About the Author

Chris Shiflett

Hi, I’m Chris: entrepreneur, community leader, husband, and father. I live and work in Boulder, CO.

Hello, Analog


A few months ago, I was on top of the world. The place was called Sjónarsker, and the view was breathtaking. It was the third day of a road trip around Iceland with my friends Andrei and Helgi, and I had just shared some big news with them. I was leaving my former company and starting something new.

They wanted to know what I would be doing next, and although I didn't know, I did have an answer. "Good people. Good work." These four words became a personal mission statement in the months that followed — something to provide focus and clarity.

Good people and good work go hand in hand. I remember how much I enjoyed working with Jon Tan and Jon Gibbins a few years ago when redesigning my blog. The experience is perhaps best remembered with a comment I made shortly after we finished:

Working with both Jon Tan and Jon Gibbins was a joy; not only do they possess the skills necessary to shape ideas and bring them to life, but their rich personalities and keen sense of humor makes the entire process a lot of fun.

Good work isn't work; it's fun. To do our best work, we need to love what we do. We need to surround ourselves with good people who appreciate good work. We need the freedom to break boundaries. We need to be inspired. Above all else, we need to be happy.

I'm very happy to introduce Analog, a co-operative of web designers and developers:

Analog is a company of friends who make web sites. It's a co-operative where imagination, design, and engineering thrive; good people doing good work.

Allow me to introduce you to my friends.

Alan Colville
Alan is a user experience designer who has been making the Web a better place for more than a decade, helping companies like BlackBerry, Vodafone, and Visa. Although his professional experience is impressive, we're more impressed by his achievements on a bicycle, like being the runner-up at the Kona Cheddar Bikefest 2009.
Andrei Zmievski
Andrei is one of the best developers I know, and if you use PHP, chances are you've encountered his work. He's a member of the PHP Group, started PHP-GTK, helped create Smarty, and is the architect of the Unicode and internationalization support in PHP 6. In fact, when Yahoo switched to PHP, they hired Andrei. He's also a talented photographer and brewer, and 100 days from now, he'll be running the Marathon de Paris.
Jon Gibbins
Jon, also known as Gibbo or the Prince of Kindness, is a multi-talented web developer and accessibility aficionado who has helped companies like Travelodge and National Geographic. His mastery of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP is truly inspiring. On occasion, he suspends his kindness long enough to play a mean guitar.
Jon Tan
Jon is the best designer I know. I first encountered his work long before I knew him as a person, and I still feel extremely lucky to know him. His love of typography is evident in all of his work, and he's one of the only members of the International Society of Typographic Designers who focus on typography for the Web. He's also a former journeyman in the Guild of Indian Ocean Octopus Fishermen. I'm pretty sure the guild is made up, but the stories are real. :-)

Co-operatives are organizations that adhere to the co-operative principles. Jon's description of his personal values — values we all share — helps explain what we're about:

I believe that everyone working on a project should profit equitably from it according to the scope of their participation. I believe we should have the right to claim our own work irrevocably, without suffering the indignity of being white-labelled. (It still happens.) I believe that working for nothing in order to secure clients is daft, and reject the notion that designing "on spec" has any benefit whatsoever for anyone involved. I believe that if democracy and freedom are important to us, then they shouldn't be signed away when we take a job.

Being a co-operative is an important part of who we are. This is why we proudly use analog.coop as our all-important online identity. It's also why we're an industrial and provident society, which is something I hope to tell you more about in the near future.

Twitter seems to be the primary source of activity these days, so it felt natural to announce Analog there, which we did just before Christmas. We're still a bit stunned by what happened next. TweetReach says news of our launch reached more than a quarter of a million people on Twitter in the first few days. The abundance of support and kindness has been both overwhelming and uplifting. To those of you who helped celebrate our launch, I can't thank you enough.

There's a lot more to talk about — GeoIP wrangling, Twitter integration, #grid, Easter eggs, &c. — but I'll save those topics until I have more time.

For now, I just want to wish you a very happy new year! :-)

About this post

Hello, Analog was posted on Thu, 31 Dec 2009. If you liked it, follow me on Twitter or share:


1.Ben Ramsey said:

I'm sincerely happy for you all, and I wish you the best! It makes me happy to see good friends doing good work, and I know the work you produce will be great. I know it may sound odd to say, but I'm proud to see you putting this into action and making it work. May 2010 be a prosperous year!

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 at 01:51:21 GMT Link

2.Himlal Pun said:

It is always a challenge to do business by opensouce programmers or designers. They love to code without any deadline. It would be interesting to see them doing business.

Good luck you all :)


Himlal Pun

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 at 06:35:42 GMT Link

3.Chris Shiflett said:

Thanks so much for your support, Ben. :-) Hope you have a fantastic 2010.

Thanks to you, too, Himlal. We could use some good luck!

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 at 16:50:00 GMT Link

4.Daniel Convissor said:

Auspicious news for the new year! Congratulations. Coops are an excellent organizational structure for personal and social improvement. Thanks for being a positive influence on the world.

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 at 22:11:28 GMT Link

5.John Allspaw said:

Congrats, Chris! It's exciting to have new beginnings, I'm about to have one myself as well.

When I get to Brooklyn, drinks are on me. :)

- allspaw

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 at 22:13:00 GMT Link

6.Louis-Philippe Huberdeau said:

The hardest part of working independently is to refuse work what you don't think it will be satisfying. It's hard, especially in the beginning, but you have to, otherwise you miss out on really great opportunities and have a hard time waking up in the morning.

For some reason, I'm not worried at all for you guys. If you can't make it, there is little hope for the rest of us.

I hope you will have a lot of fun this year. See you in Montreal for Confoo.

Sat, 02 Jan 2010 at 23:08:33 GMT Link

7.Chris Shiflett said:

Thanks for the comment, Dan. With members from both the US and the UK, forming as a co-operative was a complex and tedious endeavor. If it wasn't so important to us, it would have been difficult to persevere. I'm glad we did, and I'm glad people like you understand why it's so important. Thanks! :-)

John, I know some great bars in Brooklyn. I may take you up on that offer. Thanks. :-)

LP, thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm looking forward to Montréal; see you there!

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 at 15:49:42 GMT Link

8.Scott MacVicar said:

I'll say another congratulations to you here, though I think the bigger question is are you going to beat my funemployment record :-)

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 at 16:32:02 GMT Link

9.Chris Shiflett said:

Scott, I've been funemployed for a little more than five months now, but I hope to make some money pretty soon. What was your final score?

I may have to resort to winning on a technicality. I'm a founding member of Analog and not technically employed. :-)

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 at 16:57:57 GMT Link

10.Scott MacVicar said:

Chris, I've not received any income yet from my new job so I'm counting myself as funemployed still :P

I'll let you know the final score in the next few weeks.

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 at 18:04:53 GMT Link

11.Lars Gunther said:

This sounds really exciting. Congrats to you all!

I have a little question, though. Will this keep Andrei away from his work on PHP6?

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 at 17:43:46 GMT Link

12.Stikkyfinger said:

Jon Gibbins plays a mean guitar? I'd be interested to know what he plays and what type of guitar he has?

You're right about good work, it isn't work, it's fun. That only applies if you're doing the work that you love though, because time flies when you're engrossed in that which you love.



Mon, 26 Jul 2010 at 21:06:20 GMT Link

Hello! What’s your name?

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