These are certainly interesting times. And if you make a living driving innovative web projects like Roundarch, then things just got a whole lot tougher. In the past week, three of my most senior clients cited the Sequoia presentation as an indication of their bearish outlook for the future. Everyone seems to be preparing for the nuclear winter which in many companies will include spending and hiring freezes, layoffs, and a tendency to play it safe rather than make bold strategic moves. At Roundarch, we have believed for quite some time in the transformational nature of rich internet applications, and our clients who have deployed them across the enterprise have achieved outsized gains vis a vis their competitors. Is it still possible to create competitive differentiation using rich internet applications in these difficult times? We think so. Two quick facts: the iPod was launched shortly after 9/11 and Fortune Magazine was launched in 1932. We believe that turbulent economic times are the perfect time to launch transformational technologies. Several of our clients are using this time to build rich applications that should revolutionize their marketplaces. But even if you can’t convince your management to make bold moves, there are many ways to keep innovating using the rich internet as a tool of differentiation. Uris and I are looking forward to discussing how AVIS, A&E, Motorola and others are doing just that in our talk on Tuesday (Nov. 18, 9:00 am – 10:00 am). For example, AVIS and Roundarch have created transactional banner ads (in Adobe Flex) that allow AVIS customers to complete a full reservation without even visiting AVIS.com. This innovation completely changes the traditional strategy of pushing everyone to your URL. They also have a full page version that they are deploying on affiliate sites. In both cases, AVIS is using rich technologies to completely challenge the status quo and doing it without breaking the bank.
The title of the talk is “Building Successful RIAs for the Enterprise in a Climate of Financial Uncertainty.” It is a mouthful. Perhaps a better title should have been “Thrive vs. Survive” which is core to our message. We strongly believe that those companies that use this economic downturn to push even more innovation will take significant share from those who just try to survive.