Chris is the Founder and CEO of ccSync, a service that provides groups of mobile and non-mobile coworkers real-time short messaging that is instant, private and continuous – plus one-click conference calling. ccSync is Chris’s fifth high tech startup and his third as CEO.
Chris has spent his career changing the way we work and live through technology. He was CEO of Fabrik Communication, transforming the work place with email in the early days of the Internet. At Driveway Corporation, he pioneered online storage, now a mainstay of cloud computing. At Avaya and LiveOps, he helped revolutionize teleservices with radical new business models of on-demand technologies and a virtual distributed workforce.
Chris started his first business while attending college, when he and a friend figured out how to deploy acres of solar panels at non-profit hospitals and universities by forming micro-utilities. They established partnerships to own and operate the panels and sell hot water by the BTU indexed to the cost of natural gas. The partnership took advantage of the tax incentives and the non-profit got discounted energy. The entrepreneurial bug bit hard and he has been working in startups ever since.
What are you working on right now?
I started ccSync a mobile messaging company a little over a year ago. Mobile is changing everything. Our mobile phone has become our primary (in many cases only) form of communication. When was the last time you called a work number and actually had the person you were calling pick up the phone. We know the only way to get a hold of people is with their mobile number. Yet business communication is still primarily supported by email and voice mail.
We need new communication services that are designed for the way we work now. We text more then call. It takes 3 days on average to set up a traditional conference call. It takes us 2 days on average to respond to email.
ccSync allows you to set up a group that can instantly exchange messages on mobile phones. Everyone in the group sees every message and anyone can send a message. It works on any phone, any carrier, anywhere in the world and it doesn’t require a download. Every message is authenticated, delivery is secured, and the conversation is achieved and accessible from any device that goes online.
In the coming months we will be adding one touch mobile conferencing. ccSync lets you work with a group from your mobile phone just like we use to when we were all in the same office all day long.
2 Trends that excite you?
2 Trends that excite me:
Mobile and Real-time Web
I love disruptive technology. Computers completely changed the way corporations function. We formalized, optimized, computerized and automated every aspect of business. For business it is all about efficiency.
Mobile and real-time-web are letting us recreate our very social fabric. And this recasting is all about access — access to one another, information, goods and services, work, health care, everything in and about our lives.
How important is this technology? More people access the web via a mobile phone than by a computer. More people have access to a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water.
Twitter is just a micro-blogging service. But the capability for millions of people to simultaneously broadcast short messages has unleashed unimaginable power. It let millions of people vicariously experience the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics, get first hand accounts of Obama’s acceptance, and rally hundreds of thousands to protest in Iran. Married to the mobile phone, the real-time Web is impacting every aspect of how we live, work and play.
Mobile devices are now so much more than a cell phone: we use these devices to participate in the real-time Web; they are our portal to information and entertainment; they are our camera, our wallet, our keys, and our GPS device. And we have only just started; it will be our babble fish and our tricorder.
I am most interested in how these devices will continue to transform the way we work; this central to the mission of ccSync.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Success is all about drive and intelligence. In any field – business, technology, art, entertainment, philanthropy – bringing an idea to life requires fire in the belly and extraordinary insight. A startup is inherently an irrational act. You are creating something from nothing; if it were obvious and easy it would already exist. To bring an idea or a new company to life it has to possess you. I always advise aspiring entrepreneurs it is time to start a company when one can’t not start a company. You know it is time when the idea keeps you from sleeping at night.
What most influenced the way you look at things?
In college I studied Control System Engineering. It is a discipline where you abstract and model the thing you want to control then apply varying analytic techniques to come up with constraints that will produce the outcome you require. For instance if you want to steady a car as it drives you create a mathematical model that describes a solid mass rolling over a road. Using control theory you can come up with springs and dampers (suspension and shocks) that isolate a car from a rough road.
Control theory involves transforming the analytical model from the time domain to the frequency domain. By doing this you can best see how to constrain the system mathematically and then translate the math back into actual components to implement the control. Abstracting things in this way allow you to see them anew glean new insight.
The most valuable insight is obvious in hindsight but gained only because you were able to see something from a completely new perspective.
Tell us something surprising about you?
At 10 years old I was California Age Group Diving Champion. And at 11, I got my ass kicked by Greg Louganis, who is probably the greatest diver of all time.