Last week I blogged about my #AU2012 class with Shaan Hurley that covered the very latest in cool technology via Autodesk Labs. In that post I mentioned that we covered why Autodesk has a Labs to set the context for the technology previews that we would cover:
In our class Shaan and I then proceeded to cover:
- Augmented Reality for Showcase
- Project Chronicle
- Project Geppetto for 3ds Max / 3ds Max Design
- Project Factory.Modz() for Inventor
- Project Basejump for AutoCAD Map 3D / Civil 3D
- Project Falcon
Our demos were less than perfect. Sorry about that. I could tell from the room's lighting that Augmented Reality for Showcase would not work in that particular environment, so we skipped that. Although I had practiced and played my DesignScript video tens of times. it would not play. Thank you PowerPoint. Lesson learned. At least you can learn about these technology previews via the Labs site.
After our demos, we covered what we do with the feedback that y'all provide to us.
It’s all about feedback. We give you a variety of ways to reach us.
- Email and discussion forums are the time-honored ways. In addition, many of you also post comments on Shaan’s and my blogs.
- Social media is also available. Shaan and I are on Facebook and Twitter. Some technology previews have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can like, comment, tweet, or retweet using these mediums.
- Most technology previews have one or more videos on YouTube. You can post comments there. For people who don't have access to YouTube, you can download the videos from the Autodesk Labs site.
- For people who are strictly professional and have an aversion to Facebook and Twitter, we also have two LinkedIn groups. We have a Customer Council were we invite select individuals to provide extra insight into our technologies and a general Autodesk Labs group where anyone can request membership. Unlike on the blogs where we impart information often in a fun way, we try to keep the information in LinkedIn short and sweet.
So you can use any or all of these mechanisms to tell us what you think about technology previews. So what happens with what you tell us? We analyze it qualitatively and qualitatively.
In addition to understanding the sentiment, volume matters. In terms of traditional feedback, we track how many email messages we get and how many discussion forum posts per technology preview. Sometimes we survey users of a particular technology preview and track how many respond.
We interpret a lack of feedback as disinterest which does not bode well for the technology preview. We don't assume that people will only contact us to complain that something doesn't work, so if there is no feedback, everything must be great.Trying something, liking it, and not telling us is almost the same as not trying it. So even a short note "works great" is better than silence. Our favorite messages are ones where you describe your use case and how the technology preview succeeded or failed. Failure is an option. If a technology is bad, the sooner we know that -- the better.
This graph depicts some of our social media interactions. It has traditional email, forum, and survey feedback, but also includes blog and Facebook comments. Unlike the previous graphs, it has a logarithmic scale. This is the place where there’s no such thing as silence. A technology preview like Inventor Fusion has over 100,000 Likes and Facebook comments. So although Facebook and Twitter may not be for everyone, they are something Shaan and I need to pay attention to. Traditional or social, all of these are just ways you can contact us. Regardless of the means, teams try to answer, or at least acknowledge all feedback within 24 hours.
Though we encourage everyone to tell us what they think, not everyone provides feedback on a technology preview. So in addition to feedback, we look at number of downloads. Once again, we interpret lack of downloads as lack of interest. We interpret lots of downloads as "we might be on to something here."
Each of the teams is on the various feedback mechanisms for their technology preview. Shaan and I are on them all. So when you send your feedback, in addition to the two of us, it goes right to developers, testers, and product managers. But that’s not all, I produce a monthly report that analyzes what we are seeing on Labs. Since I am a fan of the movie Office Space, I call my report the Technology Preview Strategy, TPS, report. The report includes all of the active technology previews so the teams see all of the data and not just the data for their own technology preview. My hope is that we can get a little friendly competition going among the divisions in terms of number of technology previews, who has the most downloads, and who has the most feedback. I make recommendations on next steps based on what I see from the data. So your feedback does not just go into some black hole. What you tell us matters.
Recapping AU is alive in the lab.