Steven Blom is a serial entrepreneur and co-founded Sendsteps, a PowerPoint add-in that allows the audience to ask questions with their mobile phone to the speaker on stage. He received his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering of the Delft University of Technology and graduated Cum Laude.
In this conversation, Steven discusses Sendsteps.
Geetesh: Steven, there are several audience response systems and some of them also plug into PowerPoint. So what motivated you to create Sendsteps? Also, what does Sendsteps do better or differently?
Steven: We started Sendsteps already in 2007 with the vision that people have a strong desire to connect with another.
When attending a conference, meeting or presentation, however, you’ll experience that most people do not feel the freedom to speak up.
We felt that if we use technology to bridge the gap and make it super easy and anonymous to give honest feedback and ask open-ended questions, they will be empowered and the presentation turns from monologue to dialogue.
We were the first in the world to launch this solution, and ever since we have been growing our user base. Next, to our age, we are different from our colleagues in the market on several levels; our vision on why we do it, the focus on corporations, being fully embedded in PowerPoint, fully brandable product and higher levels of security & privacy of data.
Geetesh: Can you share a small story about using Sendsteps in a way that was unconventional?
Steven: When I think of conventional, I think of all the current meetings and events that are done without an audience response system that allows the audience to ask questions. So I think that an audience response system is an unconventional way.
Our vision is that everyone is using Sendsteps and other audience response systems to give a voice to their audience and empower them to speak up. We still have a long way to go to inspire more and more organizations to listen to their employees and to allow them to speak up anonymously during events, presentations, and meetings.
So to answer your question, every time our tool is used it is unconventional, and we believe that that is the way forward; honest dialogues that include everyone.
Geetesh: Can you share another user story or some trivia?
Steven: I once attended a small meeting with just 25 people, of which 5 were members of the board and the remaining 20 were higher executives. They were discussing the strategy for the new year and the restructuring of their company which had roughly 250 employees.
When the chair of the board asked the leadership individually if everyone agreed with the new strategy and structure, they all nodded and agreed. When 5 minutes later, the same question was asked through Sendsteps and everyone could respond anonymously, it turned out that 80% was against and only 20% for the new plans. It showed me that if you ask the people and give them a safe space they will share what is truly felt and thought, and you can have an honest dialogue that is for the better of everyone involved.