The Podio Global Product Roll-Out Continues

In March, I wrote a post about Podio's preparations for launch. So what happened at the San Francisco Launch?

Tommy Ahlers, CEO, shared with me the most surprising thing about their San Francisco launch was how the team managed to become the talk of the town during the week the launch took place. "The success around our launch really proved to us that it's all about having a great product that people can relate to and have a need for. This rest is just PR." Of course, it didn't hurt that the team handed out flyers on Market Street to help create buzz for what they were doing.

Cofounder Jon Froda offered, "I think we proved that work is about people and not IT, and that ordinary people when given the chance will meet and talk about their work processes and build apps to match them. It's a major shift, from focusing on tech and IT to focusing on the process and the people who actually do the job. I believe that our approachability and the fact that we are out there talking to people sets us apart in a market dominated by tech and IT jargon."

Out of this launch week comes word that Tommy Ahlers and his team will be establishing their commercial headquarters in San Francisco. Tommy said, "This marks the next level in the evolution of our company and the way we launched also helps us in the recruitment for the U.S. team. We keep getting closer to our customers in order to give them the work platform that really does become the place they work."

The events were very well-attended. I was impressed by the enthusiasm for the technology by developers and potential customers alike.

As I wrote in the original launch article, Podio has 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. The Podio team thrives on seeing real problems being successfully tackled in minutes or hours rather than weeks or months.

Technology Feedback

What I've observed about Podio is that the users focus on the problem they are trying to solve; the underlying technology supports solving the business problem without the need for great technical prowess.

After seeing the enthusiasm for the technology, I've begun using Podio in my consulting practice. I've begun to create workspaces for managing projects and my own task lists. I can easily shift dates, adjust my priorities dynamically during the course of a day by simply dragging my tasks up or down, add new tasks to make sure things don't fall off my radar screen and a whole lot more. I can easily add attachments to deliverables, tasks, milestones, etc.

I log into Podio first thing and stay logged in all day long. I love the power, simplicity and ease of use. Podio is simplifying my life. And, to be candid--I've barely scratched the surface. In the coming weeks, I'll be inviting additional client personnel to the work spaces so we can collaborate more efficiently.

What are collaboration technology experts saying about Podio?

Stowe Boyd, www.stoweboyd.com, identifies himself as a social tools researcher whose work is social tools and their impact on media, business, and society. Here are some of his thoughts:

• Podio's apps are organized around a record, defined as a collection of information items, like an invoicing app would keep track of the amount, date, customer name, and payment status for invoices. This is seamless and easy to use: mere mortals can create and share applications.

• Many compare Podio to Basecamp. Stowe thinks both applications serve similar purposes, but in very different ways. Basecamp isn't organized around a stream of updates, because Basecamp is relatively old, and is based on design principles from the early '00s.

• Stowe sees Podio as being based on the convergence of a number of trends, that Podio is well-suited for a social form of work, where people are ubiquitously connected, and increasingly using advanced mobile devices as well as PC's. While Podio is accessible from a browser, there is also an interface on Apple iOS and Android for mobile devices.

As Mashable discussed in a blog post, they believe that "Podio Threatens to Replace All Your Project Management Tools."

The Global Roll-Out

Podio wants to capitalize on the success of its San Francisco launch event by continuing to get in front of potential customers and developers. What better way to do this than take the show on the road!

During May and June, Podio will be traveling across Europe (mostly during May) and the U.S. (mostly during June) bringing workshops and events as part of the tour. Using a technique Podio refers to as "tribe-sourcing," the team wants to learn more how work gets done and discuss and shape together during visits to the various destinations a vision for the future of work. As Adrian Roessler from Podio offered, "The overall theme of the tour is like a band that goes on tour to play gigs--but, the music will also be made by the Podio users for Podio to listen to."

So, what's planned in the coming months?

In Europe, the team will visit Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Stockholm and Oslo. In the U.S, the team will visit Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The team is considering stops in Bangalore, Sao Paolo, Athens, Brussels, Toronto, Portland and Cape Town where local users have already expressed interest in meeting up. As the list is a bit fluid at this time, it is best to check in here.

On top of the cities planned, Podio is encouraging users, fans and partners to host their own Podio event as part of the tour.

Closing Thoughts

I continue to applaud Podio's novel approach to bringing its technology to the marketplace. This team loves interacting with users and developers and solving real business challenges. It is truly amazing seeing the Podio team engaging with people.

The 1969 rock opera "Tommy" by The Who was a smash hit that continues to dazzle listeners to this today. On the original album, the character Tommy (performed by Roger Daltry) sings a song called "See me, feel me, touch me." I'm reminded of this haunting melody as I think about Podio's global launch. Podio continues to create multiple opportunities to "see me, feel me, touch me" and, in the process, creates a lot of well-deserved buzz and accolades.

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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