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Hello World!

· Posted by Val in Company · 8 Comments

Hello world!

As a member of Team Balsamiq for just about 3 months now, I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and welcoming good wishes from the Mockups community. We are onto something pretty groovy here. Being employee #2 at a startup is a little like being a kid’s first-ever babysitter, too. Peldi and I still step on each other’s feet now and again, like both of us answering a customer’s email within seconds of each other. We enjoy that, though, and each time it happens, we raise a toast and drink to our shared zealous customer care. 🙂

I love that our growing customer base comes from a wide variety of industries. Before I got into software, I had a bunch of different jobs, so it’s fun to relate my own life experiences to businesses I encounter at Balsamiq. For example, my undergraduate degree is in International Politics with a minor in Early Child Development. (Studying diplomacy and child psychology is fantastic preparation to be an executive assistant.)  It also allows me to understand that helping an assistant get a team’s software ordered and installed quickly makes us both heroes.

I lived in France and worked at a bilingual school, so language acquisition is fascinating to me. Hearing from  teachers who are using Mockups to prepare classroom projects is always uplifting. If you use Mockups in education, I would love to hear more about it! Also, as we are looking to localize Mockups some day, I look forward to working with our international community.

It’s great to hear from customers who work in the non-profit market. For about 5 years, I worked at an enormous Synagogue right on Lake Michigan in Chicago. I held a number of jobs there: teaching in the pre-school; secretary to the clergy; doing all the desktop publishing for the congregation. It was hilarious to be on tight deadlines, counting on Rabbis who were more concerned with a life-long time-line. It was fun and we eventually learned how to deal with the rhythms. Spending so many years limping along on out-dated office supplies and equipment made me appreciate frugal non-profiteers. Those lean years gave me the background to later found Project Bubbles at Adobe: I got a big suitcase so business travelers could drop hotel soaps and shampoos off. They are the perfect size to bring to the local homeless shelter. Try it at your company! It was super-easy and still remains hugely successful. Don’t hesitate to ping us for a free license ( if you work for a charity.

When I joined Macromedia, one of my big passions was crafting. I made paper and loved to knit. Working for the President of Products, I had fluid communication with the execs from various teams, but found a fantastic way to network “where the rubber hits the road” was to help form a lunchtime knitting group called Needle Exchange. Members of all teams met once a week at lunch where we taught newbies the basics, worked on our projects, and shared news about work. After time passed, this morphed into a formal company-sponsored group where we adopted the Prenatal Homeless Shelter located in the neighborhood, making baby gear and hosting a quarterly baby shower for the neediest of San Francisco’s babies.

This is my first time working in such a small company, so I really cherish communicating with customers, whether on Skype ("balsamiq"), email or Twitter. Most of my day is spent while it’s night in Italy, so if you are near my time zone and have a question, ping me. If I don’t know the answer, we can learn together.

Val and Peldi (putting his "Like a Boss"-face on) getting new gear at the SF Apple Store back in May

I plan on sharing which tools we love and which we don't, as well as customer success stories and anything special that happens around here that could be useful for other startups like ours.

I love my job! 🙂

Val for the Balsamiq Team

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Comments (8)

  1. Hi Valery,

    It is nice reading your #1 blog post. Balsamiq is a great tool and I follow the company from the moment I used the Online Try before you buy version. I was looking for such a tool for a long time and Peldi developed it. For this I’m very thankful to him.

    I can imagine that it must be a special feeling to be employer #2 within this company. So I wish you all the best and thanks that you share your experiences at Balsamiq.

    Have a nice day!
    Christine Fürst (aka stinie)

  2. As one of Val’s former bosses, I can attest to her creativity and enthusiasm. She was also not one to respect the corporate hierarchy, feeling free to make suggestions for improvement, so much so that the CEO always referred to her as “that assistant of yours.”
    Now that she is queen of her own bailiwick, she is in the ideal situatio. But Val is a people person, so don’t let her get lonely. Share your experiences with her. LEA

  3. Is this a good idea? This is probably the single best idea ever developed by the species! Go Balsamiq!

    Christopher Liberty
  4. Very nice sentiments here, and of course a beautiful photo of beautiful people. Congrats!

  5. Hey! She’s BWOGGING! 😀

  6. Un peu de français pour voir si vous n’êtes pas trop rouillée !
    C’est étonnant de voir comment une (grande) idée peut se répandre aussi vite et aussi largement. Aujourd’hui pour tout le monde, on commence un projet en ouvrant Balsamiq, ça semble évident comme d’ouvrir photoshop avant de publier une image.
    Le nombre d’imitateurs que vous suscitez sont une preuve de succès, mais ils leur manquera toujours quelque chose : le visage humain et le ton sympa que vous avez naturellement, sans fausse stratégie !

    I stop here, I tried to use the much complicated words to say it 🙂
    bye !

  7. Balsamiq is an inspiring story for every entrepreneur. Keep up the great works! 🙂

  8. Good to know there is a great people doing great things together. Nice gears ! Congrats !