Actually, after 25 years in business, it’s more like 4.0 or 5.0. When To the Point was founded in 1987, I wanted to help companies align their organizations. The guy at the top would have this great vision and ideas and then by the time they filtered through all the executives, the people doing the work were getting lots of mixed messages.
It turned out that few companies wanted to admit they had alignment issues so our role morphed into translating between the business groups and the IT folks. Helping the business side of the house be clear on what they needed enterprise systems to do, and then enabling the technical teams to be creative about how to achieve those priorities, allowed internal change to happen far more effectively and quickly.
In parallel with To the Point, I was also co-founder and president of a start-up developing a freeze crystallization technology for drinking water purification (residential and commercial scale). Despite a great team, solid business plan, and an inventive marketing and distribution strategy, we were too far ahead of our time and woefully under-capitalized. Investors at the time didn’t believe that consumers would pay for alternatives to tap water. (We all know what happened there.)
To the Point started working with Internet pioneers like SGI and Novell to market their products to the IT departments we’d been working with on cutting edge applications that would become known as (CRM) customer relationship management, data warehousing, and decision support systems. TTP joined with a group of creative consultants to form a virtual agency, known as Raise the Bar. For the next decade we designed and implemented integrated marketing campaigns and events for leading high tech companies (Sun, Apple, Nortel), venture funded start-ups, and non-profit agencies.
The dot com bubble burst and all of a sudden proposing well-crafted, integrated marketing campaigns based on a strategic concept with a core library of assets to be re-purposed in different media was like trying to sell buggy whips. So I tried going back to my system roots and tackled the brand new market for Sarbanes Oxley compliance documentation. A group of experienced professionals teamed up, identified our sweet spot, and after a year of perseverence were told by one CFO that unless we changed our names to Price Waterhouse no audit committee was going to pick us even if we could do the job better, faster, and cheaper.
The path to the Smart Grid and renewables for To the Point and Raise the Partner GG Films came via a detour through the innovative founders and corridors of Logitech who were exploring the possibilities for the digital home. Dan Griffin had created a series of films on sustainability with a marine biologist from Stanford so we started looking in that direction.
When we got the call from Trilliant in 2008 to tell the story of Hydro One, one of the pioneers in Smart Grid, I realized that I had been training my whole career for this moment. Here was a complicated technical story that, if it was properly told, could make a positive and significant difference at both the policy level and in many regular peoples’ lives. We are honored to be part of this community and look forward to continued contributions.