For the last year and a half I’ve worked at the company that I co-founded, Saaspire. My original goals were to solve a problem I encountered back when I worked in interactive agencies: relevancy features were hard to build. Features like product recommendations, related content, contextual advertising and various forms of personalization were difficult to offer to clients due to the fact that the buy vs. build choices available to the agencies were always lacking. Regardless of whether the decision was made to buy or build the technology, it would always wind up as too expensive and too difficult to pull off within the scope of the project. For this reason these kind of features always got pushed to “Phase 2″.
Dirty secret: “Phase 2″ almost never happens.
Since Saaspire started, we explored what turned out to be a very undefined space. I was shocked to discover that not only were there not decent technology solutions available, but on top of that there was very little product design work being done in this area. In fact, there wasn’t really even a good language for designers to articulate personalization behavior. (The typical solution, wire-framing a million states in an application, was kind of like sketching out a movie one frame at a time). I even discovered a fundamental organizational problem: companies were simply playing catch-up to the latest Internet technology: mobile, social etc. They had no way of creating a communications strategy that could flex with new innovations, and thus were constantly in crisis.
However, it has come to light that the aspects of this new landscape that I want to explore are different from my partners. Consequently, it has been mutually decided that I will spin off from Saaspire, creating a new company that will focus on the issues that I find the most compelling: this new world of Conversational Architecture that has emerged.
I’d like to introduce my new company: Axilent.
Axilent’s initial offering is the Axilent platform: a foundation upon which one can easily create “relevancy” features: personalization, related content, product recommendations and contextual advertising. By reducing the cost of implementing these features, I intend to move them into Phase 1 of the project, and to show that the sky’s the limit when it comes to designing a new generation of dynamically personalized, cross-channel, conversational Internet services.
The Axilent platform is now in private beta. If you’re interested in participating, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To demonstrate the platform, I’ve re-launched Whiskey Engine. Now entirely focussed on whiskey recommendations, it’s an example of how easy it is to create product recommendations. I’ve also put up a post on the new Axilent blog, explaining how Whiskey Engine works.
I am really excited about this – I think there is an amazing opportunity to create the next generation of web sites, mobile apps, social network integrations and other concepts based on innovations that we haven’t even made yet. Axilent will be there to make that creation easier.