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Gwen Shapira

Thank You, 2022 Edition

Every Thanksgiving, I take time to reflect on everything I have to be thankful for. Looking at the past year and taking the time to reflect on my blessings. This year there I am especially appreciative of the help and support of an unusual (for me) number of people. I didn’t realize until now how many people are part of Nile's journey, and how grateful I’ll be to all of them.

Hopefully this post doesn’t miss anyone who deserves my thanks, and please don’t read too much into the order, because I’m having trouble figuring out where to even start.

Thank you

The first customer discovery call for Nile. took place in September 2021 with our friends at RocketLane. Since then Ram and I have talked to over 100 companies - the smallest had just 2 founders and was founded days before we talked to them, the largest was a 40 years old public company with 25,000 employees. We talked about their journey, their challenges and future plans - and we learned so much from every conversation. We are thankful to everyone who spent an hour or more on the phone, in coffee shops or in their garage. We are especially grateful to everyone who said “why would we want this?” Or “Interesting idea, but I can’t see us using this”. I know that saying anything negative isn’t easy or natural but all feedback was useful in helping us carve our product direction.

From those who talked to us, some became the early users and design partners of our product. They asked smart questions, gave us concrete feedback, discovered a bug or two, shared ideas and even contributed a pull request. They inspired us with the problems they are tackling and the products they are building. We know that investing time and effort in a brand new product isn’t an easy decision to make, and we are doing our best to repay this generosity by rapidly delivering a world-class product to everyone who took this step.

A year ago, Nile was just 3 of us - Ram, Norwood and myself and now we are eight Nilians (Nilers? Nilists?). It is always a big leap of faith to join a tiny startup with barely any users or product. To build the MVP and help shape a future. It requires self-confidence, trust in the team and belief in a possibly crazy idea. Everyone who joined us had other options - join a FAANG, join another startup, start their own company or perhaps early retirement. We are grateful for their decision to join Nile and even more for what everyone gave Nile - their creativity, passion and effort.

Of course, we couldn’t have hired these wonderful humans without funding. As part of our fundraising efforts, Ram and I talked to many investors - from the large and famous VCs to individuals who wanted Nile to be their first angel investment. We appreciate the time of everyone who talked to us. We appreciate the candid feedback from those who heard us out and said “not a good fit”. We really appreciate those who heard us and said “oh yeah, this is a great idea and we want to be part of this journey”. Some investors went above and beyond in introducing us to their portfolio companies, or in sharing their research with us, and we are grateful for this. We are especially grateful to everyone who ended up on our cap table with investments large and small. We appreciate how you believe in our vision, the time you spent with us and all the support.

Over the last year, we’ve built not just a company but also a community. The SaaS Developer Community grew to over 1500 members. We have a Slack, a YouTube channel, a podcast and a bi-weekly newsletter/blog. Slowly but surely, our vision for a place for those who are building SaaS products to share their experience is becoming a reality. I met great people through this community and learned quite a bit. I am grateful to everyone who contributed to our Slack discussions and to everyone who joined me for the YouTube / podcast recordings.

The SaaS Developer Community is not the only community that I’m part of, and I’m grateful for the support I got from other communities as well. Communities that I was already part of were very supportive of my new direction, and I was also invited to join several new communities that quickly became part of my daily routine - a place to give and receive help and support. I know what it takes to create and run a great community, and I appreciate the community admins, members and those who invited me to join.

And of course, a list of gratitude can’t be complete without sharing my deep appreciation to my close friends, family, and especially my husband. Those closest to me were more supportive than I can ever thank them enough - patiently listening to me talk endlessly about Nile, reassuring me that I’m not doing anything too crazy, making sure I get breaks, workouts, sleep, food, and hanging out with me when my head is so full that I can barely talk at all.

For the last year, every evening I asked myself whether I did my best today, worried that I’ll fail all those people who believed in me and supported me, hoping that my best was enough.

Saying thank you is not enough, but today, it is a good start 🙏

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