The idea for LimeBridge started when Peter Massey called Bill Price at Amazon to ask him if he would be on Budd’s advisory board at its formation in late 2001.
Bill said he would be he would be leaving Amazon and Peter would have to be on Driva’s advisory board too! Then our brains began to whirr and we thought who else could we bring to the party.
In March 2002 we got together in London with one of Bill’s former colleagues from Amazon, Osamu Taniguchi from Tokyo. The main reason was to meet was a joint selling opportunity with an international company operating in all our regions, illustrating our first priority was commerce not just collaboration for its own sake.
We agreed some basics of what we wanted and what we didn’t want for our alliance, but principally we spent our time talking about what we had and could share – contacts, knowledge, prospects and so on. It involved a walk over the newly opened “wobbly” Millenium foot bridge to the Tate Modern.
This was followed up with a further meeting in Palo Alto and a dinner with an entrepreneurial shared client in a restaurant called The 3 Fishes. It became one of the names under consideration alongside TateBridge and LimeBridge – Lime because of the name of an unrelated company logo, on a business card, which a client had just joined.
And the rest as they say was history… We contacted various trusted and experienced alumni and clients who had businesses in customer experience and pulled together the first full meeting in Lopez in September 2002.
What has made this collaboration succeed? Certainly not a piece of paper.
It’s about the effort people put in to help each other and the benefits each party gains – this is what keeps customers or staff operating with you. It’s not the rules, it’s the benefits that hold things together. Where people have not trusted or not helped others, they not benefited and left.
Furthermore having built and sold businesses, one has to recognise the motivation of entrepreneurs when bringing them together. I have tried before to get entrepreneurs to share equity and so on. It’s a nightmare and nigh on impossible.
So some of our first principles were simplicity, no cross ownership and complete autonomy for each business. This in turn meant that we had to make sure we had like-minded people involved and a high degree of trust involved.
Rather than think up rules we described the “underlying beliefs” to which alliance members would need to subscribe and continue to subscribe.
A few years later in Kyoto David Jaffe summed up LimeBridge, as only he can, in a haiku:
“The purpose of LimeBridge is
To make each of our companies
Today the alliance is based on solid friendships, has delivered many cross border projects for multinational clients and is moving to its next phase of adding new countries.