It’s hard to believe that 2019 is already drawing to a close. For us at Extensis, it’s been a particularly momentous year. I’m so happy to lead this amazing team of colleagues whom I’ve known for the last six years, now with the great honor of being the company’s CEO. There have been so many incredible moments over the past year — I wanted to share my favorites with you.
5. Launching the Invent Amazing Campaign at Adobe MAX
Extensis attends Adobe MAX every year, and it’s definitely a favorite event for us. The conference is buzzing with creative energy. We always meet great people — especially our customers — check out fascinating workshops and speakers, and gain new insights about the industry.
MAX 2019 was our best one yet. We launched our “Invent Amazing” campaign there — focusing on the creative spirit that drives great design.
We asked visitors to our booth, “What inspires you to invent amazing?”
And they literally drew out their sources of inspiration using art supplies we brought with us — blank tiles and markers, plus a display to showcase all varied responses.
For professional designers who live in a digital world, getting offline and hands-on was a welcome break from the norm. Several visitors confessed that they couldn’t remember the last time they had physically drawn something.
We always love talking with Adobe MAX attendees, and this year we focused on authentic conversations — rich, personal, and fascinating. We got to engage and learn about what really made them who they are today as designers — from the kind of art they did when they were growing up, to those first impressions of art and design that really moved them. I felt like we were talking about the stuff that really matters. Everything else — techniques, tips, tricks, tools — is all just to support that creative drive.
Our whole team returned home in agreement that the conversations we had with artists that week outshined any lecture or installation at the event.
4. Strengthening our Portland Roots
Our Portland, Oregon, headquarters has beautiful views of the Willamette River and Mount Hood, and our team here takes advantage of everything this beautiful city has to offer — from pristine hiking trails to killer coffee. We always try and do right by this city we’re lucky to call home, but in 2019 we put in a real effort to give back and strengthen ties to our community.
The Portland Business Alliance is the greater Portland area’s Chamber of Commerce which we joined to build and strengthen ties with other businesses in the area. It’s easy to get tunnel vision from the perspective of yourself, your company, or even your industry. Our involvement with the Portland Business Alliance has introduced us to new people and helped us to learn about new businesses that are thriving and redefining Portland’s economy.
BBPDX is a mission-driven organization made up of companies working together to help Portland keep growing in the right direction, and not just from a “business” perspective. This organization has identified and is actively tackling four challenges — local transportation, economic opportunity diversity, housing and homelessness, and connections within our community. Check out their work here. We joined in August and are so excited to help Portland serve its residents like a big city, while keeping that small town, community feeling that draws so many people here.
In our office, the Extensis team came together to contribute to the city as well. Our canned food drive was a great success, one of longtime teammates organized a charity breakfast for the Sunshine Division food drive, and our toy drive is in process as I write this — that giant container is filling up fast!
3. Suitcase Fusion v21 Launch
In November, we launched the latest version of Suitcase Fusion, and I couldn’t be more proud. Switching to subscription means that we can provide seamless compatibility with the design tools our customers use every day as new versions are released.
This was definitely a big launch for us, and I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed. We’re all excited to see how Suitcase Fusion will continue to evolve to support stronger integrations and rise to designers’ challenges as they tackle new projects.
2. Hanging Out as One Team
Everyone here puts in hard work, every day. There are some members of our team who support one another every day in their work, and some who never cross paths with one another. That’s why it’s so important that we make time and space to all hang out — relax, have fun, and get to know each other beyond our roles.
In July, our Portland team joined by Extensis team members from across the US and the UK for our company picnic at historic McMenamins Edgefield — a beautiful 74-acre space with historic buildings, orchards, gardens, and more. We enjoyed the sunny weather together playing lawn games, golf, and exploring the gorgeous grounds together.
Just recently, we threw a big holiday bash for the team. Picnics are out of the question in December here in the rainy Pacific Northwest, so we opted for an indoor extravaganza with food, drinks, video games, karaoke, and bowling. It was a well-deserved night of fun and festivities for our hardworking team. Meanwhile, our UK team braved the elements by off-roading, then warming up indoors and sharing a meal together.
Of course, we know that work life balance needs to exist outside of big events. This June, our office participated in the Bike More Challenge — encouraging our teammates to get out, get active, and opt for more sustainable transportation. We came in third place for companies of our size in Portland! We also held team breakfasts, a Mario Kart tournament, and launched a weekly meditation group — all of which help strengthen our teammates personally and professionally.
1. Rebranding, Reorganizing, and Reinventing Extensis
Recently, we shared on the Extensis blog a little bit about the ethos behind our new logo, but that’s just scratching the surface. You know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” While it sounds practical, it isn’t very realistic in a day and age where everything is in a state of constant change. And change benefits from conscious direction. In 2019, we took a deep look at Extensis and set some serious goals for ourselves.
First, we made “customer success” our absolute top priority. From individual graphic designers to enterprise accounts, we’re committed to supporting our customers’ workflows and businesses. As we’ve grown over the last several years, we felt it was important to build a stronger foundation on which to support our customers and help them achieve their goals.
In the spring of 2019, we went through a major company reorganization. We changed up our internal structure to ensure that customers were able to receive comprehensive guidance and engagement at every turn.
Internally, we also wanted to improve communication and increase visibility between departments, pushing our team to really understand how our company operates as whole. We are not scattered, siloed departments — we are one team.
This reorganization led us to hire new people — a lot of new people. We brought in experts on everything from community building to SEO. It’s been wonderful to welcome these new faces, new ideas, and new energy to Extensis.
Extensis looks a lot different than it did when I first started here, and that’s a good thing. We’re growing and evolving, and our people are the driving force behind that.
As happy as I am to share my top moments from 2019 with you, I’m even more excited for what 2020 will bring. I want to thank everyone who made this last year possible — our customers, our partners, our community, and our team! I wish you all a very Happy New Year.