DRINKING THE KOOL-AID: WidgetBox

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The following piece was written by Dean Moses, Co-Founder and CTO of Widgetbox, as part of our “Drinking the Kool-Aid” series. The series gives startup founders and executives a platform to talk about their startup, experiences so far, what the future holds for them, and offer general insights in web technology.

Widgetbox was created as a result of the work the other founders (Giles Goodwin, Ed Anuff) and I were doing in our former roles at Epicentric, where we developed an enterprise portal platform. While this was great and challenging in its own right, our motivation to start Widgetbox came from a desire to take the most fun part of the technology – the widgets – and make them accessible to non-enterprise users and non-enterprise developers.

We quickly recognized that we could get rid of the traditional enterprise portal server – any page could be a portal page and be replaced with widgets that can be hosted anywhere on the web. This realization, combined with the explosion of social networking, made it evident there was an opportunity to adapt the solution to give users the ultimate social networking experience available. Since we started the company we have seen the opening of platforms on various social networking sites, the uptake of widgets spike even more and a growing number of people using widgets to enhance user experience and increase the ways in which they connect with their friends.

Now we see the industry at an exciting point – widget downloads are at an all time high, prominent brands are creating widgets to drive increased traffic to their sites and advertisers are paying close attention to how to use widgets effectively. Like many in the industry, we are working feverishly to establish a variety of ways to monetize widgets and are in the process of creating some strong partnerships that will allow us to do so. It is certainly an energizing environment and we are finding ourselves working through the night, as many start ups so often do, because there’s so much opportunity to be had.

Specifically we want to provide developers with the go-to platform for building and distributing widgets, and provide consumers with an opportunity to discover and get popular and fresh widgets for their social networking sites, blogs or personal web pages. I think we’ve achieved a part of this by offering the world’s largest and most comprehensive widget gallery.

So what does the future hold? Like the industry we are in, we’ll see Widgetbox evolve and grow at a break-neck pace, enabling more and more users to develop and use widgets easily across multiple platforms. We have developed a solution that allows users to easily create Facebook applications in a matter of minutes and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Given the astoundingly dynamic nature of this sector, our biggest asset is our agility and adaptability. We are confident we can achieve our goals and challenges before us with the culture we have promoted from the beginning, enabling all of us to feel comfortable to speak our minds and throw out ideas that might appear to be a little off the wall but may well be the next big thing.


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