More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

dokdoklogo_thumb154Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.

In Part 4, of this 4 part series, I sat down with Bruno to understand how he sees Modular Innovation (MI) affecting DokDok and how his startup is shaping the MI landscape.

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On Modular Innovation

TPG: Describe the benefits of this product for the average online user. (or, why should the average user care)
Bruno: We see the need for such an email API has follows: Conversations, collaboration and document exchange happens in email on a daily basis. Unfortunately, complementary apps such as CRM, document management, collaboration and project management ignore most of it or ask you to forward and bcc every single emails you want to view from their app.

TPG: Describe the benefits of this product for the application developer (and their online products).
Bruno: Many applications like CRM, wikis and task managers let you "attach" documents to clients, pages or tasks. Developers need to spend a lot of time adding those features and for users, it’s a burden to keep those documents updated. It’s not publicly available yet but we’ll offer these developers an API to use documents found in their users mailbox instead of building their own file management functionality.

We provide a unique email API that makes it easy for application developers to retrieve that information and leverage it in applications. Everyone can keep using email as the daily communication tool with the benefit of great apps that leverage those conversations and document exchange.

bunch of modular innovation TPG: Modular Innovation.  Tell me how you see each of the following contributing (when applicable), and to what degree, to the consumer’s online experience.

  • Sharability of content (if shareable, can you control to which people different information is shareable)
  • Flexibility (can a user and/or developer customize their experience/interaction with the product)
  • Interoperability (from / to 3rd party apps; redundancy; etc.)
  • Portability (does a user ‘own’ the content that they create/contribute; what parts do they own; can they download it; save it; etc.)
  • Convenience (can a user access the product/content from a diverse variety of access points; to what degree does the product automatically remember user settings, etc.)

Bruno: One important thing about DokDok is it’s not a new container for documents, it’s an "enabler" for the documents scattered in your mailbox. In that sense, we see DokDok bringing sharability, flexibility, interoperability and convenience to email.

TPG: How do you see your product evolving with respect to the trends of Modular Innovation?
Bruno: Your presentation of these trends of Modular Innovation is very interesting and fits really well with how innovation happens in technology. There’s been a lot of innovation to develop tools that are basically buckets for digital content and then to make these buckets "connectable". For document sharing, it’s pointless to build yet another platform to exchange and share documents. There’s hundreds if not thousands of these all promising the end of attachments with no success. The big universal bucket of electronic documents is email. Unfortunately, email is really bad at many things, managing shared documents being one of them. That’s what we’re after, bringing sharability, flexibility and interoperability to email attachments.

TPG: Any plans to integrate with other online products?
Bruno: That API was initially built out of our own need for an HTTP based way to query data from an email account. After talking with other developers, we realized there was more interest for this than the Gmail contextual gadget we built it for.

It can be used to query any email account accessible through IMAP (it’s not only Gmail/Google Apps).

What we did isn’t replicating IMAP connections in an HTTP context, we created a set of high-level calls that abstract a lot of the low-level email-specific details. For example, getting the history of messages exchanged with a contact is one simple call, you don’t need to worry about searches within numerous folders found in the mailbox.

And…

Since I originally spoke with Bruno DokDok has made many exciting strides in its product, especially in its continued embrace of the trends of Modular Innovation. Excitingly, DokDok has made available its Email API to enable all applications to leverage users’ emails as a data source. For more, visit http://dokdok.com/email-api .

We can all expect to see many more great things in the coming years from DokDok as they continue to expand to more platforms (hopefully, we will start seeing it, by default, built-in to more of our favorite apps) while enabling other products to leverage their experience through its awesome API’s.

Part 1: DokDok: Who’s there?
Part 2: More than Just Email Being Brought to the Future
Part 3: DokDok… It’s Advice!
Part 4: More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss out on any other insightful posts and series from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About these ads

DokDok… It’s Advice!

dokdoklogo_thumb15Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.

In Part 3, of this 4 part series, I sat down with Bruno to pick his brain and see what advice he may have for other entrepreneurs and startup pioneers.

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Learn

TPG: What are some tips/advice you can offer entrepreneurs?
Bruno: There are vast amounts of very good blogs written by successful entrepreneurs that cover all aspects of starting up a company. A good starting point is to read them regularly, debate these ideas and post comments.

bruno-pic I would add one simple piece of advice: just do it. A lot of people wait for the perfect time or opportunity to come. It just won’t. Is success more about luck than anything else? That question misses the point. Luck and opportunity knocking are consequences of what you do. You have to become a magnet for these. Build your first prototype now. Show it and iterate on it until people care enough to pay for it and/or invest in it.

TPG: How can DokDok help startups or others in the community?
Bruno: The startup community in Montreal has been coming together really nicely over the past 2 or 3 years with many great social and tech events and we’re actively involved. We share offices with other startups and we’re aiming to host regular events and workshops opened to everyone interested. We had a first one about automated QA a short while back; we’re hoping to host more of these in the coming year.

See DokDok

DokDok began as an email enhancer, working with your Gmail, Google Apps, Highrise to overlay concepts of a robust document management and version control system to email attached documents. As many resilient products do, it has now evolved to tap more deeply into the trends of Modular Innovation that are propelling many of the most successful and emerging companies out there. However, my conversation with Bruno covered many other topics. We can all look forward to the next part in our conversation with Bruno and DokDok, understanding how DokDok is surfing the Modular Innovation wave.

Part 1: DokDok: Who’s there?
Part 2: More than Just Email Being Brought to the Future
Part 3: DokDok… It’s Advice!
Part 4: More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring DokDok, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

More than Just Email Being Brought to the Future

dokdoklogo_thumb1Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.

In Part 2, of this 4 part series, I sat down with Bruno to understand more about the future of DokDok, as well as from finances to fundraising.

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The Future & Finances

TPG: What’s your goal with the company?
Bruno: In a few years I’d like people to think back and ask themselves how they could ever use email without DokDok. If we get to that point, I’ll be one happy guy!

We have big objectives in mind for DokDok. Whether the best way to execute that roadmap is through venture capital or as part of a bigger company remains to be seen.

TPG: What are your near term and long term goals for DokDok?  Where would you like to see DokDok in 3 years?
Bruno: Our near term goals is to work with our active users to really refine the product and get feedback on the features we’re about to add. Longer term, we’re aiming to expand the service outside of Google Apps. In 3 years, I hope to see DokDok support most email systems with our API implemented by a majority of email clients.

As a matter of fact…
Our effort will be focused on the Email API (behind the initial DokDok presentation).

TPG: What are your growth plans?
Bruno: There are more than 2 million companies that adopted Google Apps for a total of over 50 million users. It’s a great customer base that includes many early adopters of innovative technology.

We’re currently in beta so the product is completely free to use. We will offer a paid account with premium features for a monthly or yearly cost in the coming months. We don’t plan to monetize through ads, referrals or anything else than our users paying us because they love our product.

TPG: How successful is your business?  Profitable yet?
Bruno: We launched on the Google Apps Marketplace on June 15, 2010. Feedback so far has been really good and we’re happy to see more users register daily. Putting a price tag on our premium account will be a good first step to profitability ;)

TPG: Did you ever consider taking on any investors?
Bruno: We funded initial development through my personal savings, revenues from consulting contracts and R&D grants.

Also noteworthy, (DokDok) closed a seed round of funding with Real Ventures a few weeks ago (http://nextmontreal.com/real-ventures-announces-first-two-investments-fabric-technologies-and-dokdok/).

Following DokDok

DokDok began as an email enhancer, working with your Gmail, Google Apps, Highrise to overlay concepts of a robust document management and version control system to email attached documents. As many resilient products do, it has now evolved to tap more deeply into the trends of Modular Innovation that are propelling many of the most successful and emerging companies out there. In this part of the series, we learned a good deal about DokDok, its finances and future plans. However, my conversation with Bruno covered many other topics. We can all look forward to the next part in our conversation with Bruno and DokDok, gleaning valuable advice from this exciting company and its founder.

Part 1: DokDok: Who’s there?
Part 2: More than Just Email Being Brought to the Future
Part 3: DokDok… It’s Advice!
Part 4: More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring DokDok, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

DokDok: Who’s there?

dokdok-logo Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.

In Part 1, of this four part series, I sat down with Bruno to understand more about the product and its origins.

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Background

TPG: How would you describe DokDok to the average person?
Bruno: Have you ever spent a few hours editing a document only to realize that you didn’t start from the latest version? That01_dokdok_ui shouldn’t happen and this is what we solve. When a document gets emailed to colleagues or clients, typically, a long sequence of emails follow.  DokDok makes it easy to keep track of who said what and list versions of the document attached from different emails.

 

TPG: Tell us about yourself and how you decided to start DokDok.
Bruno: My first company, started right after graduating from McGill Engineering in 2001, developed a web-based knowledge management application and was bought in 2003. Before founding DokDok in 2009, I was involved in other hi-tech startups as head of marketing and product development.

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Since being introduced to Pine on an old UNIX terminal, I always had a love-hate relationship with email. I kept on trying to find a better way to share documents rather than sending attachments but always ended up coming back to email. With DokDok, my goal is to make attachments a sensible way to share document. That effort made me love email even more as a user but, coincidentally, hate it more as a developer.

TPG: What is your business model?
Bruno: DokDok is a SaaS product. It’s offered as an hosted service and once we’re out of beta, we’ll have membership options with added premium features.

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TPG: Who is your competition?
Bruno: Currently users manage attachments and documents in email in an ad-hoc way. As it is, the process of handling document revisions in email is time consuming and prone to error. The competition mainly includes solutions addressing this problem by trying to eliminate email: folder synching (Dropbox, SugarSync, …), collaboration rooms (Box.net, Huddle, SharePoint, …) and traditional enterprise document management systems.

Fact is, unless you can force everyone to create an account on these services and check it regularly for updates, you can’t escape from email. Products like Xobni and Gist brought relationship management to the inbox because that’s where it happens. We’re doing the same for documents.

04_dokdok_ui

TPG: What is your work environment like?
Bruno: Amazing! We’re still a small team and we’re sharing an office with a few other tech startups in downtown Montreal. Being surrounded by people close enough to your team (you see them many times per week) yet not directly involved (they’re working on their own startup) has given feedback, ideas, opportunities and connections that just wouldn’t have happened if we all worked from home or in a tiny office just for our small team.

It’s DokDok

DokDok is an email enhancer that currently works with your Gmail, Google Apps, Highrise to overlay concepts of a robust document management and version control system to email attached documents. In this part of the series, we learned a good deal about DokDok, its origins, and environment. However, my conversation with Bruno covered many other topics. We can all look forward to the next part in our conversation with Bruno and DokDok exploring the company’s finances and future.

Part 1: DokDok: Who’s there?
Part 2: More than Just Email Being Brought to the Future
Part 3: DokDok… It’s Advice!
Part 4: More Companies are Becoming Modular Innovation Enablers

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring DokDok, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

From Knitting the Startup Story to Challenging your UX Designer

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights.  What are you reading this weekend?

01_story

On Starting Up…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/07/does-your-startup-have-a-good.php
Weaving the perfect startup story.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.inspireux.com/2010/07/05/challenging-conventional-assumptions-about-user-experience-design/
Challenge your UX designer today!

02_catirona
03_dokdok

On Modular Innovation…

http://mashable.com/2010/07/09/email-attachments-dokdok/
Taming file attachments with Modular Innovation, DokDok.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy