It’s been 10 years since I started working at Trulia. That’s pretty impressive, considering the high tech wonderland that is San Francisco. In fact, the number one question I get from every Trulia interview candidate is, “Why have you stayed at the same company over such a crazy, long period of time?” And it’s also a question I’ve paused to consider as we celebrate Trulia’s big 10-year anniversary.
I bought my first home in 2004, and while I adored the agent who helped me through it, the process sucked. It was stressful. It was confusing. It was messy. I knew there were opportunities to make home buying easier and thankfully so did our founders, Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen.
When we started back in 2005, we were scrappy and nimble. We’d come up with a product idea in the morning and release it after lunch. We were on a mission and consumers caught on. Our site visitors grew from hundreds to hundreds of thousands to millions.
Needless to say, we’ve done a lot of work over the past 10 years to innovate and push boundaries. To outline all our key changes would be a bit ridiculous in a blog post, so I’ll share a few of our major milestones.
We invested in mobile early on and it really paid off. We were the first company to build a national real estate app on iOS back in 2008, and it has transformed our business model by putting the power of listings directly in consumers’ hands while they’re on the go. We’re continuing to invest in the mobile space, and even the wearable space, and today we offer 10 different mobile apps across all platforms.
Starting out, we made our mark by opening up data for everyone to explore by mashing up Google Maps and real estate listings. By 2006, we created highly visual and easily digestible heat maps that describe pricing and popular neighborhoods. Our team continues to improve real estate listing quality and local neighborhood information through innovative datasets that help consumers discover the “inside scoop” on locations in a simple to use interface, showing commute times, crime data, demographic info, etc.
Harboring a Culture of Innovation
Trulia’s growth and success as a company is a result of its culture. At Trulia, people treat each other with respect and compassion, and we collaborate.
Many ideas are created organically, during day-to-day work. One of the most popular activities within the company is Innovation Week, a company-wide week devoted to experimenting with new ideas each quarter. Dozens of products, services, ideas, features and even open source projects have come to life as a result of Innovation Week.
Focusing on Design
Trulia was founded with the simple idea of opening up data and making it easier for people to find their home. Our mandate is to innovate and build cool, consumer-facing products that not only work, but are also beautiful and easy to use. Clean, elegant, useful design is a deep passion here, and if you compare our products to others you’ll see it right away. I’m particularly proud of the fresh new Material Design Android app we launched this week. If you prefer Apple, we also released a Trulia Apple Watch app that we worked directly with Apple on; I hear that company knows something about good design.
Back to where I started, why am I still working at Trulia after 10 years? It’s the people, culture and real-world problem solving opportunities for our consumers. Plus, I love startups, and Trulia is my sixth. While arguably bigger and far more stable than a freshly minted startup, I still feel nimble and empowered to make innovative changes every day at Trulia.
This is not a company afraid to try new things; in fact, this is a company where complacency and status quo simply don’t fit in. This is a place where people collaborate and the best ideas win. That is why I’m still here today, and why so many other Trulians will be hitting long term anniversaries of seven, eight and nine years this year.