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Podio Makes A Big Splash with U.S. Launch

By David J. Gardner



A technology company has undertaken a very novel approach for launching their business in the U.S.  The approach reminds me of a scenario that might be employed in Donald Trump's television show The Apprentice. Here is how I imagine Donald Trump would announce the task:

In a few short weeks, your team will orchestrate the U.S. launch for Podio, a Copenhagen-based technology company, by creating a store in San Francisco to host events over a period of one week that will include developers, partners, media and potential customers.  If this event does not come off as planned, someone will be fired.

I am happy to report that it doesn't look like anyone is going to be fired.  Podio and firms supporting them are doing a terrific job of executing this "task" if opening day is any indication.  Podio is focused around improving execution and collaboration for projects, business processes and knowledge.  Business teams can define their own highly-customizable work spaces; external programming support is not needed.

Podio provides an application programming interface (API) to allow data to flow in/out of Podio. It is possible to invite people to one or more work spaces within Podio - - either internal or external members.  

Podio developed its technology by hosting on-site workshops for developers and business people alike allowing multiple organizations to come together and learn first-hand about Podio's technology.  This long-standing practice follows them to San Francisco and their U.S. launch.

While many technology firms would be hesitant to put diverse people together in the same room to learn and experiment, this practice seems to be a key factor in the pragmatism and efficacy of Podio's solution.

Podio's open environment has benefited all who employ their technology today. This isn't just a "if we build it, they will come" model employed by far too many technology companies. Podio's solution is all about the customer and what their customers are able to achieve using their technology.

Opening the Podio Store -- a Herculean effort




At a very high level, it was necessary to complete the following:

Find an appropriate space in a downtown San Francisco location available for a lease of only one month or so

Design the space

Implement the space design including getting the infrastructure in place, e.g., painting, decorating electrical, lighting, Internet connectivity, furniture

Plan events to engage with different constituencies

Invite people to the events and obtain RSVPs

Bring the entire Podio team (17 people) from Copenhagen to San Francisco for the launch event




The team got the keys to the store just 3 days before the opening on Sunday, March 20th. The San Francisco-based support team included Vanessa Camones and her team from The Mix Agency and Erica Lee at StrategicLee, Inc.

The United States Launch Event

An event orchestrated on The Apprentice might conclude in a few minutes or hours.  The Podio launch event takes place over five event filled very full days!

Sunday, March 20th: Work 2.0 HackDay

Podio is hosting Work 2.0 HackDay at the Podio Store. Join us and teams from Mashery, Yammer, Zendesk, Disqus and others.

Monday, March 21st: Store Opening, Lunch 2.0 and Scandinavia Tech Meet-up

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Scandinavia Meet-up: This event starts at 6:30PM and will bring together people in SF with an interest in or connection to the Nordic countries and technology. Learn about the Scandinavian tech scene, meet start-ups, etc. Details are here:

Tuesday, March 22nd: Lunch Demo at 12:30

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Podio Palo Alto Day: Podio will be hosting a Lunch workshop and evening BBQ down in Palo Alto. Learn more here:

Wednesday, March 23rd: Lunch Demo and The Pioneers of Work Tools Panel

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and goes closes at 10PM).

Podio is hosting Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM. Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Podio has brought together some of the industry's pioneers of work tools, like Ross Mayfield from SocialText to talk about the evolution of the industry over the last 40 years.
See details here:

Thursday, March 24th: Launch Day (7PM)

The Podio Store opens at 9AM (and goes closes at 10PM).

Podio will host Demo Lunches starting at 12:30PM.  Bring your laptop and build your own apps and we will provide the food and drinks.

Today is the day that the Podio goes live to the general public! We go live at 8PM, but start at 7PM. Details are here:

Closing Thoughts

The Podio United States launch was both a very ambitious undertaking and an impressive series of highly-orchestrated events.  I am not familiar with any other technology companies who have used a similar launch approach.  The store is warm and inviting.  And, one cannot help missing the superb way the Podio team engages with guests.  The entire team executed this launch magnificently.  No one is going to be fired based upon this result!

David J. Gardner, has held management and senior management positions in Product Development, Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service, and Product Management. He joined Tandem Computers in 1979 where he was responsible for Corporate Documentation Standards for Tandem's highly configurable and expandable computer systems. In 1983, he designed and implemented a Configuration Guide for Dialogic Systems instituting a process that greatly simplified a complex, modular product such that the field sales organization and international OEM customers could easily define their order requirements. This methodology satisfied the product definition needs of sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, customer service and finance. David founded his consulting practice in 1991.  He is a graduate of San Jose State University (BA) and Santa Clara University (MBA). David is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) and has been Board Approved in the Area of Configurable Product & Services Strategy and Implementation. In 2010, he was inducted in the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame.  Out of over 1,000 consultants who have completed Alan Weiss�s mentoring program, only 26 have been inducted in the Hall of Fame.

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