We are proud to announce news about gwabbit, and introduce you to it if you haven’t heard of it before. It’s one of the most useful apps I have ever used, and has been a great asset to my BlackBerry. I have some news regarding gwabbit, and was granted an exclusive interview with Todd Miller, President of gwabbit, and I’m going to share both.
I want to start off by apologizing, the announcement of the offer was supposed to accompany this article. First, let me give you a bit of information about gwabbit. Founded in 2008 gwabbit LLC (formerly Technicopia, LLC) is the only provider of applications designed to automatically feed the contact cloud. Â The product gwabbit grabs contact information embedded in emails and automatically updates or creates new contact files. Â It comes in two versions: gwabbit for Outlook and gwabbit for BlackBerry. They are the fastest ways to capture and manage contacts on a mobile device or desktop.
The company has achieved profitability only six months after its product launch at DEMO â€™09, and won a coveted DEMOgod award (the highest honor bestowed by the nationâ€™s premier technology conference for launching startup companies).
This is the Press Release as it was announced:
San Francisco, CA â€“ August 31, 2009 â€“ gwabbit, LLC, the only provider of automatic email contact management (ECM) solutions for the contact cloud today announced that the company has achieved profitability only six months after its product launch at DEMO â€™09.
â€œBy achieving profitability in such a brief time, without the benefit of venture capital, gwabbit is demonstrating a new paradigm for technology start-ups for the new economy, with a focus on efficiency and productivity,â€ said Todd Miller, president and founder of gwabbit. Â â€œCompanies can be successfully launched and grown without millions in venture investments and years of losses.â€
gwabbit launched its flagship product, gwabbit for Outlook, at DEMO â€™09 in March, winning a DEMOgod award, the highest honor bestowed by the nationâ€™s premier technology conference for launching startup companies. gwabbit followed up in May with the launch of its first mobile product, gwabbit for BlackBerry. The gwabbit products use semantic technology to automatically scan incoming emails, identify and grab embedded contact information, and import it into the userâ€™s address book with one click. Â gwabbit has garnered both industry and user acclaim.
â€œIn these challenging economic times, it is an impressive achievement to bring a technology start-up to profitability in such a short period,â€ said Chris Shipley, chairman and CEO, Guidewire Group. Â â€œTo do it without the benefit of outside venture capital is remarkable. Â gwabbit is a strong proof point that priced software remains a viable â€“ and Â perhaps most viable — business model.â€
Miller attributes gwabbitâ€™s rapid ascent to profitability to a combination of solid user-intuitive product offerings, a back-to-basics revenue model, and Â â€œlean and meanâ€ business practices, such as virtual officing. Miller is pioneer in virtual officing, launching one of the worldâ€™s first successful 100% virtual companies, WebFeat, in 1998.â€™s rapid climb to profitability to a combination of solid user-intuitive product offerings, a back-to-basics revenue model, and Â â€œlean and meanâ€ business practices, such as virtual officing. Miller is pioneer in virtual officing, launching one of the worldâ€™s first successful 100% virtual companies, WebFeat, in 1998.
After reading the press release, I was very interested to ask Todd Miller more questions, both app and business related, and for some tips for application developers as well. This is the interview, cutting to the questions and answers. And I’d like to thank Todd for taking the time to answer my questions and share his insights with me.
I congratulated Todd on the success of gwabbit, and asked what he would attribute gwabbit’s success to. He stated it was two fold. One, it simply hits a sweet spot, there’s a product need and gwabbit fulfills that need. Â And two, it’s the way they do what they do such as the virtual office which is non-tradional but allows them to be twice as productive.
I wanted to know how the idea of gwabbit came about. Todd explained the true story. In 2001 during his last start up, WebFeed, he found himself cutting and pasting in Outlook. He knew there had to be a better way. He was too busy and didn’t have time or money to fix Microsoft Outlook”s tasks. So in 2008 he sold WebFeed, he had time and money and decided he would fix what Microsoft hadn’t.
I asked him if he ever expected gwabbit to achieve the success it has. He answered yes. He shared a funny story that several months ago, a friend of his, Scott Jarris who was a 2006 entrepeneur from efax. He had mentioned to Scott that three months after launching gwabbit that there was no profit. He said Scott laughed and asked him if he had watched tv lately, that there was an economic downturn but Scott assured him to be positive. It took a little longer than Todd had anticipated, but it happened.
I asked Todd how he would compare Gwabbit to other free apps that are similar. Todd said that there are a handful of older generation apps out there, but they aren’t the same. Gwabbit uses an automatic recognition engine which is similar to speech recognition. It automatically grabs essentially missing pieces of information which is what the market needs.
I asked Todd why or what makes gwabbit so unique. He stated that it is automatic. They strive for 100% recognition. Right now the app is above 80%, and with Outlook, improved results to 90%. Using semantic technology, it’s not limited to English, and can also do Chinese, Korean, and Japanese as well.
I asked Todd for advice or suggestions he could share with app developers and hopeful entrepeneurs wanting to find their way in the app business. He stated he thought from a development perspective to try and keep it very simple. Keep the problem simple, keep the solution simple. Â He said on the business side he said don’t give away your product. Charge money for it, pricing it with what service it provides, the needs of the market, and what appropriate.
The one thing I had to commend Todd for, besides the fantastic gwabbit app, is that the customer service is outstanding. I always rate a product on how it works, looks, and the customer service. And with gwabbit, they are fast to answer, and make sure they are on top of issues, checking back with you and making sure everything is top notch. He thanked me and said they believe in old-fashioned values, having someone to talk to the customer on the phone is very important.
I also asked Todd what areas will gwabbit grow in, and what new features or areas does he see gwabbit growing and venturing into. He gave me this answer:
“1. gwabbits for more devices and platforms: Android, Windows Mobile, iPhone, etc. We’re also developing enterprise versions of gwabbit for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and MS Exchange. With respect to gwabbit for BES, this will enable IT managers to push out gwabbit to any/all BlackBerry smartphones across the enterprise, as well as to enable managers to configure any/all gwabbits centrally. 2. gwabbit Cloud. We want to solve a problem that we see with previous attempts at building contact clouds, namely keeping contact information fresh. Current models rely on users to manually refresh content, which I think is unrealistic. We envision a cloud that does what current clouds do (or try to do), which is to sync up contact information in various repostories (CRM’s, SalesForce, etc), while keeping contact information fresh by feeding the cloud automatically from our base of gwabbit devices.”
So now I’m going to give you a brief explanation of gwabbit.Â gwabbit automatically scans incoming BlackBerry emails, finds contacts, and instantly transforms them into contact records within your address book with a mouse click! gwabbit puts your contact fields away in their proper place in the address book and even checks your address book to see if you’ve already saved a contact previously before re-prompting you to “gwab” it again. You can read our review of gwabbit here.
gwabbit employs a remarkable patent-pending semantic technology to identify contact blocks within email text and accurately parse and import them into your address book. No more cutting and pasting contacts one field at a time from your emails into your address book.
gwabbit for Outlook also available
gwabbit automatically scans emails for signature contacts and alerts user when it finds a contact
No tedious manual contact “painting” required
The gwabbit alert prompts the user to import the contact with one click, or click “No Thanks” to ignore the contact
gwabbit compares contacts with address book entries — only displays contact alert when a new contact is found or if contact information has changed
Option to turn off automatic email scan/alert and instead capture contacts with the “gwabbit” menu option gwabbit for BlackBerry Enterprise Server coming soon.
We are also fortunate in that gwabbit is offering a great deal for our readers. In light of the announcement and the interview, gwabbit is going to grant 20% off the first annual subscription for two weeks. The coupon code designated for our readers is gwabsync. If you don’t have gwabbit, now’s a great time to gwab it.
And please drop a thank you to Todd and gwabbit if you grab a copy.