we’re pleased to present our featured disruptive company today — plaxo. here to answer our questions is the infamous mark jen – yes, that mark jen – *the* mark jen that was fired from google for blogging (he was there only 2 weeks prior to his being fired). his being fired for blogging popularized him into superstardom. the shmula team is thankful to mark for taking the time to share with the readers of shmula how disruptive plaxo really is and how that distruptiveness adds value to its users.
Be sure to read our other interviews in our leadership series.
Tell us a little about yourself, mark.
I am a Product Manager at Plaxo. Before joining Plaxo I was an Associate Product Manager at Google for a short time before I was fired for blogging. I learned some very important lessons and now speak at various conferences about the interplay between blogging and business. I previously worked as a Program Manager at Microsoft and a Software Engineer at IBM. I continue to run a blog that covers both his personal and professional life called Plaxoed!
What is the business problem or opportunity that plaxo addresses (no pun intended)?
Plaxo is a universal address book. We solve two main problems: first, we have a network that enables people to connect and share their contact information automatically; second, we synchronize contacts, calendar entries, tasks, and notes between multiple computers and different applications. We currently support sync between Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo!, Mac OS X Address Book, Mozilla Thunderbird, and AOL Instant Messenger.
How does plaxo address the business problem? how is this approach disruptive?
Plaxo uses a network effect to dramatically simplify the mundane task of keeping your address book up-to-date. All yourcontacts who are on Plaxo can be updated automatically when they change their contact info. Plaxo also makes sure users have their data wherever and whenever they need it; we sync to different clients and also provide online web access for users on the go. Finally, Plaxo exposes a public API to let 3rd party developers create applications for users on top of the Plaxo data store.
In terms of selection, price, and flexibility, how does plaxo compare to other companies in it’s space? — i.e., who should a client go with plaxo rather than someone else or via another venue?
The price for basic service: free! With over 10 million users and growing, Plaxo is the de facto leader in the online address book space.
Anything else you’d like to share?
To learn more about Plaxo, check out our blog. No stodgy corp-speak we promise 🙂