10 lessons learned on FMYI’s 10th anniversary

2004. The Summer Olympics were held in Athens, Google had their IPO, Hey Ya won MTV Video of the Year, The Incredibles came out in the theaters, and George W. Bush was Time’s Person of the Year. And FMYI [for my innovation] was born out of a coffee shop here in Portland on January 28th.

It’s been an amazing ride. Although I’m sometimes compared to Chris Traeger when I try to spread sunshine around in gray Portland, I have my fair share of gray hairs that have sprouted up over the years. As I’ve reflected on the past 10 years at FMYI, I started thinking about the top 10 lessons I’ve learned starting a bootstrapped B Corporation in an off the beaten path city. more…

B(eat) Corp

Certified B Corporations address social and environmental issues through the power of business. Currently 454 companies have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency and earned certification. Why does certification exist? Why do companies get certified? From the B Corp website:

“B Corporations’ performance standards enable consumers to support businesses that align with their values, investors to drive capital to higher impact investments, and governments and multinational corporations to implement sustainable procurement policies.”

Are you part of a B Corp? Do you do business with any B Corps? 30 of the 454 are located in Oregon. Not too shabby. Two are here in Leftbank. FMYI and Blue Tree Strategies have both been part of this place from nearly the beginning. Obviously passionate about their work and pushing the B Corp agenda, they’re working together to spread the word. Check it out.

Removing barriers and sharing solutions

FMYI ranks in top 15 of Oregon’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for 2nd year in a row

At a reception held last night, the Portland Business Journal unveiled the 2011 Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in Oregon, recognizing companies large and small for their feats. That’s what this list, “and the underlying mission of the Business Journal itself, is all about – focusing on growth and learning for those companies that are making it happen,“ said Craig Wessel, Portland Business Journal Publisher.

The top 100 companies were chosen based upon their percentage of revenue growth from 2008-2010 and then ranked accordingly. FMYI remained on the list at 14th, after making our debut on the 2010 list at 13th—and the momentum is still going. More teams are learning the power of FMYI to INNOVATE NOW, as FMYI serves 135,000 profiles and 11,500 sites.

imageCelebrating at the reception with the Portland team, FMYI President Justin Yuen said, “Our team is honored to be in such great company and appreciative for the Portland Business Journal’s recognition of our efforts. We look forward to continually helping more people easily collaborate online in a sustainable way by creating a private social network to get work done on FMYI.“

In 2010 we released version 6.16 with new features making FMYI simpler, smarter and more flexible and launched our Change Agents Unite campaign to empower others to make a difference. Additionally, FMYI expanded the company’s commitment to the triple bottom line (peopleplanet, and profit) as we announced our 2020 vision for zero impact at the 2010 Net Impact Conference and became a certified B Corporation.

Continuing to thrive on our growth, FMYI recently unveiled new pricing options making it even more affordable than other competitive offerings.

The FMYI team congratulates all the recipients who continue to grow Oregon’s economy during these tough times, including our fellow certified B Corporations (Bamboo Sushi and Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers) who are also guided by the triple bottom line and a new way of doing business.

FMYI Unveils New Pricing Options Making It More Affordable Than Most Competitive Offerings

FMYI Unveils New Pricing Options Making It More Affordable Than Most Competitive Offerings
Industry Leading Collaboration Software Delivers Even Better Value to Customers

PORTLAND, Ore., June 8, 2011 – FMYI [for my innovation], a leading provider of private social networks and collaboration software, today announced new, highly competitive pricing options to provide customers various features and price points. FMYI’s unique value proposition is the combination of social and workflow tools with ease of deployment, free support, sustainability – and now even better price options. Complete details about the new pricing are available at www.fmyi.com/pricing.

Since not all teams are created equal, FMYI developed its new prices to take into account a variety of team sizes as well as their different needs. With FMYI, every team gets its own private social network and collaboration platform. They can manage a variety of activities, such as file sharing, project management, customer relationship management (CRM), group calendaring, task management, resource library, intranet, workflow tools, and sustainability features. Each product level is designed to provide for a specific number of users and pages as well as space including:
•    FMYI Pro – unlimited users and pages with 50 GB of file storage – $149 monthly
•    FMYI Plus – 30 users and unlimited pages with 15 GB of file storage – $49 monthly
•    FMYI Lite – 15 users and 15 pages with 3 GB of file storage – $14 monthly

“With our new pricing we’re breaking through to the next level to make FMYI affordable for any team, of any size,” said Justin Yuen, President, FMYI, Inc. “

FMYI aims to provide a triple bottom line value, with a solution to help customers reduce their impact on the planet and now priced to minimally impact profits. FMYI is proud to be a certified B Corp, underscoring our commitment to being a social responsible enterprise.”

Competitively, FMYI’s new prices go the distance to offer the best all-in-one solution at the lowest price point. In fact, 37signals requires at least two purchases, Basecamp and Highrise, to be a comparable product to FMYI’s less expensive offering. Newly signed-up FMYI customers who formerly used Salesforce.com report Salesforce is far more complex and exponentially more expensive. As an alternative to Jive or Microsoft Sharepoint, FMYI is pennies to the dollar in both price and the extensive implementation required for those systems. Yammer doesn’t have the workflow tools and an I.T. executive who is now a FMYI customer, recently called it a spamming machine.

About FMYI [for my innovation]
Founded in 2004, FMYI is a leading provider of private social networks and collaboration software headquartered in Portland, Oregon. FMYI collaboration networks are used by teams of all sizes (2-20,000) at companies, nonprofits, government agencies, and universities around the world. Guided by the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit), FMYI endeavors to be an enduring business with minimum ecological impact and maximum social value because it is simply the right thing to do. FMYI is committed to sustainability internally and to injecting sustainability into the business practices of its clients. In addition to helping companies benefit from paperless work processes, FMYI also enables a team to track its sustainable commuting modes and methods as well as purchases renewable energy credits for clients’ FMYI power use. Keeping with its tagline “Powered by human energy ®,“ FMYI provides free support as an integral part of making technology work for people. FMYI is the only software-as-service (SaaS) company to be certified as a B Corporation.

“Portland Timbers, here we go!”

We are all fans of something, whether it’s a cause, a person you admire, or an idea. However, when you hear the word “fan” a lot of people think offhand of being a fan of a sports team; the jersey wearing, SportsCenter watching, season-ticket holding, drinking out of a team logoed coffee cup, crowd that never misses a game, on TV or in person. Of course there are the fan-atics that paint their bare stomachs in below-freezing weather or will throw a punch at an opposing team’s fan if they say the wrong thing, but let’s stick to the healthy version for now, the kind of fans that we encountered yesterday when the Portland FMYI team (partners included) attended a Portland Timbers MLS game at Jeld-Wen Field.

For some of us (myself included) this was our first Timbers game. Before the game, our president, Justin Yuen, printed out some team chants and songs, some uniquely written to be sung to the popular tunes of “You are my sunshine,” “Feliz Navidad” and the theme from the iconic video game “Tetris.” I laughed these off as a friendly gimmick, having never fans singing at major league sports games. But I had yet to be introduced to the “Timbers Army.”

The Portland Timbers Army contains members that fall into the first definition of what a sports fan is. They are the season-ticket holders that all sit in the north section of the field above the goal, creating a mass sea of green and white with clothing, flags and Timbers team scarves. But I heard these fans before I saw them…heard them singing… and they never stopped singing from the moment I took my place in section H to when the game ended. They stood the whole time, proudly making their way through each chant and song on the list. Three people stood at the front facing the crowd like orchestra conductors, guiding them through each lyric, urging the crowd to clap and raise their hands in unison. These were fans.

It’s quite an atmosphere to witness on the border of what is the Army. Here you have a congested group of people that are all there for the same reasons: first for the love of their team, and then for the love of the game. As an outsider, it makes you want to share that feeling of devotion and join their boisterous singing, but no other part of the field came even close to the energy of that section. Everyone else is sitting calmly with a drink or nachos in hand, only occasionally shouting encouragement when a Timbers player dribbles the ball near the opposing team’s goal.

Maybe it was because we were on the edges of the high-spirited north section, but the FMYI team was definitely on their feet that day, cheering for the Timbers and trying our best to sing along with unknown lyrics and clap in rhythm. It could’ve been the round of margaritas at Mazatlan beforehand and the beers in our hands that were partly responsible, but we were thoroughly enjoying the time we were spending together outside of the workplace. Since we use our own collaboration software internally, we have built a socially-based environment in the office and enjoy a sense of community because of that. However it’s nice to take that same approach as you relax with your co-workers and enjoy each others’ company. There is a natural camaraderie that comes out when we’re not talking about shared tasks at work, but other things like the game and our non-FMYI lives. And even though we aren’t members of the Timbers Army, it’s nice to appreciate someone else’s exuberance and show our support for their cause, the Portland Timbers soccer team.

“Portland Timbers, here we go!”

Live to innovate,
– Sarah

what makes leftbank leftbank?

For every individual and organization working at Leftbank, there’s a laundry list of reasons why this place is the right fit.  Maybe no two lists are exactly the same.  But being part of this uncommon group of people is on most of those lists.  What does it mean to be part of this group?  I see neighbors connecting with each other casually and professionally.  But what’s the significance of being identified with Leftbank?  That significance is dynamic – a function of Leftbankers’ work in the world and participation in this community.  For some time I’ve imagined a group of Leftbankers who steer this place.  In a recent conversation, it was Graeme Byrd of FMYI who first said it out loud and reinforced that vision for me.

It’s time.  Leftbank is finished and full and working hard.  Leftbank is starting to speak for itself.  Representatives from each office are gathering now.  They’ll meet regularly to identify and address challenges, and perhaps take on projects.  There’s the unsexy work of outreach related to garbage and recycling, there’s the fun of stirring people up for a happy hour, and there’s all kinds of stuff that only a group conversation will bring to the surface.  Can’t wait to see what the next phase brings.

40 under 40

It’s a good thing he’s not shy.  Justin Yuen and his company FMYI seem to be making a splash every time I turn around.  Next Thursday, the Portland Business Journal put on their “Forty High Rollers Under 40” award luncheon.  Know who’s on the list?  Justin Yuen (and 39 other young Portlanders to watch).  Registration for the event is open, you can learn more about it here.  You can have lunch at the downtown Hilton next Thursday, cheer for Justin, and “see winners spin the Wheel of Truth.”  Not sure what the Wheel of Truth is all about, but it sounds like a good time.

Congratulations, Justin!

Net Impact Mixer – Help Us Build Sustainable Communities: Together

Interested in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development, and environmental sustainability?

Join us for a special event co-hosted by the Marylhurst University and Portland Professional Net Impact Chapters for an evening to hear local businesses discuss the importance of building community together.

Help Us Build Sustainable Communities: Together

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011

From 6 to 8 PM at Upright Brewing

in the Leftbank Project

(Leftbank is a community of mission driven businesses and organizations)

Speakers for the evening included:
Jason Busch with Oregon Wave Energy Trust
Charlie Brown with Context Partners (formerly Opiquo)
Graeme Byrd with FMYI

NOTE: Cash Bar Only; We ask that you donate $5 to help us cover our costs. Donors will be entered into a raffle for a prize.


Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.

Interested in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development, and environmental sustainability?

Our mission is to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.

If you have questions, please contact the Marylhurst University ([email protected]) or Portland Professional ([email protected]) Net Impact Chapters.

FMYI Certified as a B Corporation

FMYI is the 25th Oregon company to be certified as a B Corporation for a commitment to using business to help change the world for better. B Lab, a nonprofit organization with the vision of creating a new sector of the economy that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, certifies B Corporations.

As a result of more companies joining the B Corporation movement, individuals will have greater economic opportunity, society will move closer to achieving a positive environmental footprint, more people will be employed in great places to work, and we will have built stronger communities at home and across the world.

“This is an exciting moment for us,” said Justin Yuen, FMYI Founder & President. “From our beginning almost seven years ago, FMYI has endeavored to be to be an enduring business with minimum ecological impact and maximum social value. Our B Corporation designation helps us scale our impact by joining other like-minded, innovative companies using business to bring about change.”

The certification affirms that FMYI meets rigorous and independent standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council (SAC) sets the legal and performance standards that are required to become a B Corporation and oversees the evolution of those standards and the auditing of B Corporations. The legal and performance standards, as well as the members of the SAC, the Board, and the management team, are all transparent to the public on www.bcorporation.net.