Founder’s Corner – 392 Years of Effort and Experience

Part of my series on what, why and how we do things at RunSignup, Founder’s Corner.

Our company turned 14 years old in January. I was triggered to think more about this by a LinkedIn post by a friend, Jason Byrne, to think about how long people had been here. I was also triggered by a conversation with Sue Lindeboom one day at the office trying to remember a trip we made to Richmond for a Sales & Support Team meeting at a brewery a long time ago.

I found a picture from that trip to Richmond in 2014, and the amazing thing is that we are all still here! Andrew, Bryan, Natallie, Jordan, Lauren, Johanna, Andrew, Sue and me (somehow missing from the photo is Matt Sinclair):

So I took a cut of a spreadsheet showing date of hire and built a formula or two and came up with this:

  • 392 Total Years working at RunSignup combined across our 70 current employees
  • 11 people have been here 10 years or more (rounded)
  • 41 people have been here 5 years or more

Nearly 4 Centuries of experience. And that does not even count our own personal histories. For example, I co-owned a running store for 6 years and volunteer coached a high school XC team and helped as a race director and started a Turkey Trot fundraiser. Or Eric Cone, who actually founded and led a highly successful race registration company, RaceIT. Or Bryan Jenkins and Darren Wambolt and Lewis Jones who all worked at RaceIT. Or Matt Downin who worked at Bazu, Chronotrack and Enmotive for 15 years.

We are lucky to have relatively low turnover in our team. We strive to offer fair compensation and have a comprehensive view of how we share in the success of the company via a variety of ownership, profit sharing and benefits. See the Benefits blog and video for more on that.

We also have a good business and wonderful customers, so RunSignup is generally a good place to work. And because we have had success and grown, people find that their jobs grow as they do. While we are never a place that will have lots of employees and lots of first, second, third and fourth level managers, there is a feeling of progression of a profession. The level of skill and responsibility grows, as well as the ability to contribute to the company and fellow employees and customers. This creates a feeling of purpose that keeps people happy without having to jump companies to progress their careers.

Benefits to Customers

Having long term employees allows us to know more about the needs of our customers in a deeper way. And to develop more and better solutions for ways we can help our customers. For example, we refreshed Hundreds of our Help articles over the past 2 years with animated GIF’s to show how to’s rather than static screenshots or longer videos. Or we completely rewrote how we do emails and websites and RaceDay Scoring after seeing all the ways we could improve a set of features after seeing people use them and seeing how technology improves.

Long term employees also provide better support. We get to know customers over a period of years and help each other get better every year.

Benefits to Productivity and Efficiency

We’ve written about this various times – employees become more productive over time. And replacing an employee is costly for many reasons. For example, a long time employee will know the special needs of a customer while a new employee might not understand how a particular event has always set up their fundraisers for example.

We made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to make sure we kept our development teams together. Frankly, our team is irreplaceable.

I can not imagine how Eventbrite is managing the loss of 50% of the team they laid off in the pandemic or the 8% layoff in 2023 or the 30% offshoring also in 2023 (they still have job openings in India if you know anyone who is interested). The opposite of an efficient and productive team…


We have made two types of mistakes in hiring where people do not join the long timers on the 4 Century List.

The first was trying to grow too fast in 2021, when we thought GiveSignup was a big new market for us and we hired a lot of very good people to join the team and help us accelerate growth. I made a huge mistake thinking there was a growth market there, and there was not. Many of the people who joined were not able to be productive and help the company, which made them feel bad about themselves, and there was a downward spiral for a number of talented people who were just bringing the wrong skills and background to something that was not a fit for our company. My previous experience at fast growth VC backed startups led me to this mistake. But this was not the dawn of Java or DevOps where new markets would explode and it was a grow fast business model. Events by and large already have a provider of technology and it is just tough to move from one thing to another even if our offering is significantly better. And some of the new ways of doing things like advertising just were not reflective of our culture and who we are. That led to some unhappy departures.

The other type of mistake was hiring people who were not a good fit. We are a bunch of OCD people who might work a bit too hard, and many of the people here are very bright. Sometimes in our interview process or background checks we make mistakes and hire good people, who are simply not a fit. They might take too long to get back to a customer, or might not handle a multi-threaded, quickly adapting work environment well, or might not adapt to the style of software development that we do.

To address these issues, we are doing more hiring via college coop and intern programs where people can spend time with us and us with them to see if there is a cultural and performance fit. This is particularly true in development. Stephen our CTO and first employee was an intern the summer of 2009 when we first started working on RunSignup before we were a real company. Stephen and I got along and I realized how special of a talent he was and started the company at least partly because I thought it could be successful with him working on it. There is probably no way I would have had that level of confidence to really start the company if not for that summer we spent working together. That fits today where Duy, Brady and Joshua were coops last year and are joining us full time this year. Both have enormous talent and both know they like working with the team here. Lower risk for them and for us.


We are going to continue to design our company to keep our team together for the long run. It just makes sense to go for 5 Centuries – and a Millennium of experience is less than 10 years away!

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