Thank you to everyone in the community for the wonderful feedback on my blog post on what we are doing here at ActiveRain to improve the stability of our techology and Greg's Nino's great interview with me as CEO of ActiveRain. You have all made me feel incredibly welcome. Your words of encouragement via comments, blog posts, FaceBook, Twitter, email and, yes, voicemail and phone have been overwhelming and heart warming. Thank you.
A number of people (Missy, Jon, Jim, Ron, and Alexandra to name a few) have been asking, "OK, we understand what you are doing for ActiveRain right now. But where are you going? What is your vision?" or "We understand that technology stability is job #1, 2, and 3, but what are jobs 4 and 5?" These are great and natural questions.
At this point, I would just answer saying that technology is my focus BUT jobs 4 and 5 are to listen and learn.
It would be foolish for me to walk into ActiveRain (or any other company) and proclaim that I have any or all the answers, and that I have a bold and different vision for the future. I have also learned that the community, our customers, and our team here at ActiveRain know A LOT more than I do and more than I will about the core of ActiveRain.
SO, the near future is really ALL about listening closely and learning as much as I can.
What I am doing to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible? Here's a sample of what I am up to:
- I speak to 2-3 members of the community every day about what does ActiveRain mean to our customers, what does ActiveRain do well, and what we can do better. I am trying to talk to a good sampling of customers ranging from our long-time members to new RainMakers to customers thinking about cancelling. I am making great friends along the way.
- I am on our customer service phone queues. Today I spoke with Cheryl Kitsch in Katy, Texas. Cheryl had copied some pictures from the Houston MLS (HAR) into her blog. She had then deleted some table HTML from the blog post which then caused apparent chaos on the rest of her blog. We went back and forth looking for a fix (I am no HTML guru). We ended up deleting the post with the pictures and her blog when back to normal.
- I am on our sales queues. I will randomly pick up the phone to either speak to members calling in to upgrade to a RainMaker subscription and I will call out to new members to speak to them about RainMaker. Like Sharon Harkness and her technology coordinator Melinda Branch from Champaign, IL.
- We are launching our first customer survey. In the five year history of ActiveRain, tomorrow Tuesday May 17 represents our first customer survey. Click here to take the survey. It will be emailed out to all members who have registered for ActiveRain. We will keep everyone posted on what we learn.
- I am meeting as many customers as I can. I will be at RainCamp in Dallas and plan to attend others in the future as well. I like to watch our customers use our products. I will be doing some other things in the community which I am keeping under my hat for now.
- I launched a Collage Competition for the month of May on ActiveRain. Some have questioned the Collage Competition as silly, but here's my thinking. There are many things in life and business that can be counted and analyzed. But what ActiveRain means to our community and members is FAR better visualized. My goal is to really understand what the "promise" of ActiveRain is to our community. Below are some examples that have already been posted and submitted (randomly picked). They are amazing and really help me get my hands around the true meaning of ActiveRain and WHY we are different from WordPress and the rest of personality-less blogging platforms. If there is one thing I have learned, ActiveRain has A LOT of personality. I am extremely proud of all of the collages that have been submitted. Please keep them coming. Two more weeks!
- I am using ActiveRain A LOT - the great, the good, the bad, the ugly. I am reading ActiveRain as much as I can. I am blogging as much as I can (and saving often). I am attending all of Steven Graham's seminars on ActiveRain. I am uploading pictures and having many of the challenges others have.
At some point in the future, I will be able to talk openly and coherently about the future direction of ActiveRain. But not today. The company and community are amazing. Just like the technology, I need to build a strong foundation here on ActiveRain for myself before I can credibily think about the future.
As always, I would love to hear from you via email, phone (206 470 2908), telegraph, Twitter, Skype, pony express, mail... what other ways can we be in touch?