The cloud guy

Mike Jenkins is using video (or video in video) for product launches and client updates, so he and his staff don't have to spend so much time on the road.

THE INSTILLERY IS a business born in the cloud era; we’ve been operating just under three years. I’d estimate video and associated use is the driving force behind 50% of the UFB connections our clients sign up to.

Clients are using video as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, accelerate decision making, communicate core messages and facilitate business in a global marketplace. For example, we work with a worldwide record label. In the past, when you were recording an album, it could take months to get everyone together in the same studio. These days people can record together without necessarily being in the same country, let alone the same town. You might have a recording artist in Auckland writing lyrics and a base track and sending it to her producers in Los Angeles. The first thing they’ll do is jump on a video call to either listen live or play the raw track recording versions. If the producer likes the track he’ll bring a couple of his team into the same video call, then book time in a recording studio. The different contributors will go to a studio, possibly a home studio, wherever they are. Maybe the guy laying down the bass is in San Francisco, drums are recorded somewhere in New Zealand and the featuring artist options are in the UK. But they want to turn that song out as quickly as possible, so they will collaborate live from their different parts of the world, and they’ll be able to see each other in real time using video.

Within our own business, video means we can employ people across the country and/or globe for different jobs. For example, we’re working on a project where one person is in San Francisco, one in the Coromandel, one in the Auckland office and a fourth in Te Atatu (the latter finds it easier to work from home than battle Auckland traffic). If we all had to meet, what with travelling time and the price of air travel, the cost of a project would be unaccessible – or at least unpalatable – for our clients.

We also use video collaboration for marketing and product launches. As a startup we simply can’t be at every retailer or SaaS [software as a service] conference around the world, so we work smarter – often pitching by video to potential partners who then represent us in their market. For example, there’s a New York tech conference in June where we are launching a new cloud service product. We’ll do a video launch from here at the same time that we launch it live in NYC, with demonstrations scheduled for media over VC from New York, or even “video in video”, where we play pre-recorded video case studies during a video conference.

Finally video plays a big role in training and enablement, for our geographically-dispersed team, and our clients. We often evolve or refine our products and we’ve learnt from experience there’s no point emailing to explain updates. Instead we schedule a video call or invite people to a video webinar. This also provides our dev team the opportunity to collect real time feedback, which shapes our product development roadmap.

Mike Jenkins is founder and CEO of The Instillery, a cloud-based network and app service provider.