Triumph and disaster and back again. Passle and #mystartupstory

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The story of dot-com boom and bust and boom! And starting again with Passle - longer than a tweet, shorter than a blog. …

The story of dot-com boom and bust and boom! And starting again with Passle - longer than a tweet, shorter than a blog.

Passle lets you:
Gather research, add context, then collaborate and share
Capture and showcase your research, work and citations
Create a beautiful resources area of your work and share with others


More in: Technology , Business
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  • 1. The story of two brothers and Passle By Tom Elgar #mystartupstory
  • 2. This is me, Tom, leaving Nichestream – my web development company – for the last time EVER in 2001. We’d been smashed up in the dot-com crash
  • 3. This is me, Tom, leaving Nichestream – my web development company – for the last time EVER in 2001. We’d been smashed up in the dot-com crash I’ve just turned off the lights.
  • 4. This is me, Tom, leaving Nichestream – my web development company – for the last time EVER in 2001. We’d been smashed up in the dot-com crash I’ve just turned off the lights. But forgot the awning – better do that first.
  • 5. My brother, Adam, and I have worked on a lot of projects
  • 6. When I was about 12, Our mother said she would give us £100 to paint this barn with wood-preserving creosote. At least a week of hard, dirty work.
  • 7. But if you pilfer a spray can and mix the creosote with petrol, you can spray it on in about 3 hours… When I was about 12, Our mother said she would give us £100 to paint this barn with wood-preserving creosote. At least a week of hard, dirty work.
  • 8. But if you pilfer a spray can and mix the creosote with petrol, you can spray it on in about 3 hours… When I was about 12, Our mother said she would give us £100 to paint this barn with wood-preserving creosote. At least a week of hard, dirty work. … and go back to watching TV.
  • 9. But if you pilfer a spray can and mix the creosote with petrol, you can spray it on in about 3 hours… When I was about 10, Our mother said she would give us £100 to paint this barn with wood-preserving creosote. At least a week of hard, dirty work. Our mother still is was LIVID. … and go back to watching TV.
  • 10. They actually make it now commercially.
  • 11. Although probably not simply by mixing creosote with a gallon of lethally explosive petrol. They actually make it now commercially.
  • 12. When I was 14, we had an idea for a children’s drawing game. Using stencils of body parts you could make up different characters (mostly based on the drawing of Albert Uderzo) We called them the AniMates.
  • 13. When I was 14, we had an idea for a children’s drawing game. Using stencils of body parts you could make up different characters (mostly based on the drawing of Albert Uderzo) We met the toy companies, but they said using stencils was too complicated for little children. Which is a shame ‘cause they worked well. We called them the AniMates.
  • 14. Later – somewhat by accident – I got a job teaching Economics and History in Zimbabwe. When they realised I couldn’t teach, I got a call from Adam (who now worked for a conference company) to run this exhibition.
  • 15. As it turns out, ‘The Biggest Internet Event in Africa’ in 1996… Later – somewhat by accident – I got a job teaching Economics and History in Zimbabwe. When they realised I couldn’t teach, I got a call from Adam (who now worked for a conference company) to run this exhibition.
  • 16. As it turns out, ‘The Biggest Internet Event in Africa’ in 1996… …wasn’t really ‘THAT’ big. Later – somewhat by accident – I got a job teaching Economics and History in Zimbabwe. When they realised I couldn’t teach, I got a call from Adam (who now worked for a conference company) to run this exhibition.
  • 17. And when Adam did his next conference – now as a spin off company called Streamingmedia Inc. – I coded their website and marketing tools… Then I learnt to code.
  • 18. And when Adam did his next conference – now as a spin off company called Streamingmedia Inc. – I coded their website and marketing tools… Looks pretty hopeless now but, the clever bit was… Then I learnt to code.
  • 19. And when Adam did his next conference – now as a spin off company called Streamingmedia Inc. – I coded their website and marketing tools… Looks pretty hopeless now but, the clever bit was… Then I learnt to code.
  • 20. And when Adam did his next conference – now as a spin off company called Streamingmedia Inc. – I coded their website and marketing tools… Looks pretty hopeless now but, the clever bit was… Then I learnt to code.
  • 21. San Francisco, 2000 So instead of: 1. Buying a mailing list 2. Printing flyers 3. Sending them 4. Hoping for the best
  • 22. San Francisco, 2000 Streamingmedia Inc. created a community around the emerging streaming technologies. We spoke to THE RIGHT 25,000 people each day. The competition spoke to THE WRONG 100,000 PEOPLE, at huge expense, twice a year. So instead of: 1. Buying a mailing list 2. Printing flyers 3. Sending them 4. Hoping for the best
  • 23. Nowadays it’s called ‘Content Marketing’. We just thought it was very clever indeed. Either way, Streamingmedia won.
  • 24. Nowadays it’s called ‘Content Marketing’. We just thought it was very clever indeed. Either way, Streamingmedia won. Streamingmedia Inc. sold to Penton Media for $100m in late 2000.
  • 25. And all coded from this little shop in Oxford, UK! 
  • 26. Then we set up Serverside Group, which puts pictures on payment cards
  • 27. I thought it would be great for small business logos, but actually it was mostly dogs and kids
  • 28. But there are lots of dogs and lots of kids, and we started to do lots and lots of cards
  • 29. But there are lots of dogs and lots of kids, and we started to do lots and lots of cards
  • 30. And we signed up lots and lots of the world’s leading banks.
  • 31. We wanted to make Serverside the content hub for our niche – so we started a blog.
  • 32. But writing content was always the second priority for the senior management and sales guys. We wanted to make Serverside the content hub for our niche – so we started a blog.
  • 33. We tried to outsource our content writing, but the agency didn’t really understand our weird little niche. So the content was BORING.
  • 34. One day we walked our little blog out in to the snow… And shot it. We tried to outsource our content writing, but the agency didn’t really understand our weird little niche. So the content was BORING.
  • 35. One day we walked our little blog out in to the snow… And shot it. We tried to outsource our content writing, but the agency didn’t really understand our weird little niche. So the content was BORING.
  • 36. By now we were doing well, and other companies started to copy us (but we had the patents) so we went at ‘em! A bit like this…
  • 37. Eventually we knew more about plastic cards than any man should reasonably know. So we sold to Gemalto N.V. in 2009. The $9bn gorilla in our field.
  • 38. It was so easy and useful. And we thought: Do you know what?! Later while working on a different idea… we started using a bookmarklet to capture web content for our research.
  • 39. That could be really powerful
  • 40. You could highlight the key point
  • 41. Comment with your own views
  • 42. And bring to life with the tweets of others
  • 43. It takes no time at all to make a post, giving you an easy, effective way to blog
  • 44. It takes no time at all to make a post, giving you an easy, effective way to blog So you can rapidly build an online presence which reflects your knowledge and experience
  • 45. longer than a tweet, shorter than a blog