We built Zendesk back in 2007 because we were frustrated with the quality of the customer
service applications that existed at the time. The vast majority of these “solutions”
were big, clunky, on-premise enterprise applications, distributed on CDs, and took forever
to deploy. Even proof-of-concept projects often took months to complete. And
when all was said and done, no one, especially the customer, was really ever satisfied.
Zendesk was the first, true cloud-based application that you could sign up for online,
subscribe to online, and configure and launch online. And all of this could be done
instantaneously. All it takes is the click a button, and you are on your way to providing
top-notch customer service across your entire organization.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine software being distributed or packaged any other way.
We revolutionized an entire industry in only five years, yet that handful of years seems
like a lifetime ago.
We didn’t have a very advanced business plan or go-to-market strategy when we started
out. In many ways, we approached building Zendesk in the same way a carpenter approaches
crafting a new piece of furniture. It was all about creating something beautiful
and unique, imagining how people would use it, looking for form and function to meet
and create new meaning.
Of course, when you set out to do something that changes everything, your goal is to
do just that. Still, it is nonetheless a very humbling experience to watch your product
become wildly successful. It is always a remarkable experience to meet people who spend
their entire workday in your product and love using it. And to meet company founders
who tell you how your product has changed the way they do business—well, it’s the kind
of encouragement that spurs you on to do even bigger, greater things.