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Buffer turned 12 today! Here are some of our favorite stories, memories, and lessons

Today marks Buffer’s 12th anniversary. For the occasion, teammates shared their favorite memories, stories, and lessons from working at Buffer over the last twelve years.

12 min read Open
Tamilore Oladipo
Tamilore Oladipo Content Writer @ Buffer
Buffer turned 12 today! Here are some of our favorite stories, memories, and lessons

Photo by Ali Kokab on Unsplash

Today marks Buffer’s 12th anniversary. For the occasion, I thought it would be fun to ask my teammates about their favorite memories, stories, and lessons from working at Buffer over the last twelve years. I had them share one favorite story or memory and answer one question about Buffer's impact on their lives and how they work.

Here’s what they had to say.

Joel started Buffer in October 2010

Name: Joel Gascoigne

Role: CEO, Founder

Bufferversary: October 2010

Joel’s favorite memories

It’s been a long journey, so there are far too many favorite moments. Here are three:

  • The moment I first got a payment from someone I did not already know. This happened a few days after I launched in November 2010. It was the first time I had been paid for a product I created rather than for my time as a contractor. It was such a different feeling, I remember jumping around the room with joy. This was the moment I knew that Buffer could become something really significant.
  • Turning down a significant acquisition offer in 2014. This is a favorite moment due to the reasons we turned it down. Not only did we know Buffer could be much bigger than it was at the time, we felt a deep connection and commitment to our values and the movements we had become part of (remote work and increased transparency). We knew our efforts and progress here would end if we sold, as no acquirer at the time was operating or interested in remote, and no acquirer would continue to operate with the level of transparency we had. It felt powerful and special to make a clear choice to continue on our path due to the impact we were having.
  • The first time we did profit sharing as a company. This isn’t something we’ll always have, as we have natural ups and downs as a company where we may not be profitable. However, in 2017 we did our first profit share bonus, distributing $300k (12% of profit) across the 68-person team. The gratitude from the team for Buffer was incredible to see, as was the level of transparent sharing around uses of the bonus, some of which were incredibly heartwarming. This was also the moment I felt clearly that I wanted the success of this company to be of benefit to everyone involved, not just myself as the founder and key shareholders.

What's something that surprised you when you started Buffer?

Something that surprised me as we grew in the early months was how often scaling challenges and downtime could paradoxically be a good thing for us, so long as we reacted to the situation in the right way.

During periods of downtime, we would actually gain many loyal Buffer supporters. What happened was, as soon as we ran into issues, we’d divide up as a small team and have half of us focused on resolving the issue as rapidly as possible, and the other half focused entirely on being very responsive and transparent with customers. These became moments of clear community building, where we gained lifelong advocates.

The lesson for me in this was, ship earlier and more often, be ready to switch gears to crisis mode and do the best possible job of that too.

What have you learned from the way Buffer approaches work?

I’ve learned the power and effectiveness of genuinely trusting a team. When you create a strong culture that attracts people to it and you have a worthwhile mission that people feel motivated by, it’s wise to give the team freedom and trust.

We’ve made a number of choices that have been focused on trust and freedom for team members. The top example of this is choosing to be a distributed team in 2012. As a remote team, we do not track hours or even where someone is working from. We simply have a clear mission and goals we all align around as a team, and we get to work. The other more recent example is adjusting to a 4-day workweek in 2020. We believe that we can all achieve more in less time, with increased focus. In this way, through trust and freedom, we all get more time back for ourselves and our loved ones.

Adam joined Buffer in November 2013

Name: Adam Farmer

Role: Senior Escalations Manager

Team: Customer Advocacy

Adam’s favorite memory

One [memory] that sticks out to me at this moment is when I first met the entire team (at the time) in South Africa. There was such a flood of different emotions. I was struck by the fact that, yes, Buffer was a real company (I think everyone struggles with that a bit until they meet someone from the team in person). I was also struck by how kind and genuine the team was and how connected to them I felt even though I had only ever interacted with them online. In all honesty, it is pretty difficult to put into words - which probably makes this a pretty terrible memory to share - but that trip, those people, and so many memories of that time are special.

What have you learned from the way Buffer approaches work?

That it is okay to rethink and approach work differently. There are things that we've come to accept as being the "norm" when it comes to work. These things may have held value in the past, they may be the way that "everyone does it," and they may even be viewed as required to find success - but that doesn't mean they are good or even the way we should approach work now. There is room to reflect on these and curiously challenge the status quo.

Dave joined Buffer in March 2014

Name: Dave Chapman

Role: Senior Customer Advocate

Team: Customer Advocacy

Dave’s favorite memory

I'll never forget my first retreat and meeting everyone for the first time in New York.

What have you learned from Buffer’s values?
I think the thing that I’ve learned is that it’s important that you allow culture and values to evolve over time. Through my time at Buffer (nearly nine years!), we’ve shifted how we think about our value of positivity, which has been key to overcoming some challenges we’ve faced. It’s important to be positive in how you approach things, optimistic, and so on, and aware of the energy you put out. But not everything is fun and exciting, and it’s unrealistic to feel great all the time. In fact, it’s not healthy or helpful to create an environment where people can’t express themselves honestly. Sometimes things aren’t ok, and addressing these things is what leads to improvements!

Danny joined Buffer in May 2015

Name: Danny Mulcahy

Role: Technical Advocate

Team: Customer Advocacy

Danny’s favorite memory

My absolute all-time favorite Buffer memory came from the 2017 retreat to Madrid. We'd had the team meal the night before, which is always epic, and the next day we all had a day off and got to choose which group activity we wanted to do.

Several of us chose to visit a sports pitch for a bubble football experience, and it was the funniest day I've had with Buffer. I don't think I've ever laughed so much as that day; it was an all-time classic and such a wonderful team-bonding experience.

2017 Madrid meetup – Advocacy team

The team retreats and meet-ups that we go on are always special, but this particular memory stands out as one we often reminisce fondly upon.

What have you learned from the way Buffer approaches work?

After being at Buffer for over seven years, it's really been a rollercoaster journey through that time.

The thing that has stuck out to me has always been the fact that we stayed true to our values, even when our chips were down, and it's bad news.

In 2016, we went through the painful experience of having to lay off 10% of our workforce, which was a scary and tricky time, but even then, we stuck to our transparency value and shared this news more widely to our community about why it happened and how we got in that position. In doing that, we showed a lot of vulnerability and courage so that other start-ups could learn from our mistakes.

Later on, in 2020, I think we perfectly practiced our value of "Act Beyond Yourself. When the world was amid the global pandemic, we wanted to put others first, and we quickly worked together to develop a COVID-19 initiative. This allowed customers who were hit by COVID closures to continue using their Buffer accounts without paying for three months. This was something that was a benefit to our customers but clearly came at a cost to us, yet we wanted to do the right thing and go through with it.

That was something I was so proud to be a part of; we were helping others when they truly needed it. This proves that you can run a business on a different journey, and by following your beliefs, you can still do the right thing to help others, too.

Hailley joined Buffer in February 2016

Name: Hailley Griffis

Role: Head of Communications & Content

Team: Marketing

Hailley’s favorite memory

Once on April Fool's day, two of us from the Marketing team sent out a team-wide note that Marketing was now operating by lunar cycles, complete with instructions on how to add the phases of the moon to your Google Calendar. My favorite quote was, "We will be kicking off all of our new projects under the New Moon. During the New Moon stage, which is a time of recharging, all Marketing teammates will be asked to spend some time in the woods. We’ll be reimbursing all transportation and tent rentals for this stage." I still laugh when re-reading that thread!


What have you learned from the way Buffer approaches work?

I've learned a lot about staying true to your values from Buffer. It's easy to say that you are transparent, and a lot more difficult to hold yourself to that transparency when times are difficult. I've been with Buffer through several difficult seasons where we have still defaulted to transparency, and I'm proud to see us stay true to our values. One example is when Buffer was going through a cash flow crisis. Many non-public companies would keep that quiet and never share details, but we leaned into transparency and shared the whole story on our blog, and we had the most supportive response from our community and customers.

Dianne joined Buffer in May 2019

Name: Dianne McEwan

Role: Director of Engineering

Team: Engineering

What was something that surprised you when you first joined Buffer?How Buffer's culture and values are truly ingrained in how the team works day to day. Culture in a company is intentional, and to build the culture you desire, every decision or interaction needs to lean into these values. Our values are what make Buffer who we are today.

What have you learned from the way Buffer approaches work?
Remote work is intentional, and intention is what makes remote work. In a remote working environment, you need to be more intentional with the culture you would like to build and how you want your team to work and interact.

Amanda joined Buffer in February 2020

Name: Amanda Marochko

Role: Senior Product Manager

Team: Product

Amanda’s favorite story

I was originally hired at Buffer to manage our relationships with our channel partners and third-party integrations. My role was embedded within the product team, so I used this as an opportunity to learn directly from the product managers at Buffer. Eventually, I was able to advocate for myself to transition into a full-time product manager, and I owe a lot of gratitude to the many folks at Buffer who mentored and supported me throughout my journey. I've never been happier in my career, and I am incredibly fortunate that Buffer gave me the space to grow in my career and take on new challenges. I reflect on this a lot, and although it's not one specific story or lesson, my favorite memory was the moment I was told that I would become a full-time product manager. It's changed the course of my career, and I've loved being able to work more closely with our engineers, designers, marketing folks, and product managers to build valuable features for our customers.

What was something that surprised you when you first joined Buffer?

Is it cliché to say how nice and supportive everyone on the team has been? I truly feel like everyone wants each other to succeed, and even though many of us haven't met in person, we have a level of trust and respect for one another. We show gratitude for one another daily, and it's deeply embedded in our culture - I haven't experienced anything like it, but it's certainly one of the things that make me value working at Buffer.

Arek joined Buffer in June 2021

Name: Arek Panek

Role: Senior Engineer

Team: Engineering

Arek’s favorite story

I'm a digital nomad, and my favorite part of working at Buffer is meeting other Bufferoos all over the world - it's amazing that wherever in the world you go, there's a high chance some Bufferoo will be nearby. And if not, someone was probably there and can share lots of recommendations!

One thing I learned here is it is guaranteed that people working at Buffer are genuinely lovely, interesting, and just great people in general. Everyone is usually surprised I'm pretty tall, and there were some good jokes about it - you can't really tell a lot about your coworkers' height if you work remotely :)

What have you learned from Buffer’s values?

I learned how to be a better person, literally! I noticed how my personal life changed as time passed when I started living Buffer values. I'm more transparent with everything I do and don't have any problems sharing that, I'm much better at showing gratitude - it feels so nice to be grateful for what other people do and share it with them! Since joining Buffer, I've also started reflecting on my work, career, and life a lot more. If you live these values, you are guaranteed to be a better person, and I love that.

Jacob joined Buffer in June 2022

Name: Jacob Chadwell

Role: Software Engineer

Team: Engineering

Jacob’s favorite memory

Getting to meet my team in Banff, Canada!

What have you learned about the way Buffer approaches work?

There’s a big difference between “working from home” and flexible remote work. Buffer approaches remote work in such a thoughtful way. Instead of trying to replicate an in-office experience as many companies have done post-pandemic, we embrace both the challenges and benefits of being a fully distributed, global team.

We strike a great balance of synchronous and asynchronous work and ensure everything we’re working on is transparent so that our teams never lack context. I feel like, for the first time, I don’t feel guilty when I want to go on a long walk with my dog or take a workout class in the middle of the day. We get to structure our day and work environment around what’s best for us, and that is priceless - something you really don’t find at other companies. The flexibility we have is worth every bit of flexibility we give up when we may have an early morning meeting for time zones or need to work a bit more for a week or two.

Tamilore joined Buffer in February 2022

Name: Tamilore Oladipo

Role: Content Writer

Team: Marketing

Tami’s favorite memory

Surprise, it’s me! This is super meta, but I wanted to jump in here and add my perspective at the risk of coming off like a self-insert fanfiction writer. My favorite memory that’s tied to Buffer is very recent and has a ton of backstory that I won’t get into. Short version: I couldn’t make the Marketing team meetup in Vancouver, and while the team did their best to make me feel included, I was bummed I didn’t get to really meet and connect with anyone.

But two weeks after the meetup, I received a package containing Canadian snacks, a cute t-shirt, and even the gratitude pen we passed around at the end, among other items. That act of inclusion was the kindest thing any team I’ve ever worked with has done for me.

What have you learned about the way Buffer approaches work?

That people are the backbone of every business. Without our customers, readers, and followers, Buffer wouldn’t be where it is. And the company’s approach to ensuring that people are at the forefront of every decision shines through in what we prioritize, our values, and how we treat each other.

Celebrate Buffer’s birthday with us

In addition to all the great reminiscing we’ve done about the past, join us on Twitter for the first Bufferchat in a long while (OGs know) to discuss where we are now and our future!

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