I sometimes think of my friend Glyn Meek as a modern day “Thomas Edison of technology” mainly because he is always working on least 3-4 inventions at once. It could be posters made of hundreds of micro-satellite photos, it might be a new search technology (like Llesiant, that we wrote about earlier this year), it might be the processes for scaling up for a dramatic event like the World Congress of IT when it was held in Austin, for which he served as the president… I could go on.
Or, when he tires of the tech part in need of a refresh, you might find him at Driveway Austin in his custom Cobra or sailing, the latter from which he got the inspiration for one of his latest ventures, named Software on Sailboats. As he told me the story earlier this year, when he and friends were sailing a few years ago, they got the inspiration for a product as they lamented the dearth of a sales tool built for the real sales person.
Giving credit to their locus of inspiration (and no doubt a partial result of too much sun and drink after a long day on the water), Software on Sailboats was born. Glyn and a partner, using their experience from large (like Dell) and venture-backed (like Triactive) enterprises, focused on the salesperson they knew: someone who is on the move, uses their phone as their mission critical IT, and needs a sales tool that is a real aid in getting their work done – not an administrative time sucker.
They “slapped together” a demo, put it up on CNet’s Download.com in 2001, not knowing exactly what to expect, and over the course of a few years, largely left unattended, got over 40,000 downloads – an amazing number, given the bazillion other contact/sales management tools available for free or fee, from salesforce.com on down.
Well, it got to a point where they finally couldn’t ignore the fact that the software was something that people wanted, but were demanding more than the beta v1.0 release provided. So, with the catalyst of new, more powerful phones and WindowsMobile – and with the backdrop of a tough economy where everyone is looking for ways to reduce op/ex – they decided to roll up their sleeves and get serious about producing a suite of professional desktop and mobile products this past winter.
In true bootstrapping fashion, the team produced everything, including the “day in the life” video – Glyn’s the 3rd gent wandering the fine Central Texas countryside – and demo tutorials, showing how to use the system. As a many time salesforce.com user myself, I really love the approach Glyn and his team have taken focusing on the needs of the salesperson – from the technology, making it easy and intuitive, to the price point, cheap!
First, Windows devices; next, perhaps, iPhones and Androids. But, take a look, see what you think of the free downloads; and, as always, send us your own story of a fresh, “under the radar” technology product or service in Austin. Cheers!