Singlewire Celebrates 5 Years

Listen to this podcast interview with Singlewire CEO, Paul Shain, to learn about the past 5 years of Singlewire and what's coming next.

 

Transcript

Well, two things really stand out. One is how quickly five years has gone by. It seems like only yesterday that we started the company and here we are, already celebrating our five-year anniversary.

The other element that really strikes me as important in this evolution is how fast technology has changed. What we thought we would be doing five years ago, and how the company has evolved, and how we've been able to open up new opportunities and new markets has happened much more rapidly than I would have expected.

 

When you started Singlewire, did you think the company would go in the direction that it has? Or were you surprised by a few things?

I think what surprised me the most is that we had a fairly discrete product five years ago, that was really focused on paging on top of Voice over IP phone systems that were implemented by Cisco. And so, very small segment of the marketplace but an important niche that needed to be filled.As we fast-forwarded five years, things that jumped at me were, number one, is the number of things that our customers used our product for that we could have never envisioned. It really allowed us to add features and capabilities to the software that fundamentally changed the direction of the company, in terms of what we do today.

And then the second thing that I would say has been quite remarkable, is the speed of adoption of mobility. So, while we started our company with a real focus on an on-network product for paging in Mass and Emergency Notification, today mobility is at the top of most customers' minds.

And as we've invested very significantly over the past couple of years building a mobile product, we're now just able to meet those requirements. And in the penetration and speed with which mobility has reached mainstream, has been quite surprising to me.

And what principles or strategies have lasted the test of time?

The principles, for me, are always sort of the foundation of what we've done in building our company.

One is, really trying to create an environment for success where we've invested both in
our people, and the capabilities and the tools necessary to do a great job for our customers.

The second thing is hiring great people and making sure that we challenge them each and every day.

The third thing is really listening to our customers and understanding what they need.

And I don't think any of those real principles have changed over time. I think they're the foundations of any good business. It's the people and it's your customers, and making sure
that you're taking good care of both of them.

What has it been like going from a company with just a handful of employees to a company that now has more than 50? Has the company dynamic changed at all or does it still feel like a small family?

No, I think it still feels like a small family. I always define the point where you've left that, is when you no longer know the name of all your employees. And I can honestly say I'm very confident I know the name of all of our employees and could recognize them. The fun part has been, this is a company that we've been able to grow at a more measured rate than the previous organization that I was involved with, where we grew much more rapidly.

The other thing that's really nice is we've been able to stay largely Madison-centric, so most of our folks are right here in the office. Some 45 of our more than 50 people are here in Madison. And so that's been a great advantage to being able to have a culture in an environment that is very conducive to innovation; very conducive to, I think, collaborative work together on problems. And representing a way to sort of analyze what's going on in the marketplace, and then quickly come up with ways to solve those customer problems. So I think it's been fun. I think the company dynamic has remained fairly similar through the first five years.

So where do you see the company in the next five years?

So I think the biggest bet we're making for the company in the next five years is really the mobile play. And so, while I think we have a very mature product in terms of what we use on-network, which is InformaCast.

InformaCast Mobile really represents a whole new delivery mechanism for us-- offers the customers tremendous flexibility in terms of the types of messages, message confirmation and connecting up all sorts of disparate devices into a very scalable and flexible environment. So that to me, I think is going to be the most powerful trend that will play in the next five years.

And if you can make a prediction, what do you think InformaCast will look like in the next five years?

So I think InformaCast will really be a two-level product. One, is I think our core product
on-network will never go away. The physical premise, the concept of a campus, the concept
of a manufacturing facility with multiple buildings, and things like that won't really change.

I think what will change is sort of the work environment for people, and for knowledge workers who will interact with those physical properties. And the combination of how we reach and message to those people will really dictate the direction of InformaCast. So I think what we'll see is kind of a two-tiered type of system. People on the network with your phone, with your desktop agent, with your speakers-- now that will be one modality of communication that you'll be a part of. But as soon as you leave that office and pick up your mobile device or your tablet, we'll reach you in those same ways but using a different type of device.

And for us, the back-end infrastructure of how we reach those devices will be very different.

 

 

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