Bret Williams

Pioneer

In 1994, two insightful entrepreneurs opened up the first professional website development company in a non-descript upstairs, two-room office in Austin, Texas.

They called the firm Chataqua, in reference to meeting tents common in the Northeast. Bret Williams and Joel McColl regarded the nascent web as a meeting place of sorts for the world.

And they were quite right.

It wasn’t long, though, before Chataqua was bought by a larger technology concern in San Antonio. McColl went back to hosting the annual Austin Pun-off and other business endeavors.

Bret, however, stayed in the Internet business. More than most in 1995, Bret intuitively understood the enormous data-driving marketing potential.

Author

Bret is a prolific writer. From multiple books on ecommerce (see https://amzn.to/39OPlBu) and blog articles to speeches and coaching courses, Bret loves communicating via the written word. He’s even ghost-written thousands of words for CEOs and politicians.

His genius comes from knowing how to make very complex or technical concepts accessible to the target audience. It’s more than judging the reader’s vocabulary level — it’s intuiting the reader’s attention span, relative subject expertise, and desired outcome.

Speaker

When his boys were younger, Bret used to bring them a lapel pin from the various cities he traveled to speak. Within a year, the bulletin board map on which the pins were placed became too heavy for its hooks.

Bret has spoken at conferences, workshops, and meetings in 22 states, plus the District of Columbia. He has also spoken in a dozen countries. In short, his frequent flyer miles are considerable!

Whether the topic is technical, philosophical, or motivational, Bret captivates audiences with his straight-forward messages, humor, and, above all, unique insights.

Innovator

Bret has never been satisfied with what has already been accomplished. He’s a creative problem solver who believes that what can be conceived can also be achieved. Over the past two and a half decades (and even before he dove into the Internet), Bret has accepted challenges as simply steps on a journey.

First Live Sporting Event Coverage

To showcase the fast networking of the Alamobowl, Bret and his team were asked to quickly assemble a live demonstration by steaming photos and press-box updates of the 1995 Builder’s Square Alamobowl. The first live coverage of a major sporting event on the Internet. Built, configured and launched in only 10 days.

First Online Car Buying Website

In the early days of the Web, no one could believe that it was possible to build a website to allow a car buyer to choose a model, color, and options, and receive an online price.

No one, except Bret. He built the first interactive car-buying website in the world.

Rapid Wireframing System

USAA is great at insurance, but in 1999 was challenged to get web projects completed quickly and to the market. Identifying considerable areas of duplicate effort, Bret created a pioneering wireframing UI that helped product managers scope projects so that developers could build on top of the layouts instead of re-building them from scratch each time.

Integrated Ecommerce

Betty Crocker® is one of America’s most respected brands. Their first online “catalog” was nice, but was not producing impressive sales and it was not integrated with the company’s legacy COBOL accounting system.

Bret and his team were chosen against firms in New York and Minneapolis to tackle this challenge, with one caveat: they had to build the platform from scratch, integrate it to the COBOL system, and launch it all in 30 days.

They did and next quarter sales for Betty Crocker rose over 3,000%!

First HIPAA Compliant File Transfer

In 2004, Medical Transcriptionists could not take advantage of the new digital voice recording technologies because they had no way of securely transferring the audio files and resultant transcription over the Internet. While SSL encryption was available, Federal HIPAA regulations required much more security and accountability.

In short order, Bret programmed and marketing a successful file transfer platform that remained in full operation on its original code base until 2019.

Niche-leading Online Business

Necessity is the Mother of all invention, and in 2005, Bret needed a solid, secure, and marketing-focused ecommerce system to use to sell digital dictation and transcription equipment for his NovuScript subscribers.

Since there was no such animal in the marketplace, Bret programmed his own, and within months, American Dictation was the leading online reseller of high-end equipment, beating out over 150 other authorized dealers who had decades of retail experience in the niche.

American Dictation was sold in 2009, and today is still a leader in sales and service.

New Product Type

Magento® is an incredibly powerful ecommerce platform, but for several of Bret’s clients, the lack of a true Bundle product type was hard to overlook. It’s common for online merchants to sell two or more inventoried items as a reduced-price promotional bundle. And Magento had no native means of accommodating this.

Bret’s team crafted — and sold — a Magento v1.x extension that created a new product type within Magento and allowed merchants more selling flexibility.

Inter-platform Data Migrations

As Shopify’s viability as a major ecommerce solution improved, many online sellers who were faced with upgrading their existing systems moved to Shopify — or wanted to. Most soon realized that the conversion of years of product, order, and customer data from their existing system to Shopify was not only daunting; most considered it impossible.

One of Bret’s passions is data. And no one realizes the nuances of inter-platform migration like Bret. It’s not a simple matching of fields; it’s knowing how to combine, enhance, and manipulate data as they move from one system to another.

Texan

Being a Texan has no bearing on whether you’re good at ecommerce or not. But, Bret’s a third-generation Texan, raised on the ideals of hard work, clear thought, and honesty.

He’s a maverick, through and through. Never settling for the status quo. Never agreeing to what’s “good enough.” Bret believes that true happiness starts with being principled enough to stand for your principles.

Beyond his work helping entrepreneurs succeed, Bret is married to his college sweetheart and the father of three sons. He is also the pastor of a local congregation and enjoys the lifestyle, music, and food of Central Texas.

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