Nashville’s “Best Places to Work” eight years in a row. We help companies conform to e-learning standards like SCORM and the Experience API.
The Evolution of the Rustici Business Card
Circa 2012 (two sided!):
Circa mid 2013 (Rustici Software)
Circa late 2013 (Watershed LRS)
...and so it begins!
- Mike Rustici realized there was never going to be an easier time to go out and start a business of his own.
- Mar 25, 2002 - Mike registered for a business license.
- June 2002 - Mike quit PureSafety to go full time.
- He called it Rustici Software because that was the first thing he thought of when he went out to register a company at the town hall.
- Rustici Software started out just doing freelance web development — whatever work Mike could get his hands on. The business strategy was "wander until you find a niche”.
- Office location: Mike's spare bedroom.
- Rustici Software was started with money from a Crayola crayon piggy bank full of pennies that Mike had saved since 6th grade (because he knew that the bank would take his coins if he opened a new business account — $339.79) plus $95 he won from a super bowl bet on his childhood favorite, but then underdog New England Patriots.
- New England vs. St Louis Rams Super Bowl XXXVI (February 3, 2002) Patriots won.
- Did work for PureSafety (Mike’s former employer), a physical therapy company, a real estate company, a mortgage broker, McKinsey & Company, and a web developer.
- August 2002 - As Mike was changing his email address on the ADL SCORM newsgroup, somebody messaged him to ask if he knew anybody who could help with SCORM. Mike said, “Sure, I can do that.”
- September - The first SCORM project was a success! Mike put up a web page to advertise SCORM services, created a Google AdWords campaign for SCORM, and registered ScormConsultant.com (you can see remnants of it here).
We start getting more "SCORMy"
- Mike continued to do freelance work, and added a music research company, a golf technology company, a silver store, and a record label to the client list.
- Mike picked up a few more SCORM conversion jobs.
- May - Mike created the first version of SCORM Driver.
- March - First LMS building projects began.
- July - Tim Martin came on board as Mike's business partner. The plan was for Tim to work part time, and spend the rest of his time developing his career as a woodworker. During the workday, Tim worked in Mike's spare bedroom. They routinely bumped heads when they'd both lean back in their chairs — tight quarters!
- Michelob, Mike’s in-laws’ dog was a routine office guest.
- They were routinely selling RSECA (Rustici Software Extended Content API) for content conversions.
- Tim focused on general software, while Mike worked on SCORMy things.
- October - Mike attended ADL Plugfest 8 in Pittsburgh.
Ice cream and a new office
- January - SCORM 2004 1st edition was released.
- February - We bought scorm.com for $850 (!) from someone who registered it speculatively and wanted to get rid of it before it expired. At the time, it seemed like a big, lavish expense.
- February 1, 2004 - The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers.
- February - Mike attended International Plugfest 1 in Zurich, and long lasting friendships began.
- March - Work on the first version of SCORM Content Player (SCP), the predecessor to SCORM Engine, began.
- September - We hired our first employee, a part-time intern named Kristy.
- Expenses labeled “Cold Stone Creamery - Board Meeting” began to become prevalent.
- We added SCORM 2004 support to RSECA.
- July - SCORM 2004 2nd Edition was released.
- August - We decided to rename ourselves “Learned Solutions,” and our code started to have “LS” prefixes. The name didn’t stick — and we came to terms with the fact that we'd be stuck telling people how to pronounce Rustici for years to come.
- October - We proposed to the United States Marine Corps that they buy our SCORM Engine instead of building one themselves.
- November - Full-on development of SCORM Engine with SCORM 2004 support began. Mike worked on this full time, while Tim did the work that payed the bills.
- December - We committed to moving out of the spare bedroom and buy our first office.
- 70% of income for the year came from SCORM.
...and then there were three
- Mike got his first ever Rustici Software Bio!
- January - We posted our first job ad.
- January 17 - We interviewed John Hayden at Cracker Barrel. Tim’s order of chocolate milk convinced John that we’d be good guys to work for.
- February 6, 2005 - The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX against the Philadelphia Eagles.
- February 15 - John Hayden officially joined Rustici Software! He started by working at a card table in Mike’s spare bedroom. Four days later, we moved into a temporary space in a room at the Chesapeake Centre. John and Mike remained heads-down, coding SCORM Engine while Tim worked with customers.
- February 20 - Mike, Tim and John all attended Plugfest 9, where Mike was a presenter. We delivered an in-person sales pitch to United States Marine Corps, and offered scorm.com back to ADL if they wanted it.
- March - We stopped doing work for our last (and favorite) software development customer. From here on out, it was going to be all SCORM, all the time.
- March - Articulate partnered with us to handle their SCORM support.
- June - Implementation began with the Navy and the Marines. The full version of SCORM Engine was completed.
- August - Mike was invited to participate in the ADL Technical Working Group on SCORM evolution. Mike also tried Five Guys for the first time, and hamburgers and fries would never be the same.
- July - October - Three out of four Rustici Software employees have babies, with Mike and Tim's being three days apart.
- October - We did a redesign for scorm.com. You can see what it looked like here. We decided to go with car themes for our products: SCORM Driver and SCORM Engine.
- June - SCORM Engine 2005.1 released
- August - We bought our first tradeshow sign before attending Implementation Fest. It wasn't too fancy...it just sat on a table top.
- August 12 - Our official office Mom, Jean, joined us. Jean was our savior!
- September - Jean’s first task is coordinate our move to our new office and buy us all the supplies we need. Check out her grocery list (Mike wrote most of it.)
- September - The first game at Rustici Software: darts!
- November - SCORM Engine 2005.2 released.
- December - SCORM Engine 2005.3 released.
The awards begin...
- We won the Future50 award from Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce!
- January - We got our pop-up booth exhibit for trade shows. It was slightly more upscale than our previous trade show display. We also got this fancy SCORM comic banner, which pretty much explains how SCORM works.
- January - Mike attended and spoke at International Plugfest 2 in Taipei.
- April - Another developer, Thad, came on board.
- April - We partnered with LINGOS to help out an e-learning charity.
- May - SCORM Test Track was released to the world, because the world needed it. It quickly became the place where the world went to test the conformance of their SCORM content.
- May - SCORM Engine 2006.1 was released.
- May - We got our first write-up in a newspaper!
- June - We started sending SCORM certification plaques to clients.
- October - SCORM 2004 3rd Edition was released.
- November - We hired two more people, Bill and Kevin. Kevin started working on CS2J, a piece of software that helps convert C# code to Java, and made Kevin's job a lot easier.
- Mike had become a regular participant in ADL TWG meetings.
We finally figure out how to pronounce "Rustici"!
- Again, we won the Future50 award from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
- July - SCORM Engine 2007.1 was released.
- August - We publicize CS2J on cs2j.com.
- October - We began our first experiments with Amazon Web Services.
- October - Andy Vance joined the Rustici team.
- November - We hired Troy Foster.
- December - Grandma Rustici finally explains how to pronounce Rustici — it rhymes with ecstasy!
Another new office, and a lot of new faces.
- Again, we won the Future50 Award from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
- We won a BusinessTN Hot 100 Award.
- We hired Andrew Pitmann as an intern, and he built an automated SCORM test suite.
- We also hired Joe Donnelly (our first employee entirely dedicated to support), Eric Moore, Brian Rogers, and David Ells.
- Feb 8, 2008 - Patriots lost Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants.
- July - We outgrew our existing office, so we rented an additional one, two doors down.
- LETSI effort started to become steward of SCORM. Mike became the co-chair of Program Committee for Requirements Workshop, where over 100 papers were submitted.
- November - SCORM Engine 2008.1 was released.
- IMS Common Cartridge was released.
...the economy sinks, but we float.
- We won Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work in Nashville! (The first of many...)
- Again, we won the Future50 Award from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
- This is also the second year in a row that we won the BusinessTN Hot 100 Award.
- We hired Ben Clark (standards guru extraodinare) and Susan Lewis (to help with marketing, after we won susanhiresaboss.com)
- The economy went south, but we stayed profitable. This was the only year that we didn't grow from the prior year.
- March - After months of content creation, a new version of scorm.com (the current version) is launched with massive amounts of free content and resources. We're still adding new content and resources to this page today.
- March - SCORM 2004 4th Edition was released.
- June 20, 2009 - We had a company party at Mike’s house.
- July - SCORM Cloud was launched.
- July - SCORM Engine 2009.1 was released.
The year we started messing around with Tin Cans...
- Again, we win the Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work awards.
- Stuart Childs joined the Rustici team.
- May - The IMS LTI standard was released.
- October - Project Tin Can began in the research phase. This is when we were given the opportunity to help ADL come up with the successor to SCORM, and that would end up being the Tin Can API.
- December - SCORM Engine 2010.1 was released.
...the Fab Four and the E-learning Atlas.
- Once again, we won the Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work award. This was the third year in a row!
- March - We hired the "Fab Four" — Chris, Jeff, Tammy, Jena.
- Scorm.com surpassed 1 million visits.
- April - SCORM Cloud reached 100 active accounts, and still continues to grow.
- April - We moved into another new office, right across the street from our old one. This one was custom designed, just for us. Once again, we were all in the same building. Later, we'd tear down a wall in this office and expand into the adjacent space.
- June - SCORM Engine 2011.1 was released.
- October - The E-learning Atlas is launched. This is a free tool that we created for the e-learning community. It catalogs as many e-learning companies and products as we could find, including which e-learning standards each one supports.
- December - We hired "The Thomases" — Freddie and TJ.
10 years in business!
- For the 4th year in a row, we won Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work.
- February 5 - The Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI to New York Giants.
- In May, we hired "The Juggler" and "The Evangelist" — Andy and Megan.
- April - We released "SCORM Driver Free for Non-Commercial Use".
- May 3 - Rustici celebrates 10 years in business with a 10 year old's dream party — our very own carnival!
- June - TinCanAPI.com was launched.
- June - Brian Miller and Jaffer joined us. For the first time, we had two employees with the same name...Brian Rogers and Brian Miller. Since Brian Miller is the newest employee of the two, we resolve to just call him Bobby to clear up any confusion. Some opt to just call him "B Miller".
- June - The Tin Can API .9 spec was launched before mLearnCon.
- July - We decided to "put Tin Can first".
- August - Tin Can API version .95 launched.
- August - We released SCORM Engine 2012.1.
Jenafits, and "Best Places to Work" for 5 years running...
- For the fifth year in a row, we won Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work award.
- January - Remember how we said we were going to tear down a wall in our new office in order to expand into the adjacent office space? We did that. Our office doubled in size. See the full (and current) office here.
- We keep growing! Shaun started in February, Nathan and Ervin in April, Tim Edwards in May, and Stephanie & Zach in July.
- May 14, 2013- We had a quarterly quell party at Mike's house...including Mike's favorite, Saugy Dogs.
- June 3 - We launched Jenafits. Seriously, just go read about this here. If you're interested in working with us, you want to know about this.
- April 26, 2013 - Tin Can Version 1.0 launched. We celebrate by sending canvas prints of a custom Tin Can artwork piece that we created to all for all of the early adopters of Tin Can (about 60 of them.)
- April - We released Scorm Engine 2013.1
- June - Bowling, beer, and dinner with our families!
- July - Cookout time!
- We started the Watershed First campaign, where we chose 6 organizations to do Tin Can API projects with. Over 100 companies applied to be a part of Watershed First.
- For the 5th year in a row, we won Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work.
- We made the INC 5,000 list!
- We were finalists for the Nashville Business Journal's Small Business Awards.
- In August, we went to play Trampoline Dodge Ball.
- In October, we hired Ryan Donnelly to help with customer support.
- October: We had a Halloween party, and it was righteous.
- September - Chili Cook Off!
- November - Magic the Gathering party and Thanksmas celebration!
- In December, we hired Lizelle as our Marketing Evangelist & Geoff as our UX Designer.
"Best Places to Work" for the 6th year, yoga, and interns
- For the 6th year in a row, we won Nashville Business Journal's Best Places to Work.
- February - We had a wedding shower for Jena that doubled as a murder mystery party.
- We're hiring like crazy!
- We're going to stop posting about individual hires on the history page this year, since we doubled our employee count in 2014. It's a lot!
- March - We started "Fancy Fridays", our version of Casual Fridays. It's always casual here, so we had to reverse it.
- April - impromptu family-friendly cookout at the office...because why not?
- May - We played paintball again.
- June - We started doing Yoga Wednesdays on our outdoors patio.
- We instated our internship program, which is pretty amazing (and not like most internship programs!) For the 4th of July, we had an impromptu cookout at the office.
- We added the "Get Fancy" package to our Jenafits program, which makes sure that Rusticians have new, super stylish clothes available each month.
- We were nominated for the Nashville Business Journal Small Business awards again!
- August - We rented out an indoor, electric go-kart track...and gah, that was fun.
- August - Mike loves Crossfit, so the company paid for a whole slew of us to go try it out. There are quite a few of us that still go on a regular basis.
- We made the INC 5,000 list for the second year in a row!
- October - Halloween party!
- TJ won our second-annual Chili Cook Off.
- Jeffrey Horne won CMO of the Year from the Nashville Business Journal, and Marketing Innovator of the year from the Nashville Tech Council.
- We won COMPANY OF THE YEAR at the Nashville Technology Council Awards.
- We won 4 Brandon Hall Awards, the Grammys of the e-learning industry.
- We expanded into a third section of our current building. We need more space!
- We began the design of our next office space, a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Franklin, TN that's being completely renovated.
Best Places to Work, 7th year in a row!
- We won the Nashville Business Journal's "Best Places to Work" award for the 7th year in a row!
- We won The Tennessean's "Best Places to Work" award for the first time (this was the first year we had enough employees to qualify.)
- February - We went to play "The Escape Game", which we were awesome at (we set a record!)
- Tim Chudy won the 3rd annual chilli cook off.
- We won the Nashville NEXT award for Company of the Year in Technology.
- We made the INC 5,000 list for the third year in a row!
- ...construction still continues on our new 20,000 square foot office space.
- We got the pleasure of hiring Laura Mensel, John Mensel, Kyle Patmor, Reid Wiggins, Erica Kyle, Hannah Smith, and Catherine Colligan.
Best Places to Work, 8th year in a row!
- We won the Nashville Business Journal's "Best Places to Work" award for the 8th year in a row!
- In January we were acquired by LTG. Watershed received investment money from LTG, and officially split from Rustici Software.
- We rented a bouncy house/game and put it in the parking lot.
- We moved into our new office! 20,000 square feet, right down the road from our old office.
- We launched a new product, Content Controller, a web-based application that lets you centrally host, manage, distribute and track eLearning content.
- Our work perks got revamped! Jenafits 2.0 includes over 20 choices and employees have the option to change their selections quarterly.
- We welcomed Sam Cayford, Jason Wisener, Ryan Pfieffer and Suzanna Best, and Andy Whitaker came back to Rustici after a short time spent with Watershed after the split.
xAPI steps into its own and our products evolve
- The Department of Defense signed the updated DoDI 1322.26, advising DoD entities to procure learning tech with xAPI and/or SCORM support. We cheered the work we did to help make it happen and the fact that it’s a big win for xAPI!
- After leaving SCORM Cloud largely untouched since its 2009 launch, we gave it a face lift, rolling out a new user interface for Cloud that received great feedback.
- We kicked off a new event known as Family Meal that helps us catch up with one another both socially and strategically.
- Content Controller won a CLO award for the work we did with the SANS Institute. Spoiler: it had something to do with the fact that, since launching CC, SANS saw a 90% reduction in time spent updating existing content.
- We were invited to speak at eight different events including ATD, ADL iFest, DevLearn and iVentures.
- We gathered for the most in-tents Thanksmas yet, celebrating our year, our team and our work with a carnival...inside the office.
- We grew and continue to grow! We hired seven new people and are continuing to hire new positions. In 2017, Luke Wiedeman, Josh White, Reed McLean, Avery Laster, Kirsty Hughan, Tara Morey and Cody Hazelwood joined our team.