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FOWA Tour- Andy McLoughlin

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Future of Web Apps Bristol presents "Dealing with Goliath" by Andy McLoughlin

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FOWA Tour- Andy McLoughlin

  1. 1. Dealing with Goliath Andy McLoughlin
  2. 2. I am co-founder / strategy director at Huddle is a network of secure online workspaces for team collaboration Huddle was launched in April 2007 HQ in London, sales office in Chicago Growing fast (8 to 35 people in 12 months) A little bit about me...
  3. 3. Who wants to build a $10M+ company?
  4. 4. Who wants to build the next $100M+ company?
  5. 5. Going big, quickly <ul><li>Viral growth (Twitter) </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisition (Writely) </li></ul><ul><li>Deep pockets (Zoho) </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships </li></ul>
  6. 6. Partners = WIN (for
  7. 7. A Very Civil Partnership <ul><li>Huddle provides the application </li></ul><ul><li>Partner provides the network / leads / customers / sales force </li></ul><ul><li>Co-brand the application </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue share on Huddle subscriptions and advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone gets rich and goes home early </li></ul><ul><li>Easy, right? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Not quite!
  9. 9. The early days <ul><li>Use nice graphics from the website (or ask Keh) </li></ul>Partnerships are bloody hard work!
  10. 10. Two very different partnerships
  11. 11.
  12. 12. How it came about
  13. 13. Facebook POC
  14. 14. LinkedIn mock ups
  15. 15. Count down!
  16. 16. Development: Moving from fragile to agile Building the thing
  17. 17. Internal Vs External Dev <ul><li>Internal Development </li></ul><ul><li>Complete control </li></ul><ul><li>Known high quality </li></ul><ul><li>No OS expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity cost </li></ul><ul><li>External Development </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible resource </li></ul><ul><li>OpenSocial expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Variable quality </li></ul><ul><li>Additional cost </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of control </li></ul>
  18. 18. Existing API Architecture PHP Application on Linux Server C# Application on Windows Server Huddle API Private SOAP API
  19. 19. Proposed Solution: “Quick Win!” PHP Application on Linux Server C# Application on Windows Server Huddle API Private SOAP API Open REST API (
  20. 20. Issues No such thing as a quick job <ul><li>New API calls </li></ul><ul><li>Application changes </li></ul><ul><li>Project management </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing preparation </li></ul>
  21. 21. Scaling
  22. 22. One of only six global partners on LinkedIn’s OpenSocial platform October 2008
  23. 23. Lessons Learnt (OpenSocial) <ul><li>Never outsource build of a core product! </li></ul><ul><li>Technical debt = FAIL </li></ul><ul><li>Especially to a company on the other side of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Working across 4 time zones = EPIC FAIL </li></ul><ul><li>There is no such thing as a quick job </li></ul><ul><li>Be conservative on uptake stats and work out your CPA – is it worth it? </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t film in a basement! </li></ul>
  24. 24. Was it worth it? Absolutely YES!
  25. 25. OpenSocial - the Future’s bright <ul><li>Re-use the Huddle Workspaces app across other networks </li></ul><ul><li>Ning OS launching in mid June 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>3 rd OS launch in late June </li></ul><ul><li>OpenSocial portability is still an issue (~£8,000 to roll out a new network) </li></ul>
  26. 26. “ How do I get on the platform?” <ul><li>Honest answer: be lucky </li></ul><ul><li>Have ‘an in’ to the platform team </li></ul><ul><li>Meet face-to-face </li></ul><ul><li>Have an application they need </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate ability to deliver and scale </li></ul><ul><li>No new applications for 3 to 6 months  </li></ul>
  27. 27.
  28. 28. An ‘unsexy’ deal (about 15 months in the making!)
  29. 29. Money, money, money
  30. 30. “ I have a cunning plan” <ul><li>Co-brand the Huddle app for InterCall </li></ul><ul><li>Let InterCall bill them </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusion on all InterCall setup emails </li></ul><ul><li>Placement on InterCall homepage </li></ul><ul><li>Get their sales people to create Huddle accounts on initial call to new customers </li></ul><ul><li>Mass provision existing 1M+ accounts </li></ul><ul><li>Easy upsell to Huddle Enterprise for $$$ </li></ul><ul><li>Manage it all from London </li></ul>
  31. 31. Making it work <ul><li>Technical challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Legal challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Sales challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural challenges </li></ul>
  32. 32. May 2009
  33. 33. Lessons Learnt (The Big Co) <ul><li>Engaging the top level vision is easy </li></ul><ul><li>You need to engage ‘the army’ </li></ul><ul><li>Bridge the gap - you’re one step removed. Need feedback of what is / isn’t working </li></ul><ul><li>Clear value proposition for their customers </li></ul><ul><li>Be ultra-conservative on revenue estimates </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared for everything to take twice as long as you’d hope! </li></ul>
  34. 34. Was it worth it? Absolutely YES!
  35. 35. Partnerships – A Summary <ul><li>Good partnerships can deliver everything you want but... </li></ul><ul><li>Be realistic </li></ul><ul><li>Pick your battles wisely </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to invest </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to wait </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to argue, argue, argue </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that David beat Goliath! </li></ul>
  36. 36. Thank you! Email: Twitter: @bandrew Promo code: 1MONTHFREE