Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time to be aggressive, if you can

The state of the economy is scaring everyone, rightly so. I do not think it is going to get better soon, actually I feel it is going to get worse. A couple of weeks ago, I opened a management meeting with the Sequoia slides, just to set the tone... This is serious stuff. Companies that do not have cash flowing in and have 6/9 months of cash in the bank are toasted. If they do not cut 50% of the workforce now and give themselves at least 18 months, they are gone. If they do, their product and sales stop. I feel we will see a devastation in 2009.

Mobile is not immune, but it will be affected much less. People might buy less phones (although they still do, like they buy new clothes), but they definitely lose or break the old ones... This market is too hot to slow down too much. It will slow down, but significant growth will be still there.

Open source will be a relative safe heaven. When everyone is cutting cost, do you think an enterprise will go for a $50/month BlackBerry Enterprise solution or will they download an open source project, and run it for free? Well... You know my answer ;-)

Now, what do you do if you are in mobile, you have cash flowing in and you just raised 12.5M dollars? On top of it, you are open source and you built a company to be run lean and mean?

First, you make it leaner and meaner ;-) Out fly the free jelly beans for the employees...

Second, you become aggressive.

I am ready to bet a lot of our competitors will be out of business or acquired in 2009. Many - some are public so it is easy to see - have net burn rate of millions a quarter, with the need of raising cash in 2009. Good luck with that.

Therefore, if you are on top of your game, this is the time to go for the kill. If we do not do it, who can?

Today, in an announcement that PR people call "momentum release" we are telling the world that:
  1. We are selling like crazy... We had another record quarter. This is the best news of all. Actually, the word I am hearing from prospects these days is "It is URGENT". I never heard this before... It is a very nice indication of how badly service providers need to launch a MobileWe solution.
  2. We won some more awards. I am not a big believer in awards (I prefer sales ;-) but I am a competitive person and winning is always a pleasure. Coming #1 as the best mobile consumer email solution in a contest is a good thing (and thanks for voting me a visionary for the third year in a row... I am not sure what that means but I am told it is good :-)
  3. We are expanding in markets where we did not have a presence: Beijing and Dubai. It is a smart move, I believe. We hedge the risk of one of the world markets going down. We have presence now in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. If the US comes to a halt, China might not. This is the time to expand, not retreat.
Bottom line: when things are down, it is time to look up. We are in a tunnel but there is light at the end for those that have the means to get there. If you are one of the few that can make it, this might be the best time to build a company to last and grab market share. GO for it.