Happy Birthday Intridea

Who is old enough to ride the big kid rides at the carnival? Us! That’s right, we turn 5 this month and to celebrate we’re getting a facelift; you’re going to love our new site! But first thing’s first – a birthday toast to honor our past and celebrate our future.

In the Beginning

In the beginning there was a single idea: build a different kind of web development company. Co-founder Dave Naffis, Yoshi Maisami, and Chris Selmer partnered with like-minded DC developers to execute on this vision and together they created Intridea, a unique and agile software design company.

The co-founders had a few ideas they kicked off with:

  • Create an entirely virtual company, allowing us to hire the best developers no matter where in the world they live.
  • Be a place to work with the best and the brightest minds in our industry.
  • Be at the forefront of technology and leverage cutting-edge tech in our software solutions.
  • Build applications for customers while gaining insight into their business problems.
  • Use those insights to build products and help customers stay competitive in their industries.

What began as a couple people with ambitions to create a better kind of software company quickly evolved into a team of twelve talented Ruby on Rails developers by the end of the first year in 2007. Intridea was built from the ground-up with raw talent and focused determination without the aid of any VC funding. Fast-forward five years and today the Intridea team is comprised of nearly fifty talented engineers, designers, project managers and partners all working collaboratively on some of the most cutting edge software projects in the world.

5 Years Of Awesome

Of course, it wasn’t all peaches and cream. You don’t grow from two to fifty, launch hundreds of web and mobile applications, and create award-winning products without a few hiccups along the way. We had our share of growing pains but we responded to each stumbling block with the same kind of innovation we use to help our clients solve problems:

  • Talent: Because Intridea came into the web development field in 2007 when Rails was just starting to gain traction in the U.S., we wanted to do what we could to support the Ruby language, the Rails framework, and their communities. Doing so ensured that we (along with other companies) would be able to thrive in the web development space, and that people would continue learning and using the language in the business world. To that end, we began sponsoring regional and national conferences, local user groups, hackathons, and encouraging our developers to continually work on open source software projects.

    The hundreds of hours we devoted to teaching classes and presenting at conferences provided us with a reputation for excellence in the Rails community. Therefore, when we experienced periods of rapid growth we were able to bring on the additional talent we needed, even amidst a climate of high demand and low supply in the Ruby on Rails ecosystem.

  • Communication: When communication across a distributed team became difficult we created Presently (now known as Socialspring Streams) to bridge the distance between ourselves and enable more effective collaboration with real-time communication. We iterated on the product as we grew, adding features for sharing video, direct messaging, group collaboration, and more as we needed them.

    Realizing Presently could be of use to other companies as an internal micro-blogging tool we worked to make the product viable for enterprise use. Last year we released Socialspring, a suite of enterprise applications for internal knowledge-base creation, questions and answers, collaboration and communication, and secure link shortening with analytics.

Good Ideas

In a very short time, one small company with a ton of talent has produced some amazing applications. We’re always thinking of ways to solve problems with software and it’s evident from the products we’ve built for clients and consumers. Our work on mobile applications like Tradui, a Creole-English translation app to help aid workers in the wake of the Haitian earthquake crisis, and OilReporter, a crowdsourcing tool to track and report sightings of oil and harmed wildlife after the Gulf Coast Oil Spill gave us the opportunity to show the world how software can revolutionize disaster relief.

Most recently, Michael Bleigh created QUP.TV, a service that sends you email alerts when Netflix adds new titles to their lineup. GigaOM, SlashGear and other prominent blogs have covered the release of this new product.

We’re helping clients like Amazon, Agilysys, Safeway, Oracle, Mashable and hundreds of others create software to revolutionize their industries. Check out our shiny new portfolio page to learn more about how we helped Amazon Mechanical Turk leverage the power of good design to engage their users, or how we helped Point of Sale industry giant Agilysys redefine how POS systems are designed.

The Next Five Years

The first five years has been an exciting start of a long journey. If corporations were really humans we’d only just be starting Kindergarten, but we like to think of startup years more like dog years; it’s no easy feat for a startup to survive their first five years but we’ve done it with style.

What will the next five years bring? Hopefully many more opportunities to design and develop exceptional software and user experiences. We’re partnering with companies like GoodData to help build custom dashboard and analytics tools; we’re strengthening our mobile team so we can bring even more companies to the mobile future; we’re perched at the very edge of the tech frontier, ensuring we not only know the latest technologies but that we also have the experience to know which tool is best for the job. We’re confident we’ll be able to forge ahead no matter what the future may hold because we think of problems as exciting challenges, not as unsurmountable walls. We’re a group of programmers and designers but more than that we are a group of people who love to solve problems, whether its for our clients or for ourselves.

So we raise our laptops today to ourselves, our clients, our partners, and the tech communities we thrive in, and we cheer to a future of responsible growth, intelligent design, and transformative work.

Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow…– Margaret Fuller