It never fails every time I’m on a sales call and I let the customer know I’m the inventor of Meeting Mapper, I always get this question, “So how did you come up with Meeting Mapper?”
The genesis of Meeting Mapper came out of my time in the Army as a Cav Scout (20 years). I never had to remember anyone’s name, I mean your name along with your rank was on your shirt, so why try to remember, plus everyone had a nickname. But I was trained to observe and report on what I saw and heard. We had to fill out what is a called a SPOT report, you created it when you needed to report some activity or lack of activity (sometimes it is just as important). Basically Who, What, and When of the activity you observed. What we observed and reported was used in building the tactical strategy by the commanders, when you put multiple SPOT reports together they create a very keen and clear picture of what is going on around you “Intelligence is King”. The more intelligence you have the better the outcome will be.
Ok with that out of the way, here is how I came up with Meeting Mapper. As stated above, I have never been good at remembering names. However, I do remember faces and what you said or told me during a meeting. Another one of my bad habits is taking notes, five minutes into a meeting and I’m drawing palm trees on a beach. So one day I was attending a meeting and said to myself, I’m going to try and remember everyone’s name (one thing at a time, notes come later). As I sat down everyone was handing out their business cards, so I placed them in front of me where they were sitting around the table (who has not done this?). After the meeting I could remember most of the names and where they sat, this was a good start for me.
At the next meeting I did the same thing but this time I brought a Red, Green and Yellow marker. During the meeting I would mark the business cards with a Red (Against), Green (For) or Yellow (Neutral/Undecided) line, based on the buying signals I heard or perceived. After the meeting, the account got team together and we discussed my color-coding strategy. It seemed to work, so as I thought to myself this could be an App. It honestly was like a light bulb going off in my head.
That weekend Mike Williams (co-founder of Point N Time Software) and I were sitting out side in his back yard having a beer or two. I said “Mike, I have a great idea for an mobile App”. We discussed it over the course of a couple of weeks (and beers) and we both agreed to give it a shot.
As we were designing Meeting Mapper, I thought there as to be a place for someone to take notes during the meeting. Not only notes but what about the Goal and the Objectives for the meeting, they have to be documented in order to have a successful meeting.
Meeting Mapper has improved so much over the initial release. I have to give much credit to our loyal customers, they provide feedback and recommendations, making Meeting Mapper what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. I like to say I invented Meeting Mapper, but our customers have built it.
Meeting Mapper is one of the most successful business apps on iTunes and a key product in Salesforce.com AppExchange. In the two years since Meeting Mapper was released we have done five up grades to the mobile app, released Meeting Mapper for Salesforce (6 up grades), Meeting Mapper Fusion and working on Meeting Mapper Cloud. Presently there are thousands of Meeting Mapper users in over 60 countries.
In closing, when you feel the light bulb going off in your head take advantage it, doesn’t happen often. I would love to hear your stories around how an idea became a product.