Brad Feld

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Passion for a product

Jun 05, 2004

I had a great experience with Buzz Bruggeman and his company ActiveWords this morning. Here’s the story.

I was reading through my new feeds this morning and ran across Marc Orchant’s The Office Weblog post on Buzz Bruggeman / ActiveWords. I’ve been looking for a macro recorder that I like (they all suck) and ActiveWords sounded interesting. So – I went to the site and downloaded a trial (30 days). I played around with the trial for 30 minutes and couldn’t figure out how to do what I wanted to do (although it had some neat functionality). I finished up reading my feeds and started grinding through email.

Ten minutes later I get an email from Buzz Bruggeman that says:

From: Buzz Bruggeman []
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 9:20 AM
To: Brad Feld
Subject: ActiveWords

Hi Brad:

Just saw your download. Would love to show you our stuff.

I am also happy to unlock a copy for you. Below is the canned E-Mail that will do it. I would suggest that you beat on ActiveWords for a few days, and then let me walk you through some ideas. I use , which works well, and will cut your learning curve way back. I would like to believe that ActiveWords would not only benefit everyone on your team, but perhaps would benefit products from your portfolio companies.


So – Buzz has gotten my download info, looked me up, figured out I’m a venture capitalist, and decided to make sure I’m happy with his stuff. I respond:

From: Brad Feld
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 9:31 AM
To: ‘Buzz Bruggeman’
Subject: RE: ActiveWords

Buzz – I played around with it for 30 minutes – it’s cool, but it wasn’t obvious how to do what I’m looking for. I’m mostly interested in a “super macro recorder” that can do things interactively with web sites (e.g. bring up page, click on specific field, click on another field, close window). It looks like ActiveWords can do most of this, but it wasn’t at all obvious how to do the “click on specific field” or how to do the equivalent of “record a macro”.

Give me a clue.

Buzz responds:

From: Buzz Bruggeman []
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 2004 9:47 AM
To: Brad Feld
Subject: RE: ActiveWords

I am about to be interviewed . Where are you going to be in say 20 minutes…


It’s a Saturday morning. Now – I get the irony that I’m sitting here with no life catching up on work (my excuse is that Amy is sitting near me at her desk catching up on stuff also). Buzz is all over me.

We hooked up 15 minutes later and spent 30 minutes with Gotomypc going through a demo of what I wanted to do. Buzz helped me configure a few other advanced features, and was geniunely effusive about how his product could help me with my life.

His committment to me and passion for his product convinced me to give it a serious try for a week or so (something that wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t gotten all over me – I would have likely punted after fiddling around with it one more time).

Buzz is doing this the right way – he loves his product – believes in it – and is willing to be shamelessly aggressive about getting folks to try it. Our call was great – he wasn’t pushy in any inappropriate or off putting way – he really wanted to help. He recognized that I’m an influencer and wants me to be a user, get excited about ActiveWords, and help him spread the word.

Nice start Buzz. CEO’s – pay attention!