Best-practice strategies for your documentation projects

A funny thing happened while I was at MadWorld

A funny thing happened while I was at MadWorld

So there I was, at MadCap Software’s first ever user conference—MadWorld 2013 at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. An actual VIP.

I was having a blast learning new things and meeting new people. Especially the MadCap people, and there were a lot of them. There were gals and guys from tech support, customer support, sales, software development, IT, and even the execs. They were welcoming and warm and efficient. They each had their individual conference tasks to do, but they all shared the same top priority—to make all of us attendees and speakers feel welcomed—and heard.

It was marvelous, feeling surrounded and buoyed by such personal attention.

Have a tech support issue? Come on into the Hospitality Suite and grab one of the tech support team members. At one point, I had three tech support guys—Rob and Marvin and, oh dear, I can’t recall the third guy’s name—all hovering around looking at a perplexing issue exhibited by several of my Flare projects. It was fun watching them in action troubleshooting the problem, for which, BTW, they did find at least a temporary solution (with a promise to investigate further, which they did the next day).

Anything else I need for the session I was presenting? Adam from IT was all over it, making sure everything was in order. He checked in with me not once, not twice, but several times to make sure all was a “Go”!

Was I enjoying myself, asked my original MadCap rep, Jennifer Morse? Here, come meet this person who was asking about forming a Flare user group like the one I run in Rochester.

But something unexpected—and illustrative—happened about an hour before I was to speak on Day 1.

I got an email, out of the blue, from a sales rep from Adobe “In regards to Technical Suite (sic) 4.0”:

Hi Nita,

Greetings from Adobe Systems.

My team manages Adobe’s Volume Licensing for TCS 4.0(Frame maker [sic], Robohelp [sic]) & eLearning Suite 6.1(Captivate 6.0, Presenter 8.0) in the US – East.

Tried calling you…in regards to Technical Communication Suite, but couldn’t get to speak.

Please suggest a good time to connect on the phone.

Warm Regards,

<name withheld>

“Well,” I thought, “I best cut this rep off at the pass and say that I’m not interested in connecting on the phone.” (And, BTW, no one had called me. And why would anyone ever think I needed volume licensing?!)

I wrote back:

Hi. I’m actually out of town, attending MadCap’s MadWorld conference. If you are trying to reach me regarding making a sale, I don’t use FrameMaker or RoboHelp anymore and am really not interested. As a self-employed tech writer, my tools budget is quite tight, and I’m a devotee of Flare.

A short while later, I got this reply:

Thanks for sharing the information.

Let me know in case you have any questions around Technical Communication Suite.

Also, here are  a few resources on Frame Maker (sic) 11. Hope you find them useful.

<followed by a long list of links to FrameMaker brochures>

That’s when it dawned on me that there was no person behind these emails. Rather, someone (or some program) had gone mining for data, probably on LinkedIn, and plugged my name and telephone number into some email generator. No one had actually read my reply, it seemed.

And, for me, that illustrates just one important difference between Adobe and MadCap.

I realize that MadCap is a hungry little company up against “big corp,” so the personal touch is vital to their campaign. But the mechanical nature of Adobe’s outreach contrasted starkly with the truly warm regard I experienced every day at MadWorld. It reinforced that I had chosen well where to spend my modest tools budget. MadCap knows me, they understand my needs, and they take in what I say (or write in an email message).

Is MadCap perfect? No. Is Flare perfect? No. Neither am I. But those folks at MadCap work hard to listen to what I actually need to produce the best technical documentation I can.

  1. Nita, that is great! MadCap made MadWorld such a personalized experience, that it is rather jarring to be treated as one of the great masses of people by “the other guys.” What a contrast!

    • Not only a stunning contrast, but a wholly ironic one. Of all the days for Adobe to try to sell me something!

  2. It was great to meet you at MadWorld, Nita. Very interesting contrast in how contact with users (or potential users) was handled by the two companies. Reminds me why my Youtube user name is “madcapfanboy”. Hoping to see again next year!

    • Patrick, did we have a few meals together? If you wear glasses, I think I know exactly who are you! (And that must have been you, because the other Patrick I ran into at MadWorld was a fellow I met a few years ago when I provided Flare training at his company.)

      I am SO a fangirl of MadCap. Nope, they’re not perfect, but they get a heckuva lot right!

MAD Certified in Flare

MadCap Advanced Developer (MAD) certified in Flare since 2009

Latest Posts

Bad Behavior has blocked 98 access attempts in the last 7 days.