Six years ago at New Tech Seattle, Buzz Bruggeman presented something that was definitely ahead of its time. ActiveWords uses your voice commands to instantly launch programs, files, and folders, open Web pages and other URLs, and carry out scripted sequences. It’s like “Auto Correct on steroids and much more…” as they say on their home page. Check out how they have adapted to the changing world below:
New Tech Flashback
1. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned since you first presented at NTNW?
How much we have learned from surveying our customers. ActiveWords 4.0 has a very, very loyal customer base. During the pandemic I had extra time, i.e. no live meetings, events, trips, etc. so that I was able to really think through the idea of a comprehensive survey for our customers. I watched a YouTube video by Kevin Stratvert, then of Microsoft, now a professional YouTuber on how to create a professional survey using free tools in www.office.com. I drafted a 20 question survey, (which drove the survey geeks crazy, too many questions) and sent it out to about 250 ActiveWords customers. Typical survey response would be 5-15% or so I’m told. And we got 174 responses. The information we got was invaluable. All kinds of learnings. One question was “have you shared ActiveWords with friends/co-workers” and the consistent answer was “you haven’t given us anything to share”. We are fixing that.
2. Did the pandemic cause your company to change/pivot your business model or strategy?
As the result of the survey above, we learned which aspects of our product get used the most, and which need more content to explain and enhance. We also learned that our customers are consuming content in every imaginable channel, hence we have been forced to repurpose our content to fit all the different channels, each in a different way, and notwithstanding the suggestion, I’m a bit baffled as to how we might capitalize on Tik-Tok.
3. What is the most innovative way your tech solves the problems of your customers?
Everyone does repetitive tasks, they often do realize how often they do them. ActiveWords allows you to dramatically speed up and/or automate repetitive tasks. ActiveWords is the only app that I’m aware of that measures and monetizes productivity on a Windows computer. Everyone talks about “productivity apps”, but no one actually measures it and quantifies the results. We do!
4. What is something interesting and unexpected that people would be surprised to learn about your company?
Our renewal rate for licenses is about 97% per year. We literally have zero churn. We keep getting asked to build a Mac version, but the Mac market while significant is really less than 8% of computers that ship. Windows around 91%, Chrome books 1%, so we are Windows only. We have an alpha version of ActiveWords for iOS, but need some help from the big boys, i.e. Apple/Microsoft/Google to integrate into the default keyboards on mobile devices. But try as we might, we have yet to find the right person in those companies to talk to. So, if you have pals working for those companies on mobile keyboards, we would love an intro.
Watch Buzz present at New Tech Seattle in 2015.
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