2023 End of Year Note

Read our CEO's reflections on the past year.

December 26th, 2023

Hi Team,

The beautiful thing about this time is that it seems that most of the world takes a step back to rest, which gives us more space to truly reflect and recharge.

I had the chance to re-read my last note in the past year. Things felt more dire and somber then. A few things, as predicted, came true: In January 2023, we experienced more layoffs than in a long time in the technology industry. The markets have reflected this downturn as well.

While the lagging indicators are not great (see this report by Carta about the current funding environment), the leading indicators, as shared by CEOs, indicate that we’re potentially back on an upswing: in looking at the US interest rate historicals over the past few decades, almost every cycle reverses after 6m at the peak interest rate. By all measures, we are looking at our current peak.

Of course, markets are hard to predict, and I could be wrong. We are always best off by putting our energy within the things we can control — building great product and scaling well!  

Reflecting on the past year’s wins

We accomplished a lot this past year: We were at $xxk ARR, and now we are at more than 4x that at almost $xxk ARR. We are close to (🤞🏻) closing our highest contract ever for the company. We serve more than 8k companies with over 4m people viewing our Arcades per month! I recently compared this to some leading companies, and they had a very similar growth trajectory around this time (including Vanta and Figma, see source).

We shipped Callouts, CYA, better exports (in terms of resolution and clarity), pan and zoom, themes, folders, custom domains, synthetic voice, better AI copy, markdown for callouts, weekly digest, and forms (almost!). There are many other things that I’m forgetting about. All of this is reflected in the feeling of “smoothness” while building an Arcade — I love building one from scratch and not hitting bugs.

In addition to new features, we learned much more about our target customer. We conducted user research about our target persona. We built the bones and foundation of our competitive positioning. We have the latest case study with Quantum Metric, which shows how they have seen over 2x lead volume and conversion rate.

Arcade as a company

I’ve always seen Arcade as two products: the product that we sell to our customers and the company as a product. On the latter front, we added some amazing team members, and as of the Dec 2023 offsite, we have an average happiness rating of 9/10. I’m so proud of that. We also started investing in an office where we more regularly see each other, which has made a world of difference in becoming more connected. Who knows where our office will be next year!

Why we build Arcade

I’m so grateful for what we’ve built and how we got here.

Many people ask me about the deeper “why” behind Arcade. Honestly, the biggest thing that drives me is building a great product that makes people feel good after using it. That is the most important thing. Everything else follows: revenue, growth, expansion, and great company culture (internal culture is hard to build if we are not building something great).

And building a great product is the marriage of many things: creativity, attention to detail, polish, and….yes, no bugs!

We have something unusual here — not only with our ability to create quickly (when many companies move at the pace of weeks to ship a feature), our freedom from bureaucracy (when many people focus on marketing their work instead of doing it), our responsible management (when many companies have irresponsible and erratic stewards), and our earnest collaboration (when many companies suffer from infighting).

We are still a Day One company and should always aim to be better. Arcade won’t always be the same, and as we scale, some of these special attributes will be hard to maintain. But I hope our desire for change and our earnest optimism will always remain.

See you in 2024,

Caroline

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