Friday, November 21, 2008

Fireside Chat with Gail Goodman and David Friend, from Future Forward

I had a chance to conduct a "fireside chat" with two of Boston's most successful start-up CEOs this past Wednesday, at Future Forward 08.

David Friend is CEO of Carbonite; Gail Goodman runs Constant Contact.

Founded in 2005, Carbonite is an online back-up service that has raised $50 million in venture capital, and has users in 120 countries. David Friend had earlier started companies like eYak/Sonexis and FaxNet. Constant Contact went public last October, and I wrote about them recently in my Boston Globe column. Goodman had previously run the e-commerce group at Open Market Inc.

The audio file is an MP3, about 35 minutes long. Quality is good -- except for a few beeps at the end indicating that my digital recorder was about to run out of juice. We talk about what each CEO learned from prior ventures... raising money... going public... marketing and advertising... and surviving near-death experiences.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

This week's column: Gail Goodman and Constant Contact

When I went to see Gail Goodman recently, she remembered the last time we'd bumped into one another: at a Mass eComm mixer somewhere in the 'burbs, five or seven years ago. She was running Roving Software (the company that evolved into Constant Contact.) At the time, it was a tiny e-mail marketing firm, not really distinguished or differentiated in any way. No significant revenues, either.

Now, Constant Contact is public, the industry leader in e-mail marketing for small businesses, and continuing to hire even in the midst of a recession. They were also one of the last firms to get public, last October, before the window slammed shut. They've got $100 million in cash on their balance sheet, and are spending heavily to scoop up more customers. Expected to bring in about $125 million in revenues next year.

Goodman talks about what she learned at her previous company, Open Market, the pioneer of e-commerce, where she was a division GM. “Our #1 mistake at Open Market was trying to do everything – be a great e-commerce platform, do Web security, content management, and on and on,” she says. At Constant Contact, the goal was to make it easy companies communicate with customers via e-mail -- and that was it.

Here's the column, and the video is below. In it, Goodman shares some tips for successful e-mail marketing.

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