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Meet Hannon Brett of MeetingSense Software Corporation in Sorrento Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannon Brett.

Hannon, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
MeetingSense was started as a response to a visceral personal experience and need for a solution that seemingly wasn’t commercially available at the time. In 2005, I was in the middle of building a new partnership at Macromedia inc. that would launch one of the first collaboration integrations of its kind. We were working with one of the biggest players in the Conferencing Service Provider (CSP) space to integrate our cutting-edge Web conferencing tool Breeze into their audio conferencing bridges so that it all worked, and was sold, seamlessly together as one of the first real complete ‘collaboration’ solutions.

I was holding or attended five to six 1+ hour meetings every day, usually including five to ten other cross-functional team members, with attendees from outside companies as well. Most days we went back-to-back-to-back from the time I put my double espresso down on my desk in the morning, until I managed to crawl out of my office at seven or eight at night.

We were moving fast, exchanging tons of critical information, taking copious notes, making important decisions, and assigning loads of action items to multiple groups in every meeting. Five to six hours every day was spent discussing, strategizing, arguing, agreeing, and more importantly, trying desperately to capture the complex, critical, contextual meeting information being exchanged.

All of this was done in order to help us make good decisions, continue the basic functioning of the entire project, and ultimately drive a successful outcome. The rest of the three to five hours of my day were spent doing my best to assimilate, share, and interact with all of this critical information to help the team make the project blaze ahead.

The problem was, while there were plenty of tools to get us into meetings, tools like audio, video, and Web conferencing, I realized that there wasn’t a single intuitive solution that would help us capture, share, and then manage all of this critical meeting information together as a team.

From this experience, the idea of MeetingSense was born. MeetingSense Software was founded the following year to address the emerging need among today’s businesses for a simple but effective way to collaboratively manage meeting information and action items to optimize business productivity.

The goal was to develop team collaboration software that would allow businesses to maximize their return on investment in meeting time and meeting technology by ensuring that each meeting, regardless of size, scope, or subject, is leveraged directly into productive action.

Here we are 11 years and 6 major versions later.

Has it been a smooth road?
As with any innovation, the road hasn’t always been smooth or easy. It’s been a challenge for a small agile start up to educate the market that there’s a much more efficient and effective meeting management solution than using the body of an email or a page in a yellow pad to capture meeting minutes. A great example of the some difficulty came in 2008, when we were on our Series-B funding roadshow up in Silicon Valley. The financial meltdown started while we were literally in the middle of a big pitch to a brand-named Venture Capital firm. The news about Lehman Bros. came over the TV in the middle of one of our meetings… we all looked around at each other, and slowly closed our laptops, packed up our stuff, and came home on an earlier flight. It was an interesting experience.

Despite the difficulties, we’ve persisted and have fought through plenty of challenges since then. We’ve definitely grown and evolved for over 11 years and we continue to evolve and grow. And with a market that’s finally in dire need of a product that change the way the world has meetings, we’re more excited than ever about the way we’re positioned in the exploding meeting management/Persistent Collaboration Space (PCS).

We’d love to hear more about your business.
MeetingSense is meeting information management and collaboration software that works with your current tools and habits to make sure you capture the things shared before, during, and after meetings; and then lets you manage it all online with your team to make your meetings actually work.

Instead of just getting you into meetings like web conferencing, MeetingSense is an easy to use Web App that helps you focus on doing things like taking great notes, assigning action items, recording important decisions, uploading shared documents, and then managing it all together via just email and a web browser to maximize your meeting investment.

MeetingSense is perfectly positioned to own the active meeting space, across live and remote attendees. Our sixth generation Cloud-based service has all the capabilities necessary to change the face of how meetings are planned, conducted, and influence post-meeting behavior. While there are many competitors in the overall collaboration space, but MeetingSense is focus on the surround-the-meeting experience. So what we’re really competing with is traditional, inefficient habitual meeting behaviors.

MeetingSense intuitively adds the structure and best practices necessary to make conducting successful meetings an easy, repeatable habit.

The core of this potential is that for most companies, meetings remain an immature process. There are a lot of ad hoc meetings, some that repeat, but few that are truly structured, managed, and run well. MeetingSense does this ‘out of the box’ to move meetings up the ‘process maturity ladder’ by bringing discipline and best practices to a place that is too often the province of individual managers’ style.

MeetingSense Software is on a mission to leverage and enhance meeting habits to optimize meeting culture and change the way the world does meetings forever.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
San Diego is an amazing city with incredibly talented people. Of course, the weather and landscape doesn’t hurt with recruiting either, but it’s probably needed to balance out the expensive cost of living.

That said, with the explosive growth of conferencing, communication, and collaboration technologies, any past barriers to getting top tier talent for San Diego based companies have been erased. Some of our R&D team, for example, live in other states, but never mind coming to town for company meetings.

Starting out, you have to weigh the expense, available local talent pool, your comfort with having some dispersed/virtual h, and the environment. I would proffer that this is definitely going to be a founder’s personal/subjective choice once he/she has weighed all the positives and negatives.

Pricing:

  • $19/month/user
  • $200 annually per user

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Portia Schwefel
Yash Arya
Hannon Brett

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