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What are the Anthill Cool Company Awards?
The Cool Company Awards were launched in 2006 as a way for Anthill to acknowledge and celebrate Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. Cool Companies stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are … cool! More.
Keith Ahern leaped into the iPhone app-development business virtually seconds after Steve Jobs unveiled the device. He founded Mogeneration with friend and technologist Tom Adams and cranked out about 50 phone applications.
When the iPad landed in 2010, Mogeneration was ready with a platform that would allow clients in the publishing world to have feature-rich products on the tablet. The boys threw all their weight behind showing an ink-stained, sometimes hidebound industry how to blossom into digital publishing.
They called the platform Oomph. In August of this year, they set the Mogeneration name aside and rebranded the company with the name of their iPad toy. Oomphs all around, then.
Today, the small staff of Oomph is split between Sydney (sales and marketing) and Brisbane (developers). The company has 41 clients for the platform and 71 titles. Oomph established a beachhead early in what quickly became a wildly competitive market by landing ACP Magazines clients, including Gourmet Traveller, Australian Women’s Weekly, Three and Fitness First. In September 2010, Oomph was employed in the Android OS for the first time with New Digital Media’s The Australian.
“Oomph is designed to complement existing workflows, requiring no additional programming, and is simple to learn,” the company writes. The platform boasts more than 30 features, including voice control, social media integration, 360-degree images, embedded video and T-commerce and more.
“We’ve taken care of the technology, allowing customers to take care of the design,” the Oomph folks say.
Putting clients in the driver’s seat is important to their marketing strategy, as one happy customers begets another. The publishing world, searching desperately for new revenue streams, is scrambling to get aboard the tablet train. The Oomph crew figure if they build an awesome, easy-to-run-and-customise platform, the industry will gravitate to them.
Oomph is constantly on the move, releasing features every couple of months. Most recently, the principals are talking about shifting from the digital platform to rapid app creation — making Oomph more open-source and self-service, with various models and price points that will make digital publishing accessible to a broader base of clients.
Inside the Oomph company culture, life is largely paperless; usually the only pages laying around are those of the prints clients being adopted to tablet publication. All wall signage, presentations and customer portfolios in the warehouse-like sales office are presented on iPads. Every employee has an iPhone, iPad and Macbook.
But when it’s time to celebrate, Oomph kicks it old school. To celebrate the rebranding in August, the bosses hired a Cuban restaurant, flew in the directors, invited customers and potentials, served mojitos and danced the salsa.
“Our clients are starting to see some big commercial returns from downloads and sponsorship agreements, their success means our world continues to grow,” the Oomph crew says. “It’s a hugely exciting industry!”
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