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I used to be uptight, but I'm better now.

Something that inevitably comes up in the early stages of starting a company is the subject of intellectual property. The issue of patent trolls has been much in the news recently, but I'm less concerned about that than I am about shaking off my own old ways of thinking about creating and protecting IP. If you're interested, there's a wealth of great content on Jim Moore's blog, regarding the shifting dynamics of intellectual property law, with many posts reinforcing the point that transparency, rather than secrecy, is what creates innovation, and strong protection of the rights of patent holders (although not patent trolls) encourages openness and sharing of important ideas.

But I digress. My first company built its technology using primarily Microsoft stuff (I know, boo, hiss...), and for a while I was stuck on the idea that it was important to use this code to create something unique (still think that's true) and ensure that no-one else got to learn about the ins and outs of what we were doing. If I'd been smart, I'd have ensured that we built our campaign management application so that it didn't try to do everything itself, but rather could, for example, tap into the best analytics and business intelligence applications. Marketing analytics is an area in which integration and transparency are key, and I'm kicking myself that I just didn't see this at the time.

Much of what we're doing at Gaboogie is leveraging great technology and tools (the Rails framework, for example), and wrapping an interface around some technology we think is clever; but it's not clever because it's secret. Rather we think it's clever because it leverages the right tools, builds on our core expertise in IP communications, offers a better user experience, and is extensible so it can talk to the other important web-based business tools that are now part of my daily life. Not sure where I'm going with this, except to say that our focus isn't on locking our code up in a safe, so much as it is taking the right pieces from the right places to make Gaboogie's conferencing application the most useful application for our customers.


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