“The Coffee” – Aug 2013
I remember it well. It was the end of August two years ago and I had taken a long weekend to visit my parents in NY. Amy was travelling with her girlfriends, so I had a few days by myself to hang with the fam and visit some friends in the city. After a weekend of BBQ’ing and relaxing at my parents’ house, I spent Monday doing a catch-up tour of sorts in NYC by meeting up with some friends and colleagues in Silicon Alley. I love these kinds of conversations with people in tech; they’re not interviews (I wasn’t actively looking), but they help me stay connected to the startup world and (at the time) to what was happening outside of Seattle in tech.
My last coffee of the day was with an old colleague named Iñaki Berenguer. We met when he was at Microsoft many years ago and had kept in touch periodically over the last few years. We met up at the Pixable offices in SoHo and had a coffee on a very worn (but loved) couch. Iñaki had just sold Pixable, so after a few minutes of catch-up about the acquisition he said “I want to tell you about this new thing we’re building. It’s called Contactive.”
Change is hard. For Amy and I, change like “Move across the country” and “Leave your friends and life and job of over ten years” was something we talked about in our five-to-ten year plans, but never really thought would happen. I hadn’t found the right reason to make the change.
Up until then I had spent my entire career building software to make people more productive. I’ve always been inspired by helping people work better, faster, and ultimately (hopefully) happier. It was awesome to work at Microsoft right out of college; I was 21 years old and got to build experiences into Microsoft Office that were later used by millions of people. Serious nerd-rush. Over the years I became obsessed with bringing social collaboration and productivity into the enterprise, cutting my teeth on partnerships with LinkedIn and Facebook, and was amazed at how big the opportunity space was.
So when Iñaki described what the beta version of Contactive did, and more importantly what he thought it could become, I had one of those ‘eclipse’ moments when you see things align in a super-crazy way:
…an early stage startup
…focusing on social and big data
…with a crazy smart team
…needing a product guy with enterprise software experience
You get the idea. 🙂
Fast forward two months later: Amy and I are living in Brooklyn, I left Microsoft and am now employee #7 at Contactive in NYC. It happened so fast that for the first few weeks I still woke up on Seattle time to go to work. We’ve since settled in and have loved every minute of our new lives here in NYC.
Our mission at Contactive was to make our users as prepared and productive as possible for every conversation they have. Over the last 2+ years, we have worked non-stop to build a strong big data platform, a brilliant team of 20 people, and a solid product with over 1 Million users. Along the way we also launched Klink, our enterprise offering for optimizing communications at large enterprises.
Today, we are excited to announce that we are joining ThinkingPhones, the market leader in Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). By joining ThinkingPhones, we can move another step forward in closing the gap between the world of big data and telephone communications, to increase the productivity and efficiency of communications.
It is an honor and a privilege to join ThinkingPhones. Over the past few weeks I’ve had the chance to get to know Steve, Derek, and the rest of the team at ThinkingPhones. The’ve all been working together for over ten years and have started several successful companies together before ThinkingPhones. It’s clear that they really enjoy working together and have built a supportive and fun place to work. I am also supremely impressed by the agility, passion, and innovation they bring to the space.
I would be remiss not to thank a few folks for supporting me on this journey the last few years. My wife, Amy, for her willingness to uproot our life completely and move to NYC. My parents and family, for their unwavering support and sounding board over the last two years.
Most importantly, I thank my fantastic colleagues here at Klink. We are a family as much as we are a company, and it’s been a pleasure to work and sing terrible karaoke with them.
You can read more about the acquisition here. Thanks!