In 1999 I joined a group of four University students. Two grads and two students with considerable technical talent and a dream. What they didn't have was the business acumen, experience or money to realize their goals. It was at a time where the University of Waterloo was pumping out Internet Software developers by the boatload and shingles were going up everywhere.
What clearly made us successful was networking!
New Market, Considerable Competition
The tech bubble burst shortly after we hung out our shingle, and confidence in the promises the internet made were not being realized anywhere. We had to transition ourselves from being a Web Development company to being an Internet Enterprise Development company and demonstrate that the Internet could be a valuable tool to attract, engage and retain members and employees.
Creativity, Perseverence and Faith
What we were doing, quite frankly, could be done by any number of companies in the region. But it wasn't. I created a plan to generate awareness, establish confidence, attract funding and excel.
We worked with local non profit organizations to build interactive systems that connected their membership. It was one of the first real social networks in the area. The goal was to demonstrate our capabilities and leverage the relationships within the membership of the organizations.
We created products to solve common problems, all on a platform that could easily be replicated, making development quick and maximizing profitability.
In time we became the best known, most comprehensive internet developer in the region. I raised significant funds to enable the next stage of our growth.
Birth of Local Social Networking
The platform was created to enable us to build multiple online businesses. The valuable aspect of the platform was that it was extremely flexible and we could develop ideas 'on the fly'....they now call that 'lean development'. We developed many business opportunities from the platform including one for Pep Boys (the solution is now a very successful company called Axonify.com) and a number of others. One in particular was a way to connect the local municipality through the integration of multiple systems operating on the same platform. What was needed was a relationship with a traditional broadcaster, multiple member based community groups and local businesses. The result: ConnectorLocal.com.
With Radio Stations as our core broadcasting medium, we created systems that appealed to their revenue generating needs and community relationships. I targeted stations all across North America and made them the facilitators of their region's Connectorlocal.com
THE END OF WE-CREATE
In 2008, after incredible penetration in 36 communities, the company was the victim of a hostile takeover by the company's CFO and the largest investor, neither of whom knew anything about Internet development and social media. I was forced out, and they proceeded to cut all special projects and gave them away including the one (Axonify.com) that has proceeded to make incredible inroads. The company failed to make any new revenue from that day forward. In fact, it spiralled into it's ultimate death. Lesson learned....be careful who you bring on as executives and investors.
THE BEGINNING OF A NEW GENERATION
Along with my trusted tech partner, we formed a new company that went on to do what We-Create was intended to do....be a digital platform to build new businesses from. We went on to create Dash Internet (dashinternet.com) and ClevrU (clevru.com).