As a remote worker, I am always on the lookout for products that make connecting with people in different locations than where I am as easy as possible. Lucid Meetings is one of those awesome products that I think is a great asset for anyone that telecommutes or needs to reach out to people outside their office, for example, and the icing on the cake is that they have a remote team as well. I guess you could say that they are the perfect group of people to help others find ways to connect remotely!
Recently I had the chance to chat with John Keith – one of the stellar Lucid Meetings team members – and he was kind enough to shed some light on their company’s processes and their product.
JM: Tell me the story of how your company started.
JK: Our company, Lucid Meetings, is a “follow on” startup created to address an unfulfilled need we saw in our previous company. That company provided a collaboration home for distributed organizations, but did not address how people worked in real-time with each other. We realized that much of the organizations’ coordination and work product occurred using ad hoc telecom mechanisms, and that decisions, commitments, and workflow for these distributed teams and committees were ripe for improvement.
JM: What is your company’s “special sauce?”
JK: At its core, Lucid Meetings is a meeting productivity system that makes it natural and easy to “do all the right things” when meeting online with your team members or clients. We have a growing library of executable meeting templates that provide one-click access for setting up meetings with the specific agendas and audio/video technology you need.
JM: I LOVE that you saw a need and then decided to meet it – what was it about existing tools that didn’t “get the job done” for you, making you guys want to create your own product?
JK: At the time we started, we did not see any great options for engaging collaborative teams in a real-time meeting. We wanted to create an opportunity to move beyond the conference call and into a more web-oriented experience. Rather than having people simply listen and talk, we wanted to provide a way for remote participants to follow along more closely, to contribute to the conversation, and to get tangible results out of the meeting.
JM: What are the top 3 remote work tools that your team can’t operate without?
JK: Well, clearly Lucid Meetings is on that list. We use it to organize our conversations, track our commitments, and meet with clients. It’s the place we meet when we need to meet. Our daily, small conversations all happen in Slack. All the “hey, what’s up” conversations, the easily coordinated tasks, and customer support inquires happen there. Skype is probably the third thing we really need. Our team is spread across the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe, and occasionally the U.K. We use a variety of communication technologies (also built into Lucid Meetings), but for our international calls usually come back to Skype.
JM: What was the turning point when you knew that your company was on to something special in terms of growth and number of customers?
JK: We saw a significant uptake in usage when we added integrations with other systems and services already in use by teams: Basecamp, Harvest, Dropbox, and so on. People value what we do, but more so when we’re easily connected into their technology ecosystem.
JM: If you could sum up your core value/mission in just a few words, what would you say?
JK: “Everything you need to run well-prepared, engaging meetings that create actionable results.”
JM: Tell me more about your company culture and how it has set you apart from your competitors and created a killer work atmosphere?
JK: We have been a globally distributed team from day one, so our culture has always been one of explicit coordination, agreements, and check-ins. When you have remote teams in different time zones the culture naturally gravitates toward commitment-result vs. time in the seat. We’ve all been around the block a few times, so I think there’s a mutual appreciation for both team coordination and individual focus time.
JM: If you could step into a new product offering tomorrow, what would it be?
JK: Boy, I wish I had a crystal ball to know what that would be! Our main product will evolve into a new, or perhaps extended offering as it gets more deeply integrated with both the Microsoft and Google environments. For a more fun product I think I might look at the emerging VR (virtual reality) area. There is a lot of interesting potential there for new human / computer interaction models.
JM: What 2 or 3 blog posts/web pages would you recommend to first-time site visitors?
JK: Here are my recommendations:
JM: Where do you see the future of virtual work/remote connections going?
JK: Clearly hyper-connectivity is a thing, with easier access to information when and where you need it. For example, we changed our workflow considerably when adopting Slack. Now all our systems feed timely information into a common work area where we hang out all day (and night, and weekends I suppose!). It’s getting easier and simpler to communicate using browser-based audio and video (this is WebRTC I’m talking about). We’re starting to see communication technology embedded in (or accessible to) all the applications we use, which implies that we’re collectively ready to detach from reliance on physical meeting conversations – at least as much as we used to. The idea you can work with talented people who live in some other part of the country (or world) is starting to grab people’s attention. It’s not just about cutting cost now, but about access to talent as well.
Well, if you weren’t in love with Lucid Meetings before, you better be now! What an awesome company and what a great remote work culture! It was an honor to interview John; if you have any questions on how Lucid Meetings can help you or your company out, be sure to reach out to him or his team members – you wont be disappointed!