With over 15 years of product-building experience, Doodle’s Chief Product Officer Stephanie Leue knows what she’s talking about. Having previously worked at Contentful and PayPal, she understands what it means to put customers first and find practical solutions to everyday problems.
The scheduling world has changed a lot in the last few years. From COVID and a change in how we work to a boom in technology and automation, Stephanie looks at where we are now and what Doodle’s plans are for the future.
What’s happening in the scheduling world we live in
There are two ways we can look at this - the landscape of scheduling tools and how people are actually scheduling.
If I start with the tools, the likes of Doodle and Calendly, the market is very fragmented right now. That can make it hard for users to differentiate one from the other. Until recently both us and Calendly shared a very similar space (SMBs and personal use cases). We’ve decided to expand in that area because we can see so much potential. It feels like Calendly might be going in a different direction.
At Doodle, we’re focusing on simplicity. Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to meet our users' needs. Rather, we want them to find using our products easy and crucially save time - that’s why they’ve come to us in the first place.
That doesn’t come without its challenges though. There are lots of new companies entering the scheduling space and while we have the advantage of a huge customer base, that might not last. We also have a legacy product, so can’t necessarily be as fast as some of the new, smaller competitors. We can’t just roll something out and hope it works, we need to have a clear strategy (with our customers at the heart of it) and a team that knows how to execute it. I’m confident we do.
In regards to how people are actually scheduling, there are a couple of things to consider.
First, I think that people are automating things like their schedules more than ever. Most people now accept that getting a good work/life balance is important, so they are using tools, like Doodle, to achieve it. There are also more ‘no code’ tools than we’ve ever seen, so setting up an automated workflow that fits into your life is easy.
Second, and I might be controversial here, but I don’t think growth in remote and hybrid work is leading to more meetings. Instead, I would suggest it’s making our personal lives more intertwined with our professional ones which leads us to schedule differently. Yes, we can be more spontaneous but we have to adjust our mindset to a different kind of planning.
On top of both these points, I think it’s also important to say that people are struggling to set boundaries. We’re stressed and burnt out. A lot of this comes from people working in a new way and not adjusting their planning to suit. Something that Doodle can help to sort out.
Where is scheduling going in the future
For Doodle, our users tell us they love it because it's simple. To stay future-proof, we need to become the simplest yet most effective scheduling solution there is. One that integrates into our users' lives seamlessly.
We’ve already started working on that. At the start of 2023, we made it a priority to optimize the time it takes to create a meeting. This included a new preview option for organizers of meetings, a time zone selector and an autosave feature so people don’t lose all their info if something happens and their connection is lost. The faster you can create your Booking Page or Group Poll, the more time you have to do everything else you want to in your life.
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the working world is constantly changing and that means more scheduling problems to overcome. Our planning has us thinking about all of this and constantly staying in tune with what users need. What the Doodle of the future will offer is exciting and will see more tools to increase flexibility even further - a core reason why people come to us.
The crucial thing I’d want people to take away from all of this is that while the future of scheduling looks to get ever more complex, at Doodle, we’re going to strive to make it as easy as possible. Life is hard, scheduling doesn’t have to be.