Celebrating The Early Quizlet Team

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The early Quizlet team was awesome.

We bootstrapped the company for almost a decade, with a small, scrappy, team that had tons of passion and cared deeply about education. Most were just out of college, or even still in school. They set the stage for today’s Quizlet team… which is ten times bigger and still innovating like crazy to help students everywhere.

Here’s some photos of the early Quizlet team… I’m lucky to have worked with you!


2009-2011

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Andrew and Phil (who we hired in 2009 as our first engineer) at the Crunchies.

In 2009 we started building the Quizlet team. I met Andrew in 2007 when he was in high school, and we started working on Quizlet together the following year. Our first hire was Phil, an engineer who’d recently graduated from the University of Florida. A few months later we added Will, a Dartmouth MBA, and then Joanna, a recent University of Arizona grad.

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Quizlet seemed big, but actually we were just getting started.

In 2011, we moved into a new, bigger office at 526 2nd St (we’d been subletting in the Folger Building on Howard Street). And that summer, Andrew left MIT to return to SF and work with us full time, after three years working on Quizlet in between classes.

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April 2011. The Quizlet team (Joanna, Will, Andrew, Phil, Chase, Arkajit, Kate) plus Ben and Lisa of Collectors Weekly, a separate business Andrew and I started that funded Quizlet early on.
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October 2011 – Will, Lisa, Ben, Joanna, Phil, me, Andrew, Dave R.

2012-2015

The new office at 526 2nd St. was a huge upgrade – we added a ping pong table, started hiring more interns, and bringing in users for feedback sessions. Late night coding sessions with food and general goofing around (Starcraft etc) became routine.

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Aug 2012 – Stephen, David C., Will, Andrew, Sophia, me, Anand, Jake (the 14 year old summer intern who built our first iOS app), Ryan and Jeff (interns).
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Ben, Joanna and Chase at Quizlet’s 5th birthday bash in Feb 2012. For the party we splurged on a DJ, open bar, disco ball, and liquid nitrogen ice cream.
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Joanna and Sophia, Quizlet’s first product managers, dressed alike one day in 2012.
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Anand built this scrolling ‘Live Learning Log’ for the office in 2012. It showed all current logged-in studying in real time. It often scrolled so fast you couldn’t even read it.
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Launching ‘The Game’ (Quizlet Live precursor) – Will, Andrew, interns Stephen, Max (in Batman mask) Jeff and Ryan, Anand – July 2012.
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Jen, Joanna, Anand, Sophia, Andrew, and David laughing about something – 2013.
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Swinging on the new office swings – 2013.
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“Help Make A Difference In Education” was always our pitch – MIT Career Fair, 2013
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Mandarin support hack night project (Jen, David, Shane) – 2013
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Arun, Karoun and David made Quizlet ‘top-scorer’ Halloween costumes – 2013.
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The set page team preps for a launch at 7am. Adrenaline fueled a lot of our product development.
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Me, Sophia, and Andrew play along with a French exercise at a Prospect Sierra class visit – 2013
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Whacking the Justin Bieber Pinata (note ‘Wall of Derp’ in background) – 2013
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“Working” retreat in Calistoga – 2013
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We spent a lot of time around those front tables: lunches, dinners, meetings…
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Late night ping pong.
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Karoun, Robert, Sophia, Ryan, Anand, Shane, Ankush, David, Jen, Thompson, Max, Vineel – 2013
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Showing off the new Quizlet hoodies and headphones – 2014
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Lisa, Ben and Hunter (the Collectors Weekly team) investigating an edgy ‘vintage’ story…
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Working at the couches – 2014
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Superman in phone booth, Halloween 2014. Note the recruiting chalkboard.
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Advisor Dave Fetterman talks shop with ‘CFO’ intern Ankush
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Bouldering in Dogpatch – 2014.
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Upgrades schema team selfie – 2014
Office Yurt April 2015
Yes, the team built a Yurt in the office one night – 2015
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Adding lots of new great people – May 2015 (South Park)

And some videos…

In this 2009 video Andrew talks about how Quizlet started as a high school project. His can-do attitude shines through… that’s what made it so fun working together early on.

Launches in the early years mostly happened on weekends or at night. Here we’re pushing an upgrade to ‘Classes’ in 2012. Note the ominous launch music.

Rapping became a thing at Quizlet in 2014/15 thanks to Arun. Here’s intern Eric Schmidt.

Jake’s rap. Here Jake tells how he built Quizlet’s first iOS app when he was fourteen.

This goofy hack night movie project attempted to show how Quizlet’s technology works.

The excellent Mme. Thomas made one of the earliest (2010) videos by a teacher on how to use Quizlet in the classroom. She, like a handful of other great teachers, was part of our extended team, constantly providing feedback and even coming to San Francisco to work with us in person.

Got any more great photos or videos from the early days of Quizlet? Email me (dmargulius at gmail) and I’ll add them. Dave

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