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Submittable 2014 Year in Review: Custom Forms, API, Mobile, and John Wayne Slept Here

Lobby of the Florence Hotel, Missoula, Montana

Lobby of the Florence Hotel (Photo courtesy of Asta So)

You can do things in hotels you wouldn’t necessarily do at home.

When asked, my 8-year-old said the most obvious thing you’d do at a hotel that you wouldn’t do at home is jump on the bed. After some consideration, he said, “You might also run in the halls and probably watch more TV and stay up later. Sometimes you can go swimming.”

“Sometimes they smell really nice, but sometimes they smell disgusting,” he added.

His older brother cut in, “The smelly ones are called motels.” Then he said, “Sometimes people call motels ‘inns’ to make them sound like they don’t smell. Like the Holiday Inn.”
One of our staff said she tends to imagine her life differently when in hotels, especially nice ones like The Florence. “I’m less broke, more sophisticated, maybe a spy or famous author.”
Another said they make her think of Eloise, whom the New Yorker caught up with in July.
A few months ago, after receiving a grant from our home state Montana, Submittable moved into the Florence Hotel in downtown Missoula.

Exterior of the Florence Hotel

Exterior of the Florence (Photo courtesy of Asta So)

The Florence isn’t an “inn.” At seven stories high, it is the 5th tallest building in Montana. It anchors downtown Missoula, taking up most of a block on Higgins Avenue. The design is Art Moderne with rounded corners and sleek glass block wraparound windows that look out onto the M and the L. It stopped being a hotel in the late 70’s but retains that luxurious-yes-let’s-order-another feel. There’s a big beautiful lobby that has a wine bar & restaurant, The Red Bird, and a fireplace with a well-tended fire in the winter. An artisan chocolate shop, Posh, does retail out of the hotel’s old front desk. There’s a block of operating phone booths. John Wayne allegedly slept here, and there might or might not be an unnamed ghost with a handlebar mustache haunting the building.
We’re excited to be in this new spot, as we continue making tools that previously cost thousands of dollars available at a price almost anyone can afford. Our goal is to democratize the unsexy parts of publishing and media: editorial and curation.

2014 was a huge jump forward in trying to achieve these goals. Over 12,000,000 documents and videos were sent and curated using the platform. Over 2,000 new clients began using Submittable, including major publishers like Harlequin, CBS, Hearst and over 1,400 schools, colleges, and major universities.
We also shipped over 6,000 lines of new code which include the following features and projects:

An office with a view

An office with a view (Photo courtesy of Asta So)

  • Ability to make submissions Editable: This feature makes it possible for editors and administrators to request changes in manuscripts or applications in real-time.
  • Custom reviews: Ability for administrators to create fully customized surveys and ratings for submissions
  • Redesign of the Form Designer
  • Release of the Submittable VIP version which integrates with 3rd-party platforms
  • Release of the Submittable API
  • Launching of the beta version of Submishmash, an API of every creative opportunity on Earth

For this coming year, we’re well on our way to launching the following:

  • Submittable 3.0, which includes a completely new UI and improved Social Network Integration
  • Deep on Mobile. We’re adding an iPhone and Android app for crowd-sourcing news and real-time events
  • Submishmash 1.0, which will enable developers and other websites to build pages and apps that promote publishers and creative opportunities

Today, in Montana, there are still ranches located hundreds of miles from the nearest town. Our headquarters, in Missoula, is thousands of miles from the nearest tech hub or venture capitalist. We started here and I’m thrilled (and relieved) to say we continue growing here. For me, taking up in this beautiful old hotel in our hometown of Missoula, we’re committing to our Montana can-do roots while aspiring to slightly ridiculous goals that you wouldn’t set at home.

Thank you to everyone who has used or uses the platform. If you’re in town, please stop by.


Michael FitzGerald

Michael lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife and two sons. He’s the CEO and one of the founders of Submittable and the author of the novel Radiant Days.