winter
Doug Winter
Doug Winter is the co-founder and CEO of Seismic. Doug also co-founded Objectiva Software Solutions. Doug served as Chief Operations Officer and general manager at EMC Document Sciences until founding Seismic in 2010. In 2019, Doug was named one of the 10 Best CEOs of Small/Mid-Size Companies in the U.S. by Comparably.