FOWA Tour- Andy McLoughlin
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FOWA Tour- Andy McLoughlin



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

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



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FOWA Tour- Andy McLoughlin FOWA Tour- Andy McLoughlin Presentation Transcript

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