A few of us had a good discussion this Friday on the different interactions engineers in the LabVIEW team have with customers. Some of the people in the room should be familiar to many of you and included Brian Powell, Kennon Cotton and Deirdre Walsh. We talked about a number of things, this included what is it that motivates some engineers to be more actively engaged with LabVIEW customers through NI discussion forums, non-NI sponsored forums like Lava or by blogging. The part of the conversation I enjoyed the most and was hoping for some insight into from actual LabVIEW customers is what types of interactions they value the most.
I’ll start by listing some of the opportunities LabVIEW R&D engineers, managers or product managers have to interact with customers:
- Local NI organized events like LabVIEW Developer Education Days, NI Technical Symposiums or NI Days internationally
- User groups that are hosted by local organizers
- Virtual user groups where NI engineers present a web cast
- NI discussion forums where customers have a specific question on something they’re trying to do or having trouble with
- External discussion forums not hosted by NI or customer blogs
- Visits to customers at their work location with local Sales Engineers
- Blogs where engineers discuss tips and tricks or details about a business issue or trade-off
The type of information discussed also varies:
- Tips and tricks on how to do something with LabVIEW are often the focus of local events, user groups or blogs. An example of this is the virtual user group presentation on how to avoid cross linking of your VIs or the nuggets on LabVIEW programming from Darren
- Information on the internals of LabVIEW and how things are implemented and their side effects can be answers to questions on discussion forums or of blogs
- Active brainstorming on some features in active development is the focus on the developer brainstorm forum as well as lead user programs
- Policy discussions and feedback are things John Pasquarette has recently been spending time on in his blog
- Road-maps and future directions are often discussed in visits to customer sites and in one-on-one interactions.
All of these are performed to different extents and by different people throughout R&D and product management. As we were discussing these different things one of the questions in our minds was what do LabVIEW users find the most valuable in their daily work and also on a long term basis. Also, what are the ways you as a LabVIEW developer prefer to get each type of information and at what frequency?