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Paul Cook, who founded RedEye, the e-CRM specialist, has recently chosen to do all of the life changing things in one go. He has left RedEye and formed a new company, bought a new house and by now should have become a father. I wanted to see how he and RedEye were now doing, and the answer is very well.
RedEye were one of the small number of companies who recognised that when it came to the web you really had to do more than just sell technology—people actually need a lot of support to get the to use technology effectively. It therefore came as a bit of a surprise to find that Paul Cook, one of the founders, had sold up and moved on to form a new start-up, PositiveFeedback. Often when such changes occur you fear that people will not be able to find the energy to go through the trauma of a start-up all over again, and also you fear that, without someone so obviously inspirational and knowledgeable, that the original company would flounder.
What I found was that we now have two very healthy and vigorous businesses. RedEye are quite clearly crossing the chasm and becoming a more mature rounded organisation, but with all of the key attributes that enabled it to achieve what it did is still very much in place. Meanwhile, in PositiveFeedback, you have a small start-up that is looking to develop market-leading capability in niche areas.
PositiveFeedback are producing an Ad-Server solution. This is based on Paul’s knowledge of how to optimise data collection, storage and management for such solutions, and is then exploiting the power of KXEN, the Franco-American data mining tool, which is one of the most productive tools available for analysis. Currently they are using the KXEN capabilities to optimise the best slots for advertising. The solution is currently undergoing the first stages of testing, with a launch expected towards the end of the year. We can then expect the same level of expertise to be bought to bear on other optimisation problems found in the world of the web. All of which promises to be very exciting and I shall be following the future of PositiveFeedback with great interest.
Meanwhile RedEye have been equally productive—if in a slightly different direction. RedEye have always distinguished themselves in the eCRM space by basing what they do around a thorough understanding of the importance of building the relationship with the customer, so as to take them from acquisition, through profitability towards becoming an advocate. They offer tools, but perhaps more importantly, they offer expertise. They use consultancy and training to work with their customers to build the skills and abilities of in-house teams.
One key area of value that RedEye can bring is in having a significant body of knowledge tied up in a reliable database of customer knowledge. Based on millions of customers’ responses and augmented with additional data about the respondents, this acts as an invaluable tool for testing all aspects of relationship marketing. Using the database it is possible to test contact’s data and predict what likely outcomes will be. Clearly, when the new CEO is in place at the start of November, we can expect to see RedEye build on its capabilities. I am particularly interested in seeing how their acquisition of OptimumWeb, the usability firm, helps them to address the ongoing issues of how to optimise the web for maximum return.
So, here we have a parting of the ways, which has produced two companies operating in the web space with different emphasises but both offering the promise of a lot of exciting developments in the not too distant future. People trading on the web should keep a close watch on both because they offer market leading capabilities.