Back in the 1990s Jeff Boekstein, Sales Director for Belron, decided to share his love of football by running a game. As an international sales executive Jeff wanted a fun way of keeping in touch with colleagues, customers and friends all over the world. Out of this desire came the first incarnation of Predikta.
Jeff built a complex spreadsheet to store and calculate the accuracy of people’s predictions about that week’s football league results -- who would win, what the score would be. Jeff invited friends, family, customers and suppliers to join his league of predictors.
People would email their predictions; Jeff would run them through his spreadsheet and email people to tell them how their predictions placed them in the league.
Not surprisingly, Jeff soon wanted to use the web to automate the back- end calculation. He’d also received lots of requests for people to be able to set up their own leagues. He needed an innovative partner to bring birth to his incredible idea and went through iterations and meetings until he found Transputec, who were already supplying IT services to Autoglass (part of the Belron group), of which Jeff was a director.
Transputec’s development teams worked closely with Jeff and helped him architect a solution, all web based and around Microsoft technologies. The solution was born and was launched and hosted in the Transputec’s cloud platform, where thousands of users are logging and using the system every day.
Transputec wrote the web-based Predikta based on the logic in Jeff’s spreadsheet, and it went live on the web in 2000. Web-enablement took away Jeff’s manual workload, and let people create their own leagues in a few seconds. It also introduced some social capability, although the term hadn’t yet come into use. It allowed Predikta users to simply share messages with other members of their league. These messages became known as ‘banter’, and are a rich, important part of the Predikta social experience.
Technologies used include IIS, .net technologies and SQL in a highly scalable environment.
Without any assistance, Predikta has grown steadily and virally. Belron people across the world, people in Belron’s customers and friends and family too all enjoy playing Predikta. Transputec and their customers play too. No fewer than 47 new leagues have sprung up through word of mouth, and hundreds of people have regularly played for more than five years. Still hosted and actively maintained by Transputec, some think that Predikta is in the running for the title of longest-running web game.
Jeff Boekstein is Sales and Marketing Director for Belron. He has an honours degree in Economics and Marketing from University of Cape Town and MBA from London Business School. During 29 years in Belron he has worked in Sales, Marketing, Strategy and General Management roles. He has led the team responsible for building the numerous Belron brands across more than 20 countries. He founded Predikta in 1999 as one of the first social football prediction games to emerge in the early stages of the internet.