Among the days of the conventional work week, there’s one superstar: Friday. At Jotform, Friday has the usual feel-good vibes, but it’s also special for a reason all our own.
That’s when we hold our demo days. Every Friday, Jotformers share weekly progress with their teammates. Demo day has changed a bit since Jotform’s early years, but much remains the same — it’s about communication, cohesion, morale, and more.
Demo day helps us maintain our momentum as we create new products that make life better for our 14 million-plus users.
“In the early days, when Jotform had fewer than 10 employees, we would spend all Friday afternoon watching usability tests,” says Jotform founder and CEO Aytekin Tank. “We’d have popcorn and watch users try our product and our new features. Those were fun times, since we were smaller and had more time for long conversations.”
He explains that if an issue arose, the team set a goal to fix it by the following Friday. When the team at Jotform grew larger, he split the group into smaller, cross-functional teams. The teams would work independently and convene on Friday to demonstrate what they accomplished during the week.
The initial demo day was in 2010 or so; cross-functional teams first appeared in 2015. Since then, many more of those teams have been created, and Jotform has expanded from 10 employees to more than 300 and one office to four. But the spirit of working and sharing progress each week continues.
“It’s all about working with short cycles,” Tank says. “Demo day helps us sustain consistency and constant forward movement.”
Celebrating product development
We’ve displayed that movement often in the last year-plus, even as demo day has taken place via Zoom due to the pandemic. Jotform released a host of new products in 2021 as well as our company rebrand, complete with a new Jotform logo.
Jotform Apps debuted in November 2021 after starting out as an in-house company tool. Now it’s a no-code app builder available to Jotform users at no extra cost. We also released the HIPAA-friendly Jotform Health App and Jotform Approvals in 2021. And all of these first appeared at demo day before going live.
“When we have a new product launch, it’s a special demo day. The team lead will give a speech and usually find fun ways to launch the product,” Tank says.
The Jotform Approvals launch actually happened live during a demo day presentation. “The team that created the product approved it one step at a time, and the final approval pushed the code to the live site and the product was launched at that moment,” says Tank.
Each demo day, product launch or not, starts with a tone-setting, inspirational message from Tank.
“I try to find topics that are interesting to everyone. I provide context about what we do as I share my vision,” says Tank, adding that he’s interactive too. Demo day is a perfect opportunity to chat with the team, especially as it grows. “It’s a great time to connect. Especially with new employees who get a chance to know me and the company better.”
Plus, demo day is an ideal opportunity to share some food. It’s tradition, after all, though there’s often more on the menu than popcorn nowadays. After the company rebrand went live, demo day was followed by a socially distanced launch party. The same was true after our largest product launch of 2021, Jotform Apps.
“It makes our bonds stronger,” Özgün Berber, workplace manager at Jotform’s Ankara office, says of demo day festivities. “We know how to celebrate as much as we work hard.”
Though demo day at Jotform started when the company had a mere handful of employees, it’s still going strong as the company grows and its offering expands. Demo day serves as a connection to the company’s founding ideals and strengthens Jotform’s original spirit of rapid forward movement and improvement.
And as demo day has evolved, it’s only become more beneficial for Jotform.
“It brings everyone together,” says Tank. “Even those who can’t watch demo days live because of time zone differences can watch them later on. It’s an opportunity for each Jotform team to shine. They proudly showcase what they are working on, and that builds confidence.”
That confidence helps inspire Jotformers to innovate further, ultimately providing Jotform users with new ways to experience the power of our forms and supporting products. And every Friday, Tank will be on hand to hear all about what the team has worked on since they last met, providing intimate access to the company CEO.
That’s not so different from those early days, after all — when Jotform consisted of 10 teammates sharing a bowl of popcorn and building momentum.