Richard Ward on Joining Otter.ai

. 2 min read

Best coffee date ever.

It was late 2017 when I first met Sam and the founding team at Otter.ai. We were grabbing an afternoon drink at Sightglass Coffee in Mission, downtown San Francisco, discussing this cool new product idea they wanted to get off the ground.

At that time, I was leading MetaLab. A wonderful group of designers, engineers, and product geeks focused on partnering with early stage startups - like Otter - to help design their 0 to 1 MVP. I loved everything about Otter: the idea, the team, and the scale of the ambition.

In the intervening years, I’ve followed from afar with admiration as Otter swept up award after award. FastCo. Mashable. Google Play. Apple App of the Day. This much loved product was now becoming an integral part of people’s everyday lives.

Fast forward to today, and I’m thrilled to be joining the team full-time! The team has accomplished much to-date (150MM+ meetings and 5BN+ minutes transcribed) but we’re only just getting started. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining, post our recent Series B raise, and I’m beyond thrilled.  

If we have learnt anything these past 15 months or so, it’s that back-to-back meetings over video simply suck. There has to be a better way. And it’s not another video communications platform! Otter’s unique ability to transcribe and share live meeting notes with all participants, create intelligent summaries, action items, or say have your Otter Assistant join when you can’t, begins to rethink the traditional and broken meeting format. We have much to design and build in the weeks, months, and years ahead to bring yet more delight to our incredible Otter users worldwide.

I’m particularly interested in learning more and digging in on how we might intentionally design a product that’s less utilitarian and structured (like many of today’s best known productivity and collaboration tools), and instead is more personal, human, and in-tune with how we actually live our lives.

A huge thanks to the entire Otter team for the warm welcome, and of course a reminder that we’re hiring! Check out our careers page - I’d love to grab an in-person or virtual coffee anytime soon!