Atlassian is the Enterprise 2.0 sector’s Slumdog Millionaire. It’s an inspiring rags to riches story of two young college graduates who set out to earn at least a “graduate salary” (approximately $30K/yr USD) by creating a business, rather than taking a corporate job like their university friends did. Now, Mike and Scott were not living in a slum and neither did pure luck have anything to do with their fortune; moreover, their example is establishing a high bar for success for enterprise social software startups.
Last week, I got into a bit of a snit with Atlassian’s marketing folks on Twitter because they approached me about writing a post on Atlassian reaching $100M in all time revenue. Now, I knew the company was a growth engine, but I found it hard to believe they’d become a $100M company since the last time I had spoken to them. It turns out it was all a big misunderstanding. Mike Cannon-Brookes told me today that from the beginning, Atlassian’s backoffice systems have been tracking total cumulative revenue. On February 17th, the company had crossed the $100M threshhold. Mike actually tweeted it and Atlassian’s Laura Kahlil blogged about it on the Atlassian blog the next day. I didn’t understand the significance of the $100M cumulative number and was concerned people would mistake the number for annual sales. Listening to Mike talk about how they noticed the number and got excited about it as a milestone made it obvious to me I was wrong to give them a hard time.
I wrote about Atlassian in October of 2006. They impressed me then, and their continued success is a bright light in otherwise dismal economic news. Atlassian has pumped millions into the Australian economy and has created hundreds of jobs around the world (Atlassian has offices in 5 cities, including San Francisco). Further, their strong organic growth is a testament to the power of listening to your customers and focusing on delivering products customers love.
We can debate product features and what’s fashionable in enterprise social software for days on end. But in today’s economic climate, I celebrate success, job creation, growth, and independence.
Making a deeper commitment to Microsoft, Atlassian acquired one of its community partners, Benryan Software and released its SharePoint Connector for Confluence 2.9. Additionally, the company incorporated over 150 user requests into the latest release and added 10 new production plugins. Benryan has a MS Office connector to Confluence (known fondly by existing users as the word/dav plug-in*) that makes it simple to import all Word Docs (in one to multiple pages), and to edit them in Confluence. You can also view Excel, PowerPoint, and Word docs within a Confluence wiki page and edit them. Also announced is the commercial release of its SharePoint connector. Some key features include the ability to embed Confluence content within SharePoint, bi-directional navigation (link SharePoint content within Confluence and vice versa), federated search (confluence searches reach into SharePoint), and security unification (immediate access: SharePoint permissions and unified security).
Jeff Walker, President of Atlassian, briefed a few of us bloggers last week on the announcement. What’s interesting to me is how the company framed the announcement in language like, “We are embracing the Microsoft and Outlook world.” Jeff explained how there are lots of folks out there in corporate America who are “comfortable with Office documents.” Well, true dat, homeboy. IMHO the more sensible we can make the transition for corporate America to 2.0 working, the better. I hope we’ll see more 2.0 startups embracing the legacy installed base of enterprise 1.0 workers and workware.
Check out the MS Office Connector:
*For existing users who have the word/dav plug-in, there have been some major improvements and bug fixes to the software that are appearing within 2.9. And now that it is an Atlassian plugin, it is fully supported by the company, as well. The newer version is completely free to existing customers with current licenses. Bad news? Firefox 3.0 is currently not supported, however the company expects to resolve the issue shortly.