Chapter 2

Hipcricket’s Beginnings in a Starbucks

Well-connected in his hometown to Seattle’s venture community and up for a new challenge, Braiker remembers a friend asking him in 2003 if he would meet with an Australian to learn more about a mobile marketing service for radio taking hold Down Under. There, radio stations and listeners were using the text messaging feature of wireless phones to maintain and strengthen their tribes.

It turned out that it was a match made for Braiker.

Braiker’s planned 30-minute meeting at Starbucks with Graham Knowles, himself a longtime radio veteran, lasted 8 hours.

“I was so intrigued by what they were doing in Australia,” he says. “I couldn’t fathom that this wasn’t going to be the savior for radio [in the United States].”

Why he believed that radio needed a savior is a complicated question, but a quick look at what was going on in 2004 reveals a world full of changes:

  • A social networking site called Facebook launches.
  • The last Oldsmobile rolls off the assembly line.
  • Google’s initial public offering takes place.

If you still need more convincing that the planets were realigning, consider the fact that the Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the first time since 1918, breaking the so-called Curse of the Bambino that began when Babe Ruth was sold to the archrival New York Yankees.

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