December 15, 2014
WittyParrot is a cloud-based SaaS platform that helps companies to “Speak with One Voice” while increasing both the consistency of the message across the organization as well as the responsiveness with which people communicate with the external world. Some of their customers include Kaiser, RMS, Siemens, Harmonic, VMware, and RiverMeadow.
Sales teams in any company can appreciate the ability to quickly access contextual snippets of content, as opposed to documents, in order to assemble them quickly via drag & drop from a Widget into any type of media: an email that is being crafted to a prospect, or a formal document that is being created for a proposal. This approach improves productivity, message consistency, and speed of response.
The WittyParrot website offers helpful demo videos to explain this innovative process. We asked CEO Anil Jwalanna a few questions to help fellow entrepreneurs in their startup journey, and here’s what he had to say:
What do you wish someone had told you about startup life?
Stress is caused by a multitude of challenges that an entrepreneur has to go through; all the way from team building, to financial management, to acquiring customers and eventually building a real company that can survive and sustain the growth against all odds. I don’t think that it is easy to learn and understand just by reading books and listening to others. This is something that one has to live through and experience to believe it and do it better over time.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn so far?
I think the biggest challenge is finding the genuine business cases that result in building a company i.e. product market fit with compelling and unique value proposition. Once you have that, you need a plan to scale and build a real company, not to mention constantly building barriers to entry for competitors and me too’s. We somehow figured out this pretty quick and stayed ahead of the game. But the hardest challenge for me at WittyParrot is about “positioning”. I think positioning is a trial and error process, which consumes significant time and resources. We have used both traditional and contemporary marketing and sales approaches and made good progress to date. Selling to enterprises involves longer sales cycles and it is extremely hard to position the product when the target audience varies (VP or Director, who is a decision maker, compared to content creators, who have different expectation than an end user who is not involved in the decision making process). This is where we find complexity in selling top down vs. bottom up.
What’s the most encouraging sign of success you’ve seen so far?
One clear indication is that at the end of a big demo, people ask for the price and more often than not, the prospects are surprised – surprised in a good way. Some of them can’t believe that we have packed so much value into the product for such an affordable price.
What keeps you motivated on the hard days?
I believe in the value our product brings to the marketplace, so it is not hard to be motivated to keep making progress. I feel very confident about the value we bring and the opportunity that exists in front of us. When I have a tough day or when we face a setback, I go back and review the happy days and try to capture and reproduce the factors and attitude that lead to success during those times. When I start relating to the vision and opportunity, I get motivated and start focusing on positive things and possibilities instead of dwelling on the negatives.
What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in your city?
We are located at the heart of Silicon Valley. This place is the hot bed for innovation and entrepreneurship. The people here and the entire ecosystem are designed to help a startup like ours thrive. On the other hand, a major disadvantage is that it is very expensive and hard to hire talented people. In addition, there are so many startups with tons of great ideas competing for the same customers, funds, and resources!
If your startup were an animal, which one would it be and why?
This one is easy – that animal will be a parrot. A parrot not only talks and repeats words but can also semantically understand the context, similar to how a human would use language. WittyParrot is a platform where users can create content once and reuse the information again and again across teams. We are heavily focused on providing contextual and relevant information using big data, hence the name WittyParrot!
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