Sometimes people write to me and ask me to blog about their cause, product or whatever passion that they have. Because blogging is an activity for which I don't get paid, I do try and limit the number of blogs which I write as they can be time-consuming to research and write. I must admit that I am a sucker for a David vs Goliath story or in this case, "The Little Engine That Could," Silicon Valley version...
One day, I received an email inquiry from Peter Oehler, responsible for PR/marketing for a new a software product developed in Germany. He and his CEO Martin Welker, live in Karlsruhe, Germany. Karlsruhe is home to a large university known for computer science and technical studies. It's called Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) like our own MIT. It is the Silicon Valley of Germany, boasting 2,500 start-ups and IT firms and 40% of all German websites are hosted in Karlsruhe. Who knew?
Peter wrote to tell me about the German start-up scene but specifically about their new product, http://clicktoapp.com which is a free software app for Windows and Macs as well. Soon, click.to will be available via Smartphone and Tablet PC. It's really a small but important app: it performs cut/copy/paste in fewer keystrokes. This is one of the most common but laborious desktop applications: cut/copy/paste between desktop applications like Twitter to Facebook and more.
Peter Oehler was extremely persistent and goal-driven in his efforts to get me to notice him, Martin and their "baby" click.to. He told me in e-mail installments of his steps, progress and drive to be noticed by our own Silicon Valley community. He wrote passionately about vision for their little app, click.to. He told me about how it had been rated and reviewed by Techcrunch, Lifehacker and Mashable which are some of the most important software trade publications. Imagine that Peter was just as persistent with them as well! Existing partners included Amazon, Box.net, Evernote, Simplenote and many more. Soon, he hopes it will be available on bit.ly, flickr and tinyURL.
Like most entrepreneurs, Peter and Martin are obsessed with click.to and its success. Peter is so obsessed about its success that he wrote to me very frequently reminding me of his existence. His desire to connect with me in NYC over the internet from his small town in Germany was impressive. I often thought of how this was one great example of global opportunities now available due to the super-interconnectivity of the Internet.
I would awake on some mornings to find new installments in my Inbox from Peter. I would read through his emails , respond and feel enthusiastic for Peter. I was rooting for him (and me, for that matter!) but had to real connection to him or his product. Peter figured out that obstacle as well. It was he who insisted that I download click.to and use it myself. It was also Peter who wrote to Pavel Richter, CEO of German Wikipedia and insist that he try it. Peter wrote to David Heinemeier Hansson, CEO of 37 Signals and got him to look at click.to and hopefully, even add a version to Basecamp--their highly successful project management platform!
The real reason that I am writing this blog about Peter and his persistence is to remind the entrepreneurs (and others) who are reading this blog that it takes a huge amount of constant and consistent persistence to be successful. And be politely persistent like Peter. I witnessed Peter Oehler's polite persistence from his small town in Germany, many miles away from me in NYC. He knows that the work in ahead to make click.to a success is not easy. They need to increase their visibility and increase their marketing activities, figure out how to monetize their product and more. But each day when Peter awakes each morning, he has a goal in mind.
Peter read one of my Huffington Post blogs and chose me. Why? Even he doesn't know! It was a blog which I wrote about the valuation of Facebook. I am not a software developer not involved in the industry nor am I the Silicon Valley-ite with whom Peter eventually hopes to connect. I found Peter's enthusiasm and determination hard to resist. He had worn me down. After all, I am an entrepreneur myself! I scheduled a phone call. April and Peter meet! What an exciting moment--in real life! We had a lively chat and I agreed to write this piece in support of his efforts!
If you want to make Peter and Martin happy, download click.to :http://www.clicktoapp.com
As an entrepreneur myself with a growing business, I feel just as passionate about my own start-up as Peter does click.to. Although sometimes difficult, we must be consistent and constant. Hence, the title reference to "Little Engine That Could." When I asked Peter what he was did last week, he replied, "I wrote to Mark Zuckerberg because click.to is a great benefit for Facebook-users". Go get 'em Peter! After all, as the late, great Steve Jobs showed us, miracles happen in Silicon Valley all the time!