Q: Who are your main competitors in this market?
A: Honestly, our biggest competitor, because it's an underserved market, is the status quo. If people start to get used to using e-mail for something, they'll keep using it in that direction. There isn't really a directly comparable product in terms of what we do without servers. If you brought in a small consultancy and had them build something for [you] on a server, you could build some things to do document-sharing and intranet sites, by using any of a number of technologies. But I think the issue is that most of these companies don't do that. They just make do with e-mail.
Q: Groove is going out through an Internet connection. Why is that secure when e-mail, for example, is not?
A: It's the job of the technology industry to build products that are secure without [the users] having to be rocket scientists. One of the reasons it took us three years before we brought this product to market was that there was a lot of sophisticated engineering required to make things secure, yet easy. Everything that goes over the Internet with Groove is completely encrypted. Everything that gets saved on your disk is completely encrypted. So if you lose your laptop, you don't have to worry about your information being lost. If you're working at Starbucks [on a wireless connection], you don't have to worry about people sniffing the air and seeing what's flying by.
Q: You sell Groove for a one-time fee of between $69 and $180 per user. Why aren't you selling it for more?
A: From my perspective, [it's better] to start with something that is clearly affordable and to prove your value. The market will tell us where this product should be priced over time. I'd also like to say I do have to run a business here, but PCs are pretty cheap. It's going to become increasingly difficult to justify software that costs more than the hardware. [With Groove] it's very affordable to get into the game -- and I love that people are telling us we should be charging more. That says they're getting value out of the product.
Q: What is your wildest vision of the role tech could play in communication in the future?
A: At a very high level -- I know this is silly -- but the wildest vision is that it disappears into the background and we don't think or talk about it anymore. We don't talk about the electrical plug, the miracle of electricity that's being delivered to our blender, it's just there. It's exciting right now to discover all the amazing things that can be done with this pipe that we call the Internet, that is able to connect my mind to your mind.
In the PC realm, from a business perspective, we're going to be doing so, so, so much of our business online, interacting with one another. I believe it's going to be transformational in business. A lot of the reasons for having very large organizational structures are going to start to deteriorate, and a lot more people are going to be operating in clusters of small businesses...to solve larger problems.
If you have to say what is the future of the PC for an individual, it's media and communications, and of course, productivity. In the non-PC realm, I think it's actually the same thing. It's just in a mobile form. When we're commuting, when we're walking, or when we're doing other things, we'll use a variety of handheld devices or pocket devicesrecording things, taking pictures, listening to things, communicating with one anotherseeing where the people you care about are geographically, seeing what state of mind they're in, interacting with them, virtually, again, not just physically.
But I think [communication technology] is going to disappear into the background. We're going to wonder how we've ever lived life without that.
You have to care about how people interact with one another and [about] social dynamics in order to be successful in this kind of endeavor. And so, if you find yourself talking about technology a lot, you're probably not thinking about the right thing.
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