As Dale mentioned in a recent post we were on the road in the month of March to meet with FME Users in Germany and North America. In April it is off to the UK to meet UK FME users. While packing for this last trip my daughter (who along with my wife joined me on the trip to Germany) asked me a very simple question: “Why?” Well, here’s my answer.

Sure Dale and I travel to share the new features of FME 2010 and to have fun with a product that we both love, but that is not the reason we spend the time to meet with our users. We meet with our users to not only share new functionality and thoughts but more importantly to learn. To find out what is really important to them, not just interesting to us. Our dependence on our users is not just huge, it is total. We depend on them for much more than they depend on us. Without our users we would not be here! Of course without us they would still be here. 😉 They have many choices and they have chosen us. They can choose to leave at any time. We are here for them not the other way around. If we forget that we are finished. We need them. We need them to challenge us, we need them to be tough on us, to demand more, to not settle. It is only by listening and working with our users that we allow them to…

Safe is in its 17th year and has recently passed through the 100th team member mark. The team at Safe is an amazing, dedicated, and passionate collective. Do we have disagreements, and heated discussions? Oh yeah, as any family would and should! But I especially value those team members who put the team first and share what they think and feel. In short, I value those who are confident enough to tell me when I have made a mistake. It is in those moments when real progress is made and real insights are gained. It is when I see passion that I know that for them working at Safe is not just a job, it is part of who they are! The team is second only to our users in importance and again without them we would have nothing. What I hear during these types of interactions is team members challenging myself and others as they…

Sometimes when Dale and I are together in a brainstorming meeting, it comes as a surprise to some to see the two of us on opposite sides of the discussion, showing passion for different approaches. Sometimes one approach wins outright, but the vast majority of the time better approaches evolve. Some worry about who had what idea. Dale and I don’t! After all, the point is that we are all searching for a way to…

This brings us full circle into why Dale and I travel to visit with our users. Aside from being good friends with many of them, we are on a mission to learn and to take that information back to our team. In short we too are working to…

If you want to read more about what happened at the events in March, Lassi Tani has a good summary of the German event on his blog and on this continent, Matt Ball took in one of our FME Odyssey events in Denver and wrote a nice article about what happened there.

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Don Murray

Don is the co-founder and President of Safe Software. Safe Software was founded originally doing work for the BC Government on a project sharing spatial data with the forestry industry. During that project Don and other co-founder, Dale Lutz, realized the need for a data integration platform like FME. When Don’s not raving about how much he loves XML, you can find Don working with the team at Safe to take the FME product to the next level. You will also find him on the road talking with customers and partners to learn more about what new FME features they’d like to see.


3 Responses to “Make Us Better!”

  1. Dale Lutz says:

    I’ll chime in and agree with Don — it is always fantastic to get out on the road to talk with users and learn (or confirm) what we can do better. I can say that the look of FME 2011 is going to reflect the learnings of this past week.

    If any of you are interested in more of what the FME Odyssey was like, you’ll want to skim the Twitter archive and possibly tune into a couple of the tips/tricks/best practices sessions we recorded at the FINAL Odyssey in Vancouver at .

    Thanks for your help in “making us better”.

  2. Lassi Tani says:

    Would FME Ideas page help Safe getting better and better? I discussed about this with Don in the FME Days 2010 in Münster. I mentioned that Safe could have a page, where FME users could send their ideas and suggestions.

    For example:

    ArcGIS has it:

    There could be voting system, and the ideas would be ranked according to their votes. Simple, but effective.

    FMEPedia has some kind of suggestions page, but unfortunately it’s hard to find, and it’s not interactive enough. Wikipedia form is great in presenting information, but it doesn’t work well with lively flow of ideas and suggestions.

  3. Don Murray says:


    That is a an excellent idea! Thanks for sending it our way we will look into doing that.


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