Brad O'Neill showed me his idea for TechValidate in the lobby of the New York Hilton at SNW a couple of years ago.
I loved it then, and I love it a lot more now. StumbleUpon was a pipsqueak of an idea compared to TechValidate.
As long as I have been doing this - marketing black boxes to IT geeks, that is - it's been near impossible to get and keep customer references.
This dearth of referencable customers leads to half a dozen thorny problems.
- Editors won't let reporters/writers do stories without customer quotes. Even if you have the best mousetrap since cheese, you can't get anyone to write a story about it.
- Frustrated writers/reporters can't publish even their most interesting stories.
- Prospects won't buy unless they can speak to a customer.
- Salesreps drive marketing crazy asking for references.
- Customers who do make themselves available quickly get besieged and 'burn out'
- Salesreps lucky enough to have customers willing to take calls, horde them like squirrels horde nuts, and won't let other reps (or marketing and PR people) get to them for fear of 'burning them out'
This friction in getting, keeping, and managing customer references creates scarcity and high cost. Industry analysts fill the void - for a price - acting as a proxy for real customers, offering quotes to press releases and reporters, opinion (expert or not) on the value of the product to customers, etc.
Along comes Golden-Hand O'Neill - OK, arguably with a bit of a chip on his shoulder for industry analysts perhaps - and innovates a tool that blows up the whole mess.
Talk about disruptive...
TechValidate lets customers offer their honest opinions directly and anonymously, but verifiably.
Writers and editors can now write stories with validated quotes, without the hassle of getting permission.
Prospects can get validated experiences from real customers to increase their comfort levels.
Salesreps can confidently make claims of value based on validated customer response.
Marketing people can stop fighting alligators and get back to draining the swamp.
Just once, please, can't I have a brilliant idea like this that will make me $10 or $20 million...?