In this era of evolving technologies, people equip themselves with the skills needed to adapt to changing scenarios. The ever-growing information society has impacted the educational field. The concept of the learning organization has grown exponentially. Advances in digital technologies have continued to enrich the interactivity and media content of the web. A higher retention of content through personalized learning is possible because technology-based solutions allow more room for individual differences in learning styles. Donna DeMarco is known as the ‘Triumphant Entrepreneur’ who advanced the idea of ‘changing the way of learning’ and implemented it successfully.
Donna DeMarco is a Co-founder and Vice President of Viddler, an online sales training platform which integrates tools for practices and evaluation. Donna wanted to introduce video as a learning tool to provide the capability to see and hear the new skill or technique via video and then receive feedback from peers, managers, and experts—right in the video.
Donna achieved this with Viddler’s patented technology which allows interactions within the video: including questions, comments, and feedback. This in-the-moment experience improves the learner’s progress.
Donna herself is always curious about learning things. She has an inquisitive personality. Donna says that delighting customers motivates her to work hard. She shared an experience about a client. She said, “I recently looked at a client demonstrate Viddler to another department within her organization. It made my day to hear and see her show how Viddler provided a great solution for her team. She demonstrated how it could easily be extended to meet the needs of another team, and showed we had delighted another customer.”
This mesmerizing experience motivated her.
Challenges and Practices
Viddler has over 250,000 customers in 150 countries. Meeting their needs is at the top of the priority list. According to Donna, the biggest challenge is balancing the divergent needs of the customer base. It’s a matter of open communication and honest assessment of the customer’s needs. The challenge is to figure out what benefits the customers most and burdens them the least.
Viddler practices Agile Methodology, with frequent customer reviews, 2-week development sprints, lots of testing and QA, and retrospectives. Everyone in the organization is empowered to press the ‘big red button’ if it is seen something that is not production-quality.
Services and Future Mindset of the Company
Viddler’s SaaS platform helps teams and trainers deliver knowledge, practice skills, and measure performance. Donna says, “The goal of true learning is to practice and internalize the skill.” It is best done through learn-by doing, and practice. Using interactive video training, organizations can demonstrate new skills, share best practices, and provide a safe, secure environment to record and practice the skills. In-video interactions allow teams to deliver precise, interactive feedback and coaching. Robust measurement tools, whether it is assignment critiques, quizzes or completion rates, track progress and measure improvement over time.
Viddler is already in the cloud, so the enthusiastic Viddler team is able to scale and take advantage of new technologies rapidly. The next big thing according to Donna will be incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in the learning process. The team will investigate best practices in AI and identify and create AI techniques to enhance the learning experience. The goal is not to add a ‘cool new thing,’ but to determine how to enhance and improve the ROI for the learner.
The Role of Women in Tech
While women are at all levels of the industry, the majority of tech is still male-dominated. (When Donna started in the early 80s, there were actually more women in tech than there are now!) Through efforts like Girls Develop It, Girls Who Code and Girls in Tech, Donna is reaching out to young women, ideally at the middle-school level, to get them excited about careers in tech. She engages them in the problem-solving aspects of software development and piques their interest at an early age, so they go on to careers in tech. She believes that women have a unique perspective on problem-solving and customers’ needs, which is needed in the industry.
It’s difficult to manage both personal and professional life, but Donna does so. She has 4 children, and they have grown up as Viddler has. Her goal is, ‘to be structured and disciplined to carve out family time and make it a priority.’ In the beginning, a client called Donna around midnight, she answered the phone. Conversely, when the grade school holiday show was at noon, she had the flexibility to rearrange the schedule. It is possible for her to manage all this with a whole team and it’s much easier to take the time to rejuvenate. To other women in tech, she advises, “It is important to take me-time to indulge your needs and recharge your batteries, so you have the energy to focus on growing your company.”
Advice to Working Women
Donna defines success as the client’s’ delight in the company’s products and services. The goal of the company is to exceed expectations of the customers and delight them with a seamless user experience so that the employees of the company can learn.
Women in this generation know what they want. Advising to the working women, Donna says, “There is nothing you can’t do. Put yourself out there, take the risk and go for it. You are a unique individual with a unique and valuable perspective. You are obligated to express yourself- to benefit yourself, your company, and your customers.”