To An Amazing 10 Years (And Many More To Come)!

DashThis has been in business for 10 years, and it was a wild ride! 

 

It all started in 2011, with a great idea:

I was the one doing client reporting when I was working in a digital agency... what a pain it was! “There must be a better way to do this!” I told myself. I sold my parts in the agency and started DashThis on this idea. No plan B, no security net. I firmly believed I could help other digital marketers with such a tool.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

And 10 years down the road, I think it’s safe to say that Stéphane was right! He did help thousands of marketers so far.

 

But it wasn’t always that simple. 

 

Through the years, many claimed that this company would never work out. 

 

When you take into consideration that 70% of businesses will fail before they get to 10 years, they statistically had a point. 

 

No one knew how DashThis would turn out. But through hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck, DashThis is still there and thriving. 

 

And it’s quite a feat, because not only did Stéphane start the company all by himself, and was profitable every single year, but he did it all bootstrapped (with his own money, no investors). 

 

Many would consider being bootstrapped a major disadvantage compared to our competitors which, financially, is very true. However, it did offer some very valuable upsides that made us who we are today.

Being bootstrapped gave us the liberty to act according to how we believed this should be done to create value for our clients, not by playing the investors' game plan. It also forced us to manage expenses very tightly and make very careful decisions. Playing with our own money is a good way to keep us on the ground.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

Being bootstrapped, starting small, making careful decisions, and making sure we always create value for our users; are just a few examples of what DashThis is all about, and why we’ve had such an amazing business for 10 years now. 

 

We understood early on that our strength isn't having thousands of integrations or features, but truly caring about marketers, really listening to what they have to say, what they use, to mold our tool to their needs.

 

And thanks to this approach, as well as many other factors, It’s been an incredible decade! So let’s go down memory lane, shall we?

 

10 years of amazing people

It all started with just Stephane doing everything himself which was great to build the foundation of the company and to put the whole idea in place, but after about a year, he realized he couldn’t do it all alone and recruited our very first employee;

Fun fact: It's hard to recruit your first employees when you are bootstrapped. Our first developer came from Kazakhstan after reading a post on my personal blog (in French) mentioning I was looking for help. He jumped on a plane with his wife and he has been with us ever since!

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

And just like that, DashThis hired Alex, who’s been with us for about 9 years now! 

 

He was the first, but surely not the last. Our team quickly expanded, one new employee after another, to become a real family. 

The first 4-5 people were the key to get significant traction. Without realizing it, it's not technology, but people, talent, culture, team spirit that were the cornerstones of our success.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

As an employee myself, if you ask me what really makes DashThis a great company, it’s easy: our employees, our culture, our team spirit. We’re more than just working for DashThis. We’re a team, we’re all helping each other, working towards our goals, taking care of each other, making sure we’re all happy, and having fun at work. As one of our teammates said recently during a get-together, the notion that first comes to mind when we think about DashThis is: Taking care of each other. 


Some of our Account Managers at work!



Have you ever worked in a place where the bosses would prioritize particular projects because they know it’ll motivate their employees? Yep, at DashThis these things happen. Our employees' well-being is taken into account in every single decision. 

 

The team is just as important as the company itself since IT IS the company. We don’t work to make the bosses happy, instead, we all work together, and help each other be as happy and fulfilled as one can be. 

 

And this great relationship between employees is not just a work thing. We love to spend time together, not only at work-related events but spending weekends together, camping, playing badminton, board games, doing laser tag, snowboarding, mountain biking, name it! We’ve done it all through the years. Most of our employees became great friends and are still to this day enjoying all types of activities together. 

 

A mountain bike activity in 2019

 

We also love to make sure everyone is properly recognized for their hard work, we used to have what we called the “wall of love” (back when we were actually going to the office). We would stick post-its with all the kudos and accomplishments we wanted to celebrate, and then gather around to congratulate the team on their great work! 

 

Our wall of love, back in 2018

 

And now that we’re all working from home, we’re doing some video-conference award shows and many other activities like our DashThis Challenges, which really makes the whole team’s creativity show! 

 

One of the masterpieces made by our challenge winner & marketing master: J-P.



The people at DashThis really are the reason for our success, they are amazing, creative, adventure-seeking people, all in the best way possible. 

 

10 years of office spaces (or lack thereof)

 

I mean, you’d have to have a taste for adventure when you start working for a company that either has no office space at all or works on camping tables, in an unfinished, dusty office space like that:

 

Our first office space in 2016.

 

You’d have to really believe in the tool, in the founder, or in both! And we did! 

 

After all, the greatest, biggest businesses all had to start somewhere

 

In the case of DashThis, working remotely for the first few years really was the best possible solution.

Fun fact: We were about to sign up for a rent in the early days. But just before signing we asked ourselves why? We don't meet clients and remote work is possible in our business. Plus, it's very expensive given we are bootstrapped! That was a key decision in our success because I don't believe we would have survived the monthly payments... This money was better invested in people.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

The company stayed solely remote for 5 years until having an office became a worthy investment; having more employees, better communication, a meeting place for everyone, etc.

 

So in 2016, we moved into our first office space, a dusty and unfinished office with virtually no furniture. After all, starting small is the best way to go!

 

But worry not, our office space quickly improved. At first, to something a little more corporate: 

 

In 2017 It’s finally furnished, we have amazing stand-up desks, but it’s a little too corporate for our taste!

 

To finally become the absolute most beautiful office space in Quebec City (according to all of us, of course).

In 2018, we finally moved into our brand new office space!

 

But it’s not the office that makes the business. 

 

We haven’t been able to go back to the office for over a year now, and we are doing better than ever (minus the fact that we miss seeing each other). 

 

Right now, our office is Slack, Tandem, Zoom, and all our online discussions, meetings, happy hours, and remote activities. 

 

Last year, when we cheered to our 3rd ranking in the growth 500 list

 

10 years of supportive clients

 

We wouldn’t be where we are today without our amazing clients. 

I knew I was onto something when people from everywhere around the world reached out asking for help. Worldwide clients were ready to get their problems solved no matter where the solution was coming from. We developed an incredible sense of customer service, we were committed to helping them no matter their time zone. Early clients honored us with their trust giving us the chance to prove what we were capable of.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

Right from the start, some amazing people decided to trust DashThis as their reporting solution, and we are forever grateful to them! As a bootstrapped SaaS the first real clients you get are truly crucial for your survival. 

 

Like these amazing people of Bonnier in Sweden; we created a custom dashboard for them in 2012!



At the time, each new client meant another week or another month of our operations being financed. Without these early adopters of our solution, we wouldn’t be here today, celebrating 10 years of DashThis. 

 

So from very early on, we were committed to offering excellent service to our clients. 

Customer service is another very important piece of our success. What we couldn't develop due to lack of resources, we compensated in double by giving customers a level of service they were not used to getting by online providers. The size of our company has never been a weakness, but instead a way to differentiate from larger well-founded companies. Like that chic restaurant you love to go to compared to McDonald's.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

And our customer service is still today, one of the main differentiating factors from our competitors. With us, there’s no way you’ll be left in the dark, having to find answers yourself in the help center; we’re always there to help out and are happy to do so!

 

10 years of reporting

 

Remember 2011? Google Plus, Rebecca Black, and the new iPhone 4 were trending.

 

And it is right during this golden age of technology that Stephane created DashThis. And we had a beautiful, trendy website:

 

All HTML, CSS, and designs were developed by myself… I couldn’t afford a sexier website so I exploited any skills I had. The first logo has been designed by someone in the Philippines that I found on 99 designs.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

But this first version was only one of many. In 10 years, we did a lot of trial and error, the website changed QUITE a bit. Here are most of our website versions through time:

 

Another key to our early success was that while developing the first iteration of the tool, I spent a lot of time creating content so we could be found on search engines. Since then, SEO has been a steady channel for our growth.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

To the next 10 years

Because I can count on an incredible team and all the clients who give us their trust, I can envision the next decade with big dreams. The first is to keep improving the organization to the benefit of our team. The second is to build the means to help more and more digital marketers do better marketing, no matter where they are on the planet, from our beautiful hometown of Quebec City.

Stéphane Guérin, Founder

If you read my last article about our new Product-Led vision, you already have a good idea of where DashThis is heading product-wise! 

 

We already released Google Analytics 4, our new colour themes, and many more features are coming right up! 

 

Needless to say, the next 10 years are looking quite interesting, innovative, and motivating! 

 

There will be more on that later, so stay tuned for my next articles. 

 

See you then!

 

Marie Marie Lamonde

With an ever-growing love of writing and marketing, Marie proudly wears her title of Content Marketing Specialist at DashThis, sharing her dashboard expertise with her fellow marketers. 

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