2018 Annual CEO Holiday Letter

Dear Customers,

I’m a little late in finishing my 2018 letter this year… and I know you’ve been waiting on pins and needles for it. Ok, maybe you’ve not been eagerly awaiting my letter, but either way I have a good excuse. At 43 years old, I finally became a dad! My baby girl, Lincoln Reese Maloney, was born on November 29th at Swedish Hospital in Ballard. My wife Katt, who is our Bookkeeper and Asset Manager, is a huge history buff and based the name on one of her favorite historical characters. I’d often heard from other parents that the love you have for your child is unlike anything else. While I cognitively understood that, language seems to lack the word to describe the actual experience of loving your child. It is so incredibly different from the love you have for your spouse or parents. An interesting side effect is that I now better understand my parents and why they raised me the way they did.

This past month has been a whirlwind of sleepless nights and the constant awe that ensues after bringing a new life in to our world. This experience has had me contemplating the balance between running a company, being a father and husband, staying connected to family and friends, and managing my own selfcare. It further has me contemplating relationships and in particular the relationship between a company, made up of people, and it’s customers. In particular at Atlas, our culture intentionally puts our employees first followed then by our customers. It is through loving our employees that they in turn can take exceptional care of our customers. I think Simon Sinek said it best “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” It’s easy to talk about culture and employees first but putting it to practice is difficult; maintaining and further improving good culture is really hard work but worth every ounce of effort.

The value of this effort was dramatically reinforced in me during our staff holiday party last Friday when my team presented Katt and I a video they’d secretly put together. The video is comprised of short segments of the team talking about the reasons they work for Atlas. It didn’t take but a moment before both Katt and I got choked up. I share this because I think it’s important for you, our customer, to know a bit more about the people behind the services and company you support. To know that the 28 people that ‘are’ Atlas really care about each other, the company, and your experience. To know that we’re human and make mistakes but that we’ll always work aggressively to hold your needs and our needs in balance and make things as right as possible. We don’t believe that the customer is always right because sometimes, frankly, customer’s aren’t. But what I think we do really well is to listen to our customers, and lead with positive intent in our hearts. Yes, it’s business, but without the people on both sides of the equation we wouldn’t have a business. To this end, I welcome you to engage with us and share your thoughts on how we can do better or what we’re doing well for you.

We had a solid 2018 comprised of some nice successes and growth coupled with some painful lessons and interesting challenges. Our team grew by a total of 3 headcount to 28 and we still have 3 more positions open we’re working to fill. We added 23 new buildings to our gigabit powered network this year bringing our total # of commercial and apartment/condo buildings online to 238. In addition to serving the Seattle core, Bellevue, Burien, and the Suncadia Resort Community in Cle Elum, we added our first building of many in Redmond. We’re nearly complete with the beta phase of our IP Television/Video platform and owe the Suncadia homeowners a huge thanks for their continued patience and support as we’ve developed the platform. The first release is only the beginning however, there are so many new features still to add to the platform. Lastly, we started upgrading buildings in our Seattle network to 10Gigabit service capacity and the first two buildings have been completed this December.

Some hard lessons and challenges in 2018 kept us distracted on a couple fronts. This fall we stopped supporting the Portland market where we’d been managing 14 buildings on behalf of another provider who ultimately closed up shop. Supporting the Portland provider was a mixture of altruistic and strategic initiatives but in hindsight, stepping in proved to be a real distraction from our core business. We’ve added some amazing people to our team this year but hiring has proven to be a real challenge in both Seattle and Suncadia. Competing against the salaries and benefits packages of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. is difficult for a small business in the tech sector and finding the right candidates in Cle Elum to grow our Suncadia crew continues to be burdensome. If you know of anyone, please direct them to our careers page: http://www.gigabitseattle.com/careers

2019 is gearing up to be an exciting year, a couple highlights of things to come:

  • We’ve been reworking our logo, website and colors and you’ll see a new look and feel to Atlas in January.
  • First full release of our IP Television/Video platform in the fist half of the year.
  • 10Gigabit capacity will be our new standard for buildings in the Seattle metro.
  • The Suncadia core network will be upgraded to 10Gigabit.
  • We’re stepping up the number of customer appreciation events in both commercial and residential buildings.
  • We’ll be adding more customer service team members to better support you.

Atlas is the last independent telecom company in Seattle and when compared to our national rivals, we’re certainly the underdog… but we love our renegade status! We’re a company of 28 hardworking, technology loving, gigabit crazy, customer-centric, geeky (well most of us) people that pour our hearts in to this company. We’re a company of friends, a company of passion, a company focused on innovation and the customer experience. We’re a company that despite our size, gives back to our community every day through low cost or donated internet in low-income housing, free gigabit-powered public WiFi hotspots, and support for community focused non-profits. Meet our entire team here: http://www.gigabitseattle.com/staff

Thank you for supporting a local company made up of people who live and work right here. As always, I love hearing from customers directly and my contact info is below.

Happy Holiday and an amazing New Years!
Ryan

Ryan Maloney – CEO
Atlas Networks
ryan@atlasonnet.com

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