Last year at this time we were having a blast at The Nerdery figuring out how we were going to get all of our projects handled. We spent a lot of energy in recruiting and refining our on-boarding process for new hires, and spent the year doubling our head count from 40 to 80 highly-skilled people. We put our applicants through the ringer with coding assignments and panel interviews, resulting in a 3% acceptance rate. We had our first Overnight Website Challenge, we moved into our new digs, and we created at least 50 partnerships with ad and marketing agencies nationwide. 2008 was a steady stream of wins for Sierra Bravo.

Just as we’ve celebrated our successes, we feel it’s appropriate to also acknowledge that it’s not always sunny at The Nerdery. Last week, we made the difficult decision to reduce our staff. This is something that we don’t take lightly, since our people are the essence of our company.

This year has felt like we’re running as fast as we can up the stairs of the down escalator. After spending 2008 setting ourselves up to conquer a much bigger 2009, we found ourselves a bit overdressed for the party. We have watched the slumping economy cause our friends in the ad, design and marketing industry to fight for their survival as their clients tighten their belts. Our success in 2008 was the result of our unique ability to help our agency partners win on delivering solid interactive solutions to their clients. Our 2009 success will require us to understand how we can best serve our partners in this economic climate.

We need to be financially healthy to best serve our clients. This means we needed to remove some redundancies from our team, making sure that we preserve the unstoppable force that is the army of web nerds we deploy against the challenges our partners and clients face. In all, we reduced our staff by seven people (a little under 9%) – with cuts split between sales and programming. These are people we respect and thank for the personal and professional contributions they have made toward our work and our culture.

We are very strong believers in the “measure twice, cut once” philosophy when it comes to things as important as our team. Though these decisions are heartbreaking for our leadership, we are confident that we’ve positioned ourselves to best serve our customers and our bottom line without any further changes.

The bottom line for our partners and clients is this: We’re more ready than ever. The Nerdery remains stocked with web geniuses collectively versed in all the tools and technology you need to help you succeed. We still have bandwidth for challenging projects on tight timelines. The Nerdery is here to stay and we will continue to stand by our work in support of our agency partners and clients.

We have many reasons to be optimistic about our future, starting with the more than 70 professionals on our team. Our sales pipeline has never been larger or more promising than it is today, which makes us optimistic about the future of our agency partners, too. We’ve never been more committed to helping our partners win business and deliver award-winning work. We are smarter than ever and this week’s shipment of Red Bull just got here — so bring it on.