A week ago Thursday I received a call from Tracey Armstrong at Copyright Clearance Center(CCC). She called to let me know they were about to announce their acquisition of Infotrieve and to reiterate that the positive relationship the CCC has always had with Reprints Desk would continue.
We knew of their interest in making this acquisition for some time, so the call came as no surprise. I was happy to hear though that nothing will change between the CCC and Reprints Desk, which is a question some customers and publishers have been asking us. We’ve historically had a very positive working relationship with CCC and I responded by congratulating Tracey and letting her know that we support the transaction and look forward to continuing our good relationship. I’ve had subsequent meetings with Miles McNamee and Kim Zwollo, senior management of CCC and the same message was conveyed by all sides. So, if you’ve heard any rumors to the contrary, let those be laid to rest.
As many of you know, I was the original Founder of Infotrieve. So, I do have some personal comments and feelings to share as well.
It’s a bit of a strange feeling to witness the original 2003 sale of a company that my friends and partners built only to witness it be sold again now in 2014. Bittersweet is probably a better word to describe the feeling.
My friends and I had a great time building Infotrieve from the ground up and it was a fun ride creating something that became an industry standard in the corporate library market. There were a lot of late nights and weekends spent working hard and hardly working to get Infotrieve to where it got. It’s good to know that we built a company that has lasted and meant something to the information industry. It has garnered many investments despite the passage of time and development of technology.
Infotrieve was built to be a good company, though I must admit that after selling in 2003, I didn’t really agree with everything Infotrieve and their new venture capital owners were doing with the company. My own opinion was that some of the things they were up to were harming the market, which is when I decided to start Reprints Desk.
I was fortunate that a lot of good people from my past, as well as a whole bunch of new talented individuals, decided to join me on this new adventure. We felt we could build the next best thing, and that we could do it from nothing, and that’s exactly what we did. We made our mistakes along the way, but were committed to be quick learners. Our team was also fortunate to be able to build entire new systems from scratch, much more robust and at a fraction of the cost thanks to Moore’s Law and the Internet.
Our new adventure at Reprints Desk was almost an instant success. In seven short years, we built a company that we estimate to be of equal size to Infotrieve. An accomplishment we’re proud of because it took Infotrieve over twenty years (and a helluva lot more money) to get there. We feel we did it the old-fashioned way, by bringing happiness to one customer at a time, and that we were doing it very efficiently.
The love and support we’ve received from our customers has been beautiful and overwhelming. We responded, and will always respond, to that love and support by providing the best technology and service in the industry, by listening to you, our customers and suppliers, and working as partners with you in a friendly manner while always having a bit of fun along the way.
We’re proud to be part of an ecosystem of suppliers in the information industry, an ecosystem that includes CCC and now CCC’s Infotrieve. There’s always been a lot of “coopetition” in the information industry and that’s an environment that we’re comfortable with because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution for the entire market. It takes a wide and diverse field of suppliers to help research-driven organizations use information as a way to gain an advantage in the marketplace and achieve their goals.
I’ve seen a lot of acquisitions in document delivery over the years, EBSCO - Dynamic Information, UMI/Information Store, Maxwell/Information on Demand, Trident Capital/Infotrieve, CCC/Infotrieve. Some have gone well, some haven’t. I see some positive signs in the most recent deal and wish CCC well in their new adventure and am “cautiously optimistic” (as Outsell puts it). We’re looking forward to the new landscape. I’m sure there will be some coopetition and some good old fashioned competition as well.
If you’re interesting in speaking with us more on the subject, we’d be happy to chat at the London Info International conference next week where we’ll have a stand. As usual I’ll be organizing the California Running Club. We’ll be meeting at the doors to the exhibit hall at the Royal Horticultural Halls at 8am on Monday, and 7am on Tuesday. Bring your running shoes (walkers welcome as well) and tell your friends, it’s the ultimate networking event!
See you soon and as always, thank you to our customers, partners and team for creating the Reprints Desk experience and our customer-powered Article Galaxy platform for document delivery.