I started SOLOMO in the summer of 2011, in response to the major market trends of our time – the rapid explosion of mobile devices around the world, the boom in social media and social connectedness over the internet, and the movement toward increasingly local products and services. Together, these (So)cial, (Lo)cal, and (Mo)bile trends are called “SOLOMO.”
I become somewhat obsessed with these major market trends – SOLOMO and Cloud with Big Data being a result of all of this information now available to us. I actually left a very nice position as VP of Software at CDW to start my own business again. Originally, this was going to be a cloud business that I had been planning for about a year. The Cloud is a major disrupter to the traditional IT reseller and distribution businesses and I had some ideas for how to make this transition and major industry disruption is a fun place to be! As I evaluated this space further – the Cloud is an enabling technology for SOLOMO. You can create compelling SOLOMO solutions because of the Cloud…and building SOLOMO solutions seemed more interesting and moving more quickly – so a quick pivot and I started SOLOMO.
We began with custom mobile solutions to generate revenue and to give me time to figure out our product strategy. In working with enterprise customers they were hesitant to implement SOLOMO solutions because of two concerns:
- Personal Identity Information – almost all apps can create a better experience with this information, but businesses are not good at managing this information. They are very good at managing corporate identities and have been doing that for years. However, there are not systems or tools for managing personal identities very well. This become the first cornerstone of our technology platform, Identity. To enable businesses to engage with consumers and exchange identity information in a trusted and private manner – and allow the consumer to manage their information and the exchange of this information.
- Location Information – again, many apps (not all) can create better experiences if you know the consumers location. However, most established businesses are hesitant to implement these location technologies, because if they are not implemented with trust and consumer privacy front and center they can have a negative impact on your brand. Hence the second cornerstone of our platform which is Geo or location, implemented in a trusted manner to enable consumers to again control their location information, which we view as part of their identity and manage the exchange of this information for value.
Privacy and Trust are key principles for us. This is reflected in our core values for the company which are TRUST (Transparency, Respect, Understanding, Service and Team). We think about this in every interaction, in every product, all the time. The Privacy aspect has been even more important to me as I have two teenage daughters that have grown up with technology. As a parent, there are few tools and controls at our disposal that enable our children to have access to this technology, yet protect the information they may share about their location and identity. We think about this all the time.
These technologies will allow us to create amazing new experiences that are personalized and local, enhance our shopping, travel and other entertainment experiences – but are done so always with privacy and trust.