Seven years is a long time, when you think about it. It’s 70 percent of a decade. It’s almost all of your high school and college years combined (that’s if you didn’t take any victory laps). If you believe the old wives’ tale, it’s how long it takes for gum to digest. A lot can happen in seven years. That’s why we’re taking a second to reflect on the time since Dec 2, 2008.
See, that’s the date that I Am Second launched, with a logo that was an exact replica of someone’s handwriting on a whiteboard.
“It was kind of like that old computer commercial where they were getting ready to launch a website and were huddled around watching the screen, and when they got their first visitor, everyone yelled, ‘Yay!’,” John Humphrey, director of operations for I Am Second, recalls when asked about the launch day.
Humphrey has been with I Am Second since the beginning. That first web hit was exciting, but not as exciting as what came within the next 60 minutes.
“Within the first hour we got word that somebody had used it to lead someone to Christ,” he says. “That was confirmation that we were doing something right.”
“That was confirmation that we were doing something right.”
For three weeks the brand was shrouded in mystery. Billboards went up all across Dallas, but no one knew who was behind them. Finally, the Dallas Morning News got a tip, and the mystery was solved: It was the work of a non-profit called e3 Partners. Originally, it was only meant for the Dallas area.
So when did Humphrey and the team realize it was could be something bigger?
“The fact that there was buzz from people wanting to know who was behind it, but also when we saw there were people who had viewed it internationally on the first day, it was amazing,” he says.
But there were a few things that really made him personally realize that the idea had caught fire. One was when he would see people he didn’t know wearing I Am Second gear. Another was getting phone calls from well-known public figures asking how their story could be told.
Looking back, he says, it’s amazing to see what I Am Second has become. “When we first started, there was no guarantee we would still be doing it seven years later.”
Since then, I Am Second has launched over 100 films. There have been nearly 66 million pageviews. Close to 800,000 people follow I Am Second on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And there’s growth: I Am Second’s most popular article ever was only written in September.
But while Dec 2 is a day to reflect, it’s not the primary focus. Humphrey says there are some exciting things coming.
“We have a commitment to content that will inspire, be shareable, and point people in a direction of action regardless of where they are at,” he explains. “We’ve had great conversations over the last seven years — we’ve gotten to know people and they’ve gotten to know us — and we want to expand that conversation.”
“We’ve been adapting to technology, media, and content since the beginning. We’re continuing that evolution,” he adds. “The journey has been great and we’ve loved the people that have come along with us. And we’re going to need them them even more in the future.”