John Keith

Lucid Meetings co-founder, serial entrepreneur, based in Portland, OR
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Recent Posts

How We Created an Open API (and Added 1,000 New Integrations with Zapier)

Jan 10, 2018 by John Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (6 minute read)

 

Originally Published: July 16, 2016 when Zapier had 500+ Applications!

We began planning our public API implementation in late 2015. We had numerous requests for full Read/Write API access to the data model and were responding to stated customer needs.

By early 2016 we had the first version of the API tested and preview-ready. But an interesting thing happened -- we started hearing that people wanted a "simplicity layer" on top of the programmer-level API. What form would that take, exactly?

We started hearing that people wanted a "simplicity layer" on top of the programmer-level API

Well boy howdy, were we ever glad to find Zapier! Here's the thing, Zapier provides a "point solution"-oriented approach that addresses specific needs that real people in the real word have identified—needs that were outside our direct experience.

The core trigger-action model implemented by Zapier is super easy for non-technical users, and the promise of building a simplicity layer was compelling and real. With Zapier's codeless integrations ("Zaps"), extending Lucid Meetings with workflow automation became easy as pie.

The Bottom Line

By developing a Zapier application (this is the piece that each online service builds to expose their service via Zapier), we gained several immediate benefits for our nascent API work:

  • an independent software application using our API,
  • a challenge to improve and extend our API in interesting ways,
  • immediate integration opportunities with hundreds of other services,
  • an opportunity to talk about easy-to-use integrations with our user community.

We were super excited to launch both the API and hundreds of Zapier-based integrations just a few months later.

But here's the biggest takeaway—in the short time since our initial Zapier release we've gained another 500 integration opportunities, simply by being part of the Zapier ecosystem!

As a service provider, we're thrilled to have our integration reach extended every day as new applications are launched on Zapier. And as customer advocates, we're even happier when those applications make life easier for users of our platform and services.

Read on for more background on our integration approach. Or skip all that and just start boosting your productivity by automating Lucid Meetings workflows this New Year.

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

Smarter Meeting Planning: The Process Approach

Aug 18, 2016 by John Keith in meeting technology (3 minute read)

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How do you go about scheduling a new meeting with a group of people? David Coleman writes about his research into more than 200 meeting scheduling tools in this August, 2016 CMS Wire article, Smarter Meeting Planning Tools Try to Save You the Headache.

One of the biggest hassles with meetings is actually setting the meeting up, with multiple emails flooding inboxes deciding who could meet, what the meeting is about, and forget about trying to pin down one time when everyone can attend.

David asks: "But what if there was a better way?"  In David's analysis, the approaches for scheduling a meeting can be broken down into four main categories:

  1. Publish and subscribe tools
  2. Calendar scheduling enhancements
  3. Resource management tools
  4. Smart meeting tools

The ordering of that list can be viewed as the evolutionary order of technical solutions to the scheduling problem, with the Smart Meeting Tools section capturing the current AI and Bot zeitgeist. There are quite a few good recommendations in each category, and I think there are some interesting capabilities on the horizon in the smart tools area. Read the full post to get a full sense of David's insight into the scheduling challenge.

The article also talks about Lucid Meetings and our alternative approach based on a holistic view of effective meetings from a complete scheduling, execution, and results orientation.

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Topics: meeting technology

The Lucid Meetings Visual Event Calendar

Jan 18, 2016 by John Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (10 minute read)

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Wednesdays at 1PM Eastern / 10AM Pacific
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My ice storm-induced, "bonus" project during the 2015 end-of-year holiday break was focused on improvements to the Lucid Meetings visual event calendar.

While we've had our visual calendar display for a couple years now, I always intended the calendar to be more fully interactive for people who prefer calendar-style interactions with our meeting platform. With a little time on my hands, it was finally time to tackle this project!

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

Key Learnings About Meetings and Meeting Software

Jan 7, 2016 by John Keith in behind the scenes (7 minute read)

The only thing that is constant is change.”

Heraclitus

2015, like all the years before it, was a year of big changes for Lucid Meetings. We've had a very good year. Our platform has become more mature and our customer base has grown. We've met new people and created new cooperative relationships with other companies. Business is good.

But we've all been around long enough to know that these external trappings of success can be fleeting; what we can achieve and how we grow both as a company and as individuals will depend entirely on what we do next.

That's why, when we look back at 2015, we pay special attention to what we've learned. Experience and knowledge gained are the key assets that can't be lost due to a shift in the market or any other whim of fate, and that will inform how we go boldly into 2016.

We asked each member of the Lucid leadership team to reflect on the key lessons they learned in 2015, and share them with you here.

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Topics: behind the scenes

Lucid Integrated Audio: Turbobridge Perfected

Nov 10, 2015 by John Keith in meeting technology, release announcement (14 minute read)

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Wednesdays at 1PM Eastern / 10AM Pacific
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Lucid Meetings is a sophisticated technology platform for running excellent meetings with your (remote) team and clients. The platform addresses three significant pain points for the modern meeting organizer:

  1. How do I create a shared meeting experience when people are not in the same room?
  2. How do I run meetings that consistently get results and favorable reviews?
  3. How do I manage all the audio, video, and screensharing technology needed for online meetings?

We write regularly about "meeting best practices"  that address the first two points, focusing quite a bit on soft skills and organizational methodology. In this post we're taking a different tack by looking deeply at one of the technology issues in point three: managing the conference calling requirements for online meetings.

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Topics: meeting technology, release announcement

Creating a Customer-Focused, Risk-Free Pricing Model

Jun 23, 2015 by John Keith in release announcement (5 minute read)

Pricing is hard.

As a software-as-a-service company, you want pricing that is:   

  • Easy to understand
    So people can quickly figure out what they’d pay.
  • Competitive
    Not too cheap, not too expensive, and easy to match up when comparing alternatives. 
  • Sustainable
    If you aren’t relying on outside investors or advertising, then you need to establish prices that support your business.

We’ve struggled with this! We tried several different approaches to our pricing strategy, seeking one that works for our customers and for us as a business. Each time we made a shift, we felt like we were getting closer, but it still wasn’t right. We just didn’t feel like we’d nailed it.

Until now.

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Topics: release announcement

Meetings as Competitive Sport

May 14, 2015 by John Keith in leadership & facilitation (3 minute read)

Many years ago, I met with Michael Harrington, a public speaking coach and trainer. He described his training approach as that of "taking a competitive sports view" to public speaking.

His view was that you could train people with some very specific skills and thereby teach them to win the day, so to speak.

For some reason, that competitive view of public speaking really worked well for me. The task of public speaking became something I really wanted to master, rather than something to be dreaded and endured.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

Question of the Day: How do you track meeting results?

Apr 30, 2015 by John Keith in tips & techniques (3 minute read)

Recently we received this question from a Lucid Meetings customer.

What have you found to be the best way to track meeting deliverables and analyze efficiency / value added during meetings?

This is a great question; one that every group should ask themselves. So, we thought it would be valuable to share our answers with everyone here.


Wow, that’s a big question, so here’s a big answer!

Before we get into the specific, let me say up-front that it definitely depends on the kind of projects you run and how meeting-savvy your team is, and we’re always available to meet with people who’d like to talk through their situation.

With that said, here are some general pointers below - hopefully it’s a helpful start!

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Topics: tips & techniques

Book Review: Meet Like You Mean It

Apr 14, 2014 by John Keith in leadership & facilitation, book review (1 minute read)

I bought this book because I've been following Wayne Turmel's work on collaboration and virtual meetings for several years.

I was looking for a single reference that provided specific, actionable guidance for leading better VIRTUAL MEETINGS.

This book not only achieves that goal, but exceeded my expectations by going beyond technology and focusing on how to prepare and run great meetings - whether virtual, in-person, or some combination of both.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, book review

The First Rule of Meet Club: Do we really need to meet?

Jun 15, 2012 by John Keith in leadership & facilitation (1 minute read)

While traipsing through the halls of a local high tech startup, I chanced across this laminated set of rules in the cafeteria.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation