dukeboxes.com was a service that would pick up the loft, microwave, sofa, etc for college students leaving for summer and deliver them to their new address when they returned from break. Conceived and funded by Arnaud Karsenti, he asked Stuart and roommate Geoff Habicht to join him. Stuart built a simple PERL script website to take orders and email them to a planning coordinator and Geoff would drive a Ryder truck full of fraternity pledges to carry boxes. They had a blast. The service was a hit and by the second year Arnaud renamed the company collegeboxes.com, extended the service to other schools and eventually sold the business to U-Haul.
The Video Slideshow was a way to perform a powerpoint presentation through a web browser. While simple now, streaming and changing slides through a Windows 95 web browser was a unique challenge. Leveraging all the scripting that he learned from collegeboxes, Stuart built the prototype over three months in the fall of his junior year. The product was bundled with a video production manager and sold to MTV and Home Shopping Network.
Stuart’s first job after school was a failed startup called SourceTrack.com. With hours to kill while they awaited their fate, Stuart and coworker Matt Collins created FileShare. It was a peer-to-peer Napster clone. FileShare was the first P2P written completely in Java and could be launched from a web browser. It was building FileShare that Stuart first identified certain design patterns that could be leveraged in object oriented programming. FileShare garnered over 10,000 downloads in its first month but was shuttered for fear of litigation related to Napster.
Event Manager for Verizon
A month after SourceTrack closed, Stuart started working for Verizon and learned that they had a very big problem. All their mainframes working to process phone carrier traffic were built to rate and settle in seconds. And in 2001, the phones started to get custom ringtones and were even processing WAP (basically Internet on your phone). Stuart told anyone who would listen that he could solve the problem and eventually got the ear of a Director, Alex Ramirez, who asked him to write up a business plan. After googling, “example business plan”, Stuart created the first draft and architecture for Event Manager. He wrote the first version in 4 weeks and within 6 months had 4 new people on his team. Then they asked him to process all kinds of transactions through it, International Roaming, Brazilian Long Distance, MMS and SMS. At its peak, Event Manager processed 30 Billion transactions in one year and generated $200 Million in revenue. Alex got the President’s Award. Stuart quit his job.
Verizon was a great place to learn software development. And how to mangle it. So leaving to become the Director of Information Technology for a 5 person startup provided a great opportunity to create the software shop that Stuart envisioned. No project managers. No testers. Just programmers sitting directly with people that have issues and fixing them while they watched. Nothing lost in translation. In the 8 years that Stuart was Chief Technology Officer for myMatrixx the company grew 1200% and had a 99% customer retention rate. Stuart had his greatest mentor in CEO Steve MacDonald. Following Steve’s advice (and occasional ultimatums) Stuart received extensive executive training and participated in Key Leaders with other young Vice Presidents and Officers. It was at myMatrixx that he learned to identify and recruit talent. The Dev team grew to 25 people (still no testers) during his tenure with some of the best talent in town. Stuart left the Information Technology group in the very capable hands of Michael Geis, Joel Playford, and Cliff Belliveau (one of his original mentors at SourceTrack and a Business Intelligence Badass).
Stuart came up with cTens walking through a Target trying to answer this question, “How can we know if the patient completed his rehab schedule?”. cTens was a venture to revolutionize medical devices for doctors and patients. Most of a patient’s difficulty in physical rehabilitation is lack of consistent therapy at home. By embedding a 3G antennae in a range of medical devices the service provides instant updates for insurance professionals and doctors about the progress of the therapy and provides a visual feedback loop to the patient. This is especially valuable in Property and Casualty claims for Worker’s Compensation. Project is currently shelved waiting for Stuart to meet the right Business Development partner.
Stuart created eTankPro to help a friend. One of his golfing buddies in Florida was the largest independent oxygen providers in the country. Year after year Medicare was cutting his reimbursement rates and driving many of the smaller providers out of business. So eTankPro was an automated scheduling and delivery service that organized the trucks to handle more stops with less miles. Recognizing the basic Traveling Salesman from CS 101, Stuart used the Microsoft Mappoint, Mapquest, Google Maps APIs to route all the drivers. The biggest obstacle for Stuart was learning VXML to handle the automated patient calls for refills. eTankPro was shuttered shortly after an unprecedented consolidation of the oxygen provider market in the US.
5 years after creating the myMatrixx pharmacy service, Stuart garnered the opportunity to startup the Ancillary Medical business. The service was modeled after amazon’s marketplace and contained a variety of technical hurdles. Delivering durable medical equipment to the worker’s compensation market meant that the pricing models had to support Medicare, Medicaid, State Fee Schedules, Usual and Customary and One off negotiated pricing. The maximum allowable charge for Medicare can be regulated down to the item identifier and zip code in some states. Borrowing from the Brazilian Long Distance problem many years earlier Stuart was able to solve the pricing problem. The initial release of the service had 3 trillion pricing possibilities. Other challenges Stuart faced were a catalog management system for 5,000 independent ancillary service providers in 50 states and several countries and a contract management system that also included periodic re-licensing for the service providers. Ancillary has grown to over 10 million in revenue in its first 4 years.
It began from a radar detector that would incessantly beep every time Stuart passed this particular Bonefish Grill. Understanding the Bonefish demographic and that they would pay to do this on purpose he posed the question, “How do we create a GPS based box that could figure out what store he passed everyday but never went in?” And when Steve bought his first iPhone (3G) they realized the hardware problem had been solved for them. So they created Google for the real world. Each stop is just like a URL click. If you go to jcrew.com, target.com and anntaylor.com; how much more valueable is it to know you spent 13 minutes in JCrew, 17 minutes in Target and 3 minutes in Ann Taylor? While building the prototype Stuart was one of the first people able to query everywhere he went for 6 straight months in SQL (Standard Query Language). He was able to extrapolate that the six minute drive from his exit on the freeway to his house cost him 43 hours per year. He moved. Project is currently on hold.
Stock Tweets came from an interest in Game Theory and how it related to Twitter. During the due diligence and planning for MamaBear, Stuart read the entire Developer API for Twitter. What he set out to determine was if there was a relationship between Twitter and stock market price performance (in either direction). If the rate of change of Tweets for $BAC went up nationally what were the odds the price would change? And what about for just subset of Twitter users (power users, non-power users, financial professionals only, etc). Its still looking.
Stuart was watching the sunset with his wife from the terrace of Domaine Carneros Winery in Napa. And the couple next to them would not stop complaining about having to read through their daughters (voluminous) Facebook posts. Coupled with his experience tracking his own location, the idea of MamaBear was born. Steve came up with the name in 30 seconds. MamaBear created many new challenges. Principally, how do have a fresh location (less than 5 minutes old) without killing the child’s battery? How do you know where they are when they are inside? (Schools are built like bomb shelters.) How do you get mom’s to know that 80% of 7th graders have fake FB accounts? If Facebook is the CNN of your friend’s life, MamaBear will be the CNN of your child’s.
hOp (helping Other people) connects people with the phones around them. In Multifamily apartments, we have small, private communities helping each other move couches and feed pets. We create sharing libraries for the building and connect residents to deals from local merchants driving down turnover rates in the buildings. We are currently exploring member connections in churches and charities and launching our first communities in commerical offices.