When I met him at a book-signing party earlier this week, BrightIdea.com CEO Matt Greeley was all smiles. Now I know why: He'd just hit "Send" on a scathing missive denouncing Salesforce.com for trampling on his company's turf. (The territory in question, thoroughly obscure, involves something called "innovation management," or, as Greeley puts it, tracking ideas like FedEx packages.) Greeley's rant is worth studying for its overwrought language. He calls the enemy "Salesfarce," says it has "gotten fat and happy," and is a "rotted shell of a business" which will fall apart with a "nudge." The full email, sent by a BrightIdea employee who writes that he'd "like to pee in [Salesforce.com's] coffee pot, and I'm not speaking metaphorically":
From: Matthew Greeley
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 6:04 PM
Subject: Salesfarce Waddles into the Innovation Management Market...
Dear BI Team,
This week, Salesforce.com began their push in earnest, to cut into our market share of the On-Demand Innovation Management market, including running print ads in the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. This comes as no surprise to our executive team, as our internal intelligence group has been expecting this since mid 2007.
We've also heard that salesfarce ground troops are requesting conversations and sit downs around “Collaboration Initiatives”, at several of our clients. They may be in for a surprise when they get there and learn we have already locked-in multi-year subscription deals, negotiated enterprise licensing and that our customers actually like us.
Salesfarce, is not the juggernaut it once was, as a few recent developments point out:
- Their ex-Chief Strategy Officer Tien Tzuo, aka "Benioff's Brain" resurfaced this week as the CEO a new start-up (Zuora). Tzuo is largely credited as the marketing genius behind much of sfdc’s growth and past success.
- On the Q1 conference call, they announced Differed Revenue was down sequentially for the first time in company history. This single metric is strongest leading indicator about the future of a subscription business. (By contrast our diff revs grew over 50% during the same period).
- Their Innovation Management solution is a set of generic project management widgets cobbled together to try to cover the areas our best-of-breed products address. These widgets have no interaction, and the design is based on little or no knowledge about the actual process of innovation. Even if they get it to work at some point, they are skating to where the puck was, instead where it's going to be.
You can expect their uber-slick sales force (pun intended) will be quick to brew up some ugly batches of fear, uncertainty and doubt about BI. In fact, we already have reports of them making false claims about us in the marketplace. This is the classic tactic of a company that has gotten too big for their own good. Covering up an inability to innovate by intimidating customers spending more on marketing.
Fortunately, for us, our customers are innovators themselves, and the ability to see things as they really are, often comes with the job title.
Please let your clients know that we welcome a side by side comparison. Our products are NOT apples to apples. This month I have heard feedback — literally from around the globe — that WebStorm 5 is the most advanced tool of its kind available today. Our outsourced datacenters deliver the same standard SAS70 Type II reliability and disaster recovery at a third a cost of their proprietary systems, and we have more customers, more deployments, more revenue and faster growth in this category than any other vendor.
Salesfarce has gotten fat and happy with their past success in SaaS, and like any over-reaching empire, they have eroded from within. Their twilight has come. I believe a slight nudge is all that will be necessary to send this rotted shell of a business —devoid of the virtue of true innovation— crashing into the ground.
I hope you will join me in delivering that nudge over the coming months,
President & CEO
Brightidea.com :: Powering Ideas to Reality™