Why we do what we do
To be honest, I never read any book or listened to a lectures with the title of ‘Why We Do what We Do?’, but I find this question so important to anyone, if you’re a designer, software engineer, customer support, business person, whoever you are - this is the first thing you need to ask yourself, everyday. This question helps me to tell you our story and why we created uMake, a mobile app that empowers everyone to quickly and intuitively express concepts in 3D. Before working on uMake, Erik and myself worked at Autodesk for 4 years on the mobile version of AutoCAD - the first CAD app on mobile and on the cloud. The best thing about this experience was to create something new, with the power to affect millions of people. With the explosion of the iPhone in its first years, and later on with the iPad - we saw an increasing number of people discover AutoCAD, a 30 years old software, for the first time in their lives. For us, it was an incredible way of changing the way people worked with technology - going from computers with mouse and keyboards to mobile devices using touch first interfaces -, and being able to empower and enable others to experience a design software for the first time.
Reason #1: Enable Change
We are reflections of our past, and for me, uMake is a reflection on how Photoshop changed the course of my life. Growing up in a small village in Israel, the only way for me to get out from where I lived and start my career by learning something new, for me it was Photoshop. Quickly I become a graphic designer, then a web designer and finally a UX designer and a Product Manager for AutoCAD mobile app. The fact that a design software changed so many aspects in my life has always fascinated me and I always wanted to recreate this experience and affect the lives of others. I saw it in AutoCAD mobile but thought that 3D design holds within itself so many amazing opportunities for so many people right now and even more in the future.
Reason #2: Passion
‘Is it for the money?’ We heard this questions so many times since we started working on uMake. While money isn’t a bad thing and actually can help you move things forwards, I quickly learned that when you really need it, it’s not there for you. To be honest, we didn’t leave our great jobs at Autodesk and work without salary for almost 2 years because we sought money. If you’re in this business for money, you better keep your great job. Another point we saw since we launched uMake is concerns about uMake pricing. While we’re listening carefully to every feedback we get, we also saw comments from people that were asking uMake to be totally free. Here’s a simple fact - app developers, like most artists, aren’t rich. They’re working endless hours to create the best experience for their customers, and it doesn’t come for free - as a developer, you put everything out there: your personal life; health and talent, just because you love, you're passionate, and and you believe in what you do.
Reason #3: Drive Innovation
All creatives are driven by the need to innovate, to change and to make everyone re-think everything we know so far. That’s what we’re trying to create with uMake. On one hand, we know that sketching is the most intuitive skill anyone can pursue, on the other hand, we know that 3D design hasn’t changed for more than 30 years now. We’re taking the advantages of the familiar one but also changing it at the same time. It’s not an easy task, but one we think is worth investing our precious time on, since we know that could help many others adapt and learn new skills that can help others.
Reason #4: The App as a sustainable business model
Innovation and money leads me to a point that we, as a company, thought about a lot and decided that we’re going to change the way people perceive monetized apps. We know that the app economy got people to think apps should be free or $5.99 at most. We also know that once you change something, people would resist - and we’re fine with that. Innovation comes from a powerful belief in something, but that force doesn’t last forever, and in order to keep that fire of innovation, any developer is looking for the support of its community. We definitely hear our customers and constantly think about enabling more people, making the experience more approachable, and working endlessly to make it happen. We believe that more Pro apps will be available soon by different kinds of developers and they will definitely re-think their approach for app pricing. The days of ‘Free apps’ are gone, and it’s time to see that as an opportunity of getting high-quality products with endless updates and with intention to keep the innovation fire burning for many years. The ones that will stick with the current model will face challenges when it comes to being able to keep their innovation up and creating great experiences for their customers.
Reason #5: Endless creativity
The best part in doing what we do is the opportunity to work with so many creative people and to work for many other creative people. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing someone using your software to create other great things. It’s kind of a cycle that drives creativity, innovation and the passion for continuous improvement. Since I started working on uMake, I've answered to more than 700 emails from people around the world about uMake. This interaction gave me an opportunity to better know our customers - highly talented and creative people with passion for design and technology. Engaging with these creatives who are responsible for great things we are watching, using and experiencing one way or another is extremely rewarding but has also given us insight into the challenges they face in their various creative paths. It is these challenges that get in the way of creativity that demand equally creative, passion driven innovative solutions - and that’s why we do what we do.
December 8, 2015