In the coming weeks, Grovo will be releasing a series of case studies containing detailed feedback from a few of Grovo’s early power users. We’ve been blown away by the responses so far – our users are already getting tremendous value from Grovo, and are excited about working with us to make the site even better.

Our first case study comes from John Sedivy, President and CEO of Analytica, a management consulting firm with offices in Cape Cod and Key West. A savvy businessperson with deep knowledge of the Web, John first started using Grovo in mid-September, and quickly became “hooked on the product.” He’s subsequently completed a number of courses, and has also recommended colleagues and friends to the site.

We spoke with John last Friday, and learned more about his experiences using Grovo, how he’s using Grovo at Analytica, and what he thinks could be better:

Grovo: John, thanks so much for speaking with us.

John Sedivy: It’s my pleasure.

G: To start, can you speak a little about Analytica and the services you offer?

JS: Sure. In a nutshell, we develop and bring innovative products to commercial markets. There are two components to our business – the back-end, which is product development, and a front-end business consulting capability. We’re currently productizing our consultancy – in other words, bringing the back-end product development capabilities to the forefront. We are unique in that we are capable of building a business around each individual product or product line – which is usually an afterthought or missed by innovators.

G: How did you first come to use Grovo?

JS: I found Grovo on Facebook through my association with Grovoʼs CEO, Jeff Fernandez. Jeff and I had crossed paths earlier in our careers and were friends on Facebook. I had noticed one of Jeffʼs Facebook updates about Grovo and was intrigued. The rest is history.

G: What were your initial impressions of the site?

JS: Well I started using it from a product evaluation standpoint. I wanted to use the alpha and provide some feedback. My initial reaction was that I thought Grovo was very fun, very modern, but as a super-user of many of these sites I wondered, “What is there to gain?”. I looked at the available courses and found myself thinking, “Well I’ve been to Amazon many times,” or, “I already know how to use Facebook.” But the more I worked with Grovo, the more I became hooked on the product.

G: That’s something we’re still working on: how do we make it clear that our lessons have something for everyone, from beginners all the way up to super-users.

JS: It’s an interesting problem because, you’re right, I think there’s a lot to be learned from the courses. For instance, I started my evaluation by watching Amazon, because I’m comfortable with the product, I have an account, I’ve been using the site for years. I tried to use Amazon as my baseline. And even with Amazon, I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few times where I found myself saying, “Boy, didn’t know I could do that.” Even the information about Amazon’s logo, how the smile goes from A to Z, that’s something minor I never realized. But from a business standpoint even that’s valuable information because it provides insight into branding and image.

G: Now, can you talk a bit about using a course for a site you hadn’t used before?

JS: Yelp is an example. I’d heard about Yelp before, had even been to the site a few times to see listings, but I just never got around to using it. My time is valuable, as is everyone’s, and I could never really justify spending a few hours learning how to use the site in any detail. The Grovo course on Yelp was nice because it tells you what the site’s used for, gets to the gist of it right up front, then walks you through the steps of creating an account and how to use it. The course imposes a bit of structure and discipline on you in a short amount of time, and then gets you to create something.

G: Is Yelp something you’d use for Analytica?

JS: Not exactly. But we work with clients who Yelp would be appropriate for. So now that I know how to use the site, should a client ask about Yelp, I can advise on whether it’s appropriate and, if appropriate, how to integrate Yelp into their overall business strategy. Just having that information is valuable, and I got it in a half hour.

G: That’s really good to hear, because that’s the exact kind of value we’re trying to deliver with Grovo.

JS: I think you’re on the right track.

G: Now, how are you using Grovo at Analytica?

JS: I’ve already begun distributing Grovo throughout my organization as a simple means of transferring knowledge on emerging websites. In my experience, one of the most difficult things is getting people to use a new tool, no matter how easy it is to use. And with Grovo, it’s such a small learning curve and makes it very easy to transfer knowledge. I could have someone sit online for hours figuring out how to use a site, or I could send them a Grovo lesson and get them up to speed in minutes.

G: Let’s change gears, and talk about what’s not working. What could be better on Grovo?

JS: We already spoke a bit about the problem of appealing to super-users, bringing people with a lot of Web expertise to the site. I think one way to address the problem would be to expand your library to provide more content about bleeding-edge sites, the stuff that’s really new and exciting and worthwhile. Those kinds of courses could be a hook for people who are traditionally early adopters. Then, as the sites themselves gained in popularity, the courses would have expanded relevance as well.

G: That’s a great point. Getting to those kinds of sites is definitely something in our roadmap. We already have a few bleeding-edge courses in the works. There’s a course on Quora, this really great question and answer site, coming out soon. But I agree, we need to do more sites like that. What else needs improving?

JS: It would be nice if the user could customize the email message when they invite friends. A form message doesn’t necessarily communicate the value of a lesson or course. But with a custom message, I can be very targeted and tell someone exactly why I think they should watch the lesson. It increases the chances that they’ll watch the lesson, and helps you gain users.

G: That’s a great point. This is actually something we’ll be addressing in the coming weeks.

JS: Ah, very good.

G: Thanks so much for your time, John. This was tremendous feedback.

JS: My pleasure. I’m excited to see how Grovo grows.

G: Us too.