Marketing Speak

I have just looked at Recombo 2005 and also Ingenia.

What I saw with Recombo was a very unfocused pitch, obviously made by a sales/marketing guy.  I don’t think there was a buzz word he left out.  I started making a list of them because it made me laugh.  Here are a couple of my favorites:  productization, (huh?) interoperability, bet the company.  Also his “focus, focus, focus” speech sounded like it was straight out of a bad how to book.  As far as I could tell, the only “focus” he articulated was his mission “to be a 100 million dollar company.”

There is an existing product but there is no pay off in terms of investment.  No competitive analysis was provided, there is no clear offering that would make IBM or anyone else buy the company. IBM has been marketing and selling software and hardware solutions for over 50 years.  I find it hard to believe that Recombo is providing any value that IBM could not reproduce on their own.  There are economies of scale to think of.  IBM has the staff, the infrastructure, the expertise already in place.  Why would they think of buying a company like Recombo, unless there were people, (customers or staff) or a product that they couldn’t attract on their own.

The CEO  of Ingenia was considerably more articulate, she had done her homework and at least came off sounding intelligent.

Ingenia is selling a service rather than a product, which in itself forces a more articulate discussion.  If they are trying to sell expertise, one would hope that the person doing the selling could sound like an expert.  The one thing that caught my attention was that it seemed like they couldn’t make it at home, so they are trying to find somewhere they can make it. (Vietnam)  Not the greatest business model in my mind.

My money goes with neither company.  I can’t see either one making it.


September 8, 2008   12 Comments

Building the Conversation

To follow up on DavidP’s point about tags, please also do what you can to stimulate conversation.  Two quick recommendations:

  • make all of your posts as brief and to-the-point as possible.
  • engage your audience with provocations, questions, etc., leading to comments.

Other ideas for building great discourse….?

September 8, 2008   1 Comment

Building the cloud

Hello all.

Just a little reminder to help us all navigate, as well as find posts and comments more easily.

As you write a post, please remember to indicate:

* category from the category list provided

* tags: such a M1, M2, M3 etc. to help us navigate, as well as find posts

September 8, 2008   No Comments

Different pitches

Hi all –

For those of you who remember my intro, I work in textbook publishing. One of the most interesting entrepreneurial ventures I’ve seen in a while is a new company called Flatworld Knowledge, which makes textbooks free, and uses all sorts of new technologies to create learning communities. It is a for-profit business, but I’m intrigued by the way they’ve turned the traditional model on its head. They have four clever little videos describing what they do at the following site: 

These aren’t formal pitches to investors, but they take a pitch-like form (although if being impressed by the presenter is one of your criteria, I’m not sure what you’ll think of stick figures!) The business isn’t yet fully launched; their first ‘books’ will be ready for the January semester. One of the most impressive things to me is that the entrepreneurs running it come from traditional publishing. Take a look and see what you think. I can’t wait to see where this one goes!


September 8, 2008   10 Comments

Pitch Pool Observations

I’m going to focus on the differences between the Recombo 04 pitch and the Recombo 05 interview because, as Susan indicated, there are some really interesting evolutionary processes revealed here.  In the 04 pitch their plan showed, I think,  some typical issues associated with early business planning.  The target market was huge and multileveled (The “virtuous circle”).  The product was a complex offering of services and software which attempted to show their all encompassing position as a solutions provider.  At the surface level this market potential and thorough coverage might appear persuasive to an investor but as an EVA, it raised concerns that the plan was too broad, lacked a compelling implementation strategy and didn’t show an insightful understanding of their client’s corporate cultures.

In the Recombo 05 interview, it was very interesting to see the adjustments they had been making.  For example, he talked about redefining their mission as selling a service and not a product. In otherwords, they’ve realized their “product” was too complex and needed less “engineering” focus and more of a solutions approach.  In fact, he repeatedly commented on the need for “focus” in their 05 approach.  In terms of their approach to their target market, there was, again, this movement towards a more specific segment of their overall market.  The establishment of a single account as a “lighthouse” client, demonstrated a more strategic approach that was not evident in the 04 pitch.  And the fact that this client was a content publisher whose clients they were looking to excavate further, again, showed a major refinement of their overall approach to their market and a more tangible path to the other segments of their overall market.  With the luxury of hindsight, if the 04 pitch had contained some of these specific strategic insights that the 05 interview revealed, the 04 pitch would have appeared much more persuasive.  (Ahhh, yes, hindsight! I know it well!!)   There lots other aspects of the Recombo 04 and 05 presentations that one could discuss. This is a really interesting duet and great example of the evolution of a business model.

September 8, 2008   1 Comment

Pitch Pool – round one

As I watched the first round of pitches, I was struck by the different levels of aggressiveness shown by the interviewees.  The pitch that emerged as the leader to me was that of Ingenia.  They were the one entrepreneurial company to satisfy the conditions of CEO credibility, a stellar management team, a feasible and well-researched business model, competitive products, technical innovation and market readiness.  Even though I was watching this video as part of an assignment, I still felt sold by the thorough research and forward thinking exhibited.  If I were to invest, this would be the one!

Another significant characteristic that differentiated the four entities was the level and degree of forward thinking.  To me, the two that stood out on top were Ingenia and the intrapreneurial BC IT.  As I listened, I was impressed by the proactive nature with which they anticipated problems, designed safeguards and planned for future success.  

The entrepreneurial Recombo seemed to react well to change in their business using a solutions-based approach.  This approach, while successful for Recombo, does not instill confidence in me as an EVA as I do not see that they are anticipating future concerns.

BC OLT seemed quite reactionary in their actions, solving problems as they arose.  I realize that intrepreneurial ventures do not necessarily have the resources to implement their vision to its fullest; working with what the IT department could support, but it seemed to me that BC OLT was satisfied to do the best they could with what was easy.  While this may instill confidence in me as a user or consumer, I would not be motivated to invest as the aggression and planning for success are lacking.

A separate study could be done just on the improvements made in Recombo’s 2005 pitch as compared to their 2004 pitch; even the manner in which Mr. MacPhee dressed and spoke affected the confidence one would feel as an EVA.   There is a lot riding on the business’ spokesperson as it is the impression one gets of their abilities that sells confidence in the company.

September 8, 2008   7 Comments