This past year at CouchSurfing has been a unique one in our history. We’ve changed our legal structure. We shrank our team significantly (previously at 44 including part-time), and then grew it to around 35 people (roughly half in engineering). We opened our first real office, ever. We grew up a lot as an organization, adopting more internal structure and accountability than we’ve ever had. And we’re going to continue hiring experienced people at all levels of the organization, from the top to the bottom. But throughout all the changes, it has always been important to me to preserve the original CouchSurfing spirit, values, vision, and mission. After all, that’s why we all got involved in the first place.
As President of CouchSurfing International, the organization that supports the CS community, there are a number of areas I’d like to focus on improving. First, we need to make it easier for surfers and hosts to connect with one another. The ability to post travel plans, which gives hosts more ability to select when and who to host, was one of our first steps to address this issue. We’ve also just begun taking member suggestions on other ways to work on this problem.
Second, I think it is crucial that new members understand what CouchSurfing is really about. If we attract the wrong kinds of people, or the right kinds of people who have the wrong expectations, then we will lose some of our magic. So it’s important to grow with the right people and in the right ways.
And finally, we have plans to improve the reference system, release a mobile app, improve the speed and reliability of the website, enhance our user interface and usability, and more. There is no shortage of things to do, and it takes time to build everything we want to build, even with our newly expanded team. But we’re working hard and making progress every day!
I know that there has been a lot of change lately, and many of you are watching carefully to see where we’re going. It’s important to me that you know that our ideals as an organization have not changed. CouchSurfing has always been about something greater than just travel. It’s about human connection. It’s about experiences. It’s about finding friends, experiencing community, and expanding your horizons wherever you go. It’s about making the world a better place. I think we’re closer than we’ve ever been to that goal.
Happy surfing and big hugs from California,