Patron Technology’s 15th Anniversary

This month marks our 15th anniversary! For any company, and especially a startup, 15 years is a milestone… one that felt incredibly far into the future when I started as a one-person operation back in 2001.

It has been quite a journey so far, and in some respects I feel like we’re just getting started. Lots of books have been written about the value of combining your passion with your business, and that has certainly been true for me and everyone else who works here. This mission statement has guided us as we’ve grown:

PT’s mission is to revolutionize the arts & entertainment industry by helping our customers build stronger and more profitable relationships with their patrons.

As you probably know, we started our business by building PatronMail, the first email marketing system for the arts. Then in 2010, we launched PatronManager, our CRM system built on that combines ticketing, fundraising, marketing, and staff collaboration. Today we have more than 650 organizations using PatronManager in 46 states and Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Although I’m not normally given to reminiscing, I can’t help looking back at where business technology stood when we started. Here are a few things that make me smile:

  • In our first few years, I gave seminars all over the country and overseas evangelizing the value of email marketing for the arts. My book Wired for Culture, published in 2003, started with these words: “There’s a new and fantastic world of e-mail marketing waiting at your fingertips.” 
  • When I went on the road to do presentations, the most important thing to remember to bring was the backup copy of my PowerPoint presentation… on a burned CD. I didn’t yet have a BlackBerry, but I do recall learning how to use something called Graffiti to write with my finger on my PalmPilot. I had a cellphone, but all I could use it for was to make phone calls.
  • As our office grew, we filled it with desktop computers — mostly built by Dell with monstrous CRT monitors. There were only a few laptops light enough to carry around every day, and we faxed things all the time.
  • Hilariously, I recall Michelle Paul, our fifth employee (now VP Product), telling me that I was texting her too much. She reminded me that she didn’t have an unlimited plan and that if I continued to text her, I’d have to reimburse her for sending too many texts!  

Thinking about what has motivated us so far, and what keeps us going every day, I read a blog post by Seth Godin recently, excerpted below.  

The very same software

Something rare is happening, and it might not last long.

Today, right now, anyone with a $300 laptop can use the very same tools as the people at the top of just about any industry.

If you want to write, you have the same writing tools available to you as the most successful writers in the world.

If you want to join a social network, well, the software that connects the titans of your industry is the very same software you can use.

If you want to learn, do research, make a ruckus… your local library has access to the same tools as you’ll find in a skyscraper in a big company.

This is the very concept that gets all of us excited every day, because our vision is to put into your hands the best technology possible — technology that will help you transform and grow your organization into the future.

As we celebrate our 15th anniversary, I want to thank all of you for being our customers — for providing your support and feedback and your positive energy.

We’re lucky we’re working in an industry in which the people in it care so deeply about what they do. On behalf of our growing staff, we’re excited to have reached this milestone. We look forward to continuing to push the envelope in technology for the arts as we’ve done for the past 15 years, to help you build your organizations in the years ahead.

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3 responses to “Patron Technology’s 15th Anniversary

  1. Congratulations! 15 years is a milestone to be proud of and wow, has technology changed in that 15 years! Can’t wait to see the whole Patron Technology family in a couple of weeks at the Community Meeting. 🙂

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