Some time ago, GoInstant finally turned off their website and said “goodbye”. I know this was a bittersweet moment for many, because I worked so hard, side-by-side, with the team for 3 years. I’m no longer at GoInstant (which was acquired by Salesforce), but it was sad for me too. In the end, GoInstant was not meant to be. At least not in the incarnation that we were building publicly online.
This sort of thing happens when a company is acquired. Sometimes acquired startups are shut down completely. Other times they live on. No matter what, you have to expect a lot of change. There are many factors that play a role and I don’t think the “right thing to do” for the acquirer or the acquisition is always obvious.
At GoInstant we definitely had our ups and our downs. It’s not my place to tell the story publicly, but being acquired is definitely an experience. And I’ve been involved in the process a few times (e.g. when Standout Jobs was acquired by Talent Technology (now Talemetry), and when Localmind was acquired by Airbnb). Unfortunately, we don’t see a lot of acquisition stories shared online (they’re often works-in-progress, or people don’t want to air dirty laundry). But I can’t help and reflect personally on my experience at GoInstant and how things transpired. After all, it was an amazing experience.
Recently, Salesforce held Dreamforce 2014, which from what I can tell was a huge success. Dreamforce is the largest tech conference in the world and I was in awe both times I attended (in 2012 and 2013). I didn’t go to this year’s Dreamforce, but I watched eagerly from the sidelines. And it was awesome to see GoInstant’s work revealed in a big way.
This is a bit of an outdated screenshot (courtesy of a Techcrunch article), but it shows you the Salesforce SOS product that the GoInstant team has been working on for awhile. I was actively involved with the project, and now it’s out there for everyone to see and experience. The transition from the original GoInstant to being a part of Service Cloud and working on SOS wasn’t easy, but I truly believe it will prove very worthwhile for Salesforce and for the GoInstant team.
Getting integrated into a big organization isn’t easy. Taking a small company (we were ~10 people when we were acquired) and giving them an opportunity to have a huge impact at a global scale isn’t easy either. But everyone worked and continues to work hard at GoInstant, looking to deliver the best product possible. You combine the tech and product chops at GoInstant with the amazing sales machine at Salesforce and I think you have a winning combination.
I’ve heard a lot of positive things from people about Salesforce SOS at Dreamforce. And I’m proud of the role I played in getting the product there–although I didn’t see it over the finish line. I’m even more proud of the GoInstant team and what they’ve managed to accomplish (and what I expect they will accomplish going forward). This is a message to the GoInstant folks as much as it is to anyone else that’s going through an acquisition and figuring out how to make it work: good job, congrats and keep on going.