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Happy 5th Anniversary, Altimeter!

Charlene Li

Five years ago, I started a company. At the time, it was simply just me deciding I wanted to do something different. I learned it was by far the hardest professional decision I have ever made, to strike out on my own.

It's a day that I still remember so clearly. I had no idea where I would be five years later, let alone by the end of 2008.

Five years ago, I would never have thought that I would have 20 wonderful colleagues. I am honored that they joined Altimeter and am so inspired that we share the same passion for understanding and thriving with disruptive technologies. Working with them is like going to the brain candy store every day, dipping into an endless barrel of insight.

I was asked recently what is the best part of starting a company. While there are definitely benefits around freedom, I realized that the best part was working with people who shared the same values as me, that we engage with the world from the same starting point. Our culture is our #1 strategic imperative -- with a strong culture and team, we can accomplish anything. After all, culture eats strategy for lunch.

Five years ago, I would never have thought that we would have the privilege of working with hundreds of the top companies and leaders in the world. They challenge us, and it's incredibly fulfilling when we see them impacted by the research, consulting, and training that we provide.

Five years ago, I'm glad I didn't know how hard this journey would be. This hasn't been an easy journey -- starting a company never is. I wish I had asked more people for advice. I wished I had listened to more of the advice that was given to me. And I have been humbled and grown in countless ways. But not a day goes by that I ever, ever regret taking that step five years ago to start what would become Altimeter.

A big thank you to Mel Blake, Linda Ziffrin, and Denise Aday for being there with me at the start. I'm forever grateful to Jeremiah Owyang, Deb Schultz, and Ray Wang for believing in a partnership forged in the depths of the recession. And to all of the innumerable people who have been generous with their time for research interviews, shout outs, and tweets -- we couldn't have made it this far without you.

At birthdays and anniversaries, I feel that words don't quite do justice to what I'm feeling. So here's some haiku to bring this post home.

Seeking a new path
Five years hence, Altimeter.
Open. Humbled. Proud.