Community AMA on Product Roadmap with Jay Jamison-July 11th

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We are excited to continue our Ask Me Anything series by having Jay Jamison, our Chief Product and Technology Officer, hosting our next AMA. On the heels of Empower and his product keynote speech Jay is ready to tackle your questions and learn a little more about what is on your mind. 

(If you missed out on the Product Keynote at Empower you can find it here)
 
On Thursday, July 11th, we’ll host a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) featuring Jay. Jay will be here from 2-3 p.m. EST to answer all your burning questions. Did you get a chance to attend his keynote at Empower and you have even more questions about all the awesome features he talked about on stage? Are you super curious about the future of our new table reports? Do you want to know more about Jay's philosophy and passion for Quick Base development? Perhaps you are just curious to know about his favorite flavor of ice cream. Here is an awesome chance to put your questions to Jay.
 
You can start submitting your questions here in this Community thread between now and the event. Then Jay will be in this community thread live to tackle them on Thursday, July 11th!
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Evan Martinez, Community Manager

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Kyle Northview

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I watched through the keynote and I was curious if there are plans to roll out the KPI reports and Heat maps as report types that would be available in tables or are those only going to be available on the executive dashboards?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Hi Kyle, thanks for the question.  We have had very strong response on Exec Dashboards, as our community really loved seeing the modern ui, the drag and drop re-sizing, new chart types, and dark mode #FTW!  :)  As a result, as of right now, we're prioritizing getting the Exec Dashboard into Early Access and then into General Availability as fast as we can.  

We have heard from several folks that they'd like to see us potentially taking hte KPIs and Heatmaps and making those general chart types.  This is not yet roadmapped, but it is going to be an area that we continue to evaluate.  So long answer to we're thinking about it.  
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Tamra Butler

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I thought it was mentioned these would be at the realm level. Will the dashboards be available at an app level as well? Can we combine multiple apps into one dashboard?
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INTERFACE SQL

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Eventually users will be allowed to customize their own default dashboard?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Hey Tamra!  The Exec Dashboard can show and update reports from multiple apps in one dashboard--this is one of the key new capabilities that customers are most excited about in the new Exec Dashboard.  
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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@Interface SQL -- great question.  Yes the idea that we are basically pursuing is to have a Builder able to in essence have a path to publish different charts or data sources that users then have the ability to pull from and drop onto their own dashboard in order to create and ultimately update their own personal default dashboard.  
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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And I think that for th realm versus the app levle, I tihink we're considering as of now as a realm level offering, mainly to highlight that you can show and update reports from multiple apps in a much simpler way.  But I believe that if what you woudl want to do is limit the Exec Dashboard to one app, then that is a set of views that you can create and distribute as well.  In other words, when we think about Exec Dashbaord, it gives you the ability to create a number of Dashboards, and those can pull from either sevearl apps or just one app.  
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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Is there a timeline for incorporating the CopyMasterDetail feature into Automations?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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No there is not.  We are looking at ways to enable this type of capability as a more scalable feature set inside of Automations.  
Any plans to allow arithmetic calculations between columns on a summary report? 

For example we have a column on a summary report for Widgets Produced and a column for Man Hours and we want to calculate Widgets per Man Hour.  Right now we have to contrive and maintain extra parent tables to be able to summarize values up to a parent to be able to get at the totals to divide. 

But users expect it to be like Excel "I see the numbers - why can't I just divide A / B."
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Yea, we agree this is a big problem area.  We don't have an exact timeline on this, but it is a very interesting area that we plan to explore.  More complex that it first appears, but an area we are investigating and working through the implications.  
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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Are there plans to make the "Add a column to this report" modal with a search-field option?  When you customize a report, you can use the search-fields feature to find a field or a type of field.  When adding additional columns from the in-report modal; you still have to scroll through (sometimes hundreds) of fields to find the one(s) you want.
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Yeah, as we showed at the Product Keynote last month, we are currently in the midst of a broad rethink and redesign of columns on reports.  We need this to provide a vastly simpler experience, whehter you want to mange 1, 5, or many more columns.  
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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I was very happy to see that table reports are again on the roadmap.  One thing I would want to make sure is that Dynamic Filters that we currently use (but do not have to exist in the table as a column) remains a feature in the new iteration of reporting.  It would be a step-backwards to have to include columns in a report, simply because you need to filter on them in some way.
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Richard

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I also like the dynamic filters feature. Our use case is that this shows the options available . This is very useful when you have categories or classes of items. 
If this can be preserved in the new reporting it would be very helpful.




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QB-eh

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Can you speak to the possibility of transferring sync table app tokens between users? Someone asked me this a few months back and I didn't know the answer, is it or will it be possible to transfer tokens between users so that should a builder leave the Company, nothing inadvertently breaks when IT invalidates their account?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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We do not currently have this on the radar, but know how important it is to manage applications at this level and we are familiar with this challenge of the person leaving and not having something break. 

We would suggest as a best practice using service accounts for things like Sync and Automations to help alleviate this challenge.  

That said, I do think that in chatting with folks internally about this that building a good blog or community post on Service Account best practices would be useful--I just realized that I don't think that there's a great online help or community post on this and we should get one.   (Here is an article that we do have on this

Thanks for the question--definitely need to add more content and info on what best practices are. 
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QB-eh

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Will there ever be a "Copy app" option that does NOT break sync relationships?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Our new ALM architecture (showcased as part of our announcement on the new Sandbox)  has been built to help with these types of challenges. We are not specifically targeting your request, but are taking a holistic look at how this architecture can benefit features such as app copies, backups and restores, transfers, etc. The moving of apps that are connected to one another has some very deep implications as it relates to builder expectations, and it is important to us we get that right when we approach it.
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QB-eh

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Can you outline the specifics of how sandbox mode merges to the live copy? How does it know to preserve recently changed records?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Expect more details on this as the feature rolls out and we will provide help documentation.
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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Is there a plan to enable Automations to copy and be disabled, like Webhooks are, when copying an application?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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I know that copying Automations when copying an app is a current challenge, and I am sorry that this is not working the way that many would want.  Since it's launch last summer, Automations has experienced tremendous and sustained growth.  This is creating some interesting challenges for us -- as we know we need to continue to invest heavily to continue to make this capability more robust and more highly functional.  We also know that there are capabilities that customers will expect such as the copying capability you are requesting.  The net of all that is that we see the Automations feature and functionality area as an area of high investment priority for us across many dimensions.  We are not yet at a point where I think we can commit on when and how we do the copying, but I would say stay tuned and keep in touch with us on our approahc on Automations, as I expect that we will have some important technical developments to speak to in the coming months.  
.. Once the brain trust is finished with the Robustness and scalability and reliability of Automations, someone should look at why deleting records is so slow.  In my apps they delete at about 1.5 records per second.  That's like watching paint dry when you have even 100 records to delete and confused users which are seeing child records on a Parent form.  The limit for deleting records is 1,000, but I doubt that you can even delete 1,000 records as the Automation would time out.  (11 minutes @ 1.5 deleted records per second)

A typical use case can be that you have a process which auto creates say children based on running a saved Table to table import and for some reason those need to be refreshed and re-imported.  As it stands now, the purge process which would be the first step in the Automation is impractical if there are going to be more than a small handful of records to delete.

We love Automations, and I'm happier to have delete ability than to not have it at all, just want it on the list to be improved for throughput.
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Harrison Hersch (QB), Quick Base Sr. Product Manager (Platform)

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We looked - and we know! :-) But it isn't an easy solve. To make sure we are all grounded though, 90% of all bulk deletes happen in about 100ms (1/10th of a second). You will see slower performance on records with complex summary fields because of the vast amount of work we do behind the scenes to update those. If you have another example without that type of schema, please reach out to me offline. We would love to take a look.
Thx,
I will mock up an app and get back to you off line.
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Douglas Folk

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I want to know why I have to pay for a 3rd party to create a form for printing.
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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One of the most challenging parts of product management at Quick Base or anywhere is making prioritization decisions, and deciding what to build and in what order.  

We know that this capability is important, as are many others.  We work to take input from many stakeholders to ultimately land on a roadmap that delivers as much meaningful value to our customers as possible with the resources we have.  And in the last year, in particular, I think we're pretty comfortable with the R&D priorities we've made around mobile, governance, new report types (Kanban, Calendars), ALM etc.  

Towards that end, we do natively offer the ability for you to create a Quick Base form dedicated for printing and we offer a button to print it.   There are styling options you can implement with a bit of HTML. As of today, that's what we've done in terms of native delivery of form printing within Quick Base.  

In addition, we do have partners that have built completely custom document experiences.  In general, my sense from customers is that those 3rd party form products are relatively economical.  I do think that we have an opportunity to work with them to make these extensions more effectively integrated with Quick Base so that it's an easier experience for users and is easier to purchase.  

From time to time, we do ponder more investment in native form workflows, but I'd say that we're pretty happy to have a robust set of third party form building capabilities, so we have no plans here today.   I think I would set the expectation that our priority for the foreseeable future is to do more to help enable our customers to more easily procure and use add-ons and extentions of Quick Base (in form printing as well as in other areas) as seamlessly as possible.  

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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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Could we go back to displaying the Record Picker with all it's values once it is selected; not just the 1st-one.  Before the type-ahead record picker was rolled out; when you selected a parent-record; all 3 of the Record Picker field selections would display in the Related Reference/Proxy field.  Now, only the 1st one shows up.

This has meant a lot of manual update to "switch" the Record Picker around to move the (often) 2nd value into the 1st slot so that the most relatable value of information is still visible once the selection is made.

Otherwise, we must always show the Lookup field values on the form in Add/Edit mode; which can clutter up the page.
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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This specific change will be implemented later this year.

We care deeply about feedback, and had an extremely large early access program where we made decisions based on that feedback. In some cases, we didn't get it perfect. We know we won't be able to accommodate every single request in every feature, but have consolidated a list of things we want to improve with the record picker and the first is going out in August.
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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That is really good news to hear.
I'd like to note that I think the EA process for the record picker was an overwhelming success, on the whole. The feature as it was initially released into EA was... not that good, frankly. The feature that eventually hit wide release is extremely good. I think Harrison Hersch was heavily involved in that and I thought he did a terrific job.
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Harrison Hersch (QB), Quick Base Sr. Product Manager (Platform)

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Alex - thanks for the kind words!
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Thanks, Alex.  I agree--anything that has Harrison's fingerprints on it has a high likelihood of being a great success for our users and customers!
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Pat R

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Are there any plans to add a comments field to Dynamic form Rules?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Next year, we will be tackling a new evolution of forms, which will include a rethinking of form rules. We have not yet defined features for this, but this is a great idea and certainly something that could come to the new forms.  Thanks for the input.  
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INTERFACE SQL

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Any plans on the roadmap to add SQL cloud-based services (Azure and AWS) as data sources to create connected tables?  We use Qunect today, which is great, but a new data source service would be even better...
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Jay Jamison

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Stay tuned here.  Agree Qunect is great.  
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Tamra Butler

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When we create a special user list field, the ENTIRE list of users populates and you have to delete users to get to your list. Since my app has 3500 users, that's a bad deal. Can we create a custom user list from a dynamic user load that we can save for multiple reuse? I think you can create groups at the realm level but not at our app level.

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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Great idea. One suggested practice would be have the users in an employees/user table, so that you can control which appear via our record picker.  If that doesn't work, Tamra, please ping me at jjamison@quickbase.com, and I'll make sure we get someone to who might be able to work through this with you in more detail.  Thanks!
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Kat

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What's the best way to report bugs? I've tried a couple of times to report them through a support ticket, but it just seems to confuse them. I haven't seen a page that shows all known bugs and gives a way to report new ones, like a lot of products have. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right spot?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Thank you for your feedback.  We love our customer care team!  I particularly appreciate that when I open a case that humans are responding fast via email or phone with a non-automated, human response.  (And that's for everyone, not just for me because I'm some muckety muck here at the Base!) 

That said, we empathize with your feedback.  Sometimes it is hard to differentiate a true bug from a feature request from a behavior that one person loves, but another doesn't like. Our Care team has an escalation process where they can replicate bugs and submit them to product development teams which then get prioritized.

We also have Uservoice for things that are not clear bugs.

Today, we don't publicize our current bug list but our Care team can let you know if something is known.  I am thinking about with the team whether we might want to be more public about posting our known bug list, as I do think that that might be useful for customers.  
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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Historically, having submitted a lot of support tickets in my 14 years using Quick Base; my most successful interactions with the care team involve a video.  I use a very inexpensive video-tool (screencast-o-matic) and video my workflow.  I am also able to narrate this and explain much more easily "the problem".  This helps the care team replicate exactly what I am doing; which greatly helps them expedite the troubleshooting process.
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Kat

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To clarify, that wasn't meant as a knock against your care team, but rather that it didn't seem to be the sort of request that they expected to receive. It sounds like that is the expected route to go though, so I will try to be more clear when my tickets are "here's a bug, please let your developers know. I don't need help working around it, I just want them to be aware the bug exists," rather than "hey this is acting weird, can you help me with it?"
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INTERFACE SQL

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Any plans to increase the rate of frequency to refresh connected tables?
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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not yet.  that said, stay tuned, as our integrations strategy is one that we woudl say stay tuned on as we have a lot in motion here. 
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QuickBasePros (Laura Thacker), Champion

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Any plans to allow the scheduling of Subscriptions and Automations to a specific time instead of simply "Daily"
I'll eagerly await the answer to this, vis a vis my question below about Uservoice. This is the 4th top vote getting suggestion there https://quickbase.uservoice.com/forums/111823-quick-base-product-feedback/suggestions/3345995-schedule-subscription-and-reminders-on-a-specific and was marked as 'Verified' in 2015. That's for subscriptions.

More granular time of day control over automations has a further 90+ votes and was marked as 'gathering feedback' in June 2018. The situation seems to be that lots of development on Automations was basically halted when Matt Saforrian left QB...
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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We understand the concern on all fronts here. As with the other item above, the single most difficult part of our job is prioritization. What many people consider tablestakes, others might consider "too cumbersome" or even a bug. Development on Automations has far from stopped. In fact, we have been very vocal about where we misstepped with Automations, and how we corrected for it. What you experienced was a plethora of features that were used quicker than we ever expected. That required us to slow down on development of features, and focus on stability, performance and scale. We have two teams right now working on Automations.

We don't have immediate plans to increase the frequency of Automations or Subscriptions. We walk a fine line with offering these capabilities and also balancing things like performance and how applications scale. It is important to us that we don't just release more capabilities into the wild that could adversely impact an app.
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Kat

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The question wasn't about increasing frequency, it's about having more control about when exactly it fires. (Maybe we want an automation to run between the end of one working day and the beginning of the next, or a report run in the afternoon after data entry happens in the morning, etc.)
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Harrison Hersch (QB), Quick Base Sr. Product Manager (Platform)

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Hi Kat. I would be happy to jump in for Jay here. From a backend perspective, these are both very similar efforts with similar risks. Right now, we can balance those jobs and smooth them out across the platform. Solving this challenge is important, but we have been focused on other items that we are confident will provide value for all of our customers.
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INTERFACE SQL

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One last comment: You guys are rocking it with the direction you are taking Quick Base. Keep up the good work!
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Jay Jamison

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thanks!  we appreicate the support and the feedback--we aspire to get better every day!
Jay,

First, thanks for taking the time to do this! I think we can all agree at this point that these AMAs have been successful and this one is no exception.

Can you speak a little bit to the possibility of improving transparency/communication from Uservoice to official product roadmaps? Or to whether you think that's a need worth addressing?

For example, the current top suggestion on UV has 429 votes and was marked as 'Verified' in August of 2018. What does that mean? Seems that about half the top 10 vote getting suggestions are marked as 'Verified'. But UV seems to exist in its own corner of the QB universe.

Somewhat related, is UV or an equivalent planned to be included in the upcoming revamped Community ecosystem? I didn't think of this to mention to Evan in Miami but a tighter integration between UV <-> Community Forum <-> Release Notes would be pretty nice.
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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this is great input and we are tihnking a lot about this.  it is apparent to me that a few tihngs are true...  

first, i think that within our product team, there is a great deal of work we are doing to constantly try to listen and gauge user feedback and interest in different areas of our product.  

also, we are working hard to make the best prioritization decisions we possibly can, and this invariably means tradeoffs.  for example, we specifically chose to focus on bringing the new Grid and Exec Dashboards to market ahead of the work we're planning to rethink Forms.  and we intentionally chose that because we thought that prioritizing making Quick Base more approachable for end users is for now slightly higher in importance than making Form building better.  that's just one example, among hundreds of others, around us making prioritization decisions. 

now all that said, it is also very apparent to me that there is more we can and need to do to provide more transparency to our community around what we're choosing and why.  part of this is more engagement on the community.  part of this is probably me doing more blogging and updates as to our roadmap, adjustments on bug lists, uservoice intrepretation and choices, etc.  I think the net net is that we need to communicate out more often from Product to you as to what we're choosing to do and how we arrived at that prioritization.  I want us to get better here, but I don't yet have the concrete plan on how (yet).  

I appreciate very much the input though!
This is a great answer. To be clear, I don't think anyone doubts that your team is devoting lots of effort to take our feedback on board in your decisions about what to work on. It's hard to quibble with the minutia of those decisions when all the development that is happening has such high quality results. Thanks again, Jay.
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Evan Martinez, Community Manager

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I can also chime in and say that User Voice would remain the right place for user feedback on the product. We aren't planning to move that with the upcoming Community revamp.

I can say we are thinking a lot internally about how we can bridge that gap though and help make the feedback process easier and more transparent. We are trying to be really mindful about how we can knit the whole process more tightly together and remove barriers to giving feedback and knowing what happened to your feedback. The AMAs are one way we can trying to help connect the product team and all of you passionate Quick Base users more often and definitely keep your eyes peeled for more. 
knit the whole process more tightly together and remove barriers to ... knowing what happened to your feedback
Yes, this is it exactly. Thank you for putting it in few words. This is what I'm hungry for.
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Dwight Munson

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I have a question about the Dark UI: Will this be set at the realm level, app level, or user level? 

Also, are there any plans for a business, or in a specific app, to add company holidays to handle that date math for you? This would eliminate tons of relationships and formulas for me. 
+1 to the idea of app-wide system holidays. This comes up on the community forum all the time. You should create a Uservoice on that today. I'd vote for it.
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Jay Jamison, Chief Product and Technology Officer

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Good idea--i don't have a timeline on the app wide system holidays--might be a good topic for us to ponder in an upcoming hackathon.  WOudl be a nice thing to have there. 

Dark UI is currently part of Exec Dashboard--timing tbd on beyond that. 
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Evan Martinez, Community Manager

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Thanks so much to everyone for joining us for today's AMA!

We are wrapping up the live portion now but thank you for all the awesome questions and letting us know what was on your mind. 
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Micro Dev

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When are the kanban report going to be able to handle more than 10 groups?