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Buffer in May: $6.4M ARR, Product Advancements and Self-Management Work

In May, we continued our strong revenue growth, and we’re also growing the team faster than ever before.

Here are the latest insights and numbers about Buffer:

Current Buffer metrics

may 2015 stats

  • 2,432,382 total registered users (+3.4%)
  • 203,449 monthly active users (+1.7%)
  • 49,202 average daily active users (-1.1%)
  • $532,350 monthly recurring revenue (+4.6%)
  • $6.39m annual recurring revenue (+4.6%)
  • $2,267,067 cash in bank
  • 34 team members across the world
  • 25 cities, 10 countries, 4 continents

In terms of our active user numbers, we’ve started a large focus on this and also on churn in the last few weeks.

Team: Hiring for 10 positions

hiring at Buffer

  • 32 fully on-board team members
  • 1 new person has finished bootcamp and fully joined the team: Jim, Product Creator.
  • 2 people are currently in bootcamp and will finish during June.
  • 2 more people have been made offers and will join us in the coming weeks/months.
  • We’re speaking with several more promising candidates.
  • We’re hiring for 10 different positions.
  • A key team member on Product is leaving the company to pursue another opportunity

Product: Future queue, video upload, Pinterest updates

  • We made great progress on “Future Queue,” a project to allow users to add content to any schedule slot in the future of their queue.
  • We have been working on allowing users to upload video to Buffer and share it natively on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • We’ve started work to support the new “Retweet with Comment” feature that Twitter recently rolled out.
  • We added support for Pinterest to iOS and Android apps.
  • We’re working on a new iteration of Buffer for Pinterest to allow you to easily Pin images from the page.
  • We’ve put together a task force to keep working on Pablo and launch some validated features.
  • We’re building in support for in-app subscriptions for iOS to allow us to generate much more revenue from iOS than we currently do.

Self-management: More structure, coaching and mentoring

In the last month we’ve realized that self-management is something that we need to be actively working on much more, in order to get it right and find a way of working that is in line with our values around self-management and is also effective. Leo and I especially decided that we wanted to work more directly on this, and the two of us have started to work daily on this now.

Specifically, we have been working on adding much more structure to the systems we use to organize ourselves as a company, and make everything more explicit. The goal is for us to each feel more committed and take on more responsibility for the areas we choose to work on.

In addition, we have also reflected and started to feel that self-management doesn’t remove the need for higher-level thinking, coaching and mentoring. These are all things we’ve started to bring back, in ways that still feel self-managed.

Asks: Self-management resources, help us grow

  • We’re still figuring out what self-management means at Buffer. We recently spoke with someone who was a big part of the move to Holacracy at Zappos. If you know anyone leading self-management changes at other companies, we’d love to speak with them. We’re especially interested in speaking with Medium and Valve.
  • We’re trying to grow faster than we ever have before and see huge opportunity ahead for growth. We’d love for you to share our jobs website.
  • I’m really appreciative of your openness in sharing Buffer’s transition to self-management.

    I see it more and more talked about in theory, but the actual company implementation successes and challenges are an important part of the conversation aren’t shared nearly as much.

    Looking forward to reading more about how Buffer evolves in this area! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Mike, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here! Self-management has been a really fascinating journey so far, and it means the world to us to hear that sharing it publicly is helpful! We’ll keep going; thanks for the encouragement!

  • Cal Bachand

    Congrats on another month of awesome growth! So excited to see where Buffer is headed with new features and with the self-management journey! :)

    • Thanks, Cal! We’ll have some cool new stuff to share really soon on the culture side about diversity and self-managed pay among other things!

      • Oh, great I read the comments :) I was going to ask about self-managed pay. I’m really curious to see how you make this work!

  • Very cool to see where Buffer is going. Excited to see the new things coming and improvements to the current ones.

    I have experience in self-management, though is was in a much smaller company than Buffer. My CEO took the role of my boss but not my manager as he didn’t want to manage. My job was really to do whatever I thought best for the company. This meant I was free to choose what I did within the company. The freedom it offered to really work on the things I though would benefit us most was awesome. It also provided a tons of opportunity to grow myself and my own skills as I explored areas we could benefit from. There is certainly more to be gained for the company by letting people do what they want to do rather than forcing them to do it. We all understand there will still be things that need to be taken care of, but we perform far better when working on things we are truly interested in doing.

    Thanks so much for sharing these monthly updates. Certainly forms a tighter bond with a company when you gain insight into their inner workings.

  • Congratulations! These are all good things – even graduating someone to a new venture!

  • I am really loving these updates. It’s so great to see a company share the journey. Having no managers is a fantastic concept to begin with but it’s so good to see how you guys are getting along with it. Thanks again for sharing. P.S. I’m super stoked about the product updates. If I can make a request: GIF support. Pretty please.

  • Amanda

    Once again, thanks for sharing! I recommend checking out Treehouse; they switched from a more traditional style to self-management in order to retain a startup culture while growing:

  • Hey Joel–nice update!

    How are you guys feeling about adopting Holacracy vs. building your own system? We are pretty into the general idea of it over at Hanno, but have decided to keep our ‘constitution’ stripped back for now as we ease into teal. I wrote about this here (, actually. We have:

    1. Come up with a “Team Charter” (a massively simplified version of some of the Holacracy constitution, as a set of formal rules about transparency, honesty and using your judgement)
    2. Tried to formalise the “Advisory Process” that’s discussed a lot in Reinventing Organizations.
    3. Launched self-set salaries on Monday too, based around the Charter and the Advisory Process. I was even hoping that your May update would have more info about your salary sounding board!

    I should be writing more about how we’re implementing these changes in the next week or so, so I’ll ping a link over to you guys in case it’s worth a read. Next up, I think we’ll try to define the ‘roles’ that we need to fill in our team and have a fully functioning lightweight Holacracy in place.

    Valve seem to have found a system that works well for them, but I’ve seen allusions in several places to the fact that their culture is somewhat skewed towards hiring more experienced people who are at the top of their game, rather than mentoring and building up people. I’ve heard it mentioned that if you’re not good at building consensus with your colleagues over there, you can find it tough to get stuff done, and that if you need a lot of support, you can find it hard to find it within their organisation. That’s a worry for us too, if it means that some people (particularly minorities within the company) find themselves getting undermined by dominant personalities.

    Holacracy appeals to us precisely because it’s not a complete free-for-all. That it’s treated as a piece of software with bug fixes and periodic new releases is awesome. Their update a few weeks ago to finally make the system open source, is also great.

    I quite like what the Blinkist team have done with their lightweight adaptation of Holacracy ( too. Sure, it’s something of a bastardisation of the system, but it still feels like a nice way to take baby steps into the whole thing, and move at a pace the team is comfortable with.

    You guys seem to have done a great job of the mentoring and coaching piece of the puzzle so far, so it’ll be awesome to see how you try and make sure this happens as you shift to teal.

    Totally agree that it’s almost a full-time job to get this stuff fully up-and-running. Sometimes it’s hard to justify to other people that working on major changes to your culture is important, especially when it seems to be working just fine. But I think this kind of thing is massively valuable, and working on this stuff is akin to working on the ‘product’ of Buffer itself. The time invested in refactoring and rebuilding the foundations should potentially pay off massively later on!

    p.s. If you’ve not seen it, there’s a brilliant article here about the unique role of the ‘CEO’ in teal organisations, and how to reconcile that with your desire to reduce the role of personal ego in the way you’re running an organisation. I know you and Leo have both written about the challenge of doing this in the past, and I was battling with the same dilemma–this one was really helpful:

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