I was contacted by investors in a company called Neltura, founded by a group of very talented telecommunications developers, in 2005. The team had raised seed capital but were struggling to form a coherent product or go-to-market strategy. Working with the team I began to pull together plans for both, and helped the company to recruit CEO Bill Tam. For more than a year I functioned as the company’s VP Marketing & Alliances, and led the strategy for the business.
A first order of business, though, was to build a more accessible brand for the company. Thus, I came upon EQO. After cycling through a number of different graphic designers, the EQO brand was created by myself and designer Aaron Mok, which I originally sketched (or tried to) on copy paper in a conference room. The simultaneous symmetry and asymmetry of this logo have made it memorable.
Broadly, EQO was to be a mobile social networking tool in the pre-smartphone age. Specifically, EQO launched at DEMO in 2006 as a tool for accessing Skype on mobile devices. The service/solution garnered significant initial interest from the global mobile carrier market, who were key partners in providing the Binary SMS push notification services necessary to make mobile social services work.
With EQO we foretold the entire mobile social networking craze, 3-4 years before it began to take off. You may enjoy this presentation from early 2006: eqo-mobile-presence.
Ultimately, EQO’s vision was too far ahead of its time. And the team’s unwillingness to engage the market on a carrier-by-carrier basis until Push Messaging was more widely available to third parties meant that the service, absent the ability to notify and engage its users, would still be unusable when the company wound down by early 2009. Ironically, 3rd-party push was made available for Android and iOS devices in July of 2009.