Monday 16 August 2010

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Time for reflection coming up to the anniversary of reconnecting with my current business partner David Lloyd to help oilelefant to market.

Version 1 was a simple webGIS for the rest of us:
  • a ground-floor system with uncomplicated data entry for operators and agencies with small asset base
  • based on petroleum standards like PPDM Lite (Spatial) and web standards OGC WMS
  • kept it in an ever-evolving, or evergreen, context as described here more recently
Version 2 added document management:
  • following user input and leveraging David's background
  • expanded on standards such as full PPDM 3.7 for petroleum and EPSG for surveying
  • added partners such as EZ DataRoom - see illustration in this demo presentation
I joined a year ago to expand its marketing:
  • here on this blog, online documents and talks at FindingPetroleum and PPDM in London
  • identifying UK operators and national data repositories to target as a first step face-to-face
  • also measuring the effects of online marketing in Trending oilelefant Parts III and IV

With the introduction of Live Trial demos, we embarked last year on a form of Freemium model as explained by Don Dodge on his recent blog. I excerpt the last paragraphs here:
Conventional wisdom is usually wrong - Startups create new products for new markets. It is never obvious or easy. If it were, hundreds of companies would have already done it. Trying to chase the latest idea or craze rarely works. Trying to follow conventional wisdom in a startup puts you on a path like AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, or Yahoo.

Stay small and stay focused until you achieve product - market fit. Build, test, iterate. Repeat. Avoid the "suits" management types for as long as possible. Hire the best engineers. Don't compromise. Bad hires will kill you. Mediocre hires will kill you slowly...and more painfully. Read Paul Graham, Brad Feld, Dave McClure, Mark Suster, Techmeme, and others for great insights every day. Good luck!!

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