Fohboh weighs scaling up to better serve restaurant community IBM Smarter Planet delivers smarter content for less cost

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“FohBoh targets owners, operators, vendors, service providers and other people who work in restaurants, which is the third-largest industry in the U.S. We have about 14,000 members in more than 100 countries, and about 70% are restaurant owner/operators. We have become a voice for the restaurant community because of person-to-person knowledge-sharing and crowd-sourced information. We're not an advertising play, and we've had to be creative to find a way to make money in other ways. We monetize our business by selling brand-monitoring and management software, and by working with marketers on social media strategies. Some people say the best time to start a company is in the middle of an economic downturn. We are a survivor. We grow our revenues every day. We're building for the next generation of restaurant executives. We're way past the point of validating our model. We have to next prove that we have the ability to scale.” —MICHAEL ATKINSON, CEO & co-founder, “At one time, messaging was all about branding. With the new Web, we try to figure out what people are saying and build that into our content. Our new Smarter Planet site produces content around big topics, like energy, transportation and water management. We connect with people in those areas to try to make their water management smarter, for example, by using sensors and databases. We're building a set of capabilities that connect outsiders with IBMers who have expertise in these areas. At this point, the content is mostly our own, but we'll be curating more content in the future. We have technology that permits people to choose trusted sources, then it pulls the content from those sources onto the site. We're reducing costs by revising our back-end to produce content for many different outlets. It replaces what used to be a manual process. We don't spend more money to publish all this content; we just do things more intelligently.” —JAMES MATHEWSON, editor in chief,
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