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.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 .

Webby_LogoHelp UberConference win a People’s Voice Award!

UberConference has been nominated for Best Mobile Productivity App in The Webby Awards. To be a Finalist our content, structure, navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall product experience was assessed.

This year, The 18th Annual Webby Awards received 12,000 entries from all 50 US states and over 60 countries worldwide. We are so pleased to be in such great company and send the best to all nominees!

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 .

screensharing-1

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.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 .

We created UberConference to make your day more enjoyable and productive. When we launched, we joined an ecosystem of other apps that had the same mission and since then we have seen other, new apps join us. We recently decided to make a series on this blog where we recommend some of our other favorite apps in Google’s Chrome Web Store. We hope that you enjoy and find it useful!

Any.DO-Logo-+-NameAny.do: If you use dozens of post-its or a sheet of paper or a word document to keep track of your to-do list, then Any.do is going to be a much needed breath of fresh air. The app, which has a sparse and intuitive interface, is available on iOS, Android and in the Chrome Web Store, so you can keep track of your to-dos wherever you are and they remain synced. You might also enjoy some of its other features:

  1. Drag & drop to plan your agenda
  2. Add reminders, so you never forget a thing
  3. Attach notes, or use them as sub-tasks
  4. Embedded Gmail features let you quickly turn emails into actions

asana

Asana: Asana’s tagline is “Move out of email and into Asana.” While our team hasn’t completely forsaken email, Asana has cut back heavily on the back and forth and has made it much easier to track where individual products stand. One of the greatest accomplishments of Asana is how much it cuts back on meetings and needless paperwork tracking progress of projects, freeing up more time for actual work! There is a premium plan for larger teams, but the service is free if your team has less than 15 members.

Evernote_Logo

Evernote: Evernote promises to help you remember everything. It does. With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use. You can use Evernote to keep yourself on track or to collaborate with your team by sharing files, notes and links.

 

Let us know what you think!

Monday, June 30th, 2014 .

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“I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans.” -James Freeman, Blue Bottle CEO

Blue Bottle has grown into a network of cafes, wholesale partners, an espresso cart, and some vintage German coffee roasters. With more than 300 employees and locations in The Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City and now, Tokyo, the growing business needed a seamless way to stay connected.

Blue Bottle’s CFO, David Bowman discovered UberConference when he dialed into his first call without a PIN number–he’s been a loyal user ever since. Bowman not only handles the company’s finances, but also has some responsibility for IT (what software the com- pany invests in and services it) as well as managing the company’s eCommerce site.

UberConference Makes Acquisitions Easier

UberConference made things especially easy for the Blue Bottle team during the acquisitions of both Tonx and Handsome Coffee in Los Angeles. Bowman was constantly on the phone with lawyers on the other side going back and forth with paperwork. He found these calls were effective and specific features of UberConference had a strong advantage over his previous service, freeconferencecall.com. There were two features of UberConference that Bowman clearly preferred up front.

First, was that UberConference gave a much more professional impression. “Tactically, I hated hearing, ‘Thank you for calling freeconferencecall.com,’” he said. “Secondly, I like the ease of dialing in with UberConference–no long PIN code to remember. The annoyance of dialing in was eliminated, and that’s actually a huge deal for us.”

UberConference Helps Connect a Spread Out Team

With a geographically spread out staff, much of David’s week involves checking in over conference calls. Each major Blue Bottle department has an UberConference line, and UberConference provides a quick way for everyone to dial into meetings. Keeping connected from The Bay Area to Tokyo can be a challenge, but UberConference has elim- inated that communication barrier.

“I love using UberConference with Google Hangouts–the controls in the sidebar are useful when monitoring large calls. There have been a couple of times where our founder has led a call to announce something, and in that case there are 50-80 people joining. When that happens, I’m able to look over everyone and mute those who need to be muted to keep the call running smoothly.”

Other factors Bowman cited were UberConference’s reasonable pricing, the integrations with Google Apps, and the thoughtfulness behind its user experience. “It’s a really solid product,” he concluded.

Read more about Blue Bottle Coffee and our other customer profiles, here.