Let's get straight to the meat of this post: I accepted an offer letter earlier this week, and as of September 1st, I'll be joining the team at iQmetrix.
Now, most of you won't have heard of iQmetrix. I think they're going to be known as a great Canadian success story. Here's a bit of background about the organization.
The company is privately held, around 10 years old, and started in Regina, Saskatchewan. They scratched their own itch at Jump.ca – a wireless retailer AKA store that sells cellphones / mobile plans / accessories etc. – and wrote their own software for CRM, point-of-sale, and so on. The productized version of this became iQmetrix, and they went on to grow until today, there are wireless retailers using the software in every major mall in North America.
So the entire executive team packed their bags back in Saskatchewan, pulled up stakes, and moved out to Vancouver with their families to found the corporate head office here. And now it's time for iQmetrix to kick into growth mode.
We're seeing the first non-phone devices like the iPad coming into wireless retailers, and the app store model for software sales is going crazy. There will only be more devices, more accessories, and more things that your wireless retailer will be selling, and that Main Street America will want to know more about.
Is the wireless retailer going to become like the local computer store? Perhaps - that didn't exactly turn out well. And the story is different in Europe of course, where many countries already have many more wireless retailers or SIM card vendors than we do here.
The other angle that iQmetrix has is around interactive retail. This is another new term to me, and as I've been digesting what it means and how to explain it, the analogy I've come up with is this:
Right now, advertising in the offline world is on a continuum somewhere between billboards and Minority Report.
That is, a range of technologies and products from physical billboards and signage in malls and along highways at one end, to the future of personalized, digital, local offers as seen in Minority Report (touch interfaces included, of course) at the other end.
At the billboard end, there is relatively boring evolutionary technology like digital billboards that aren't interactive and are still broadcast.
Closer to the MR, revolutionary end of things, we have personalized, direct offers, with the recent news of the Shopkick install into Best Buy stores perhaps being one example. Sites like Foursquare and Twitter might be something that we include on the right hand side of the continuum - there is lots of revolutionary change & experimentation happening here (the Foundry Group's HCI Theme fits in this space).
I think that the current buzz-tag "O2O" (Online 2 Offline) is related - Groupon is held up as one example in a recent Techcrunch article, but I actually believe this is just a (rising) trend of small businesses adopting technology / advertising solutions that are web-based, and so we are seeing a shift of dollars.
In any case, it should be obvious that I'm excited about the opportunity. I have a lot to learn about this new space, but it feels like an area that is starting a decade long change that mirrors the growth of the web in the mid-90s. I will be bringing some startup, web native, and community experience to the table, and to continue to tell the iQmetrix story.
Thanks to Kerem Karatal for reaching out to me while I was sitting on the bench after Bootup, and thanks to the exec team at iQmetrix for hiring "title TBD". I'm looking forward to what we can all accomplish together, and I'm happy to be keeping the Vancouver community as my home base.