With SparkFun moving forward, we take a glance at the past.
In just a few weeks, SparkFun will be vacating its offices at 6175 Longbow and moving on up to Dry Creek Parkway. For those of you that have been with us since our humble beginnings, this is a pretty crazy event. So with this huge milestone quickly approaching, we thought it appropriate to take a glance back at where we came from. Call it nostalgia, but this is the first post in a multi-post series about SparkFun’s past. We shall call it…
Before we delve into the SparkFun of old, let’s start with the good stuff - sale items! As part of the Retrosparktive, each week we are offering up a selection of classic products at “historically low prices” (sorry, couldn’t help myself). We’re calling this first selection the “Bare Necessities” - great things to have around your workspace or office. This selection of items is only on sale from 8/4/2014 at 12:01 a.m. MT until 8/10/14 at 11:59 p.m. MT - so get ‘em while you can!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! We’re also offering a promo code good for $10 off any orders over $40. Just put the code “RETROSPARK” into the box at checkout to get your discount. This code is good until August 31, 2014!
Here are the sale items:
For those of you still with me, onto the Retrosparktive. I started in late 2008 (five full-years after SparkFun opened its virtual doors), and was somewhere around employee #45 (give or take). So we asked some of the O.G. SparkFunions for some of their favorite stories of the earliest days of SparkFun - back when the office was actually just our CEO Nate’s college apartment (or shortly thereafter when we moved to Central Ave. in Boulder). Here are some of the highlights:
A very young Nate Seidle, repping “parkFun” in a shopping mall food court. Remember malls? Man, this was a long time ago…
Via Chris Taylor, Engineering Manager: I was put in charge of Shoeshine, the internal server for the entire company. It was a windows box sitting at my feet. If it wasn’t working, I would turn it off and on again. Worked every time. I was the most effective IT department in known history. When a customer called with a tech support issue, the phone rang in my and Pete’s (ed: Pete Dokter, Director of Engineering) shared office. This made me Engineering, IT, and Tech Support all at once.
Our first pick and place. It was old. It was slow. It got the job done. Sorta.
Via Brennen Bearnes, Lead Developer: When I started, we were still building all our desktops from cheap components ordered in bulk. My first day on the job, Chris (ed: Chris Clark, Director of IT) was like, “Build a computer!” and I was like “Ok.” The first computer I built didn’t work. I swapped out every single component - motherboard, RAM, processor, put it in a different case - still didn’t work. By like the third build that wouldn’t turn on, I was thinking well, I’m probably fired. By the end of the day we had I think four different machines built.“
The “office” was small. Here’s a pile of orders sitting on a bed, ready to ship.
Via Prashanta Aryal, Purchasing Manager (who just left us a week or so ago to pursue a grad degree): I remember my first days working in Nate’s basement. It was dark and components were stored in wooden dressers and bookshelves.
As you can see, things have changed pretty drastically over the last 11+ years. Thank you to all our customers who have helped us grow and stuck with us over the years - none of this would be possible without you! We’ll be doing a fresh set of Retrosparktive sale items next week, so make sure to come back!