For the second consecutive year, Blend has been named to the Inc Best Workplaces list! Read the full press release here.

What Do You See, 2023?

For many of us in leadership, it's our job to cast a vision for the future. However, taking time to pause and look back is an essential exercise. We reflect to celebrate accomplishments, learn from mistakes, and appreciate the past: the good stuff and the parts we're not so proud of.



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You've undoubtedly read several "A Message from the CEO" posts this December. Or, perhaps you didn't even bother — each one tends to follow the same formula: we mention how great the year has been, we recall lessons learned, and we eagerly look forward to another exciting year ahead.

There’s a reason for this consistency — our job as leaders is to cast a vision for the future. We focus on making smart decisions today that will result in a prosperous future. At the same time, it’s important that we take time to pause and look back. It’s an essential exercise. We reflect to celebrate accomplishments, learn from mistakes, and appreciate the past — both the good stuff and the parts we're not so proud of.

For the last few years, I've been focused on being present and living in the moment. I've cut back on posting on social media as things are happening — not because I don't want to share, but because it tends to distract from the experience itself. My phone is filled with photos from my travels, dinner parties, work events, and laughing friends — taken, but not shared.

This post has been assigned to me for four months. The side effect of living in the moment is that a “year-end post” assignment like this feels daunting. I’m thankful for the deadline and to-do: it forces me to sit down, reflect on the past, and celebrate.

On a personal level, I had some pretty great professional moments this year. I have a lot to celebrate, from several speaking opportunities, including being a juror at Codegarden in Denmark, to celebrating being named the SBA Small Business Person of the Year for South Dakota.

And here's where I get to say that 2023 looks even more exciting, with new opportunities already confirmed and exciting things on the horizon. It’s been a year of investing in Blend's future. Whether growing our team despite the threat of recession or expanding our personalization and optimization practice with Umbraco and Optimizely, Joe and I have been having fun writing a new chapter for the company post-pandemic.

So, without further adieu, here are just a few of the things we're pausing to celebrate this year:

Karla named SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year for South Dakota.
Representing the nearly 90,000 small businesses across South Dakota, Karla was named SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year for the state by the Small Business Association, who celebrated the 2022 cohort of Small Business Persons of the Year — one for each state and territory in the United States — during National Small Business Week in May.

Bob became an OMVP. Chase became an Umbraco Master.
Our development team continued to prove why they’re the best, with both Bob Davidson and Chase Burandt reaching the highest level of mastery in their respective content management systems. We’re so proud of them!

Blend became uMarketingSuite’s first North American partner.
With an increased focus on optimization and personalization, we partnered with uMarketingSuite to extend Umbraco’s capabilities.

Bob and Sam celebrated major milestones.
Sam Otis, esteemed designer, front-end developer, illustrator, and podcast guest, celebrated his 15th anniversary at Blend, while Bob Davidson, Blend’s director of development, celebrated his 10th anniversary.

Blend expanded our team for the future.
Welcome to our newest team members, representing everything from operations to design and development. We’re excited to have Nikki, Tré, Kenzie, Dustin, and Annie on board, and are excited for what the future holds. And, a special thank you to our interns and mentees through our annual BEEP and BLIP programs.

Karla participated in both Umbraco Codegarden and Umbraco US Summit.
From a European trip as the North American juror for the prestigious Umbraco Awards to a featured spot at US Summit, Karla served as Blend’s very visible representative across the Umbraco ecosystem.

Summer Hours became “normal hours.”
As a company, we observed summer hours — a slightly shortened work week, and an official close of business at 1:00pm each Friday — from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This year, we decided to make it stick all year around.

The Web Project Guide book and podcast turned one.
After launching the physical version of The Web Project Guide in 2021 — and immediately embarking on a podcast project — we were excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of both the book and the podcast in 2022.

The past is filled with events we celebrate and others from which we've learned. The future looks bright, and we're excited to ring in the new year and see what 2023 has in store. Although we can cast our hopes and vision for the future, it's only a guess of what we'll see in 2023.

Cheers to reflection, celebration, and the learning lessons that will shape our future.