Skift is four years old today. As our team sails back to American shores after an amazing week in Cuba, we are reflecting on the journey we have had as a company and as a team.

In our first pitch document, and indeed in the launch post, this is what we wrote:

“At $2 trillion GDP a year and 100 million jobs, travel — tourism, hospitality, and transport — is one of the world’s largest industries and certainly the largest employer. While digital has disrupted distribution and information systems, no information brand has emerged that matches the industry’s size with its digital potential. Skift will be that brand. Whether it’s through news, insight, data, and services, we aim to be the pervasive brand when it comes to travel information.”

It sounded ridiculously naive at that point. As outliers, we had no freakin’ clue what we were trying to achieve, we only knew how to report (or as I say to our edit team “report the shit out of it.”) We knew how to up the metabolism of any sector we put our minds to. And we certainly knew how to do everything our own way. It was the only way we knew. Naïveté, as I said.

So that is what we did, our naïveté came across as freshness, and along the way our brand emerged. Opinionated, eclectic and sharp.

Four years in and 30 people, we are here, now with a legacy.

We now have stories to tell each other, about each other. We are an intensely loyal group and this one week in Cuba and on this cruise has brought forth the unlikeliness of the special bond we have created as a team.

The living culture we have created in the company, what we build in it every day, that is really all that matters. As much as we care about “Defining The Future of Travel” and everything that flows from that tagline of ours, we care about each other more. The quality of our work and what we have achieved so far as a business is only possible because we care for each other first.

As corny as that sounds, writing this today around midnight on the decks of Fathom Adonia ship, I know this is 100 percent true.

That is it, our special sauce: we care about our company, our people, what we create, the work we deliver for others, the industry we are in. We care about all of this more than *anyone else* does in our world.

Recently the Skift team came up with our core values, which we define as “what is important to Skift and what is unique about working here.” There 10 core values have been battle tested with us over the last four years. We are releasing it here in public, today.

Whatever happens to Skift, who we hire, what products we build, if we succeed or fail in whatever we do from there, these core values will remain true, will keep us on the path. That is what will carry us for the next four years, and way beyond.

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P.S.: If you want to join in our journey and add to this story, we are expanding and will be hiring for bunch of positions over the coming months; email me: [email protected]

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Photo Credit: The Skift team in Havana, Cuba, earlier this week, where among other things, we wish we could adopt this car and bring it back to U.S. with us.