Just over ten years ago, Tim and I did something that a lot of people thought was a bit nuts. We left our jobs and set up a new company with the express intention of ‘bringing people together to change the world’.
Unfortunately, Lehman Brothers had a rather less conscious plan to change the world. They went under a few days later taking the world economy with them.
Since then, it’s been a bit of roller-coaster for everyone. And at the risk of being less than festive, the immediate future doesn’t look like it’s going to be much fun either.
But today, we’re going to forget about all that and celebrate the fact that we didn’t just light a candle in the darkness. We lit a firework.
We’re going to celebrate the fact that over the course of ten years, more than a hundred people have found useful, meaningful and gainful employment at Open. And those people have helped shepherd a ton of money from people who want to do good to people who need some good.
Along the way we’ve invented some cool stuff, set up more companies and given away £387,000 of actual cash to good causes chosen by our people – tens of thousands of which went to match their personal generosity.
We’ve also (and I’m bragging on behalf of the team here) given away quite a lot of our time & talent. In particular, we’ve been on point when the world gets properly shitty. When wars, floods, famines, earthquakes and tsunamis tear communities apart we’ve downed tools and got busy – for the DEC and a bunch of others. And we’ve done it for free.
There have been late nights. There have been tantrums. There have been drunken escapades, sober escapades, quite a few babies and a marriage. There have been record-breaking mailpacks, stadiums full of people, actors, pop stars, the odd lawyer, a bunch of awards, six IWITOTs and nine crazy Christmas parties. A great many pizzas, bottles of beer, bananas and cans of diet coke have been consumed. Hundreds of cakes have been baked and sold. Thousands of miles have been run, cycled and sponsored. And Lydia has worn both a penguin onesie and a banana costume to work. On the tube.
There has also been, very recently, a very welcome and bloodless coup during which our brilliant leadership team, led by Lucy, has completely taken over the day-to-day running of the company – leaving Tim and me to get out there and make as much mischief as we like.
So if you need help this afternoon, sorry. We’ll all be on a canal boat having a party. Because despite it all, we have a lot to celebrate.