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Why I joined Instruqt — T.j Randall, Chief Customer Success Officer

On January 19th, I started a new journey by joining Instruqt as the Chief Customer Experience Officer.

If you’re not familiar with Instruqt, you need to be. Instruqt is a hands-on, innovative way for users to learn on real versions of software. Using a gamified, challenge-driven approach, Instruqt’s mission is “Making learning new technologies accessible, fun, and effective is what drives us every day.”

Instruqt is a product company formed out of Xebia, a wildly successful consulting firm in the Netherlands. I first joined the Xebia family when I joined XebiaLabs in October 2012. After several funding rounds and acquisition by TPG in 2020, I was getting the “back to the start-ups” itch.

I am an early Instruqt adoptor

Gamified Instruqt Arcade 2019

I’ve used the Instruqt product since 2018, when I first saw an Instruqt game console in the Xebia headquarters. I “played” a learning game on a game console that brought me back to my days playing Donkey Kong in the mid-80s.

It was so much fun to learn in such an amazing, interactive way.

I’ve experienced the value of Instruqt’s labs

I brought Instruqt into XebiaLabs, where our team built some incredible hands-on, interactive training. I was so proud when we trained over three thousand release managers at a large financial institution. The training was not, “here are the buttons and the screens, push ‘x’, etc.” The training was an interactive experience showcasing how to release managers could transform their spreadsheets and project plans into an amazing, modern automated experience.

I, like so many other technical folks, want an interactive way to learn about solutions. When I start a trial, I get annoyed quickly with the 7-10 onscreen message boxes that are part of the “Quickstart”.  

  • “Here’s where you set up your profile.”
  • “Here’s where you find all your files.”
  • Etc, etc.

These guides are helpful for navigation. Navigation is important for me since I’m the guy that tries to put the snowplow together and then goes to the directions only after I’ve realized that I can’t figure out which bolt goes into slot 7.   But navigation is only the start. I want to learn about value.   

Buyers want to know the value, not just features

A few years ago, I went to buy a Volkswagen. I had never bought a Volkswagen nor used the dealership’s service department. As we started the test drive, the young, energetic salesperson excitedly started talking about the cool radio features. After a few minutes, trying not to sound old and grumpy, I stopped him and said, “Andrew, I’ve been buying cars for a long time. What I really want to know is, when this car breaks down, what is it like to work with your Service department?” For me, that’s the value in purchasing a car. I’m not buying a car. I’m buying reliable transportation. 😉

In my short time at Instruqt, I’ve seen that the entire team is energized in creating amazing experiences. The technology and approach are just awesome, and I’ve experienced firsthand the Instruqt’s team’s desire to partner with their customers.  Instruqt educates on the value of solutions, not just features.

I dream of a day where developers no longer produce release notes

I’ll let you in on a little secret… I have another reason for joining Instruqt. With all of my experience in the DevOps space, I dream of a day where developers no longer produce release notes to outline all of the changes in a release. Have you ever been to a sprint meeting, and the demo is of someone clicking the buttons? “For this release, we changed the button so that it flashes blue on Thursday as the business asked.”

Imagine a world where instead, short training tracks accompany a release, such that end-users can interact with the product to learn how new product features can be used. Agile teams can showcase the value of the change, including adding their own spin in terms of notes, visualizations, and content. They could create a challenge for the users to learn why the change is important… not just how.

Instruqt is changing the way customers achieve their outcomes — educate more, sell less

I am so excited to embark on this journey, and I’m already confident that Instruqt will change the way customers achieve their outcomes. There are trends that heavily favor our business, like the growing demand for companies seeking to educate more and sell less. We’re a team of talented, thoughtful, and amazing people who are passionate about education.

I hope you can be part of this journey in some way. Please consider joining our team, or simply let us know how we might make Instruqt better for your team.

And btw…. That’s my quarter on the machine. I’ve got the next game…

T.j Randall
T.j Randall is the Chief Customer Success Officer at Instruqt. He is an operationally-focused leader with notable success in designing, building, and scaling businesses from pre-revenue to multi-billion dollars. T.j believes the way customers buy software is changing, and there is great value in educating, not selling, to buyers and customers. 😉

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