Staxxon AvatarDear Respected Logistics and Shipping Industry Trade Publications,

Here at Staxxon we still struggle a bit with how to communicate our stories, messages and news to your writers and editors and, more important, your readers. We realize that business-to-business startups in the maritime logistics space are not part of anyone’s regular beat. We also understand that most of you report on news and trends that matter to the mainstream players in the logistics marketplace. We realize that our lack of market presence makes startups a challenging topic since startup news doesn’t involve the major players or the hot topics in today’s maritime logistics segment. Finally, we accept that we don’t have the legacy relationships nor are we a part of the rich traditions and culture in maritime global commerce. We need to keep working on building relationships and getting a better grasp on the culture.

We have noticed more changes in the way you communicate and deliver content and advertising to your readers in the last 12 months than the last few decades. We’ve watched Lloyds List go all digital after 280 years of being a daily print publication. The Journal of Commerce has lowered the paywall for a specific number of free views each month and gave Peter Tirschwell an industrial internet age appropriate title of Chief Content Officer. The apps many of you have created for mobile phones and tablets feature content and mobile advertising that makes sense. And we can’t complain about the coverage all of you have given our company and its products over the last 3 years.

With all the recent changes in content and content delivery systems, we wondered if now was time to carve out some room on your editorial and event calendars for logistics startups. Yes, we mean risky logistics startups with limited funding and resources that are often founded by driven people who are not from the maritime logistics industry. Yes, we are most definitely talking about startups that have big ideas for solutions to address some of the most pressing logistics problems. And yes, the solutions proposed by startups are are often not based on full respect for traditions or culture, especially maritime traditions.

Most of you run various international and regional awards programs that involve glitzy events with formal attire in opulent venues. The presenters and keynoters are respected leaders and the winners are definitely deserving individuals and companies. Our sense is that the awards programs are primarily designed to recognize the innovators and outstanding leaders in mature logistics enterprises that dominate the logistics market landscape. Startups are not likely to be on any finalist lists for awards unless they are closely teamed with a well known enterprise.

Maybe events could be the starting point for engaging with logistics startups? Why not have one international awards event co-hosted by some or all of you that focuses on startup companies and products in the logistics space? Instead of a glitzy event requiring formal attire with guys in red outfits playing trumpets plus other pomp and circumstance, how about hosting the event online? By keeping the cost of participation low and making the event widely accessible, startups can spend limited investor money on innovation instead of business travel. You will probably need to round up a new set of sponsors but that could be a good thing, right? Maybe technology companies like Cisco or SolidWorks would sign on as sponsors. Invite John Konrad and Rob Almeida from gCaptain or Jeremiah Owyang from Crowd Companies to be the hosts and set some tough judging standards. And let’s send most of the net proceeds from registrations, award logo licensing and sponsorships to help the families of wage mariners who were lost at sea or are being held hostage by pirates.

All we need now is a good name for the startup awards event. Maybe we could call the event the McLean-Tantlinger Logistics Startup Awards. You know, after Malcolm and Keith. Those two startup guys who thought shipping containers were a big idea.