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April Coronavirus Update

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What a crazy couple of months with more craziness undoubtedly in store. I’m finally feeling like I’ve got a moment to breathe now that everyone’s finding their footing on this shaky ground. Many of you have been checking in on me, Bytes.co and Accessible Web. I figure I owe you all an update. 

When the floor fell out below us a few weeks ago, it wasn’t my family or my business at the forefront of my mind. I’m an entrepreneur and (I like to think) a smart businessman. We’ve saved our money, been careful with debt, and we’re generally in a good place. Faced with this crisis, I immediately went into fight mode to keep our staff and our clients sheltered with every resource we could muster. 

Jay’s pretty big into quotes. In the first days of the panic, he provided the following African Proverb during our first Bites with Bytes episode: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”  I’ve found myself defaulting to a lot of sailing metaphors over the past few weeks. I’m the captain of a ship in what’s certainly the biggest storm I’ve faced in my life.

The primary responsibility of a captain is to keep the crew safe and get the ship through the storm. It was really painful to have conversations with employees that we furloughed as our sales dropped, and it’s been rewarding to rehire some as we’ve navigated this situation. Our goal is to get back to full employment, and we’re thankful that we were able to secure PPP funding to help make that happen. Things are currently feeling like they’re under control on this front. The crew has risen to the occasion, it’s become more apparent than ever that we’ve got some really skilled sailors. The crew and ship are safe. 

The next responsibility is to our clients, the other ships in our fleet. As this has unfolded, it’s impacted every industry in a different way. Some of our clients are unexpectedly thriving. Some have pivoted rapidly and are moving their businesses into new markets. Unfortunately, some clients are dead in the water or dealing with struggles of a much larger magnitude. We’re doing our best to stay in communication with everyone, but we want you to know that we’re here to help.  We appreciate the clients with healthier businesses sending work our way to keep our team paid and productive. We want clients that are struggling to know that they can reach out for any kind of assistance as we move through this and we can figure out a way to make it happen. We’re committed to helping our clients survive this, and ideally, be positioned to once again thrive when the storm clouds break. 

Enough of the pirate talk, I could go all day.

Jay and I built Bytes.co from the ground up, but we didn’t do it alone. We’ve always been blessed to be surrounded by friends, family members, clients, teammates, and community members that were willing to buy into our business. I’m sure some of you thought I was crazy when I first hung out my shingle. Many clients took a risk on us and decided to believe in our team as we’ve signed up bigger clients and expanded the scope and scale of our business. Many team members took a risk on us when they signed up to join our rag-tag team of website professionals. Thank you. 

We take an enormous amount of pride in the work that we do and the careers we’ve been able to provide for our team members. It’s been amazing to see our clients grow their businesses via the web. It has been amazing to see our staff have a stable financial foundation that allows them to build and support their families. For us, this company is about so much more than making a buck.  

My favorite part of owning and building up Bytes.co over the past 10 years has been meeting and working with so many unique and brilliant people around New England. This coronavirus & shutdown has amplified this 100x as we all work together to retool, regroup, and fight to get our people and businesses through this crisis. My heart is full and I feel resolute seeing the brilliance, work ethic, and compassion that abounds in our communities. There’s no place I’d rather live on Earth and no people I’d rather grind through this crisis with. 

Mr Rogers has a quote, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Thanks to everyone that is rising to this occasion, we’ll get through this. 

Stay healthy, let’s all help where we can.


Peter Jewett

Peter Jewett

Peter founded Bytes.co (originally Burlington Bytes) in 2010. He currently lives in Huntington with his wife, Katie, and two kids, Parker and Calla. When there's snow on the ground he coaches ski racing and when there's no snow he coaches baseball. His motto is "business, business, business", so give him a shout if you ever want to chat about tech related challenges or opportunities.

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