The Journey of 2015

12-18-15 Ben Callahan Rob Harr

Ben and Rob reflect on the amazing and unexpected path that has been 2015.

“He who travels far will often see things far removed from what he believed was truth. When he talks about it in the fields at home, he is often accused of lying, for the obdurate people will not believe what they do not see and distinctly feel. Inexperience, I believe, will give little credence to my song.”

― Hermann Hesse, The Journey to the East: A Novel

2015 has been a journey. The Sparkbox of 2014 had no idea of the things we would learn, the ways we would change.

Journeys are all about the lines connecting the dots rather than the dots themselves. Those lines go up and they go down. Sometimes they circle back on themselves; sometimes they forge ahead. This year has taught us much about business and life—we feel like we’re growing up, maturing, like we’re capable of much more than we’ve ever been capable of before.

The Lines Give You Experience

2015 allowed us to work with larger organizations than we have in our past. We’ve worked in different company cultures with unique processes and technologies. We’ve even documented our learning in hopes being a better member of the community. We’ve organized events, offered workshops and presentations, done internal trainings, facilitated local meetups, and supported other amazing organizations as they’ve done the same. All of this gave us experience that will inform our recommendations in the future. We’ll be better on our next journey because of this one.

The Lines Are Where You Grow

But it’s not just the next journey that benefits from past experiences. Even this year, we’ve seen our team get smarter, push each other harder, and break outside our normal approaches. Working toward a common goal has forced us to extend, to grow. Some of this has certainly happened independently, but much of it has been the result of others pushing us. 2015 is the year we finally recognized some of our own bias and began asking how we can become a more inclusive place to work. 2015 is the year we challenged ourselves to take education about our craft seriously, no longer settling just for 45-minute presentations at other events, but bringing the Web’s brightest to our community. 2015 is the year we started to look for ways to encourage more wholistic wellness in our team. 2015 is the year we had 6 new Sparkbox babies—now that is organic growth.

The Lines Give You Something To Celebrate

Without the lines, our celebrations would be hollow. We received more than 60 amazing applicants for the 2016 Sparkbox apprenticeship. This is absolutely worth celebrating, but it only happened because of the 4 years of previous apprenticeships—the journey. We were nominated for Agency of the Year, and one of our projects was nominated for Redesign of the Year. These are tremendous accomplishments, but it’s the toil of the last 5 years—never accepting that the status quo was good enough—that allowed us to achieve these nominations.

We don’t want to downplay our accomplishments, but we do want to pause and reflect on 2015. The goals, the awards, the launches, they all pale in comparison to the pleasure we have in doing the thing we love with the people we love. Helping each other along the journey.

Closing out 2015 certainly feels like a prominent dot, an exclamation point for an amazing run-on sentence. This year has pushed us as individuals and bonded us as friends. It’s shifted our perspectives and opened our eyes. We are thankful to have shared this year with the people we are privileged to lead here at Sparkbox and the customers we are honored to have worked with. Thank you for an amazing year. Here’s to the journey, here’s to the next line!


Rob and Ben