Monday, May 5th, 2014 .

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Congratulations to UberConference for winning two Communicator Awards. The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 600+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. Our mobile apps and our “Everything You Love About Conference Calls” video were featured with the award.

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Friday, May 2nd, 2014 .

(INT. BEVERLY HILLS LAW OFFICE CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY)

An ATTORNEY sits alone in an immense conference room of a law office in front of computer. On the screen is an UberConference call and the faces of FOUR PEOPLE on the screen: GARY, BECKY, VERNON, and ANTOINE.

ATTORNEY

Okay, everyone, welcome to the official sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball club. As you will recall, this is an open auction with no minimum.

BECKY

Excuse me?

ATTORNEY

Yes, Becky?

BECKY

“Basketball club?” What is that about?

ATTORNEY

Our firm has been hired to conduct an auction of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball club. What is your question?

BECKY

Oh. I see. Because I thought this was for a pair of hedge clippers. I saw this ad on Craigslist and they said I should call this number. Did I dial the wrong number?

ATTORNEY

No. You dialed correctly. This is the number we had in the Craigslist ad. Would you like participate in the auction?

BECKY

Well, I was really just looking for something to trim my hedges…

ATTORNEY

I’d be willing to throw in a nice set of hedge clippers myself if you win the bidding.

BECKY

But I don’t know if I really want a basketball team…

VERNON

(interrupting)

Can we get this started? I have to leave for work pretty soon.

Attorney clicks on Vernon’s image on the UberConference screen and goes to his Facebook page. We see a burly and jovial-looking guy in a security guard uniform.

ATTORNEY

We’ll start right now, Vernon. How’s the warehouse you’ve been guarding?

VERNON

Fine. So, uh, listen, here’s my bid. I happen to have a pallet of video games I’m willing to trade for the Clippers.

We HEAR loud movie sounds on the call.

VERNON

What is that?!

ATTORNEY

It’s coming from Gary.  Gary?

GARY

Yeah.

ATTORNEY

What is that noise?

GARY

I’m watching “Space Jam.”

ATTORNEY

Can you turn it off, please?

GARY

No, this is the good part.

VERNON

There is no good part in “Space Jam.”

ATTORNEY

Gary, I’m going to mute you for now.

Attorney mutes Gary on the conference call.

ATTORNEY

So, Vernon, you are offering a pallet of video games in exchange for the Los Angeles Clippers.

VERNON

Yup.  Classics from the 1990s.  In the original packaging.

ATTORNEY

Any estimate on the value?

VERNON

Fifty.  Maybe sixty bucks.  Solid.

ATTORNEY

Okay, let’s see what Gary has to offer.

Attorney unmutes Gary and the movie is blasting away. He quickly mutes Gary again.

ATTORNEY

Let’s get back to Gary. Antoine, what are you offering?

ANTOINE

A deadly ten foot jump shot. Deadly.

ATTORNEY

Okay.  Ummm.  Why would we want that?

ANTOINE

Well, uh, who doesn’t want a guy with a deadly accurate ten-foot jump shot?

ATTORNEY

You want to play for the Clippers?

ANTOINE

Of course.  I’ve been working out for the past three weeks.  I broke a guy’s ankle the other day doing a crossover.

ATTORNEY

You did?

ANTOINE

Well, I broke his ankle after I tried to do a crossover and tripped and fell on his ankle. But you get the point.

ATTORNEY

The thing of it is, Antoine, the Clippers don’t really have a basketball team anymore.  The owner refused to sell so the league shut the club down.

ANTOINE

Oh.  I guess I missed that.  Well, then I’m gonna pass.

ATTORNEY

Fair enough.  Let me check on Gary again.

He unmutes Gary and the movie is still blasting away.

GARY

(to himself)

Marvin the Martian.

Attorney hangs up on Gary.

VERNON

That pallet of video games is starting look pretty good right now, isn’t it?

(Attorney sighs.)

ATTORNEY

Do you have any copies of Super Mario World?

VERNON

One hundred and sixty three copies.  Never been used.

ATTORNEY

Sold!

Friday, April 25th, 2014 .

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Congratulations to CEO and co-founder Craig Walker who will be receiving the 2014 Georgetown Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Outstanding Alumni Entrepreneur. Craig was chosen by the board of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance for his level of innovation and service to the entrepreneurial community, demonstration of positive impact on business, and other qualities of an entrepreneur and Georgetown graduate. The award will be given as part of Entreprelooza on Georgetown’s campus.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 .

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You asked for it, and we delivered. We are pleased to announce a fantastic new addition to our suite of productivity applications with screen sharing. Our award-winning teleconferencing service now supports real-time collaboration with screen sharing. (In addition to recent integrations with Google Hangouts, Google Doc add-ons, and in-conference document sharing.)

Facilitating a screen share is as easy as clicking the “Share Your Screen” button in the bottom left corner of the UberConference dashboard in Google Chrome. Presenters without the UberConference extension will be prompted to install it the first time they screen share, also having the option to share their full screen or a specific tab. Viewers will automatically be able to see the presenter’s screen view on their own screens using any browser.

Friday, April 11th, 2014 .

Last week, we began our analysis of the eleven types of people who can ruin a perfectly good teleconference.  We looked at the Repeating Everything Everyone Else Already Said Guy and the Irrelevant Topic Gal.  These are about two of eleven types Conference Call Ruiners have identified in my academic research.  (Please note my credentials: I am ABD (all but dissertation) at the University of Duluth (France) in Human Behavior, so I think I can confidently state I AM an expert.

Today we’re going to look at the Completely Unrelated Anecdote Guy and the Hello? Is This Thing Working? Gal.

First up: the Completely Unrelated Anecdote Guy. At first, this type can be charming.  He’s got a million great stories: his life on the high seas as a crab fisherman, the years he spent in minor league hockey, cutthroat tales on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.  Oh, I could go on and on.  And so could he.

Here’s how this thing sort of plays out:

CALLER 1: Now as far as the language in Hold Harmless sections here.

CALLER 2: It’s fairly standard language.

CALLER 1: And that’s our problem —

COMPLETELY UNRELATED ANECDOTE GUY: Did I ever tell you guys about the wrestling match I was in in the Phillipines back in 1979?

CALLER 1: What?!  What does that have to do with what we’re talking about?

COMPLETELY UNRELATED ANECDOTE GUY: Well, we’re talking about holds here, right?  Let me tell you, I was working the professional circuit in those days.  Very popular character: Uncle Sam the Hammer.  Patriotic type.  Striped pants.  Red, white and blue outfit.  Top hat.  Although in the Phillipines, the Uncle Sam the Hammer character was a villain.  Anyway, one particularly steamy night in Manila —

CALLER 2: Excuse me, but what does this have to do with the Hold Harmless language?

COMPLETELY UNRELATED ANECDOTE GUY: I’m talking about a hold that wasn’t harmless.  In fact, I’ve problems with regular urination since then.

CALLER 1: Eeeeww!  Get out you.  Hang up on him.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED ANECDOTE GUY: I was at a hanging once.

The Completely Unrelated Anecdote basically is a narcissist. They are staring into every situation and seeing themselves. In the Greek myth of Narcissus, Narcissus was so enamoured of themselves as he stared into his reflection in a pond and then fell in and drown.

Similarly, the best way to manage this person on a conference call is to let them know two things:

1. If they tell one more anecdote, they will be hung up on.
2. You’re not kidding.

They will respond thusly: “Sorry. You know, I worked in the merchant marine once with a guy who had a million stories.”

Once this happens, you will hang up on the person. When they call back in, remind them you weren’t kidding. And that you have one finger on the hangup button on their line.

We now come to the Hello? Is Thing Working? Hello? Gal.

The answer is: Yes. Yes, it’s working. Stop asking that question. We all know you can hear us. Stop pretending. It goes like this:

CALLER 1: Okay, as far as Thursday’s agenda,

HELLO GAL: Hello? Hello?

CALLER 2: Yeah, Denise. We hear you.

HELLO GAL: Is this thing working?

CALLER 1: Yes, it’s working. Now, as far as Thursday–

HELLO GAL: Can you all hear me?

CALLER 2: Yes, we can hear you.

HELLO GAL: I can hear you guys. But can you hear me? Hello?

CALLER 1: YES!  WE CAN HEAR YOU!

HELLO GAL: Gosh, Bob, you don’t have to yell.

CALLER 1: Good. Thursday’s agenda will have–

HELLO GAL: Hello? I think I just lost the connection. Are you all there?

At this point, things are about to turn ugly. What all of you could do is start yelling at her. But what does that get you? Nothing, my friends. Here’s what you all do. Sit perfectly still for a minute, all of you. Nobody moves or makes a sound.

She’ll keep asking if you’re and when you don’t respond, she’ll think she’s lost the call. She’ll hang up and you’re in the clear. You can finish the call without her.