A Shot in the Dark Earns ArchiveSocial Props from Gartner
Take bets on big opportunities, and often enough for at least some to pay off
In the case of government technologies, it’s a cloud-based solution that improves management of social media communication, community development, citizen engagement, open data or performance management (understanding and defining success). The companies chosen as ‘Cool Vendors” also have products that are easy to deploy quickly, cost effective and innovative, the report said.
In a write up on ArchiveSocial, an analyst called it a best practice for government because ArchiveSocial makes it easier than previous methods to search and filter results spanning months and mimic the original records. It also allows for better government transparency—the tool is easy for citizens to use.
The report did note some drawbacks to ArchiveSocial being a startup. It’s competing in a crowded and competitive market where incumbent records management vendors may have a leg up in government procurement processes. As the first in the industry to offer its specific tool, ArchiveSocial will have to continuously add new services and management beyond Facebook, Twitter, LInkedIn and YouTube, the report also noted.
But startup status hasn’t deterred ArchiveSocial so far. In the five months since the team completed the Code for America accelerator in San Francisco, it has more than doubled the client base. New clients include the cities of San Francisco, Louisville and Charlotte, and soon, Durham City Schools. That’s in addition to earlier clients like the city of Austin and the state of North Carolina. ArchiveSocial has powered the first open archive in the state since 2012.
To manage the growth, Chawla is hiring at least two staff—a software engineer and marketer. And so far, he’s done it all with less than $200,000 in funding.
Chawla’s story in many ways epitomizes the role of CEO at a startup. It’s a person who can simultaneously do the mundane day-to-day work like updating a website, developing code, responding to emails and handling customer service issues, and also be aware enough of the broader landscape of an industry to make big picture bets even when they might seem like a long shot.
Chawla reminds us, “You have to do (the “shot in the dark activities”) enough where some small percentage of that is going to come back and pay dividends.”