Interview with Curt Doolittle CEO of Realitybychanting
1. Please tell about your CRM. What are the main differences distinguish your CRM and others?
Well, it’s just a lot BIGGER. Imagine if we put Facebook, Slack, Outlook, CRM, Task Management, Program(portfolio) and Project Mangement, Sharepoint, and project accounting system into a single application. It’s something only a big company would produce. But we’re not a big company. Which is why I had to come to Ukraine to build it. It would cost too much to build back in the States. That’s why no one has done it already.
2. What CRMs did you use in past and what was your experience with them?
My company through 2010 was the largest private consultancy servicing Microsoft CRM. We sold the business to Avanade because it had become both profitable, and so dominant a part of the business, and growing so quickly, that we could not manage it with the capital resources available after the 2008 crash. It was actually creating internal conflict. It was so profitable that the rest of the business was nearly living off it. Sounds good, but that’s not good for an organization’s culture at all.
Honestly, there are two kinds of these programs: those that help you manage customer relationships, and those that help you annoy the hell out of a large number of people in order to generate even one lead. I see Microsoft CRM as the former and I see Salesforce as the latter. That may be an exaggeration but I can tell which product a company uses when their people contact me.
3. Do you have other projects as web-entrepreneur? What projects did you have in past?
I usually build consulting companies in the technology and marketing space on the web. Most of them under $100M in annual revenue. Here in Ukraine we have ‘outsourcing’ companies that provide labor, but we really don’t have consulting companies, that provide solution ideas. Although we are getting there.
I don’t spread my energies around. I don’t do multiple projects. I work and I write for a hobby. This is a mistake ukrainian entrepreneurs and technologists make. And even the opportunity to do that is disappearing. We’re running out of opportunities for ‘cheap’ wins. Concentrate efforts on excellence and depth.
4. What major trends do you think software producers face in 2016 and which trends we’ll see in 2017?
Well, lets look at a few issues, and see if I can add some insight that isn’t commonly understood.
1) The mobile world created absurd demand for many short term generations of applications each only a tiny bit better than its predecessors. This is cooling on the one hand, and it appears we have largely exhausted the software that can be created that’s marginally superior using a smartphone. we should expect technology to develop largely linearly with bandwidth availability at current purchasing power parity.
2) The developing world has been copying successful ideas for local markets. This opportunity also appears to be exhausted.
3) we will see a lot of attempts to perpetuate the pokemon-go phenomenon, each of which is tailored to specific interests. I think this real-world game idea has ridiculous legs on the scale of world of warcraft. If someone adapts say, the depth of the skyrim game engine for
4) The investment boom, with overheated valuations, especially around mobile and social, ended in December. And the market deflated by April. So you need to have 50K in revenue per month as a startup for someone to talk to you. And so if you can’t see your way to that number pretty easily you really can’t get started today if you’ll need investment. You’re wasting your time and money.
5) I can’t tell how well the startup factory process is working. But the data isn’t promising from my perspective. They make a lot of very cheap bets and then see which kernels of popcorn pop. But if you understand the VC problem: that mainstream investors are continuing to compete with them for late stage deals, the VC’s have to stay in the risky part of the market. So it’s up in the air right now from my viewpoint. Although I’m not living on the west coast any longer and so I have to work with the information I can get, rather than from talking to people.
7) The enterprise market was underdeveloped and the old established companies producing archaic software had an easy time of capturing revenue for what seems like primitive products over the past few years. I think investment will move to attack them. I’ve predicted for a long time that unless apple has a private agreement with microsoft, they will need to pivot to microsoft’s space in order to preserve any kind of share price. They look sexy but they’re a one product company still.
All that said, tech isn’t going to slow down. There is a lot of the world left to change.
5. Your main developers office is located in Ukraine. Is Ukraine really best country for opening IT business and what would you recommend for other IT-enrepreneurs who think about starting business in Ukraine?
We have a very good culture for producing a certain category of engineer. It’s the only career worth getting into. So anyone who CAN get into it seems to try to. And that’s producing a lot of talent per person – disproportionate to our population. We have the cheapest people close to western europe. And our people are more ‘honest’ in the western sense, than the rest of the discount-labor world. So I would expect that even though the world economy is going to remain in a bad place for a long time, and even though our economy – absent a new government and judiciary – is unlikely to improve for a long time, that the future looks pretty good for the technology sector in Ukraine for at least the next ten years.
One caveat, is that we will, soon, start to lose our dramatic price benefits out of sheer competitive pressure for our talent. And that this will cause the rise of new IT businesses in Ukraine that have to supply more than discount prices in order to win work. At that point we will start having an innovation engine here rather than a cheap technology labor force. So I am betting-long on Ukraine’s future.
The primary difficulty doing business in Ukraine is not necessarily corruption, or taxes, but the banking system. The other thing is aesthetic. Ukraine is a dirty country poorly maintained. This is more detrimental to business than most people can imagine. It hurts the trust needed to do business from afar.