A 19-year-old entrepreneur in Southeast Kansas has created a program that will cause members of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce to see “RED.”
RED is the name of a new information service that the chamber is providing to notify members of the types of events and announcements they select to hear. It is an acronym for an up-and-coming program called Real-time Events Delivered, invented by Patrick Stoddart, of Pittsburg, Kan.
It delivers real-time email announcements, text-message reminders and Outlook calendar settings for the types of events that members choose to receive.
Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin chamber, said the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce has used the service for about a year. “They had great success with it and reached out to tell us about it,” he said.
Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg chamber, said, “We told our members what we thought they wanted” in terms of announcements and events that were scheduled, but RED “let our members receive what they wanted to receive how they wanted to receive it.”
The information can be fed to a computer, digital calendar or cellphone.
“The feedback has been great,” said Devin Gorman, communications director of the Pittsburg chamber. “Members say they would have forgotten an event if they had not received a text message on their phone (to remind them).”
Stoddart created an early version of the program when he was 16 for his high school to use.
“I didn’t realize there would be as much interest in it as there has been,” he said. He did not set out to be an entrepreneur. “It’s not something I expected to be doing, but it’s something I enjoy.”
He had been a student at Pittsburg State University studying computer science. Now, he’s taking a break from his education because RED and his company, Revdel, demanded more attention. He has developed several updates and applications of RED that are now being used by 24 customers, and 2 million messages have been delivered, he said.
He has one part-time employee, and he expects to hire three salesmen soon.
“I’m hoping 2013 will be an expansion year for me,” he said.
Stoddart agreed that the program has been described as a more versatile version of Twitter. He said that after creating his early versions for elementary and secondary schools, he expanded to a version adapted to chamber organizations because of the demand for individualized communication.
O’Brian said RED was introduced to Joplin chamber members at a Good Morning Joplin event Wednesday, and that 100 people signed on immediately.
It is provided as a free service. Sign-up is available on the chamber’s website at www.joplincc.com.
“We’re hoping it will provide a new membership benefit and draw new members,” Stoddart said.
THE RED PROGRAM HAS PUT OUT 21,000 emails and 13,000 text messages since it has been available at the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.