Who are we?
Hi. My name is Mark.
I'm fortunate to be one of the founders of RichContent (along with the folks you'll read about here ).
In 1998 I started seeing the possibilities for rich media and the internet. At the time, most of the folks I knew were still using dialup, or maybe some funky DSL modem to get online. But the first time you saw a cool animation or a recognizable image on the web, you just knew there was some phenomenal potential in rich media.
At that time I owned an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and had just raised $2.3 million for a friend's online media startup. We made very large digital documents (like technical manuals for Boeing 757 jets) into super small and lightning-fast searchable online documents.
I loved the concept, and believed that some day, rich media or RichContent would be the standard for the web. You could see Moore's Law compressing in internet-time, with bandwidth getting cheaper and cheaper and more ubiquitous, while internet users were jumping on the bandwagon in unprecedented numbers.
And I wanted to be at the lead of this new media world. Except there WAS no new Media World. Not quite yet.
So while I was waiting for cheap bandwidth to become available, I built one of the first desktop ecommerce software products (FastCatz, and then QuickyMart, named for Apu's 7-11ish store on our favorite TV show, the Simpson's).
We got in and out of that company in less than a year, and I moved from Portland, Oregon to Newport Beach, California to help run an Internet Incubator called TechCoast.com. Talk about a dream business: Hundreds of business plans every month, tons of smart people, Southern California sunshine and the money flowed like honey.
Well, at least it did for a while.
Then someone thought it would be fun to crash a couple of airplanes into some important buildings, and in an instant the whole world changed. I had just left the CMO position at eAgency (a TechCoast.com client company) and started a firm to help startups get up to speed quickly, or to sell for a profit if they looked like they might not have another liquidity event. That company is called ExitPath (I named it during an event where I met Tim Draper, a well-known VC who I admired. He said "Exit Strategy" and I said back "Exit Path". The former URL was taken. The latter wasn't). You can see what we've been doing by visiting our web site at ExitPath.com.
Long story short: The startup market closed with a loud "BANG", and I entrenched for a couple of years, working to build an innovation software company (ThoughtOffice), an iteration of a company originally started by the co-founder of Century 21 Real Estate. This is still a fast-growing company, and I'm still deeply committed to the program and business. I believe helping people think deep and wide... to learn how to look at every situation as a possibility, is a key to our long-term success as inhabitants of this planet.
OK, so we're in the midst of an innovation software revolution, and I am using a little known but really effective online PR engine called PRWeb. In fact, I had figured out a simple hack that allowed me to post press releases over and over, but only pay once.
PRWeb's CEO, David McInnis, caught me. We laugh about it to this day. He called at 2AM or so and asked me what the heck I was doing. He figured if I was up at 2AM pushing press releases through his system, he had the right to call. He closed that hole in his platform within the month, and emailed me to let me know...
That fateful call eventually had me working with David... even to this day. We evangelized PRWeb, and he and his team turned it into the very best press release distribution engine in the universe. So good that Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN... nearly everybody picked up PRWeb releases and syndicated them. This brought lots of web traffic back to users of the PRWeb platform... and suddenly press releases became the next hot Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool.
In the midst of this, David felt it might be wise to take advantage of our success and package the company to sell. But we had a number of additional services we wanted to add. The next 24 months was all about building long-term effectiveness (for the customer) and long-term value (for the potential buyer).
David sold the company in August of 2006 for $28,000,000. He is now doing some amazing things in the area of __________________(I'm not allowed to talk about it quite yet) as well as flying his new planes and pioneering low-emissions vehicles in Bellingham, Washington and Provo, Utah. (That's me with Rick Rudman, CEO and founder of Vocus, the public company who purchased PRWeb).
So what the heck does this have to do with this story?
Well, in winter-spring of 2006, we started building out a video platform at PRWeb. We intended to make it the same high-performance broadcast platform PRWeb was known for in the press release world.
We sold PRWeb before the platform ever came to life.
But I had started over a year prior thinking about bite-sized content: 30-second to 4-minute bits of video/audio and presentation that could be used to help market long-form content (like stripping a long-form training video into 30 short media packages, branding them and using these packages like mini infomercials to drive sales of the long-form content).
It started with the fact that I read 31 magazines a month, and around 100 newsletters. The only way to really get anything of value from that much content is to read "blurbs": short, effective portions of stories.
Much like the visuals in "A Beautiful Mind", when you're skimming and know what to look for, images and words highlight and begin to jump off the page as you read or skim.
RichContent is just that: a platform for broadcasting quality sound, video, image and text "blurbs" into the 200 or so most visible web sites in the known universe (exclusing adult and innapropriate content venues, regardless of their popularity).
So, in answer to the "who we are" question: We're a group of seasoned entrepreneurs, pod and videocasters, editors and web development/search engine optimization experts with an idea:
"What if we could give a voice to every individual and company? What if we could unlock companies content, ANY content, and get it to perform unlike any advertisement anywhere... and perform forever.
With this goal in mind we spent the last 18 months working to refine the systems and processes necessary to make content rock the web just the way you need to get the greatest results at the lowest cost.
And it works.
So here's a thumbnail of some of our management and staff. But before we start, I have to add one more thing: I would pit my team against the very best engineering and web development/optimization folks in the known universe.
These folks are mostly home-brewed. Yes, we have some rock-stars on the team. But they're REAL rock stars, ala David Bowie or Peter Gabriel, not Brittany Spears. These folks earned their stripes.
This is an excellent example of how information, a dream, a passion can become "real" via distributed media.
I was going to craft a lengthy, wordy, wicked post here to share the power of Web 2.0 and what RichContent really means.
Wouldn't you know a Prof did it better, faster, cooler.
Oh, and one heck of a great editing job as well.
Mark Alan Effinger