Dimdim, a freemium, open source-based alternative? And right there we have a nice, simple, "no duh" value proposition and one that will be popular in a recession. But, does the software work?Uh-oh, it's budget time and pennies are tight. Lets see what can we cut? The Expresso machine or the Starbucks expense account? Howls of protest and a sure-fire productivity killer. What about our Webex/GoToMeeting bills? No, way we need that for sales. What if we switch to
I got a demo last week, and the answer is sort of, mostly. What was really sweet was that there was no download required; one click from the email link and I was connected to the presenter's desktop, could see his face on a video screen, and we could voice and text chat. The "sort of" is for the few minor glitches we experienced (which Steve, the CMO, fixed on the spot) and I think it crashed Safari on me, but then lots of things seem to crash Safari these days. So Dimdim is perhaps not quite ready for prime time, but it seemed very close.
What resonated with me was that they had thought through their proposition for different types of users in a way that made sense for those users and for Dimdim as a business. They have clearly not been drinking the "build a service and don't worry about monetization" Kool Aid. Here are their 3 basic propositions:
- Big company - cut your Webex/GoToMeeting bills by 50% or more
- Established online venture that needs online meetings to close sales with end users - no hassle revenue share
- Start-up with enough techies, but no cash - use the open source base with normal GPL rules (and thus grow the platform for Dimdim and everybody else)
Dimdim uses Amazon S3/EC2, and is a classic example of how one can now assemble ventures based on piece parts with some additional code and, above all, a clear value proposition. The service is currently in private beta, due to open to the public in a few days. It is new and possibly a bit raw, but I think they will survive and thrive because their fundamental model is sound.
They also have investors who bring a lot to the table (as well as cash of course):
"Dimdim has raised funds from the founders and from leading global investors including: Nexus India Capital, Index Ventures and Draper Richards. There's a perfect fit between the investor and Dimdim because of the alignment of the investors' experience and Dimdim's vision. Draper Richards invested in Hotmail; Draper Richards and Index Ventures invested in Skype; Index Ventures has invested in a number of Open Source companies including MySQL; and Nexus India's founder Naren Gupta sits on the board of Red Hat Linux - the most successful open source company."
Now about that name...