Thoughts on technology and innovation
Beth Farrar, Marketing Manager
It started with a few ideas...don’t all great things? First, we thought “What if we built an Association Management System (AMS) on Salesforce?” Seemed not so crazy. Afterall, Salesforce is the leading CRM in the world used by over 100,000 organizations. So why shouldn’t associations have the opportunity to leverage this same technology? Obviously, Salesforce straight out of the box would not cut it. That’s why for the past few years, NimbleUser has been rolling up our sleeves to bring Nimble AMS to associations...complete with everything you would expect from an AMS and a whole lot more built on one of today’s leading technology platforms.
While we were in this mad scientist mode of creating the perfect AMS on the perfect platform, we also had sights set on the next big association event--the ASAE Technology Conference & Expo. We had just left our mad scientist lab and were ready to shout “Nimble AMS” from the rooftops but somehow it seems less glorious to do that in your typical 10’x10’ exhibiting booth space. You’ve seen these booths at tradeshows before--pretty standard. We knew the average booth and the average exhibit wouldn’t suffice. Enter idea #2....what if we put an airstream trailer in a 20x20 booth? This seemed to make sense for a few reasons. This company was founded on two things we are passionate about--associations and cool technology. Airstream trailers just so happen to be a passion of our company CIO & CEO-Sig and Dawn VanDamme. In between client implementations and internal meetings, the VanDammes love to hit the open road in their vintage airstream trailer. To the VanDammes and many others, Airstreams represent a getaway, a sense of freedom and the mobility and possibility of never knowing what lies around the next bend or “the places you’ll go” (channeling Dr. Seuss here). All of these concepts embody what we bring to associations with the Nimble AMS product. With almost 20 years of experience in the association technology industry we didn’t want to bring just another AMS to market....it had to be more powerful, much cooler, more savvy, more mobile, more social and give associations that same sense of freedom with respect to how they managed and communicated with their members. It needed to be revolutionary.
Airstream trailers are an American icon, well known for their streamlined look and feel, quality, performance and even fuel efficiency. That’s what NimbleUser’s Airstream WILL be but was far from what it was when we purchased it. Take a look at this picture:
Not exactly road ready or cool, right? It was late August when we decided that NimbleUser was going to purchase and restore a vintage Airstream trailer in time for the ASAE Technology Conference & Expo in December. We knew we had a long way to go and we wanted it to be a hands-on process. On any given day we might be selecting colors to paint the wheels or picking fabrics out for the new interior of our Aluminum Vision on Wheels.
It has been an interesting journey so far. We knew we needed professional help and we selected Colin Hyde of Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations. Colin is a leading expert on Airstream Restorations and is one of the hosts of the Vintage Airstream Podcast. A couple of years ago Colin did a beautiful restoration on one of Matthew McConaughey’s Airstreams so we knew we were in good hands. But with the condensed timeline even the greatest Airstream craftsman couldn’t deliver everything we needed in time for the show. No problem--we will just send our CIO, Sig VanDamme, to take on some of the work himself. After all, he started NimbleUser back in 1992 as a one man shop and grew it into the company it is today so this was not a guy who was afraid to roll up his sleeves and dive in.
We are still racing the clock to get this Airstream ready and prepped for the tradeshow but it has been an amazing experience for all involved. It has built a sense of buzz in the company around the latest news/gossip, “Hey did that part come in on time?” and “What’s the latest update on the airstream?” (all happening through Salesforce Chatter no less). And in between praying that our project does not get bumped for some high profile celebrity’s Airstream restoration we have come to recognize the Airstream as a symbol for where we want to take associations going forward with Nimble AMS. It’s not a typical AMS and its not going to be a typical tradeshow booth. It’s going to be a way of life.
Live the Nimble Life! And see you at ASAE Tech in December!...Booth 335 or just look for the super slick Airstream.