Thoughts and reflections on #GWS16

After an incredible week in Washington D.C., I’ve taken some time to download and reflect on Urbandoor’s first Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium. Looking back on all the great people I met, I wanted to share some gratitude, memories and thoughts as I reconnect with the Urbandoor team. We’ve spent this week digging in to make tons of upgrades and improvements based on the feedback we received from all of the conversations in Washington.

First some gratitude. I’ve been fortunate to be part of several different industries throughout my career. First with Jumpcut, and then Yahoo!, I was on the consumer technology side first focused on media and then communications and communities. At Versly, and then Cisco, it was in enterprise software focused on collaboration. Now with Urbandoor, it’s industry platform for Serviced Apartments working with Relocation and Mobility/Travel on one side and incredible providers on the other. In each industry, conferences like the Global Workforce Symposium are critical for building relationships and continued learning. Putting on a conference is a TON of work. So from all of us at Urbandoor, thank you to the entire Worldwide ERC team for the work you put in to make our week in D.C. seamless, fun and fruitful.

For the memories, I’d have to start by looking back to the Americas Mobility Conference in Houston, TX. As this was our first Worldwide ERC event, we were both excited to demonstrate early versions of our software, as well as demos of what we planned to build. Our founding team has backgrounds at companies like Cisco, Yahoo!, Google and Strava so while we had (and have) no doubt about our ability to build world-class software, we hadn’t spun up our full team yet and as such, we were showing our early product, prototypes and designs. At that point, we had real customers and transactions but our software was in a V1 state, so we were eager for feedback. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, but the features and upgrade requests were heard loud and clear.  We returned from Houston energized, but knowing the real work was ahead of us.

Fast forward to last week and I was so proud to just open up our platform and let people play around. Less than 5 months later we introduced a dynamic platform where relocation specialists could search over 1,000 properties around the country (and now even in London!) and compare prices and availability across properties and providers. The Urbandoor team had worked tirelessly all summer and it showed. Again the response from the Global Workforce Symposium attendees was positive but this time, we had the product to back it up. And we’re just getting started...

As soon as we returned, we sat down with our Product and Sales team to review all of our notes, conversations and takeaways. While conferences like the Global Workforce Symposium are critical for growing our business and making connections, they also serve as an opportunity to gain insights from talking to current and potential Customers and Providers about how they use our platform. Our Sales team was constantly listening, taking notes and then re-convening each evening (on Wednesday it was over a beer watching the Giants play) to synthesize the feedback. Then, upon our return, we walked the Product, Design and Development team through our feedback . From there, our Design team started working to incorporate some of the needs and requests so that our platform can continue to learn and improve. We’ll be pushing out some updates as early as next week based on the feedback we received.

We’ve got thousands of more properties we’re bringing on, and while we’re excited at the response, we feel like we’re just getting started (likely because we *are* just getting started). As I discussed with David, Kerwin and Dina at Disruptors in Mobility; we are in the midst of a Market Transition and we’re excited to be a part of it, and at the opportunities ahead.