As Mike Downey posted on the FlashTeam weblog, some of the Flash Team (as well as myself) are in Tokyo all week doing customer visits. The meetings kick off tomorrow. Today (Monday) we will be meeting with the Macromedia Japan office, touching base, and getting ready for the week.
So what exactly are we doing here? Well, basically, we meet with two customers a day for about 3 - 5 hours each. We find out what they have been working on, how they use Flash, what problems they have run into and what features they want in Flash. We then spend about an hour talking to them about 8Ball (next full version of Flash) and showing some early demos and mock-ups. Finally we then get their feedback on what we show them, and drill down on the details.
Once we are done with the meeting, we tweak the presentation based on the feedback / reaction, and then do it all again. Tweaking the demo, and how we plan to implement features with each meeting.
It is a pretty intensive process, and very tiring. However, it has been super valuable thus far, helping us raise the priority of some items, and giving us insight on how to better implement other features.
This is our third wave of such meetings (first was in San Francisco, and second was in New York City). After Tokyo, we will be doing two more waves (Europe, and probably Los Angeles).
This is just one of many tools we use to get feedback and input on 8Ball. Some of the other ways we get info are the wish list (yes, we do read it!), bug reports, user group meetings, community discussions (lists, forums, weblogs), less formal customer visits and advisory boards.
Anyways, since I am in Tokyo, it might take me a little longer than normal to respond to any emails. I should be able to catch up with everything at least once a day.