Podio Employs a Novel Approach for U.S. Launch

A technology company is undertaking a very novel approach for launching their business in the U.S. The approach reminds me of a scenario that might be employed in Donald Trump's television show The Apprentice. Here's how I imagine Donald Trump would announce the task:

In a few short weeks, your team will orchestrate the U.S. launch for Podio, a Copenhagen-based technology company, by creating a store in San Francisco to host events over a period of one week that will include developers, partners, media and potential customers. If this event doesn't come off as planned, someone will be fired.

clip_image002I'm happy to report that it doesn't look like anyone is going to be fired. Podio and firms supporting them are doing a terrific job of executing this "task" if opening day is any indication.

Podio (website not viewable until Thursday, March 24th at 8 pm PDT) is focused around improving execution and collaboration for projects, business processes and knowledge. Business teams can define their own highly-customizable work spaces; external programming support is not needed. Podio provides an application programming interface (API) to allow data to flow in/out of Podio. It is possible to invite people to one or more work spaces within Podio—either internal or external members.

clip_image004Podio developed its technology by hosting on-site workshops for developers and business people alike allowing multiple organizations to come together and learn first-hand about Podio's technology. This long-standing practice follows them to San Francisco and their U.S. launch. While many technology firms would be hesitant to put diverse people together in the same room to learn and experiment, this practice seems to be a key factor in the pragmatism and efficacy of Podio's solution.

Podio's open environment has benefited all who employ their technology today. This isn't just a "if we build it, they will come" model employed by far too many technology companies. Podio's solution is all about the customer and what their customers are able to achieve using their technology.

clip_image006Opening the Podio Store—a Herculean effort

At a very high level, it was necessary to:

• Find an appropriate space in a downtown San Francisco location available for a lease of only one month or so

• Design the space

• Implement the space design including getting the infrastructure in place, e.g., painting, decorating electrical, lighting, Internet connectivity, furniture

• Plan events to engage with different constituencies

• Invite people to the events and obtain RSVPs

• Bring the entire Podio team (17 people) from Copenhagen to San Francisco for the launch event

• Catering

• Collateral

• Publicity

The team got the keys to the store just 3 days before the opening on Sunday, March 20th. The San Francisco-based support team included Vanessa Camones and her team from The Mix Agency and Erica Lee at StrategicLee, Inc.

The U.S. Launch Event

An event orchestrated on The Apprentice might conclude in a few minutes or hours. The Podio launch event takes place over 5 full days!

Sunday, March 20th: Work 2.0 HackDay

• Podio is hosting Work 2.0 HackDay at the Podio Store. Join us and teams from Mashery, Yammer, Zendesk, Disqus and others. See details here: https://company.podio.com/hackday/

clip_image008Monday, March 21st: Store Opening, Lunch 2.0 and Scandinavia Tech Meet-up

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Scandinavia Meet-up: This event starts at 6:30PM and will bring together people in SF with an interest in or connection to the Nordic countries and technology. Learn about the Scandinavian tech scene, meet start-ups, etc. Details are here: https://launch.podio.com/scandinavian.html

Tuesday, March 22nd: Lunch Demo at 12:30

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Podio Palo Alto Day: Podio will be hosting a Lunch workshop and evening BBQ down in Palo Alto. Learn more here: https://launch.podio.com/bbq.html

Wednesday, March 23rd: Lunch Demo and The Pioneers of Work Tools Panel

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and goes closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Podio has brought together some of the industry's pioneers of work tools, like Ross Mayfield from SocialText to talk about the evolution of the industry over the last 40 years. See details here: https://launch.podio.com/evening.html

Thursday, March 24th: Launch Day (7PM)

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and goes closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Today is the day that the Podio goes live to the general public! We go live at 8PM, but start at 7PM. Details are here: https://launch.podio.com/launchparty.html

Closing Thoughts

The Podio U.S. launch is both a very ambitious undertaking and an impressive series of highly-orchestrated events. I am not familiar with any other technology companies who have used a similar launch approach. The store is warm and inviting. And, one can't help missing the superb way the Podio team engages with guests. The entire team is executing this launch magnificently. No one is going to be fired on this task!

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker and blogger who resides in Silicon Valley. His firm helps clients eliminate business execution issues that threaten profitable and sustainable growth. He can be reached through his website at > www.gardnerandassoc.com or via Twitter > Gardner_Dave.

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