It’s all about the customer, or is it? What I learned at Launch Tech Conference and SXSW

March 21, 2013 |
Sasha Reed

Over the last week and a half I’ve been on the road attending two technology conferences: Launch Festival and South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW). Both of these conferences are platforms for startups and established companies to launch their new products. At Launch SF, I was able to speak with some of these startups about their new products. As they talked about their ideas, each had a certain sparkle in their eye, hoping to be the next big thing. Everyone was asking who would be the next Twitter, Facebook, or Mint.

There were some pretty interesting companies launching new products, like Instabridge, which improves Internet connectivity by allowing you to remember friends' WiFi passwords and benefit from a community of subscribers, and CubeSensors, which measures air quality throughout your office or home, adjusting your surroundings accordingly. 

I attended with the goal of getting a better sense for the direction innovation in technology is taking. Collaboration was a pretty hot topic and the focus of more than a couple startups. Many spoke enthusiastically about the moment of inspiration behind their startup idea and how they planned to change the world with an easier, more integrated way to interact with modern technology. Sounds good to me. I find myself now more than ever bouncing between apps and devices to navigate, communicate, create and collaborate with others. Anything they can design to simplify my life, I’ll buy!

However, after speaking with a handful of startups, I failed to find anything that really innovated beyond existing technology. What I did find, however, were companies that created more “noise” than value in the marketplace. Without clearly identifying a need and creating a solution that innovates beyond what exists today, can they be successful? Or is the “build it and they will come” mentality enough to sustain a startup?  

All of this made me think back to my beginnings with Bluebeam. Coming directly from the AEC industry, it was clear that Revu was created specifically for me and the work that I do. In fact, I found so many uses for the software, the first task I gave myself was to go back to my old firm and make sure they started using it. 

As a solution provider, our philosophy is to partner with the customer, understand what their world looks like and tackle their challenges together. Our role is to understand their need and create a solution that innovates beyond their expectations. At the end of the day, we work to give them back one of the most valuable commodities they possess—time. 

My question to you is: As a consumer and professional, what do you value most in a technology solution? What do you wish most technology companies did better? I’m all ears!

Sasha Reed | Digital COM
Bluebeam, Inc.
Vice President of Strategic Development

As Vice President of Strategic Development at Bluebeam, Inc., Sasha Reed collaborates with leaders in the architecture, engineering and construction industry to guide Bluebeam’s technology, partnerships and long-term goals. She joined Bluebeam in 2007 and co-created the Concierge Approach, a distinctly branded process of customer engagement, product feedback and solution delivery to which much of Bluebeam’s success is attributed, and which today is replicated at every organizational level.

Sasha is known industry-wide as a “conversation facilitator,” creating platforms for exchanges necessary to digitally advance the industry, including the BD+C Magazine Digital COM Blog, which she authors and manages. She’s been a featured presenter at numerous national and international conferences, including the 2014 Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Federal Project Delivery Symposium and NTI Danish BIM Conference. Sasha also co-chairs the Construction PDF Coalition, a grassroots effort to provide a common industry framework from which to create and maintain construction PDF documents, serves on the City College of San Francisco BIM Industry Council, and is Advisor to the Board of Direction for the National Institute of Building Sciences BuildingSMART Alliance.

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