• Reflections on an amazing year—2018 comes to a close

    Posted by The Overleaf Team on December 31, 2018

    The past twelve months have been some of the biggest in Overleaf's history. Not only did we successfully launch the new Overleaf platform, we also hit the remarkable milestone of having over three million users worldwide! We even nudged our way into the Top 100 fastest growing companies in the UK as reported by SyndicateRoom earlier this month.

    This is a fantastic achievement, and we'd like to say a huge thank you to all our users, customers and partners who've helped us continue to provide the best service we can, and who've provided invaluable feedback and input into the new platform.

    As 2018 comes to a close, we thought we'd take a moment to look back on some of our personal highlights from 2018, and to wish everyone a fun, happy and successful 2019 😊

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    Reflections from the Overleaf team

    Ali Smith

    What a year for Overleaf! A lot of my work in the past 12 months has been taken up with porting the Rich Text mode from v1 to v2. I'm very glad to see so many people using it. I've also enjoyed organising our internal speaker series "Show & Tell", and learning from many other members of the team.

    My work with Code Your Future, which teaches refugees, asylum seekers and other underrepresented groups how to to code, has continued. This included some of the students shadowing my work at Overleaf for a few days. We've also had some great success with the new class, congratulations to all of classes 3 and 4 for graduating!

    I spent some time skiing in the French Alps (despite the blizzard!) and got very lucky with some sunny days in the Scottish Cairn Gorms.

    Looking forward to the new year and wishing everyone a happy holiday :)

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    Amy Jenkins

    I had the honor of joining Overleaf in October of this year as Marketing and Events Coordinator. I’ve been engaged in training and learning a lot! I’m looking forward to the start of 2019, with attending my first event and my first trip to London! I’m excited for a busy and successful year ahead!

    At home, our 2018 was full of amusement parks and concerts. Meeting TobyMac was a highlight! Choosing to ride the Intimidator 305 was not, I’ll stick to the Log Ride. 😊 We added a sweet addition to our family in 2018, a little pup who needed a new home.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and a very merry Christmas!

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    Christopher Hoskin

    The New Year is a time for new ventures, and having spent most of the last 25 years studying, teaching and working at University, it felt time to move on. But what sort of job should someone with experience working in academic IT, with an interest in Free/Open software and a background in mathematics apply for? Then I received an e-mail "Overleaf's final blog post of 2017!" and the penny dropped. Before January was out I'd been interviewed and offered a job with Overleaf, starting after the Easter weekend. A few weeks later, I attended my first Digital Science Global Retreat, which was a great opportunity to learn about the rest of the Digital Science family. It's been a really positive experience to see how the Overleaf and ShareLaTeX teams have come together to develop and deliver Overleaf V2. Most of my work so far has been around moving our applications to Kubernetes and Google Cloud. Containerisation and cloud services have been one of the defining IT trends of 2018 and it's been very interesting to put this into practice. I attended a Google Advanced Kubernetes Bootcamp and Google Cloud Next '18 in London, and gave two talks to the Oxford and Cambridge College IT Conference on "Debian Packaging" and "Evaluating and Deploying software with Docker".

    Outside of work, I finally learnt to ride a bicycle, with help from Broken Spoke (http://bsbcoop.org/) something I never thought I would do! Having purchased a new, light-weight tripod in the latter part of 2017, I was able to spend summer weekends exploring the Chilterns and photographing the rare orchids that grow there. I finally found Bird's-Nest Orchid, which I have sought in vain for the last couple of years and also saw the Military Orchid for the first time. Other species photographed included Lady, Monkey, White Helleborine, Frog, Fragrant, Greater Butterfly, Fly, Violet Helleborine and Autumn Lady's Tresses. Family outings had something of a castle theme, with visits to Nunney, Farleigh Hungerford, Dunster, Cil-y-Coed and Rhaglan. At the end of August I was able to spend a couple of weeks collaborating with a couple of my mathematical acquaintances on an open problem concerning abelian tripotents in JBW*-triples.

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    Chrystal Griffiths

    I joined Overleaf in August and have thoroughly enjoyed working with a passionate team on a well-loved product. I'm excited to see how Track Changes in rich text mode is shaping up.

    I've been taking advantage of the more balanced life that remote working has provided me and so have spent much of the latter part of the year revamping my Ten Meals project, trying to become a better and more organised cook.

    I also held an owl in York (pictured).

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    Douglas Lovell

    Joining Overleaf has truly been the highlight of my year. It is such a great family, both the people who get their vital work done with it and the people who make it possible. So many are inspiring. Keeping it great and making it even better, giving something to that, feels like making the world a better place.

    Wishing all a wonderful holiday season with family and friends, a great new year.

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    Graham Douglas

    With the release of Overleaf v2, 2018 has been quite a year! Consolidation of ShareLaTeX and Overleaf content certainly kept me very busy over the summer months and in the latter part of the year I started working with TeX4ht on a forthcoming content project. One this is for sure, when working at Overleaf you are always learning and developing new skills—both through your own endeavours and when collaborating with great team of people. Now approaching the end of my second year of remote-working for Overleaf and still enjoying it as much as the day I started. Wishing all Overleaf users a very happy festive season and a prosperous and successful 2019.

    James Allen

    This year I adopted a very shy cat, climbed some mountains, also held some owls, started to convert a camper van, and did a lot of kayaking. I also worked on a little project called Overleaf v2, but I’m sure you already know all about that!

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    Jessica Lawshe

    I celebrated my 1 year anniversary with Overleaf this year. One of the projects I worked on was improving accessibility on our content pages. My colleagues write wonderful help articles and it was a pleasure to make the content more accessible.

    I also experienced something new this year - negative Fahrenheit! I'm from Texas, where on many winter days no coat is needed. We have a long growing season, which I take advantage of in my little garden. Some of the additions I added this year were jalapeños and hydrangeas. Next spring I look forward to experimenting with the soil pH to get a range of blue, pink, and purple hydrangeas.

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    John Hammersley

    It’s been a fantastic year at Overleaf as we continue to grow on all fronts -- a larger team, a much larger userbase, and the successful navigation of a hugely complex product integration! The whole team deserves great credit for this, and I’m immensely proud of everyone here.

    On a personal level, with two little ones (Julia now 3, and Annabelle now 14 months) every day is a mixture of discovering exciting new things tempered by an ongoing lack of sleep! And my eldest, Overleaf, is six today! :)

    I do enjoy the fact that I can now legitimately play with lego again though, and took advantage of this to its fullest extent with the amazing Saturn V model that Julia helped me put together earlier this year -- pics below!

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    John Lees-Miller

    Another big year at Overleaf! My personal highlight of 2018 was of course that I married my wonderful wife, Hope. It was great to see a large Overleaf contingent partying hard at our wedding. Other memories this year include seeing the Philip Glass Ensemble live at Carnegie Hall and taking a course on donut making. Hope and I also built www.myeu.uk, a map of EU funding in the UK, which went viral and got retweeted by the likes of J K Rowling and Hugh Grant. Back at work the whole team has given 100% to deliver the integration of Overleaf v1 and ShareLaTeX into Overleaf v2, with amazing results. It feels like this year we’ve taken two aeroplanes in flight, disassembled them, and then merged them together to build one bigger and better aeroplane, all without touching the ground. (Except for a few short outages recently; sorry about those!) I’m excited to see what feats our hugely talented team will achieve next year.

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    Lian Tze Lim

    2018 was a nail-biting year on many fronts and aspects. In happier news:


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    Liz Kluk

    2018 has been a wonderful year! It has been a pleasure helping so many universities join our list of institutional partners and providing their students and faculty access to the Overleaf premium accounts. I also enjoyed getting to explore some beautiful cities while representing Overleaf at conferences this year. On a personal note, my horse Prince and I have made wonderful strides in our training and I have grown so much as an equestrian this year with the variety of challenges that him and I faced together as a team.

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    Mary Anne Baynes

    Wow - this year has flown by! :-) We’ve seen a lot of excitement and growth at Overleaf - culminating with the launch of Overleaf v2. It’s definitely kept us busy on the sales and marketing side of the house! As for my family… my twin boys turned 18 this year - which I still can’t believe - and they’re now focusing on their senior year of high school, college applications and a small business they’ve started. My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them grow into wonderful young men. We’re all still in Raleigh, NC and we all still love getting out on the water and wakeboarding. Wishing everyone a wonderful, incredible, successful 2019!!!

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    Natalie Jonk

    I joined Overleaf in Spring this year as their Community Manager and have really enjoyed joining such a fantastic global team! The diversity working with colleagues from across the globe brings is fantastic and the flexible working makes a huge difference for enabling a healthy work life balance. My main responsibilities are responding on social media posts and looking after our advisors. I also get involved in identifying sponsorship opportunities and am working on some other projects such as introducing Overleaf to schools (more on this in 2019).

    In September my partner Simon and I had our first child, Beatrix. We both wanted to evenly share the experience of looking after her during her first year and Overleaf has helped us make this work so Beatrix has a nice mix of mummy and daddy days.

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    Nate Stemen

    It’s been almost exactly a year since I moved back to NYC from London, and while I certainly miss lots of people and things about living in London, it’s been good to be back. New Yorkers: don’t expect any good bagels in London ;).

    Some of the highlights of my year have been

    • meeting newborn puppies and goats. thanks ma+pa
    • rock climbing and road tripping through Utah/Montana. thanks chuck
    • visiting China to meet some of my partners family. thanks diane
    • riding my bike a lot (and maybe sometimes crashing it). thanks bike
    • learning to enjoy cooking and making things from scratch. thanks everyone
    • meeting new dogs. thanks pups

    Hope 2019 will be filled with many new animals and adventures!

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    Patrick Monteith

    I had the privilege of joining the Overleaf team back in March. The last eight months have been the most exciting, challenging, and enjoyable period of my professional career thus far. It has been a pleasure to work with Mary Anne, John, and the rest of the marketing team team to help grow and develop our Enterprise segment and I look forward to what 2019 will bring!

    On a personal level I am thrilled to have the flexibility to frequently visit my family (mother, father, sisters, and friends) back in Delaware and to travel for both work and pleasure. I look forward to more trips to London and beyond in the coming year and to getting to know all of you even better :)

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    Paul Gessler

    2018 marks the year I joined Overleaf. It’s been an exciting and rewarding time so far! I’m really thankful to have found such a great team of people to work with, and to be a part of Overleaf in making TeX available for scientific and technical (and other types too!) collaboration online. In October, I was able to make my first trip to London to meet the team and see some of the sights. In 2019, I’m looking forward to continuing to help users with their support queries and develop/revise LaTeX code with our various publishing and institutional partners.

    Ryan Looney

    This has been a delightfully challenging year at Overleaf! In addition to taking on more responsibility leading the Support team, I’ve also been learning more about LaTeX for my personal projects. I created a few knitting patterns in Overleaf with the ‘knitting’ package, and using my crafty hobby as a way to learn LaTeX has broadened my capabilities both in crafting and in LaTeX.

    I’m proud to say that I completed the Cville-athon (https://www.cvilleathon.org/c-ville-athon-streakers.html) for the fourth straight year. I ran more than 26.2 miles during the year in races that support local nonprofits. I was also elected to the board of the Charlottesville Track Club, and am looking forward to supporting this great community organization.

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    Sara Mohammadi

    2018 was a very exciting year for me. It was the year that I faced my acrophobia by experiencing the Zip line in London Southbank, 35m above the ground. Holding for dear life whilst trying to enjoy the amazing view. What an amazing experience.

    It was also a year that I went to many theatre shows and activities with my daughters who are growing up too quickly.

    I joined Overleaf in October 2018 and I feel very lucky to be part of their journey. Thanks Overleaf :)

    I’d like to wish everyone success, a healthy long life and may all your dreams and wishes come true.

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    (that's me in the white top!)

    Shelly Miller

    2018 was a fun and exciting year, both personally and professionally. I am so grateful to be part of the amazing, passionate Overleaf team. On a personal note, I am thankful to have supportive, loving family and friends in my life. 2018 allowed for a nice balance of enjoyable professional and personal experiences. With the goal of sharing some highlights from 2018 with visual images and in keeping with tradition, I’ve put together a short video montage:

    Tim Alby

    My year 2018 has once again been filed with adventures around the world but I also enjoyed staying closer to home for short periods which allowed me to spend quality time with friends and family.

    This year's highlights include thermal bathing in Bulgaria, spending afternoons sipping coffee or learning new kitesurfing tricks in Colombia, hiking in the UK, cycling in the Netherlands, driving around South Africa and a relaxing afternoon spend in the garden in France.

    Working on Overleaf to bring millions of users under the same platform came with great challenges that I enjoyed solving.

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    Villy Ioannou

    2018 has been an amazing year with Overleaf! Not a dull moment in the 2 (and a bit) years since I joined -- thank you team for being so fantastic! It was a challenging but exciting year with new projects, a lot of new features added to the platform and v2 launched! As part of my role, I had the opportunity to meet and work with wonderful people at institutions around the world and I’m thrilled to have been able to facilitate new collaborations and partnerships for Overleaf.

    At home, a great year too. Managed to complete a couple of personal projects but most importantly enjoyed unforgettable times with my loved ones. 😊

    I look forward to another successful year and I wish colleagues and Overleaf friends a Happy, Healthy and Exciting New Year 2019!

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