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The story of two brothers and Passle
By Tom Elgar
#mystartupstory
TRIUMPH AND DISASTER
AND BACK AGAIN
This is me, Tom, leaving Nichestream
– my web development company –
for the last time EVER in 2001.
We’d been smashed up
i...
This is me, Tom, leaving Nichestream
– my web development company –
for the last time EVER in 2001.
We’d been smashed up
i...
This is me, Tom, leaving Nichestream
– my web development company –
for the last time EVER in 2001.
We’d been smashed up
i...
“…meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same”
Rudyard Kipling
My brother, Adam, and I have
worked on a lot of projects
When I was about 10, Our mother said she would give us
£100 to paint this barn with wood-preserving creosote. At
least a w...
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,...
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,...
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,...
They actually make it
now commercially.
Although probably not
simply by mixing
creosote with a gallon of
lethally explosive petrol.
They actually make it
now comm...
When I was 14, we had an idea for a children’s drawing game.
Using stencils of body parts you could make up different
char...
When I was 14, we had an idea for a children’s drawing game.
Using stencils of body parts you could make up different
char...
Later – somewhat by accident –
I got a job teaching Economics
and History in Zimbabwe.
When they realised I couldn’t
teach...
As it turns out, ‘The Biggest
Internet Event in Africa’ in
1996…
Later – somewhat by accident –
I got a job teaching Econo...
As it turns out, ‘The Biggest
Internet Event in Africa’ in
1996…
…wasn’t really ‘THAT’ big.
Later – somewhat by accident –...
And when Adam did his
next conference – now as a
spin off company called
Streamingmedia Inc. – I
coded their website and
m...
And when Adam did his
next conference – now as a
spin off company called
Streamingmedia Inc. – I
coded their website and
m...
And when Adam did his
next conference – now as a
spin off company called
Streamingmedia Inc. – I
coded their website and
m...
And when Adam did his
next conference – now as a
spin off company called
Streamingmedia Inc. – I
coded their website and
m...
San Francisco, 2000
So instead of:
1. Buying a mailing list
2. Printing flyers
3. Sending them
4. Hoping for the best
San Francisco, 2000
Streamingmedia Inc. created a community
around the emerging streaming technologies.
We spoke to THE RI...
Nowadays it’s called ‘Content Marketing’.
We just thought it was very clever indeed.
Either way, Streamingmedia won.
Nowadays it’s called ‘Content Marketing’.
We just thought it was very clever indeed.
Either way, Streamingmedia won.
Strea...
And all coded from this little
shop in Oxford, UK!
Then we set up Serverside Group, which
puts pictures on payment cards
I thought it would be great for small business
logos, but actually it was mostly dogs and kids
But there are lots of dogs and lots of kids, and
we started to do lots and lots of cards
But there are lots of dogs and lots of kids, and
we started to do lots and lots of cards
And we signed up lots and lots of
the world’s leading banks.
We needed to demonstrate our
expertise in our market. To
build trust so we started a blog.
But writing content was always the second priority for
the senior management and our in-house Experts –
It was really hard...
And hardly “authentic”
We tried to outsource our content writing, but the
agency didn’t really understand our weird little...
And hardly “authentic”
One day we walked our little blog out in
to the snow… And shot it.
We tried to outsource our conten...
And hardly “authentic”
One day we walked our little blog out in
to the snow… And shot it.
We tried to outsource our conten...
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 t...
Eventually we knew more about
plastic cards than any man
should reasonably know.
So we sold to Gemalto N.V. in 2009. The
$...
When we finally made
our getaway, we
wondered about
whether that:
‘Experts Demonstrating
their Knowledge thing’
… was a “T...
It turns out that lots of companies want to showcase the
knowledge and experience of their bright but busy experts….
She is destined to
be a Mighty Warrior!
And so Passle
was born…
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Triumph and Disaster: Passle #mystartupstory

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The story of dot-com boom and bust and boom! And starting again with Passle - the Expert to Expert marketing platform.
We did this originally for a Slideshare competition (which we won!)

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Triumph and Disaster: Passle #mystartupstory

  1. 1. The story of two brothers and Passle By Tom Elgar #mystartupstory TRIUMPH AND DISASTER AND BACK AGAIN
  2. 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. 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. 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. 5. “…meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two imposters just the same” Rudyard Kipling
  6. 6. My brother, Adam, and I have worked on a lot of projects
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 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 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.
  9. 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. … and go back to watching TV.
  10. 10. 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 is was LIVID. … and go back to watching TV.
  11. 11. They actually make it now commercially.
  12. 12. Although probably not simply by mixing creosote with a gallon of lethally explosive petrol. They actually make it now commercially.
  13. 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 called them the AniMates.
  14. 14. 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 because they worked well. We called them the AniMates.
  15. 15. 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. 16. 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.
  17. 17. 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.
  18. 18. 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.
  19. 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. 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. 21. 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.
  22. 22. San Francisco, 2000 So instead of: 1. Buying a mailing list 2. Printing flyers 3. Sending them 4. Hoping for the best
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. Nowadays it’s called ‘Content Marketing’. We just thought it was very clever indeed. Either way, Streamingmedia won.
  25. 25. 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.
  26. 26. And all coded from this little shop in Oxford, UK!
  27. 27. Then we set up Serverside Group, which puts pictures on payment cards
  28. 28. I thought it would be great for small business logos, but actually it was mostly dogs and kids
  29. 29. But there are lots of dogs and lots of kids, and we started to do lots and lots of cards
  30. 30. But there are lots of dogs and lots of kids, and we started to do lots and lots of cards
  31. 31. And we signed up lots and lots of the world’s leading banks.
  32. 32. We needed to demonstrate our expertise in our market. To build trust so we started a blog.
  33. 33. But writing content was always the second priority for the senior management and our in-house Experts – It was really hard and it did not directly close business. We needed to demonstrate our expertise in our market. To build trust so we started a blog.
  34. 34. And hardly “authentic” We tried to outsource our content writing, but the agency didn’t really understand our weird little niche. So the content was BORING.
  35. 35. And hardly “authentic” 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. 36. And hardly “authentic” 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.
  37. 37. 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…
  38. 38. 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.
  39. 39. When we finally made our getaway, we wondered about whether that: ‘Experts Demonstrating their Knowledge thing’ … was a “Thing”.
  40. 40. It turns out that lots of companies want to showcase the knowledge and experience of their bright but busy experts….
  41. 41. She is destined to be a Mighty Warrior! And so Passle was born…

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