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Market7/4/1776 (source of our name) {2nd} ~3rd~ [repeat of annual blog post]

July 4th, 2011 by Seth Kenvin

[This post is from a {now, 2~3~} year~{s}~ ago, today. Feels like a good annual tradition. A few updates in brackets sprinkled throughout] {further updated for 2010 with these fancy curly brackets} ~having exhausted types of parentheses, 2011 is the year of the tilde~

Happy Independence Day. It’s also now the month of our company’s birthday. Operations started on July 30 of last year [now nearly 2 {3} ~4~ years ago], so Market7 traces back to 7/07. And today’s holiday during this seventh month of the year is closely connected to our name. The essence of Market7 is to enhance collaboration on creative projects by diverse working groups. It turns out that American independence provides an elegant metaphor.

To draft the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress designated a “committee of five” selected for geographic diversity including Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson, John Adams of Massachusetts, and Pennsylvanian Benjamin Franklin~Trivia question time! The other states were New York & Connecticut. For those who haven’t yet clicked this paragraph’s link: who were the people? Answer at bottom of post~. Feedback from Adams and Franklin on Jefferson’s drafting was incorporated into the final document. {effective negotiations — current congress should perhaps check it out!} A process similar to how we incorporate feedback at the various stages of video production such as conceptualization, scripting and footage review.

A diverse committee under tight time pressure collaborating on a notable creative endeavor. Nice parallel. But why “Market7″? The intersection of those two streets in Philadelphia is where Jefferson boarded and probably did most of his drafting work. There are some additional cute connections of the name to what our company does and plans to do, and some of the motivation is incorporated in our logo as well, which I’m sure will be touched on in future blog posts, so please come back! [we still haven't really done that but good reminder that alternative connections to our name + inspiration for our logo can motivate a blog post some future rainy day] {done!}

A last note, on the above painting by Gerome Ferris. It’s the exact story behind our name, including the crumpled up drafts on the floor before the founding fathers. I happened upon a jigsaw puzzle of this painting during a family excursion last year [again, now more like 2 {3} ~4~ yrs ago], and the partially constructed puzzle has occupied a spare table in our office ever since.

[Puzzle's now completed & displayed in our office, check it:

]

{completed puzzle is now binder-clipped to the wall — maybe next year it will be framed} ~we’ve done lots of things past 12 months, but framing the puzzle’s not one, hopefully that’s another photo, with explanation within some other pair of symbols or punctuation marks, on seven-four-twelve. Answer to trivia question: NY’s Robert Livingston & Roger Sherman of CT, if you got even one of those you should treat yourself to an additional rw&b frosted cupcake~

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Dilbert on Corporate Video

July 18th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin

Sure Sign Problems We Address Are Going Mainstream

Inspiration for Market7 came from involvement I had in production of marketing videos for another technology company. Producers would complain to our company that we didn’t put in enough preparation for them to be adequately prepared for expensive shoots, we’d complain to them about the lack of clarity on how to provide feedback about video content spread across multiple files, and our engineers and marketers would argue about not-quite-right verbiage already committed in the footage. The situation screamed for a better way, so Market7 has emerged, and it also screams for parody treatment and today Scott Adams obliges.

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Market7/4/1776 (source of our name) {2nd} [repeat of annual blog post]

July 4th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin

[This post is from a {now, 2} year{s} ago, today. Feels like a good annual tradition. A few updates in brackets sprinkled throughout] {further updated for 2010 with these fancy curly brackets}

Happy Independence Day. It’s also now the month of our company’s birthday. Operations started on July 30 of last year [now nearly 2 {3} years ago], so Market7 traces back to 7/07. And today’s holiday during this seventh month of the year is closely connected to our name. The essence of Market7 is to enhance collaboration on creative projects by diverse working groups. It turns out that American independence provides an elegant metaphor.

To draft the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress designated a “committee of five” selected for geographic diversity including Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson, John Adams of Massachusetts, and Pennsylvanian Benjamin Franklin. Feedback from Adams and Franklin on Jefferson’s drafting was incorporated into the final document. {effective negotiations — current congress should perhaps check it out!} A process similar to how we incorporate feedback at the various stages of video production such as conceptualization, scripting and footage review.

A diverse committee under tight time pressure collaborating on a notable creative endeavor. Nice parallel. But why “Market7″? The intersection of those two streets in Philadelphia is where Jefferson boarded and probably did most of his drafting work. There are some additional cute connections of the name to what our company does and plans to do, and some of the motivation is incorporated in our logo as well, which I’m sure will be touched on in future blog posts, so please come back! [we still haven't really done that but good reminder that alternative connections to our name + inspiration for our logo can motivate a blog post some future rainy day] {done!}

A last note, on the above painting by Gerome Ferris. It’s the exact story behind our name, including the crumpled up drafts on the floor before the founding fathers. I happened upon a jigsaw puzzle of this painting during a family excursion last year [again, now more like 2 {3} yrs ago], and the partially constructed puzzle has occupied a spare table in our office ever since.

[Puzzle's now completed & displayed in our office, check it:

]

{completed puzzle is now binder-clipped to the wall — maybe next year it will be framed}

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GetSatisfaction Now Integrated Within video.Market7

December 7th, 2009 by Shannon Newton

Feedback tab doubles as voice in product development

We have always used GetSatisfaction as a lifeline for our customers in need of support, and a channel for exchanges about ideas and questions. We use customer recommendations to decide what features and improvements to focus on. The large majority of what we’ve built directly responds to requests users share with us, and already our service integrates dozens of features initiated and enhanced through the feedback provided by GetSatisfaction in particular.

To make that easier, we have embeded the GetSatisfaction tab into our site. Better yet, we now share a single sign-on so customers who want to leave feedback don’t have to log on to their service separately or even have a GetSatisfaction account. You can now do everything right within the security of your Market7 project.

So try it out and let us know what you think (both good and bad) it’s the way we will get better.


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video.Market7 Release from Dec 5 ’09

December 7th, 2009 by Seth Kenvin

We’re Under The Hood

Extensive recent interaction with users reveals that value from our service can improve with better performance from our site, largely faster responsiveness on page loads and other user activities. This has been our primary focus the last couple of releases, and will continue to be our emphasis through year end. Like always, we have tons & tons of ideas for new features and entirely new modules, and we can hardly wait to get back to constructing those, but for now we’re prioritizing infrastructural upgrades. Some of the recent enhancements include implementing a new approach to load balancing for consistent service availability and tuning our JavaScript to reduce (/eliminate?) “slow script” warnings especially in Internet Explorer — our engineers will be posting soon to elaborate on the steps we’re taking.

Of course, we do have several neat, new features implemented in this release (click any of the images to enlarge):

Shadow-text in draft mode of scripts to clarify where character-name & spoken dialog go:

Script Shadow Text

Script Shadow Text

Ability to click into & manually overwrite comment placement time in annotative player for precise placement:

Comment Time Overwrite

Comment Time Overwrite

Feedback tab prominently available on every page to interact with us on questions comments etc.:

Feedback Tab

Feedback Tab

That last one is part of a broader initiative of ours for better communication with our users about their use of video.Market7 integrated within the service itself, on which Shannon will expand in upcoming blog posts.

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Social Media Impact On Marketing And Sales

October 29th, 2009 by Seth Kenvin

A Tale Of How We Do Business In 2009

It started a few weeks ago when we noticed our customer @switchmarketing recommending our service to @lilipip. @lilipip is the identity of Ksenia Oustiougova on twitter. She is the founder of a company called Lilipip that does gorgeous explanatory animations.

We tried a little bit to @reply and otherwise get some attention from @lilipip, and then last week we saw more twittering about her trying us out like this one, and this one. It was a rather public and pithy review of us including what she’s liked about our accomplishments and what she hopes to see from us going forward. A little more @replying by us, and soon a couple direct messages, and we were invited to converse by skype.

We pretty soon tried to voice-call by skype, but, in perhaps the story’s most dramatic turn, got an immediate text chat reply athat Ksenia was not talking due to suffering from a sore throat. But she very generously engaged in a 15 minute chat session about her experience with and reflections about us. With dozens of ideas laid out in our communications over various media, many about her specific needs and interests as an animator (as opposed to video producer), we now felt compelled to share a compilation of our reactions and intentions, in more lengthy & consolidated form than twitter or skype best support, so it was time for a new medium.

We sent an email of about 10 paragraphs laying out exactly what our service has now related to the preferences expressed and what our roadmap is for those towards which we are still building. Several elements were really just now arising through this particular interaction and its good ideas being raised for which we are grateful. And yesterday we received a reply back from Ksenia with her point-by-point reflection on what was raised in our email including some more new, good ideas. The email exchange also included our appreciation of the video with her entrepreneurial story on the lilipip site and its equivalent in a podcast of our founding and philosophy we did last week.

twitter, skype, email, podcast — a rich array of new (in most cases very new) communication methods, each used distinctively for an overall open and productive communication not only towards forming a new customer relationship but also towards authenticating and accelerating our progress by continuing to evolve our services based on direct, insightful feedback from our marketplace. We hope Ksenia’s throat is recovered.

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Building Software To Be Both Easy And Sophisticated

October 9th, 2009 by Seth Kenvin

Convenience or Quality: A False Choice

The Good Enough Revolution” in Wired Magazine‘s September issue has sparked a meme. I have recently noticed people increasingly touting the merits of cheap prices, minimalist functionality, and straightforward usage as key attributes to get into users’ hands. We contend that just as important as feeling intuitive upon immediate usage, great products should also not feel limiting with more usage.

Above is an image of the Annotative Player module of video.Market7.com. This is our environment for collecting, presenting and assessing feedback about video footage during editing and post production. Most people find its usage easy to comprehend even though from first glance it’s clearly more than simply a video player or a messaging system. Largely that is because it fundamentally and clearly incorporates elements of both with attributes like conventional play control, timeline and volume settings in the expected places of a video player; and familiar messaging presentation like temporal stacking of comments along with the commenters’ avatars, names and relevant metadata such as when comment occurred. With dominance of these familiar motifs, more sophisticated data can be secondarily incorporated, like the fact that the top comment of the stack shown here has attachments indicated by a recognizable file folder icon, or that the comment currently highlighted, through which the playhead is passing, emphasizes a portion of the screen with a rectangle much like seen in photos on Facebook or Flickr.

When first timers use our Annotative Player they generally don’t pay mind to those more advanced features but naturally identify how to play video and watch the comments scroll. And when the thought of leaving one’s own comment enters the mind, we’ve tried to make that immediately accessible through the generous and bold “Add a comment” area, with “type comment here” shadow font in the player’s lower-right. Clicking that pauses the video and expands the lower right area to what’s magnified below. The user gets a blinking cursor in a teal-highlighted space and the most clear thing is to start typing a comment. The eyeball naturally proceeds down to OK or cancel the comment. If curious, or perhaps upon a subsequent use of the module, a user may notice some buttons above, which avail the more sophisticated additions comments can get such as the highlight rectangle, free-hand drawing and file attachment. Availability of these becomes even more clear if one mouses above the area of typing the comment and gets those buttons’ tooltip instructions.

Back when he was a consultant to us and before becoming a full-time employee, Shannon famously (at least in Market7′s corporate lore) advocated that we should endeavor to provide users with a small pond of infinite depth. The perspective of a swimmer surveying such a pond’s surface is that it’s a manageably sized area in which to wade. But once in the water and ready to check out something new, this swimmer realizes that there’s as much water to cover as desired for exploration. Similarly at Market7 we try to provide the most basic features in ways that they’re easily accessed first and have more sophisticated tools put into positions where a little more exploration reveals them, with all leveraging established motifs for quick learning curves.

During the past week I demonstrated the annotative player to a new customer after which I was asked if it wasn’t too much functionality to provide out of the box to users. After explaining our approach to how our software presents itself I received some tentative head nods, but a few days later can gladly report that this particular customer is confirming that all new users are able to be productive with video.Market7 immediately, while the most constant users are getting even more mileage by familiarizing themselves with more sophisticated features. The right presentation of functionality can reveal the apparent dilemma between ease and sophistication to be a false choice. Pick both and do better than “good enough”.

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Finding Satisfaction in User Feedback

March 20th, 2008 by Shannon Newton

We needed a way to talk directly with our customers that was better than saving emails describing bugs they encountered or features they want to encounter. Our solution was Get Satisfaction, a place where anyone can go and “talk” about their favorite product. (“talk” includes complaints, ideas, requests, and props)

We love our Get Satisfaction. We are using it to interface directly with our customers. It’s my favorite price: free (though I suspect they will want some money from us at some point). We have already implemented a change to our software based on feedback from one of our customers via the site. (Side note, the GS team was EXTREMELY helpful in assisting in our setup)

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Our Users make us who we are.

March 14th, 2008 by Curtis Schofield

Dear Users : It’s easy to forget that we are a community and we will need reminders and help in this process.

We don’t exist in a vacuum. We are all working together – all of us engineers, designers, clients, producers – to facilitate a new expectation of what a pleasant experience is.

For this reason I would like to encourage any of our users to know that we value whatever feedback they can give us and that we are interested and concerned about giving them the best possible experience from the best possible research and design.

Each person that spends time crafting something of particular matter to a user is extending themselves towards the important details of what is really going on between the human and the interface; together we take a step towards an interesting and unknown future. It is a future that we are building together. Learning from each other and striving towards something that ultimately remains ineffable.

I think that is rad.

Happy 3.14 day -> present

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