Jon Froda, co-founder at Podio, will hold a presentation at B4CLOUD conference that takes place in Zagreb, Croatia. His company is one of the largest online business solutions in the world and it was acquired by Citrix a year ago. He will talk about the secret to Podio’s success, so we interviewed him on that topic, Podio in general as well as growing a business.
Podio was a basement startup that acquired 200.000 organisations in just a few years. We asked Jon – what’s the big secret? Well, it seems that many factors were critical, but advantages were a great team, clear vision and fulfillment of the promised.
Each and every one in the Podio team is strongly driven to give people back the power to manage their work. Our vision is to establish a sense of freedom in the way people work. We say “Podio, work the way you want to” and when you think of it, that is a huge promise. Giving people a way out of the shackles of location-dependent work is one piece of that promise. Another is providing an alternative to the archaic mode of unstructured work that almost exclusively relies on email. Finally liberating people from the “one-model-fits-all” constraint of legacy software means providing them with ways to mold their tool (Podio) to fit their specific work-flow and processes.
Of course, these are not easy things to do, but the vision was clear and it attracted people who really wanted to make a difference. People who wanted to be part of such a movement – a movement that would bring structure, transparency and clean-cut communication in their workflow. Those were the people Podio hired, those were the people that made this happen. They are called “Podios”.
There’s a very unique value proposition that Podio offers, which is another reason behind our success – people can build their own apps without any technical skills whatsoever. In a few words, Podio is by the people, for the people. I think it appeals to people that they can put themselves in the driver’s seat after years of being held back by software vendors and IT-consultants.
Being adaptive – advantage or disadvantage?
In the same time, Podio is completely adaptable, so that could be the product’s main disadvantage. Jon told us more about the biggest challenges, when it comes to customers’ product perception.
Often times you have to repeat the message that “anyone without any technical skills can do this”. People are slowly learning that they can be the “master of the tool” and not have the tool master them, but there is still a bit of habit left in most of us. The fact that people have started building their social profiles, Facebook pages and Tumblr blogs etc. is a big advantage to us. But in general I would say that the adaptive nature of Podio has been perceived as a huge advantage. I know of a Podio user, a cinematographer based out of Los Angeles, who started out using Podio as a personal task management system, and went on to implement it in his three different businesses for managing projects, CRM and more across multiple locations in California – just an example of how much this flexibility can do for you.
He pointed out that the biggest challenge was to overcome how people in some cases get overwhelmed by how much they can do with Podio. The team continually invested in making Podio even simpler, while at the same time they shared the potential of what Podio can do – customer stories from around the world ranging from advertising agencies to online fashion stores, from confectionary manufacturers to architecture firms. As Jon said, small and medium sized organizations and smaller teams interconnected within larger organizations preferred Podio over other similar solutions.
These are people who like to get work done – quick and effective. Working on projects or managing leads or running their entire business operation on Podio, these are organizations that have a contemporary outlook towards collaboration.
And, in the end, a few advices for startup founders.
Once you have a product, go out and share it with your audience. Don’t wait to get every detail right. Perfectionism goes hand in hand with procrastination at times. Start selling your story, listen to what people are telling you and capture feedback – you’ll need it. And if you are building a platform: Be prepared, it’s hard work and nothing comes easy.
You can listen to Jon’s lecture at B4Cloud conference, in Zagreb, Croatia, October 17th.