Socialtext is one of those companies that got started during the last downturn and has played an important role in the valley’s startup culture for the past few years (they hosted the first BarCamp, for instance). So yesterday I went over to have a chat with founder Ross Mayfield and CEO Eugene Lee. We discussed mostly the economy, but a little bit about the enterprise software and services that socialtext sells. Socialtext started as a company that sold wikis to enterprises, but has expanded that into a social collaboration and productivity suite that’s doing very well. While I was in the office two sizeable sales came in from two big companies.
Eugene Lee was an executive at Cisco when Cisco had to lay a lot of people off during the last downturn, so he talks about that too. I split the interview up into three pieces:
Part I. What will happen to both large and small companies during downturn? What are they seeing from their enterprise customers? (Hint: record sales so far this quarter but great uncertainty for next year).
Part II. Discussion of corporate pain of email.
Part III. Ross tells me about socialtext’s alumni network and how that can help both companies and workers who are laid off.
Socialtext is making big news all over the Web this morning. Here’s a rundown, later in the post I’ll talk about why. I also have an exclusive video of Ross Mayfield, founder of Socialtext demonstrating the new features to me.
Ross Mayfield, for my cell phone camera last night, explains the changes in this 18-minute video.
Ross Mayfield, co-founder of Socialtext, writes on his blog “Hello Socialtext 3.0!”
BusinessWeek: Socialtext 3.0: Will Wikis Finally Find Their Place in Business?
Webware: Socialtext co-founder: Enterprise Twitter isn’t enough.
eWeek: Socialtext Signals Marks Wiki Provider’s Move into Enterprise Microblogging.
Dawn Foster notes the move of Enterprises to social.
Zoli Erdos says “Socialtext Becomes Really Social.”
ZDNet: “Socialtext enters Twitter for Enterprise sweepstakes.”
TechCrunch writes “SocialText 3.0 blends Facebook, Twitter, and the Enterprise.”
So, why are these changes important? Because they bring the social features that many people have gotten to know on Twitter and Facebook into the Enterprise along with advanced wiki functionality.
Is this bleeding edge stuff? Yes, for the enterprise it is. And Socialtext is already seeing some big “Fortune 50” pickup.
I can hear the critics now: “who needs another Twitter or Facebook at work?” But if you watch the video, you’ll see why these features make a new kind of collaboration possible.
It’s nice to see Socialtext succeed, they hosted the first Barcamp in their offices and now they are pushing ahead of the world again.
I met Scott Schnaars yesterday on my tour through Palo Alto. He’s a 15-year sales veteran of the tech industry and is working with Ross Mayfield at SocialText. He told me he’s already been video blogging to other salespeople about how to get through the bad economic times. I watched tonight. It’s not Wine Library TV, but it caught my attention. The name of the blog? Beyond Snake Oil.
Any other corporate bloggers out there who are giving good tips for how to ride out the economic turbulence we’re going through?