David Lord, former chief executive and founder of Toysmart.com, is now chief executive and founder of Expound, a Bedford, Mass., company that provides solutions and services to improve how companies interact with customers, employees, partners and suppliers. Lord spoke about his new venture with Senior Writer Laura Lorek.
How is life after Toysmart?
Life is good. I think there was a lot to be learned from Toysmart. We started Toysmart in 1996 before there was this thing called an Internet fad. When it turned into a fad, you started throwing out the baby with the bath water. There are still a lot of good business models out there. The expectation of having to build a company and a brand and have 18 million customers in a few months was unbelievable.
What does Expound do?
Expound is building enterprise software that allows companies to replicate their offline brand online. We are creating the intimate customer service experience online. The ability to take Nordstroms personal shopper and put that person on the Web. Thats our business model.
Why is there a need for a company like Expound at this time?
The need is obvious. Home Depot has a plumber in the plumbing section. How do you replicate that online? We are trying to connect the dots between all those disparate systems.
Why name the company Expound?
Were about expounding and responding to a customer. Were an action company.
How does the current state of the economy and the downturn in the technology sector affect your business?
Were a start-up. Were not looking at taking 97 percent of the market share. Our success will depend on us executing our business model, and not on the economy.
What lessons did you learn at Toysmart that are helping you in your new venture ExpoundInc.com?
First and foremost, I learned how to scale a company very, very quickly. I learned all the ins and outs of e-business very quickly.