Steve Hilton—Yankee Group
"I've looked into Response Point, and it looks like a compelling solution for small businesses who just want basic PBX features like dial tone and voice mail."
Travis Fisher—Inacom Information Systems
These are the words from some of the well respected analysts when we RTM'd Microsoft Response Point this week.
Response Point, a start up experiment in the enterprise, started from a BillG think week paper (CommPC). With the support from numerous MS executives (Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Craig Mundie, Rick Rashid, Dan Ling, Kevin Turner, Scott Di Valerio, Eduardo Rosini, Mike Park, Anoop Gupta, and Gurdeep Pall...), we formed a “start up” in Microsoft Research because of the cross-P&L nature of our work. CommPC team received “Round A” funding from Bill Gates in March 2005. The project changed its codename to “Edinburgh” after we received Round B funding. The codename of Edinburgh was chosen because Edinburgh is the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell - speaking the team’s high aspiration to reinvent phone systems from the ground up for our underserved small biz customers. Yes, we wanted to do this from the ground up, not to strip down an enterprise-grade system for small biz customers like many of our competitors did in the past.
I enjoyed the VC-funding model from Microsoft Research and I really think this nurtured the start up during the last 2 years. This not only forced our team to work and act like a start up but also gave us the freedom to think and act out of the box. Because we started from scratch, we had to first build up our team. We faced challenges to balance our starter-type of researchers and finisher-kind of talents. We brainstormed frequently, recruited some outstanding talents (both starters and finishers), created many prototypes and demos, engaged with lots small biz customers, partnered with our OEM friends (and lost a few too), shielded randomization from some of our internal groups, and finally shipped this great product. The best experience for me personally is that I am able to correct many mistakes on the fly and I can depend on so many talented people in the team to make things happen (frequently better than expected).
We know the small business market is underserved. 10% of US small businesses use VoIP solutions. Our team is proud that we are able to help the underserved customers. This is not an ordinary team. This is the group with a sense of mission and pride. This is why we will achieve our goals to address the pain points of small businesses and grow the market from 10% to 80%.
Like Steve Hilton from Yankee Group pointed out, the magic button will connect small biz users emotionally. We focused on the ease of use and ease of management and I am happy others are able to see the magic impact with Response Point’s magic touch…
I am incredibly proud of being a part of this small and elite team that made this happen!