Some exciting news today, and it’s been a long time coming: we’ve officially launched v8, aka, the best version of Shift ever.
This is a huge milestone for our team and customers alike. About a year and a half ago, we made the decision to re-platform Shift. This would ensure that Shift not only meets but exceeds expectations as the fastest, and most secure browser for work.
Like many long-term strategic decisions, tackling this challenge was a significant undertaking because it meant prioritizing a foundational technical change over sparkly new features. And wow, looking at the feedback and results so far, we are so glad we took the plunge.
What’s really cool about this launch is that it’s really more about the ‘feel’ of Shift than anything, and I think you’ll know what I mean as soon as you make the switch. We mean it when we say, it’s lightning fast.
If you haven’t already updated, here’s how. I dare you!
For those of you feeling as warm and fuzzy about this launch as we are, read on below, because this is a big day here at Shift and we’re so thrilled to have you on this journey with us.
“The new version knocks all of my expectations out of the park. The extra juice you’ve added to it is unbelievably useful”
- Travis Chalmers, Shift Customer
Let's rewind to 2016: The idea
Bieber’s hit "Sorry" and "Love Yourself" are topping the billboards. Meanwhile, downtown Victoria, BC, on beautiful Vancouver Island, a small group of us started building Shift off the side of our desks.
We called it a passion project, so nonchalantly, as if we *weren’t* about to pour our hearts and souls into this business for the next 6+ years and counting.
The idea? To solve our very own internal pain point: managing multiple email accounts, calendars, and documents in our browsers was a complete mess. We were constantly logging in and out, with dozens of browser tabs open just trying to keep up with our email accounts and calendars.
Side projects and start-up struggles
As we were starting to build Shift, we had a few other startup ideas on the go. I had 8 Gmail accounts of my own, from email@example.com, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and on and on. It made for a never ending mess and FOMO about what I might have missed in another account.
What was perfect about the timing of our first Shift beta launch was that we were able to compare the initial market response to our all-too-MVP version of the product, with other ideas/MVPs we were launching from within Redbrick, almost in tandem.
We’d committed to focusing on the ‘horse before the cart,’ to prove we had some signal for product market fit, but with most of our ideas it was the heart-sinking and deafening sound of crickets on the other side of the launch.
Shift was different. Not right from the start, but close-to.
Launch day and liftoff
I’ll never forget a certain 11:55pm product release just in time for the all-too-public 12am launch, five minutes later. You can probably guess how that one went, but let’s just say there were more than a few tears at approximately 4am.
Once we all had gotten some sleep, we agreed on one thing: the public response to our launch was *a lot* more than crickets. We struck a chord, and that alone was exciting. We made it our mission to turn this into more than an innocent "side project" and we got to work.
By 2017 we had expanded the scope of Shift, based on early feedback from the launch-that-must-not-be-named, that our early adopters needed more than just email accounts in Shift. They saw clear value in seamless context-switching between emails in Shift but wanted their social media apps, workflow apps, and extensions, too.
Build mode: just getting started
The product was in a good place, and we had added at least 1000 app integrations. We were ready to invest in growth!
By starting small and breaking massive growth goals down into daily, digestible metrics, we were able to reach more people with Shift. A big part of our job at the time was to actually get in front of potential users with the problem they may not have yet realized they had. That meant actually creating the market. With a keen eye on our data, and fantastic creative, we figured out exactly how to get that ‘aha’ moment, quickly, and build a profitable marketing engine.
By the end of the year, we had a well oiled machine. Most importantly, we had a growing community of productivity enthusiasts that shared in our browser-tab nightmare misery, and liked our solution.
We popped champagne, and got back to work in January.
Time to scale up
By 2019, the product had made serious headway.
….Stability, app integrations, and new features to boot. We were juggling fast-growth, customer demands, and bug-crushing, with grand future visions. We raised a seed round, and hit 2020 ready to rumble. Then the pandemic arrived, and we went home, with the rest of the world, to focus on new product features. We continued to see traction soar as everyone searched for more productive ways to work from home. We turned the corner on profitability, which felt great. Unlimited runway!
A foundational change
Enter 2021, when we made a strategic, and somewhat urgent decision to re-platform. Let’s call it technical debt on steroids. For the last 14 months, the Shift team has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to build the best version of Shift our customers have ever seen. We call it v8.
It’s faster, lighter and more secure.
And that’s not *just* marketing speak. It’s exactly how we’d describe the experience of Shift v8.
We’ve built v8 for speed, performance, and overall longevity, and our alpha and beta users have been enjoying it for a couple of months now.
“I love this update!!! Shift is lightning fast. I don’t ever want to back to a work day without it!!”
- Eric Torres, Shift Customer
Here’s what’s new:
- Lightning fast performance — zip between your accounts, and your tabs, like buzz lightyear, but possibly faster.
- Security, on steroids - this is our top priority, and we mean it. Here’s more on that!
- FULL extension support — access every single Chrome extension you can think of, right inside Shift.
- Global bookmarks — create bookmarks anywhere in Shift to stay organized.
- A sparkly new "Settings" page — customize Shift exactly to your liking.
- A Quicker Switcher — jump between recent tabs, apps, & accounts.
“After trying version 8, I’m back! Thanks for the major improvement!”
- Alex Hamelin, Shift Customer
- Workspaces — organize your workflows within email accounts (some of you used these in the legacy version, so be warned, they are not *yet* in v8 but we are coming out with an even better version soon. It will be worth the wait.)
- The most Epic Search — search for anything, anywhere.
- Badge notifications — granular notification control for all of your tools in Shift.
With that, I want to say a few important thank you’s:
To our talented product, and engineering teams, for your incredible work, and stamina this past year +. I am in awe of your calm, thoughtful, and thoroughness. You have carried the weight and responsibility of this project with grace and elegance I haven’t witnessed before.
To our Marketing team, thank you for holding the ship steady, and not just that, but innovating all the way through. We’ve managed to build more value for our community with new and exciting channels to boot (check out The Week Ahead!).
To our Customer Success team, just wow. You’ve championed what matters most—the customer experience. Here we are, with a new version of the product we can’t wait to get into more hands.
“I just loaded v8 and got it all set up. I am so much in love that I had to send some positive feedback!”
- Kathy Patterson, Shift Customer
To our customers, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Many of you have been with us since the beginning. You’ve submitted bug tickets, jumped on customer calls, and sent us your reviews, feedback and support, all along the way. Whether you realize it or not, all of that is the fuel that keeps us going.
We’re excited to launch Shift v8 today, to all of you, and we can’t wait to hear what you think.
With love from all of us.
Nadia & The Shift Team