Getting To Know Us
By: Kurt Nichol
I just completed a six week tour throughout a large section of Europe which was a mixture of business and pleasure. My wife and I have been planning this for some time to coincide with the departure of our youngest son to college. We’ve been very involved with our kids over the years and knew this would be an emotionally challenging milestone for us, so we planned the trip as kind of a diversion from the changes occurring at home. We affectionately referred to this as our “crying through Europe trip”! Of course, it wasn’t as dramatic as all that and we certainly didn’t do much crying, but it was a wonderful experience. I also managed to visit a lot of our European customers and some new organizations that were interested to learn more about us.
Our trip began in the Netherlands, then on to a couple of locations in Germany, then to Paris, Zurich, then several locations in Italy, then to Munich, Prague, Pilsen and finally Berlin. I’ve sprinkled a few pictures in here to give you an idea of these beautiful places. If you’ve not had opportunity to see some of these places, we highly recommend it! During this time, we got to better understand the people in Europe, visit with our reseller, Datatel, and of course, meet with our customers and prospects.
As I visited around various places, I was so grateful for the time and attention of all the people that hosted me. It’s always a great opportunity to visit people face to face and to learn directly what their concerns and needs are. Information provided during these meetings has a direct impact on our development plans so this time is extremely valuable to us. Thank you to everyone I met with!
Despite the time spent at each of these places, I’m always pressed for time to share updates about what our company is doing. We are busy doing many things to improve our product offerings, so it is nearly impossible to cover everything in an afternoon meeting (or maybe even an hour or two!). Plus, while I certainly have a solid grasp on what our products can do, it’s nearly impossible to demonstrate all the features in the time allotted.
To address these problems, five years ago APEX Turbine (then EDAS) began hosting a three day “APEX Annual conference” to provide our customers a venue to dive into what our products can do. The conference includes training sessions in a plenary setting (everyone together) and also “deep dives” which are available for all of our products and are done conference-style in 45-minute presentations with time for questions and answers. We involve almost our entire staff in these conferences, so our customers can learn directly from our developers and engineering staff. These aren’t sales presentations…they’re interactive sessions where you can learn details and share experiences.
We also offer our partners and suppliers an opportunity to exhibit at the conference, so you can talk directly to them, see their products and see our software running on a variety of hardware platforms. We’ve been proud to host representatives from Concurrent Computer Corporation, Datatel, National Instruments, Pacific Instruments, Precision Filters, Prime Photonics, TEAC, the University of Notre Dame, and VTI Instruments. This year we expect to welcome some new exhibitors to the conference.Hard Rock Cafe
The conferences have another facet that I think is most important. We intentionally include a couple of social events in the conference so that our customers can talk to one another. I know, you’re probably thinking “boondoggle”, but these events are really important. When I travel around to customer sites, the host always expects that I will present our company and products in the best positive light. Of course! Who wouldn’t do that? But, by having the social events at our user conference we offer attendees a chance to talk to and hear from other APEX customers directly. So instead of hearing a biased opinion about APEX from me, you can hear from others unfiltered. I think you will agree with me that this may be the most important aspect of the conference.
Product Feature Deep Dive Keynote Presentation
The APEX Turbine User Conference has been held in Nashville twice before and in New Orleans and Atlanta. This year we will again be in Nashville. Nashville is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and offers a wide range of things to do and places to enjoy. We are privileged to have people from nearly all of our customer’s organizations attend this conference from places around the world. I am always humbled that people take time out of their busy schedules to visit us and learn more about our products, but this says something about our products and about our company. Our customers find value in spending the time to get to know us and our products better. I hope you will consider coming to Nashville this year to learn for yourself why people choose APEX products for their testing needs. I also think you’ll have a good time.