Last week, on July 1, Robotiq turned 10. My cofounders, JP and Vince, and I started Robotiq to free human hands from tedious tasks. By the end of this year, our customers will have deployed 10,000 Robotiq products.
In the Robotiq tradition, this is how we measure our impact in the world: "One product sold means one pair of hands freed." It's a mission that's still at the core of our daily actions.
It's also a part of our Hands Freed manifesto, which forms the foundation of Robotiq culture. (Listen to it in the video below.)
Ten years, one mission: to free human hands from tedious tasks.
An amazing team
The next person to join the Robotiq team will be the one hundredth employee. Of course, we won't call him or her "employee number 100." But I'll admit it's getting harder for me to remember all the names.
This isn't just a testament to my limited memory. The fact that I no longer know all the ins and outs of the company shows how Robotiq has grown beyond the founding team and taken on a life of its own—which is absolutely awesome.
Robotiq has grown into a forceful entity: one that strives, at every interaction, to have a positive impact on the manufacturers and partners we collaborate with; and one with an appetite to adapt, evolve, and thrive.
The one thing I'm most proud of is all the people who've said ""I'm in!" and jumped into this project with us. I'm grateful to everyone who's brought such incredible skills and energy to Robotiq.
10 years, 100 employees, 10,000 units deployed: these are numbers, but they have a lot of stories behind them. Some funny, others inspiring... and a few that, to be honest, weren't fun at all while they happened.
We've had our ups and downs so far. I expect this will only continue, so I'm learning to embrace it.
As Ben Horowitz puts it in The Hard Thing About Hard Things, "In a startup, there are only two emotions: euphoria and terror... and I find that the lack of sleep enhances them both."
That's one reason I try to get a good night's sleep!
I've listened to these words in audiobook form many times over the years to reminisce on hard-learned lessons and put challenges in perspective. A clear mind is necessary to steer the company in the right direction as we move from startup to scale-up.
We haven't seen anything yet
As a 9-year-old, I felt sad when I learned about the explorers who ventured across the New World. Now that the world map was complete, it seemed there was nothing left to discover. When I expressed this to my dad, though, he started to laugh. He told me, "Don't worry kid, there'll be plenty for you to explore!"
I wasn't sure what he meant back then.
Today I get it.
There are boundaries to be pushed in all directions: in technology, in how it interacts with people, and in how it can transform human organizations—everything from small businesses to entire societies.
Ten years from now, we'll look back and realize we were only scratching the surface. What we're seeing in the market today is just a glimpse of what the future of work will be as robotics continues to evolve.
What's more, what you're seeing from us now is just a small portion of what I know our team can deliver in the future. Everything is still yet to be explored.
Cheers to the first 10 years of Robotiq.
On to the next 10, with 100 times as many hands freed—and thousands more great stories!