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Chuck Gehman of Mimeo talks new software solutions

Published on December 14, 2010

Chuck Gehman, Vice President of Product Management discusses Mimeo's new software solution strategies and how their process for developing software has changed.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Chuck Gehman, who is Vice President of Product Management at Mimeo, online printer Mimeo.  And you’ve got a long history in the technology kind of sector of our marketplace having been in a number of technology companies with technology roles.  So, if you could talk to us a little bit about what you’re doing interesting and unique at Mimeo in terms of rapid deployment of software because you have to have lots of new stuff coming out all the time, huh? 

Check Gehman:  We definitely do.  About a year ago we created a new process for developing the software for Mimeo and it’s an agile software development process, so a lot of people are doing that.  You know, mostly in tech, not so much in printing, but what it is, is we have three major teams building pieces of our software and everybody does a release once a month.  So each of the teams is actually doing a major software release to production every month. 

Cary Sherburne:  So you have three releases a month?  Or, yeah…

Chuck Gehman:  Yes.  At least…

Cary Sherburne:  At least. 

Chuck Gehman:  Because some of them aren’t a whole month long.  So – and they really are big new functionalities.  Things look and behave differently, but the key part about Agile is that it’s all driven by our customers.  So you know, a big part of the process is understanding what customers need and then describing it in a way that when we build the software it actually addresses the benefit to them rather than features.  It’s not –

Cary Sherburne:  Okay. 

Chuck Gehman:  It’s not about new features; it’s really about benefits for our customers.

Cary Sherburne:  Well, that’s great.  And so, you know, what do you see this doing going forward, I mean are you gonna… is three groups nominal or you might add other groups? 

Chuck Gehman:  We will definitely be adding other groups.  We have another group right now, we have two other groups in the software development organization that are not focused on customer facing, they’re on our enterprise architecture and they’re on my API or Mimeo connect strategy, there’s another team for that.  And so we’ll certainly continue to grow in the technology area because it is a key differentiator for us.  

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great, and our viewers should take a look at your website, which is sort of the customer facing evidence of all of this stuff you’re doing at Mimeo.com. 

Chuck Gehman:  Yep, you can just go to the website, www.Mimeo.com, you can self-register; you can experience it and see all the cool stuff we’re doing. 

Cary Sherburne:  And I think especially for printers, it’s not a bad idea to go in and order something just to see. 

Chuck Gehman:  In all humility, I think they should, actually.  And I’ve given printers promo codes to try us out.  You now, we’re always sharing information with other printers also.  But I encourage that and I mean it’s something that every printer should do.  I mean, e-Commerce is commerce in the printing business now.  Everybody buys – you know, this shopping season is going to be gigantic for the internet retailers and it’s, you know, I’ve been saying this you know me, for 10 years that doing business this way in the printing industry is the wave of the future, well the future is here.  You know, definitely it is.  And you’ve got to do it.  So…

Cary Sherburne:  And just one more thing real quick because Mimeo has always been sort of a self-contained business, but now I understand that you’re reaching out and partnering and sharing that platform with people like Franchise Services and …

Chuck Gehman:  We definitely are.  There’s a lot of things we can learn from people like FSI, SirSpeedy has a great platform as well.  They do things that we don’t do in our factories and we do things that they don’t do in their stores, so it’s exciting.  And they you know, recognized how cool our software is and you know, I’m having a great time.  I mean, it’s the most fun I’ve had building things for the printing industry in my career and you know, I’ve done some fun stuff. 

Cary Sherburne:  That’s terrific.  I’m so happy you shared with us today.  Thanks Chuck! 

Chuck Gehman:  Thank you.  

Cary Sherburne:  Okay. 

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Discussion

By marian stefani on Jan 14, 2011

Hey Chuck

Good comments, Like you I think that the idea that printers can transform themselves into Marketing Services Providers overnight is a dangerous myth - in the same way that printers were led to believe they could produce and sell photobooks ... this led lots of companies to make investment into digital without proper planning.
Printers have got to fill available capacity and that comes from a closer understanding of their customers and where print fits into the marketing mix.
To suceed I think that they need to understand the impact on their business and either hire in the skills they are missing or form relationships with agencies or individuals who have those skills. This is all part of proper strategic planning - not just investing in new equipment or making sudden changes in the core business.

Marian - RedTie

 

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