Ch-ch-ch-changes: The formation of Talky, inc. and a new CEO for &yet

We’re making a change in our organization and roles that I’m really excited about.

&yet is spinning off Talky, inc. as its own company, with Talky and SimpleWebRTC as its products.

Ben Zemel will become CEO of Talky, inc. Lance Stout and Heather Young both have put considerable technical effort into building, maintaining and supporting SimpleWebRTC and they will join Ben as technical cofounders of the new company, with Lance as founding CTO. It has a been a privilege to work with all three of them as well as the many current and past contributors to getting SimpleWebRTC to this point, including Henrik Joreteg, Philip Roberts, Jon Hjelle, Amy Lynn Taylor, Diana Perkins, Lynn Fisher, Terry Carter, Elliott McNary, Luke Karrys, Dylan Staley, Jenna Tormanen, Jaime Robles, Audi Long, Kate Farrar, Nathan Fritz, Gar, Marcus Stong, NLF, Karolina Szczur, Sally Mohr, Chris Koehncke, Bear, Adam Baldwin, Jenn Turner, Isaac Lewis, Aaron McCall, Peter Saint-Andre, Xander Dumaine, and Philipp “Fippo” Hancke. It has taken a village, to put it lightly. Exceptional people, one and all.

I’m really excited for the coming year in watching the continuation of the growth that the SimpleWebRTC team and product have experienced since launching paid signups earlier this year.

At the same time, &yet has been in the process of transitioning to a newer, more focused set of offerings, thanks to work that Sarah and Lynn have done over the past 9 months.

As a natural part of that evolution, Sarah will become CEO of &yet. This is something we’ve been talking about for a few months now and how we’ve been operating for a few weeks.

&yet, LLC operates with a board—not of partners but stewards—folks who have the responsibility for stewardship of the company. I’ve been the de-facto chair of the stewards board and I’ll stay in that role.

Sarah has pretty awesome qualifications for taking on the role of CEO. For one thing, she’s already been leading the effort around &yet’s focused offerings for months. But beyond that, she has actually been an entrepreneur and business owner longer than I have, including experience leading an agency where people truly loved to work.

She is absolutely the right person to lead the company right now. She’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known and I am seriously beyond excited to see where she takes &yet.

But I have another thing that I’m really excited about with all of this. I do intend to remain involved in both &yet and Talky, Inc., but will be reducing my time in both so that I can put some additional time into another project.

6 months ago, Sarah and I purchased a tiny community publication called Tumbleweird, which a couple friends started a few years ago. Think of it as the Tri-Cities’ answer to The Stranger. Since December, I’ve slowly been working on making it more sustainable, teaming up with our Editor in Chief, Sara Quinn, and Managing Editor, Brendan Quinn, plus former owners Henry Hopscotch, Logan Kaufman, and Ted Miller. I’ve even gotten to collaborate a bit with former colleague NLF on some Tumbleweird-releated stuff which has been awesome.

I am excited about the meaningful role Tumbleweird could play in our local community and culture, and very interested in its long-term potential. I’m going to begin putting more intentional time into helping it grow and flourish.

I have faith in Sarah’s ability to lead &yet, and confidence that &yet is well positioned for success with such a strong leadership team in place.

Eric and Sarah have demonstrated themselves a tremendous combo over the past year in creating and iterating the strategic planning processes that have helped us learn so much as an organization. From creative and cultural, Lynn is a dream to work with and so wise, unending in insight, ideas, and ways to make things better. No doubt, we’ll all be thrilled to have Terry back from maternity leave in late summer, too. She’s contributed so much to the way our team works. And, I mean, it always helps that we have one of the most experienced and knowledgeable CFOs we could ask for.

I’ve seen the way our team’s leadership has worked together through challenges and opportunities. We’ve learned and grown a lot over the years. I believe strongly in the processes, rhythms, candor, and supportive culture we’ve developed.

And I definitely believe in the people.

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