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Thomas Skinner in the News

By TLS | April 14, 2008

I was poking around on the web tonight and came across this archived article from 2001 in the Deseret News. This was a report on a venture funding event that the company I worked for (Communitect) attended. I believe this historic document is the first time I was ever quoted in the media. Whoo-hoo! Check it out:

Utah techies flock to Winternet
A chance to see hot technologies and schmooze with peers
By Lois M. Collins
Deseret News staff writer

In what has become a trade show with a twist, hundreds of people packed into the Third West Bistro in Salt Lake City Thursday night to see some of Utah’s hottest technologies.

But the main event was the opportunity to schmooze — not only to see who’s doing what but to explore ways that Utah technology companies can augment, complement and assist each other.

Winternet is an annual event sponsored by Wasatch Venture Fund to showcase the companies included in its portfolio — everything from the Web-crawling, data-gathering WhizBang! Labs to the online document storage capabilities of NetDocuments and Talk2’s voice-enabled Web applications.

“I came to see who’s attracting interest,” said Troy Hamler of Humanvoice, a real-time, real-person customer support service. “Technology changes rapidly, and it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse.”

Jenny Olsen said her company, Lineo, has been a beneficiary of venture capital and came to Winternet to see how they could help other technology companies.

Lineo specializes in imbedded applications, like the brains in a credit card processor in the self-service pump at the gas station. Most of their products have been based on the Linux operating system, but they’re now moving into a more general market.

Communitect doesn’t have a product yet. But sales director Thomas Skinner was happy to talk to people about their upcoming mobile customer service. It’s designed to work with wireless devices like cell phones to let companies answer customers’ simple questions. For instance, someone could request a credit increase on a credit card when faced with an unexpectedly high bill while dining, he said. And do it silently, typing the request, to avoid embarrassment.

Networking at Winternet allows his company to follow its plan to “skate where the puck is going to be.”

The shift in focus, emphasizing a chance to just visit with each other instead of principally touting products, is a result of feedback, according to Todd Stevens, managing director of Wasatch Venture Fund. “We found people just want to go and see how they can partner, how they can work together.”

The timing this year coincided with the Wayne Brown conference, attracting some tech-savvy out-of-staters to the show, he said. “We’re hear to demonstrate Utah’s vibrant, growing high-tech community. The Internet has seen some bruising (with failed dot-coms), but this shows a lot of Utah companies are doing well.”

“It never hurts to meet new folks,” Matt Thomas of Talk2 said.

Other Utah companies showcased during Winternet included emWare,, Cerberian, MyAssociation, Inetz, Campus Pipeline, Wasatch Digital IQ, the Technology to Market alliance, Skogen Group and DoBox.




Words: 459
Section: Business

This was a big blast from the past. I had a great time at Communitect (now known as Smile Reminder). I learned a lot from my friend (and boss), Jim Higgins, and gained valuable experience.

Topics: Work, Business |

One Response to “Thomas Skinner in the News”

  1. Jason Rakowski Says:
    April 14th, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Good Layout and design. I like your blog. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. .

    Jason Rakowski