Sramana Mitra: Can you give an example of what type of things are sports teams trying to do with that kind of data?
Lou Guercia: Let’s take the Oakland A’s, for example. You are a baseball fan. They are able to correlate your name and your credit card information to the games you’ve attended such as home games at the Oakland A’s park that you’ve attended. In this case, Oakland A’s will know who sat in what seats for what games. They’ll also know whether or not you’re sitting in one of the regular seats or if you’re a high-flyer and you’re a corporate box holder. They’ll correlate for what games you tend to rent out the big box and then they’ll basically begin marketing to you when teams of that name come up again or if they tend to see that you’re a person that will purchase tickets when East Coast teams comes to your West Coast park.
They’ll basically promote to you through whatever means they have. It could be SMS messaging. It could be telephone outreach or email campaigns. Essentially, what they’re trying to do is build a profile of you that would come from a composite view of all the data sources that they may have from their ticket sales as well as whatever else they’re able to collect from their CRM system. Then, they would make promotions to you based on your attendance history. Are you using a credit card to purchase tickets? Are you using that same credit card for one of the VIP lounges so they may offer you a 20% discount if you come in with a party of four? It’s a really great offer because you’ve done it before.
There can be multiple systems that are being used. Most typically, it’s CRM, marketing email system, and the Ticketmaster system. All are done to understand fan habits and to produce offers that would make you more inclined to buy a package. Rather than attending three Oakland City games, they’ll send you a promotion and say, “We have a great deal here. Would you like to take a five-pack? We know you come with four people three times a year. For just 20% more, we’ll give you 40% more games.” There’s a lot of marketing that people don’t realize that goes into putting happy fans in seats. We’ve done that. 55 professional sports teams in three continents speak of our expertise in that market segment.
Sramana Mitra: Do me a favor and synthesize the realm of cloud computing. What trends do you see and align with?
Lou Guercia: May I just digress for one moment and provide a one-minute background on myself because I think I may have omitted that? I think this will help shape my comments regarding my view of the cloud market.
Sramana Mitra: Okay, go ahead.
Lou Guercia: I’ve been in the cloud continuously since 2002. I’ve been an entrepreneur for four startups. This is my fifth. I started a web conferencing company in 2002. It was all cloud-based. It was a really good challenge to compete with the likes of WebEx and PlaceWare, which are extremely well-funded and extremely successful public companies. Nonetheless, my partner and I developed a web conferencing solution that was multi-tenant. That particular startup business was sold to IBM in 2007 and was IBM’s first public cloud service.