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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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August 9, 2007 1:37 PM

Introducing...the Granicus Hug

My primary reason for heading out to San Francisco last week was to attend and present a keynote address at the Granicus User Conference.

Truth be told, even a cynic like myself found the whole experience of watching Granicus and its customers interact to be quite inspirational.

was started in 1999 by three guys with the goal of streaming video from nightclubs.

With that market not providing much traction and the bubble bursting for all Internet companies, they refocused themselves on a niche market, namely providing webcasting services for city and county government meetings.

So with this customer base in mind, they changed course and began developing tools to specifically address the needs of this market. (For a more in-depth look into what those needs are, check out this KillerApp.com profile.)

Over time the three founders toiled away, bootstrapping their company and pounding the pavement, until the market began to turn and business started picking up.

Two years ago the company had eight employees. Last year they grew to 35, this year they’re already at 55, and to support their continued growth they’re pushing to expand their ranks to 80 in the near future.

From only a handful of customers, they now boast almost 300 spread across the country with a strong concentration in their home state of California.

And they’re poised to continue their meteoric rise as none of their competitors have tailored their products so tightly to the needs of city and country clerks, and more and more government entities are coming to understand the benefits of using broadband to enable new efficiencies and extend the reach of their messaging.

But beyond this growth in demand and the continuing maturation of their products, what inspired me most was the dynamic I witnessed between company and customer.

Everyone I talked to loved the product, citing how it integrates seamlessly into their existing workflows at a pricepoint that makes it hard to resist.

Everyone I talked to loved the people, with one noting Granicus’s ratio of employees to customers as being less than 5, which is unheard of in most all Internet companies.

By the end, I was searching for a complaint, any complaint, about Granicus, and all I got was an introduction to the “Granicus Hug”, which could be seen throughout the conference as employees and customers embraced as if they were long lost friends.

Granicus is a perfect example of the possibilities of the Digital Economy to enable the development of companies that can deliver valuable services to its customers and generate jobs at a rapid clip.

Also noteworthy is the company’s reliance on young people to hold key positions, like their inestimable PR director Lauren Alexander, who their CEO, Tom Spengler, hired straight out of college, relying more on his belief in her ability than on her having an extensive resume.

While most of the attention related to Internet-based companies focuses on the astronomical growth of giants like Google and eBay, we need to make sure we don’t lose sight of the many small to medium-sized businesses, like Granicus, that are proving the vitality of the space in between Google and the garage.

These are real businesses, doing great things, and we should be sure to do whatever we can to support their continued growth, as they provide one of our greatest hopes for supporting the continued vitality of the American economy.


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