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VIPorbit Software International, Inc., is led by co-founder and CEO Mike Muhney, the co-inventor of ACT!® and co-creator of the contact management software category, a catalyst for the multi-billion-dollar CRM (customer relationship management) industry. With the launch of VIPorbit, Muhney created the Mobile Relationship Management software category to deliver relationship-building technology designed for the way people work today—on mobile devices.
VIPorbit mobile relationship manager apps help users build meaningful relationships, which lead to successful business. In VIPorbit, contacts, calendar and communications are seamlessly integrated, providing instant access to complete relationship details, quick scheduling, and effortless communication, including via social networks.
MO: How has your past experience with co-inventing ACT!® helped contribute to the direction and vision of VIPorbit?
Mike: My experience with ACT! validated the concept of creating a solution that helps professionals deal with more people, more effectively. I saw a need and set out to meet it. That need still exists, even more prevalently today with the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices. What we did with ACT! in the laptop era, we’re doing again, on a much larger scale.
MO: What problem is VIPorbit solving?
Mike: VIPorbit takes the independent silos of information stored in the native iOS apps (Contacts, Calendar, Email, Text, etc.) and seamlessly integrates them, creating a “dossier” on each of your contacts by capturing the information pertinent to your business or personal use and a chronological log of each interaction you have with them: calls, meetings, to-do’s, emails, texts, Skype conversations, and more. With VIPorbit, users have on-demand, instant recall to photographic memory like details on everyone in their network. And the data is device-resident, so users aren’t dependent on a connection to the Internet.
MO: Can you expand on what a Mobile Relationship Management (MRM) is and the challenges of creating a whole new software category?
Mike: The two greatest challenges in creating a new product or category of products are awareness and resistance to change. In such a vast sea of potential users, our first challenge is getting their attention. Once they know about it, the next hurdle is their resistance to change. People are accustomed to “making do” with the tools, or in this case apps, that they already have. We’ve created a better way to manage the mission critical tasks of managing contacts, calendars, and communication. Not only do we have to get their attention, we must remove as much of their resistance to change by demonstrating the return on their efforts. What they’re doing now takes longer and is much harder. Gaining awareness is our first barrier, once we’ve done that, showing the power and ease of using VIPorbit is much easier.
MO: You and Max Pucher co-authored the book, “Who’s In Your Orbit? Beyond Facebook–Creating Relationships That Matter” (2011). Can you provide our readers with some highlights or tips on how to create stronger relationships in their personal and professional lives?
Mike: Meaningful business has and always will come from meaningful relationships. In the book, we share four components of relationship strength: time, intensity, trust, and reciprocity. These components can’t be facilitated entirely via Facebook or Twitter. The concept of organizing contacts into Orbits, spheres of resource and influence, are foundation in the book and in the apps themselves. Today, the lines that separate our personal and professional networks are difficult to define. By grouping contacts into Orbits, we can deal with more people, more effectively. As we earn the trust of those in our network, perhaps even gain access to those beyond our network.
MO: What are some trends in your industry that you’re excited about?
Mike: The industry is growing more and more mobile-device enabled. We created ACT! during the emergence of the laptop. Back then, there were only three types of software programs: databases, word processors, and spreadsheets. Defining a new category opened the door not only for us, but for our competitors. We are excited that as the entire Industry continues to cater to mobile professionals, we will again lead the way.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Mike: Since the release of VIPorbit in 2011, I’ve been invited to speak at various conferences and events. Those opportunities always result in audience members telling me how vital ACT! was to their careers, and I’m able to share how VIPorbit brings the same powerful productivity tools to their everyday lives on their iPhone and iPad. As we continue with our product development, I’m excited about growing our user base, not solely for the success of VIPorbit as a company, but because we are able to contribute to the successes of our users on a daily basis. Now, that is exciting!
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