Roadmaps

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  • Updated 4 years ago
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Now that a roadmap of sorts has been published for some hardware, viz Maestro; could it be published again for the software, viz SSDR?
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DrTeeth

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Posted 4 years ago

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Guy - at this time we have no plans to reinstate a product roadmap for SmartSDR features.  However we will take the idea under consideration.
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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Official Response
This is an interesting thread.  There is a natural ebb and flow of ideation/design/delivery here at FlexRadio.  We are currently almost exclusively in the delivery phase.  We are working to get v1.6 and Maestro to market.  In January, most of the team will be transitioning from delivery to ideation and design again.  On the design front, we will be working out the details of v2.0 and what we will put in the release.  We will be looking at our backlog of defects and features, the community and we will be looking to key thought leaders and influencers to see what are important things for us to do next.  Then we will once again go into design/delivery mode and get all these things done and to market.

I once read an article in Writer's Digest written by a famous author -- I think it was Dean Koontz -- on the topic of ideas.  He said that when he is recognized in public, often people will tell him about a great idea for a book.  He said that the approach tends to communicate to him that most people believe that the story ideas are the "hard part" of writing and that the writing itself is the "easy part."  In other words, the assumption is that what the writer needs most is generally a new, good story idea.  The opposite is, in fact, the case.  Stephen King has also written an excellent book on the topic, "On Writing," where he discussed the labor of writing.  If you've read this book you also see that writing is serious work that requires serious time and investment.  The idea is important, but most writers have a long list of ideas they could turn into a book.

So it is with software.  If we could turn half of our ideas for software into reality quickly it would be truly amazing.  The truth is that I have a list of ideas so long that there is no way we will ever get to them all.  When I share this list with our advisors, they get really excited because I can tell them that everything on the list is possible with the existing hardware platform -- all we need is time to execute on the ideas.  This is really an exciting thing to internalize.  We have built a platform that makes amazing things possible, but we have to decide what to do first and then do it.  We look at what benefits the most customers and what generates the most sales.  For those of you that own a FlexRadio today -- our current customers -- it might be easy to scold us for doing things that benefit a new class of customer to buy into our product line instead of working on a specific feature that is of interest to you.  But we reinvest in the company heavily and with that long list of ideas, the more customers we have, the more of those ideas get brought to you quicker.  We have to strike a balance between the doing things that respect and enhance your investment and those that continue to grow the company for the benefit of all of us.  Often things are on both of these lists and we don't have to choose.  But sometimes we do.

I've said before that an organized customer base is our best friend.  We did this when I was at Digital.  We had a customer group called DECUS (Digital Equipment Corporation Users' Society). DEC engineers and marketing types flooded the show to tell customers what was new and to ask what they should be doing next.  Individual products had champions that would organize the customers and tell the company what they wanted and needed from DEC next.  I would love for there to be something like this for FlexRadio.  A customer base that voted on what we should do next and handed that to us on a silver platter would be golden.  We'd always come up with new things that customers might not have told us about, but we'd know for sure which things customers wanted us to focus on next.  We do look here at the ideas from the community.  We pull things from the list and we do them.  But with only a fraction of customers voting on them, we have to apply some judgment.  Also some things that are suggested are much harder than they appear. Conversely, some things that may appear hard are easy.  We do listen and regularly discuss what we believe customers want and that factors heavily into what we do next.

Even if you're not voting for ideas on the community now (or even participating in the community), you will soon get to vote with money! And I can guarantee you that we will be watching and carefully planning around that.  When v2.0 comes out and there is a charge for the software, if we didn't do what you want and you don't upgrade, it will certainly be discussed.  This is good for you and good for us.  For you, there is a decision around whether you are satisfied with what you now have in your radio or whether you want what we're offering -- is it a compelling upgrade?  How many times have you been able to get a "new radio" for a small fraction (less than 10%) of what you paid for your existing radio?  For us, the revenue sharing for new features across customers will allow us to build more software and bring more capabilities to market for you.  We will be, in a sense, facilitating a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar enhancement project for your radio for a small fee.  AND we don't want anything up front.  We do the work and if you like it, you get to buy-in.  If not, you still have a great radio and nothing has changed.  We do listen (I think you guys know this), but we can't do everything nor take the path that each individual recommends as the best path forward.  It is still useful to hear the ideas as the roll around in our brains as we make decisions and are routinely factored in, even if the decision isn't exactly what was recommended.