The humans behind Avidbots: Meet April Riddett
Welcome back to the humans behind Avidbots, where we profile the fun and creative minds behind Neo.
We’re delighted to chat with April Riddett, Product Manager at Avidbots.
A member of the Product Team, April’s cross-functional role helps manage and problem solve customer needs while also developing Avidbots’ long-term product roadmap.
April’s ingenuity, personality and passion for robotics are representative of fellow Avidotters, so we can’t wait to hear her insights!
What initially attracted you to Avidbots?
The technology behind Neo is incredibly robust, and I liked that Avidbots kept everything in-house. Avidbots seemed dedicated to putting out a product that solves customer problems effectively rather than just keeping up with the next buzzy technology.
When did you first become interested in product management?
About two years into my career. I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and a minor in robotics, and I started in tech support then moved into electrical system design.
I found that I missed the connection to the end user that I had when working in tech support, and I missed the problem-solving aspect of hearing customer problems and working to solve them.
I wanted to find a role where I could solve customer problems more strategically than I was in tech support.
How has working at Avidbots given you additional insights into product management?
Neo is such an interesting product because we have to manage the integration of Neo into an existing workplace environment. Neo works best when it becomes part of the routine at a customer site rather than something ‘special’ that the operators have to deal with.
Helping customers see Neo as an asset rather than a new, complicated piece of hardware is a challenge unique to Avidbots. It’s very gratifying to see customers who name their Neos and really see Neo for the value it brings to their team.
What’s your proudest moment over the past year?
My proudest moment has been seeing how much of an impact Neo can have on an organization. We have deployed into warehouses that were constantly dusty and dirty, and Neo has helped them become clean and shiny again.
You can see the impact the renewed environment has on the employees, and it’s so cool to see us helping people take more pride in their work and environment.
Who’s your favorite robot besides Neo?
This changes a lot for me, but right now it’s HyperShock and the team from BattleBots! I loved the tenacity and determination they demonstrated in the last season while remaining committed to having fun!
What are you into outside of work?
FIRST Robotics! I volunteer extensively with the organization, both in Canada and the U.S. It’s a fantastic organization aimed at recognizing and elevating students who are talented in STEM fields through robotics competitions. Some of the best teams in the world are right here in Southern Ontario!
If you had your own personal Neo, how would you decorate it?
Metallic purple, with some sweet neon yellow pinstriping.
If you were to take Neo out on a date, what type of food would you order?
Italian. I think the cylindrical brushes would do great with spaghetti…
What advice would you give your younger self at the beginning of your career?
You have to ask for opportunities that you want and advocate for yourself to further your career. People won’t know that you want something until you ask for it, and the worst they can say is no, which leaves you in the same situation you are in now.
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