Celebrating The Early Quizlet Team

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The early Quizlet team was awesome.

We bootstrapped the company for almost a decade, so didn’t hire lots of people. Instead, we built a small, scrappy, team that had tons of passion and innovated their guts out. 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, the first engineer we hired, at the Crunchies.

In 2009 we started building the Quizlet team. I had met Andrew in 2007 and we started working together on Quizlet when he went to MIT 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 grew a lot after we started building the team.

In late 2011, we moved to a new, bigger office at 526 2nd St. And after three years working on Quizlet in between classes and other college activities, Andrew left MIT early to return to SF and work on Quizlet full time.

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April 2011. The Quizlet team (Joanna, Will, Andrew, Phil, Kate, interns Chase and Arkajit) plus Ben and Lisa of Collectorsweekly.com, a separate business Andrew and I started that provided most of Quizlet’s funding for several years.
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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. And we got to throw parties.

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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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Adrenaline fueled most of our product development… the team was into it.
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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 was a ritual (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 was serious business.
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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 excellent Collectors Weekly team. Here they are investigating another edgy ‘vintage’ story…
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Working at the couches – 2014
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Shane, Halloween 2014. Note recruiting chalkboard. Yes, we’re still hiring great engineers!
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Advisor Dave Fetterman talks shop with ‘CFO’ intern Ankush
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The team did lots of stuff out of the office together – like 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…

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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