Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 .

appslogohd

We are excited to announce that we are one of the first Google Apps Premier Technology Partners. This builds upon our existing integrations with document sharing in Google Drive, integrating video conferencing through Google Hangouts, and in-browser calls through Google Chrome. The program will offer our team additional product, technical, marketing, sales, program, relationship, and support benefits to bring UberConference to more people.

 

Our team is excited to build even more integrated solutions with Google Apps services. Our customer base has been integral in utilizing the tools we have built to work seamlessly with Google Apps. The Weather Company uses our Google Drive integration daily. Ferrazzi Greenlight saves 15 minutes every meeting by driving more productive calls through Google Hangouts. The Chrome and Gmail integrations make it easy for AdRoll advertisers to click on any email or phone number and initiate a conference call.
We are looking forward to offering new product features in the Google Apps Marketplace and continuing to work with Google to bring richer solutions to more users everywhere.

Friday, June 6th, 2014 .

There you are, sitting in your office, crunching through some dreary piece of work you absolutely have to get done today or else the company will fail and you’ll all lose your jobs and your children will starve, and as you wander the streets in desperation, (you and your family) you’ll be attacked by hordes of locusts and your bones picked clean and then the civilization in which you are an integral cog will vanish into the dust of history, so better finish that report. Or whatever it is you’re working on.

You look out the window and it’s a lovely summer day.  There’s people out there having fun!  What the…?!  There’s women out there in sundresses and sandals, walking around eating ice cream and laughing.  And there’s guys out there in tank tops and shorts, lolling around on lawn chairs, drinking beers and grilling sausages. Mmm… grilled bratwurst… That would taste so good right now.  A nice cold beer.  Yeah, that’s it.  That’s the ticket.  You just sit there and stare longingly out the window, thinking happy thoughts about women in sundresses and guys on lawn chairs and–

“Hey, how’s that project we’re working coming along?”

You snap out of your reverie.

“Oh, yeah, that,” you say to your co-worker.  “Just working on it now. Should be done with it pretty soon.”

“Good, because I’m gonna need your part of it by tomorrow morning,” your co-worker says.  “Because if you don’t turn your part of it in by tomorrow morning the company will fail and we’ll all lose our jobs and our children will starve, and as we wander the streets in desperation (you, me and all of our families) we’ll be attacked by hordes of locusts and our bones picked clean and then the civilization we are an integral cog in will vanish into the dust of history. So I guess what I’m saying is if you need to work late…”

“No problem,” you say.  “I’ll make sure you get it by the morning.”

Your co-worker moves on and you go back to day-dreaming and staring out the window and feeling, well, just sad and unproductive.

It’s summer now.  It’s hard to concentrate and sometimes hard to get work done.  If you were to Google ‘how to stay productive during the summer’ you’ll find any number of articles with helpful tips on how you can stay as productive in the summer as you were last winter when you came into work despite the blizzard and still managed to get a full eight hours of concentrated work in.

I don’t have eight tips. Or ten. Or even five.

I have one tip: take your vacation.

Americans work too many hours. Studies published on the economics website FRED showed that Americans work an average of 1,700 hours per year.  Compare that with the French (who, for some reason, are epitomized by us as the height of a leisurely approach to life), who work less than 1,500 hours per year. Which works out to way more than a month less per year than us.

Well, that’s the French, you say. Now how about the Germans? There’s a hard-working, rich and successful nation. They must be working way more than us, right?  Nope.  Germans work even less than the French!  The hard-working Germans work 1,400 hours per year, which means they are working nearly two months less per year than us.

Yet the last time I checked, the Germans still somehow managed to be driving around in BMWs, drinking excellent beer and walking on the beach in exceptionally sensible shoes and high quality black socks.

So, this summer, take your vacation. You don’t even have to go anywhere. Turn off the smartphone, set up an automated response to your email saying you are going to be out of the office for the next two weeks, and relax. Stay up too late. Sleep in. Take a nap. Eat the wrong foods. Go dancing in a smoky, crowded blues bar and not worry that you’re gonna be a wreck tomorrow. And don’t wear anything that was dry cleaned.

It will do your body and soul good. You’ll come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on another year.

Look, God created the entire universe and then took a day off.

So you too can take a couple of weeks off to sit in a lawn chair with your bare feet in your kids’ wading pool, a beer in your hand and bask in the aroma of bratwurst.

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 .

YouTube sensation Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox have tackled a new challenge – bringing Alex Cornell’s hit “I’m On Hold” to our users in a new way. In September 2012, one of our co-founders, Alex Cornell, wrote our featured UberConference hold song, aptly titled “I’m On Hold”. The song quickly resonated with our customers and appeared in publications all over the web ranging from TechCrunch to Fast Company to the Wall Street Journal. We asked arranging genius, Scott Bradlee, to rework the song in as many styles possible. The results of their efforts completely surpassed our expectations, and — we hope — will end hold waiting boredom once and for all.

Proving that everything new can be old again, pianist Scott Bradlee has become a viral pop sensation after creating a series of clips for YouTube that finds him and his ad hoc group Postmodern Jukebox reworking 21st century pop hits in a variety of vintage styles — transforming Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” into a ’50s-style doo wop number, giving Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” a ’20s jazz accent, crossing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” with Irish folk music, and showing how Ke$ha’s “Die Young” would work as a classic country tune.

As Bradlee wrote on his website, “My goal with Postmodern Jukebox is to get my audience to think of songs not as rigid, ephemeral objects, but like malleable globs of Silly Putty. Songs can be twisted, shaped, and altered without losing their identities — just as we grow, age, and expire without losing ours.” When not busy with his Postmodern Jukebox sessions and live appearances, Bradlee also served as musical director for the “immersive theater” project Sleep No More.

dont-stop

Friday, May 9th, 2014 .

We’ve worked our way through four of the irritating conference call types you’ll inevitably meet.  Let’s do a quick review:

1. The Repeating Everything Everyone Else Already Said Guy

2. The Irrelevant Topics Gal

3.  The Completely Unrelated Anecdote Guy

4.  The Hello?  Is Thing Working?  Hello? Gal

Pretty annoying bunch, aren’t they?  Well, I’ve got a couple more subspecies to go into today.

First up, The Wait, I Didn’t Get That Document Gal.  This subspecies also goes by another name: The Big Fat Liar.  This woman never seems to receive that one key document you need to come to a decision in this conference call.

Does this sound familiar?

CALLER #1: Okay, now let’s take a look at what we’re proposing for pricing.

WAIT, I DIDN’T GET THAT DOCUMENT GAL: I’m sorry. I didn’t seem to get that document.

CALLER #1: We emailed it to you last week.

WIDGTDG: I’ve been having problems with my email server.  I don’t think arrived.

CALLER #1: But we had an “Acknowledge receipt before opening” routine on the email.

WIDGTDG: My assistant must have opened it.  I just don’t have a copy.

CALLER #1: Well, we also FedExed it.  And you signed for it.

WIDGTDG: Not my signature.

CALLER #1: And then we had it messangered to you.

WIDGTDG: I’m sorry, but I don’t remember signing for it.

CALLER #1: That’s why we had a photo taken of you signing for it.

WIDGTDG: That’s my twin sister.

CALLER #1: You’re just a big fat liar, aren’t you?

(Long silence.)

WIDGTDG: Perhaps.

As we have seen, the lengths this person will go to to deny having the document in question are extraordinary and constantly defeat your best efforts.  And now, finally, there is a solution: Screen sharing. You click the screen sharing button on your UberConference call menu. Voila, there it is. Right there staring her in the face. She can’t deny she got it or blame someone else for losing it. All she can do at this point is hang up and go away.  And then you’ve won.

We now move on to one of the most irritating Conference Call types: The Youth Sports Fanatic Dad.  First of all, let me be clear: I think that women athletes are tremendous.  One of my favorite sports to watch is the NCAA Women’s Softball Championships.  Incredibly exciting and fascinating contests played at very high level of athleticism and skill and intrigue.

On the other hand, there is only thing duller and more painful than watching nine year-old girls play softball: listening to one of the dads talk about it. There you on a conference call trying to get some business done and this guy is describing in excruiating detail a sequence of pitches that his daughter, Bethany, fouled off until she hit “this rocket just over the second base girls’ head” and drove home three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Your brain is searing from the pain of listening to this, isn’t it? You’ve heard this guy go on and on, as if the game between the Pink Cheetahs (Bethany’s team) and the Blue Girlie Girls on Saturday was a battle between the very forces of good and evil in the universe.

The basic question to pose to this guy: Could you please, in the name of all that is holy, stop talking about Bethany’s softball team?

Fortunately, UberConference provides a solution: Mute. You can mute this guy. Just tell him if says one more word about nine year-old girls softball, you’re going to mute him.

“But the ump–

Mute is hit and the conference call goes forward.