Both as a way to introduce the team and to capture some of the discussions that are going on as the company develops - discussions that we think/hope are interesting - I'll be interviewing the members of the team over the coming weeks. First up, Tim, the CEO and my co-founder.
Both as a way to introduce the team and to capture some of the discussions that are going on as the company develops - discussions that we think/hope are interesting - I’ll be interviewing the members of the team over the coming weeks. First up, Tim, the CEO and my co-founder.
**Tom: **How does CANDDi differ from 12 months ago?
**Tim: **This time last year we were just getting ready to do the Difference Engine and I was preparing to move up to Middlesbrough. I was pretty confident that knew exactly what it [CANDDi] was, and what it needed to be (and I’m sure the same was true for you Tom). It was centred around email marketing and it was Java based.
It turns out we knew what we wanted - we just had no idea what customers wanted! But seriously, we now have a much better understanding of the problem. It’s still the same problem that we were tackling on day one, it’s just better defined: it’s about finding the people that marketers are engaging with digitally - what are they doing, how you can segment them and reconnect with them.
At the start of the Difference Engine I discovered that I knew very little about the marketplace. The first three months from March to June was a learning space, but even then there was lots of interest. The next three months was about refining the proposition and convincing Jim of the value.
The last three months of last year was about bringing James on board, understanding the niche and getting feedback from the dealers.
The last year has been a lesson that startups take twice as long and cost twice as much as expected. It’s been very up and down. I wish we had been able to spend more time working on the technology early on, but the lesson has been that getting the market understanding and the team right is more important.
**Tom: **What attracted you to CANDDi?
**Tim: **You did! This is my sixth startup. I’d finished doing a corporate role and I was looking for the next step. We’d done some projects together and talked about the idea, and I had an immediate sense that there was something there. Even when we were really bad at describing the problem, when I bounced it off people it engendered a massive reaction and that gave me a real burst of enthusiasm. Unfortunately I mistook that for actually knowing what was going on. It’s taken twelve months to evolve an idea and enthusiasm into a serious team and a business.
**Tom: **How do you see your role?
**Tim: **Easier to say what isn’t my role! I’m responsible for anything that isn’t explicitly assigned to someone else. Going forward I aim to see some core things assigned to other people.
**Tom: **What’s your vision for the business?
Tim: I see us being the front end that sits on top of Salesforce.com - the lead funnel.
CRMs are brilliant once you have something to tie things too - some validated PII (personally identifiable information). This isn’t the normal case on the web: there’s lots of anonymous browsing. As shoppers we behave the same way we do in the local Smiths or Tescos - I don’t announce myself to the shop assistant and I don’t want them breathing down my neck. But when I start showing interest, if the assistant knew what I’d been browsing they could give me much more relevant customer service.