EchoSign / Adobe Sign Launched 13 Years Ago Today. Lessons Learned. And Go Long.

So Facebook reminded me that 13 years ago today, we launched EchoSign.com on TechCrunch.

This is a really, really long time ago in Internet time, with so many lessons learned.  The Cloud and SaaS were literally 1/1000th of the size they are today — maybe even less.  Salesforce had just recently IPO’d and was worth $2 billion.  That was the only unicorn.

But the meta-lesson is around Going Long.  EchoSign is now part of Adobe as Adobe Sign, and much has happened in the space.  DocuSign has IPO’d and is on its way to $1b in ARR.  What was seen as nutty, and then risky, and then way too early, has become mainstream in 2019.

The “craziest” thing though, that I didn’t understand at all when we started, is just how long the legs can be in business software.  Adobe Sign has a healthy nine-figures in ARR and is 1000x more sophisticated than the little hack we launched on January 1, 2006.

But the same value proposition from 13 years ago is still core today.  And probably almost no matter what happens, Adobe Sign / EchoSign will be around for another 13+ years.  That’s 25+ years at a minimum.

That’s “crazy”.  I was raised to see start-ups as a bit ephemeral, as risky.  I saw IPOs implode and start-ups that seemed red hot go bankrupt in my career youth.

But SaaS really is different.  Get to $10m ARR, growing 80%+ a year, with High NPS / Happy Customers, and you really can’t be killed.

You can go for 25 years.  At least.

Happy New Year!  Go long.

Adobe EchoSign from Mark Rawlins on Vimeo.

Published on January 1, 2019

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