MIT Enterprise Forum Conference: Brave New Web

Hi guys, we haven’t been around for the last couple of days as we were busy with the MIT Enterprise Forum’s winter conference titled “Brave New Web”.

MIT Enterprise Forum is a very prestigious name in the technology sector and produces a series of educational programs with the objective of bringing together technology entrepreneurs with other key market force players. We were 1 of the 7 companies selected to showcase our offering at the conference. It is one of those great things that happen to you along the way.

The Conference Objective:

Brave New Web: Connect. Contribute. Collaborate is designed to bridge the gap between the current practitioners and the business and financial communities that are crucial for innovation and new business creation. Innovation happens at the intersections of different industries and disciplines. Our conference is designed to bring these forces together.

I missed out the breakout sessions for either setting up or wrapping up our demo stall, but fortunately, I got the time to attend both opening and ending keynotes.
Jeremy Allaire (Chairman/ CEO of Brightcove), delivered the first keynote which as he said were basically two keynotes. The first one was generally his observations and advice for startups on how to make successful online companies and second was more related to internet video and Brightcove in general.
At all times when he was delivering the speech, I kept thinking that what he is saying are essentially the core ingredients in the making of Scrybe as a company. It simply felt like he is validating the vision Faizan often shares with the team.

  • Analyzing the scale and scope of the product and making sure that it goes hand in hand with the market conditions.
  • The founding team must have the core values, attributes, skills and discipline to work with your vision.
  • Most important of all, you know that you have built the wrong product if people are not talking about it. Looks like we have made the right product. J

I spoke to a great number of very smart people during the demo lunch session. If, I could just make a little confession; I was nervous as hell, as this was the first time we were showcasing our product at an event and Faizan couldn’t make it due to some last minute delays in his travel plans.; but Imran was there and he knew quite a few people who were attending the conference. I am more on the usability and design side of the product and less on the technical side. Therefore, I was more ready to clarify concepts and dodge very technical questions. You never know what the next question is… Also, I left my mouse pad at home and my dear optical mouse won’t run on anything else. Kevin tried to make it work with all sorts of papers but of no use. So I had to use my laptop’s mouse which by the way, I am extremely uncomfortable with.Amazingly; my fears vanished by the time I finished talking to the first 10 people. They were all praises and I actually witnessed the oohs and aahs every time, I demonstrated the OfflineSync capabilities or when anybody held a PaperSync or when people saw how easy it is to add web clippings.

My personal highlights of the day were:

1. Meeting Rafe Needleman (CNet), who reviewed our product when we launched. Didn’t have to give him my 2 minutes pitch as he already knew and appreciates what we are all about.

2. John Furrier (CEO, Podtech.net) was talking about internet videos. I was really looking forward to John’s keynote as PodTech.net is the company Robert Scoble left Microsoft for. He also runs his Scoble show from there now. During the Q&A session, somebody in the audience wanted examples of something which was other than entertainment… business to business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) demos and videos; and we were a good example of that.

3. At the end of the conference quite a few people came and asked me about our video demo. They wanted to know the name of the company who made it and were quite astonished when I told them it was developed in-house.

All in all, the conference was a great learning experience; it reaffirmed our vision for the company.

You guys pointed out that we missed our deadline without a blog entry and Magali correctly said that a lot of our replies can very well be blog entries. In one of our replies we explained that the deadline for the sharing build will be affected due to the delays in the ThoughtPad.

Guys, we still believe that we are on the right track and we continue working harder and harder to make Scrybe the best product.  Scrybe is here to stay. We want happy users by delivering quality. Admittedly, this often causes slip ups on the way. We are learning everyday. I am back home from the conference. If I have missed out any replies on the forum, I am going to start sorting them out one by one. We are working on the next update right now; and I will let you guys know as soon as we have a concrete date.

Sabika 

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51 Comments

Filed under Events, Technology

51 responses to “MIT Enterprise Forum Conference: Brave New Web

  1. Simon

    Hi Sabika,

    Thanks for the blog post; it’s nice to know what the Scrybe team have been up to. My concern still remains however that you are focusing very heavily on touting a product you haven’t even yet brought out of beta. It’s all very well touring the country and having people praise your product, but what is the praise worth if you there is no service to match the product you’re offering?

    It doesn’t matter how glossy and whizz-bang a product is; without a high quality service, it is very little. With so many high quality Web 2.0/Flash apps out there vying for attention, it tends to be those that match their product offering with high levels of support for the user community that gain the market share. Very soon those ‘oohs and ahhs’ will turn to ‘been there, seen that’ and your competitors will have developed something equally good, but with a stronger service offering to back it up. Capitalise on your current position whilst you have the upper hand.

    I realise that your product is in beta still, but if your arguement is that you won’t release the product out of beta until the product is polished, why aren’t you giving the same levels of consideration to the service? Do you plan to release Scrybe to the masses with a polished product but a clearly below par level of service? For the very reasons you’re holding back the product release, you should consider the issues that will result of releasing a highly polished product without a similarly good service.

    Seriously, you need to have someone monitoring the blog comments and forum every day, replying to feedback (good, bad, ignorable), and regularly communicating whats been implemented and what is planned to be implemented and when. Set a deadline for updates and stick to them; if they are delayed, your user community will understand if you update them in good time (i.e. not 2 weeks after you missed the deadline).

    On that note, do you happen to have any details/roadmaps on updates/direction for Scrybe?

  2. I agree with the previous commenter: please don’t wait until your product is completely polished to release it. I requested to be a beta tester months ago, but now I have adopted a new calendaring program and although it does not do what Scrybe does, I can live with it, and I even PAID FOR IT. I would have gladly used your product instead.

  3. Sabika, please don’t rely on everyone seeing every reply to every entry. If you want to make sure people see something on your blog, make it prominent within an entry. More on this in the entry I just made to my own blog…

  4. Chris

    Couldn’t agree more with Simon’s post.

    Stop publicising a non-available product and begin every blog post with an apology that you’ve still not met your own deadline!

    Or do we have to start calling you ScrybeRSN?

    “We aim to be out of beta in 6 to 12 weeks” — October 2006

  5. sawyer1927

    You are in grave danger of losing all the goodwill that you have previously built up in your beta and per beta tests. People realise that your product is a good one, and that you all sincerely are working very hard to build a good product. However you are rapidly losing your credibility in a very fast moving market by your delays and your failure to effectively communicate to us the reasons for those delays.
    The best analalogy I can give is with an artist completing a painting, or a musician releasing an album. There comes a point when you just have to say that it’s ready and to stop working on it. You might not feel that it’s 100% perfect, but it is better that your audience see it than you stay inside your room endlessly tinkering with a product that, howver fantastic it is no one is ever going to see!.
    As yours is a product that you can patch and improve continually every week if you wish, you have the advantage over people working in those other meduims.

  6. Bobert

    Thank you for updating the blog – this certainly is a sign of goodwill that I won’t take lightly.

    I hope that you continue to CONSISTANTLY keep us updated as to your progress.

    On a sidenote:

    “We want happy users by delivering quality.”

    This is incredibly important, I agree. But equally as important is good customer service/interaction.

    You can have the solution to end to world poverty, but if people don’t appreciate the way you handle things, they’ll inevitably look elsewhere, no matter how earth shattering the solution may be. Now think about how this translates to the lesser (albeit incredibly convenient) solution that you are offering for time management.

    This is not a question of P.R. versus Quality. BOTH are necessary for a successful enterprise. Please do not neglect us in lieu of designing a better product, just as you wouln’t neglect the quality of your product just to keep us happy.

    There IS a pleasant balance – all you need to do is find it.

    Thanks again for the update.

    Bobert

  7. I agree with Andrew. I’ve been checking this site daily since January 1. I never knew you were commenting on previous posts. I just assumed you were not updating the site.

  8. I think we all just need to take A breather , the product will be released when it is .

    It is very difficult to start A new venture in the dot com world.

    We need to give the makers of this tool a breath of fresh air , lean back and cut them some slack.

    Or else by the time it comes out , it won’t be as good as everyone hopes.

    Ultimately -….. We need to let the makers relax themselves.

    If not we risk leaving A bad taste in there mouth -and our victory will taste as bitter as defeat.

    Truely
    ~~X~~

  9. Frank

    This is a classic case of good idea/good intentions, with dreadful execution/expectations management. This issue is more serious than just a bad beta process, and has nothing to do with fresh air and leaning back. Here’s the problem. Let’s say I start using this product – this week, this month, this year, whenever, it doesn’t matter – and I begin to rely on it. This product does have the potential to become a center point of one’s day to day activities. At that point, the same dreadful execution/pitiful expectations management which we are all now so used to, evidently part of the DNA of this outfit, becomes a CRITICAL issue. Its one thing to order a jet plane and have it arrive late. Its quite another to start flying, have the instruments malfunction in mid-air, and suffer the same mismanagement. The past is the best predictor of the future, and IMHO beta development offers the best insight into how well a team will operate when up and running. Given the experience so far, I have lost almost all confidence that this outfit and their product can effectively handle my personal organization needs in the future.

  10. John Milow

    How many days we have to wait from 15 feb 2007?
    Please anser in days, not in text. Thank you.

  11. Simon

    John – ‘cut them some slack’, they need atleast 2 weeks to respond to your comment for a start.

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