SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

My New Home At Helpstream

Posted by Bob Warfield on May 23, 2008

It’s the end of my first week at my new home:  Helpstream.  Joining a new company is such an exhilirating experience, and at the same time exhausting.  I didn’t plan to have a 3 day Memorial Day weekend lined up after my first week, but it’s a good thing it’s available!

My job at Helpstream is EVP of Products.  What that entails is Engineering, Product Management, and Operations.  In short, I own the User Experience.  That’s very exciting for me. 

What attracted me?  Two things.  First, the team there is just superb.  This is a group of people who are all-stars.  They’ve had careers and accomplished a tremendous amount before joining Helpstream.  The chemistry is infectious.  Having done it before, the focus isn’t on ego or individuals proving themselves.  There’s nothing better than a group of world-class players who totally focus their passion around great product, happy customers, and having fun.

The second big thing is the vision.  We’re doing some really cool things around SaaS, Web 2.0, the Enterprise, and the User Experience.  It’s breakaway stuff.  I recently was called on to visit a large company prospect who shall remain nameless.  It was awesome to watch their reaction to the product, and to hear them say it was the only thing they’d seen that was even remotely close to the vision of where they wanted to go.

So what is this product all about?  It’s a Customer Service application, but it’s really special.  Helpstream has the first Modern Web Application oriented towards this market.  The company has a deep bench of domain experience in the area of customer sevice.  Founders like CTO Dan Hardy are from Remedy, for example.  There are certainly other Customer Service applications out there, such as Remedy itself.  There are even some SaaS vendors in the space, like RightNow.  But what’s missing for these applications is the “Modern Web Application” focus.  They’re largely visions from the original days of Remedy and others when people used the web for a little browsing and email.  That was all stuff figured out 10 years or more ago.  Today, so much has changed on the web, and so much more is possible.  There is a lot of young blood in the workforce that expects the world to work differently too.  They’re demanding a Modern Web Experience, and vendors need to take note of that.

The product just launched in January and growth has been explosive.  Sign up for the free version and try it out if you like.  We’ve got customers that range from small non-profits (churches and schools) and business, up through medium sized companies, government agencies, and even a few large public companies.  We’ve got a couple of world-class VC’s investing.  Bryan Stolle from Mohr Davidow and Bill Elmore from Foundation are on the Board.  You couldn’t ask for more savvy investors with more real-world experience to help guide us.

We’ve got a fair amount of hiring to do in the near term too.  Not all the positions are posted yet, but take a look at our Careers section on the web site to start or send me your resume if you’re interested in a developer position, operations, or sales.  We’ll get the word out on these positions through LinkedIn as well as that Careers page shortly..

There’ll be lots more to talk about over time.  Only a tiny fraction of the ultimate vision or potential is visible in the product today.  Over time we’ll be looking to customers to help us temper and refine our vision as well.  The SmoothSpan blog will carry on as well, and likely won’t change focus too much.  It’ll be a bit slow here while I’m ramping up, but hopefully not too bad.  Things of general interest to this readership will stay here, and I’ll also be posting to our corporate blog for things very specific to Helpstream and its industry.

4 Responses to “My New Home At Helpstream”

  1. perpetapaul said

    Congratulations, Bob! This sounds like a wonderful opportunity and reminds me of the few times I have been through this.

    Helpstream looks interesting and we will give it a try. One feedback that we have learned in the SaaS world: the pricing matrix is way too confusing and has too many “moving parts”. Now that you are on-board, perhaps you will help tighten that up a bit and make it simpler to understand and make the options simpler. That is one lesson we learned in our SaaS subscription-based pricing.

    Contact me if you would like more information on what we did.

    I will be watching your blog to see how things go.

    Paul

  2. friarminor said

    Congratulations, Bob!

    Now you will fill us in with fresh new insights not just on successes but difficulties too.

    Best.
    alain

  3. smoothspan said

    LOL, Alain. Yes, one seldom learns from successes in my humble opinion. But we can hope for the startup mantra, fail fast, fail often, correct, and then succeed!

    Cheers,

    BW

  4. jkring said

    Congratulations on the new position, Bob. Helpstream is lucky to have you on their team, and I’m looking forward to reading about how you apply your experience and perspectives, there.

    Cheers,

    -Jim

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