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2017: Helping Customers Innovate

December 31, 2016

Product Management

2016 is coming to a wrap, so I want to briefly reflect on the year and look ahead to 2017. We’ve written a lot recently about our recent fundraising and how we did it, so I don’t have much more to say about that.

Last year in my year-end wrap-up, I wrote about our product innovation throughout the year. In reviewing all of our releases this year – almost 40 of them, the themes that caught my attention were much more around hardening and deepening our product, rather than broadening it.  

We invested in:

All of this has helped us deepen our engagement with customers and allowed us to better serve the needs of larger customers.  

It’s so early

As I reflect on the year, the one thing that I continue to come back to is how early we are. While we have been around for three years now, we are just getting started. Our 200+ customers are the early adopters. They recognized a problem and in most cases sought us out. They are just beginning to think differently about how they build products.  

This means that their product managers are evolving their decision-making to be more data-driven. This means that they are starting to communicate with customers within their application – maybe they’ve started to automate onboarding for a segment of their users. Some customers have started to empower their customer success teams with deeper product data to be more proactive in their account management activities.

In the Agile community, folks like to cite Shu-ha-ri – a Japanese martial arts concept around learning. Shu is the first step where you learn the basics and focus on repeatability. Most of our customers are in Shu. Most of our efforts help our customers do the basics repeatedly. Our roadmap also follows this theme as we focus on blockers to adoption.

Going Beyond the Basics

For 2017, our focus will start shifting to help our customers – especially our early customers – go beyond this first stage of learning to Ra. Ra is the stage where learners start innovating on the basics. We are already starting to see some customers apply our product to more advanced use cases. We want to continue to assist in this evolution and share their stories with other customers to help others envision what is possible.

Introducing Pendomonium

Our big first step in this process is Pendomonium – our first user conference planned for March 6-8 in our hometown of Raleigh, NC. Naming things is hard. We spent countless hours discussing and debating the merits of conference names. We chose Pendomonium because we wanted to convey something a bit different, and by different we don’t mean some raucous affair. Our vision is to foster an environment where we disrupt current thinking. We’d like to help customers challenge existing norms. Moreover, we want to help facilitate collaboration and discussion among our customers to help uncover innovation.

Our vision is to improve society’s experiences with software. To fulfill this vision, we will need help, because this is certainly bigger than just us. We aim to facilitate a community where members can collaborate and share ideas around this vision. We believe our customers will create the original foundation of this community, but we’re excited to launch it and see how it evolves.  


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