Chatting with Tech Veteran Troy Stein of Camtasia and Snagit

Interview with Troy Stein of SnagitIn today’s business and educational environment, video marketing and learning is more important than ever. Snagit and Camtasia emerged before their time, when the possibility of streaming video was not even possible. But, coming out of a unique need, the team at Techsmith created a program ahead of its time, and has carved out a niche without alienating other potential users.

Camtasia is an elegant video production and editing software program with surprisingly intelligent features that focuses on the needs of video producers. Snagit, although developed first, is a screen capture (still and video images) originally developed to communicate technical points. Both now are utilized by professionals in videography, with Camtasia’s audience primarily being software developers, as well as professionals in fields as varied as social work to education.

InsiderApps sat down with Troy Stein, Vice President of Customer Advocacy, and Techsmith veteran, who was there at the beginning.

In exploring Camtasia and Snagit’s origins, it seems that you were at the forefront of digital video editing capabilities. How did Camtasia and Snagit come about?

TS: We started Techsmith about thirty years ago, and Snagit was a product that came out due to a business divorce, if you will, 25 years ago now. We had proprietary software and technology, and got involved with an investor. We thought we had made it into the big leagues, but then it became obvious, very quickly, that we needed to divorce. Since we had that proprietary technology, we knew we needed to develop something, and we ended up creating Snagit (a simple video editing and screen capture program).

"We had proprietary software and technology, and got involved with an investor. We thought we had made it into the big leagues, but then it became obvious, very quickly, that we needed to divorce."
Ok, so twenty five years ago, you developed a video editing program. And, I mean, I can barely wrap my head around that. Twenty five years ago, video streaming, and video technology software, was just so basic.

TS: Absolutely. We didn’t have the bandwidth, we didn’t have the CPU size…we only had graphic cards that could handle much at all. So, when we focused on video editing and screen capture, we were thinking beyond what was a primary function of what computers and Internet 1.0 were really capable of.

Snagit was initially developed as a way to communicate technical things by video. For example, as a software developer, I could have made thirty screenshots of instructions to communicate how to perform a task. But now I have thirty pages of instructions where a short video would work much better. From there, we expanded video editing capabilities and developed Camtasia.

Camtasia has an interesting niche in that you primarily focus on software developers. But you also have users who work in less technical fields, like using Camtasia to edit video coursework, for example. How did you find that balance?

TS: We built Camtasia to be a simpler model for people in the field who were not necessarily professional video editors, but who wanted their videos to look and feel professional. I think by focusing on that, on software developers who wanted to communicate complex technological tasks easily, we created a package that can be used by others who are looking for that capability. I think that’s really what sets us apart from our competitors.

What are some other aspects of Camtasia and/or Snagit that sets you apart from your competitors?

TS: We strive to make video editing as smooth and as easy as possible. So, we’ve built into Camtasia, for instance, the ability for the program to automatically identify “ums,” or if you’re recording something on the screen, and an email alert pops up. The software sees that screen pop-up alert, or hears that “um” and automatically marks it for deletion. You don’t have to go back, find that exact point where you said “um,” or a friend emails you and invites you to lunch, and then delete that interruption in your video. Camtasia does that automatically through what we call screen intelligence. We have another program, Audiate, that helps us also identify certain words and phrases, and makes them searchable in the video. It turns audio into text that is editable. Edit the text the way you want, and it edits the video.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs about growing and scaling their business.

TS: Focus, I think, drives your priorities and backlog. Having a specific use or niche doesn’t necessarily exclude potential users. It’s easy to feel that, by having a niche or specific focus, you’re leaving potential users behind, but that isn’t usually the case. Don’t embrace the fear of focusing on what you want to be the best at, and for whom.

What are some programs and apps that Techsmith uses to conduct business?

Chat service for individuals, teams, organizations and even software.

Alisa Cook
Alisa Cook is a former educator and researcher. She has written over forty books for entrepreneurial clients, and countless articles. In addiition, she has written four books on travel, business and health.

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