Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 .

How to Network Like a Boss – Cass Phillips, San Francisco’s event queen, gives us some great tips on how to command a crowd on the first UberCast

So we’ve gone and started an UberConference podcast. We call it the UberCast. Using the power of our technology, we’ll interview some of the best and brightest minds in business to help you go about yours. First up is a name widely known in any Silicon Valley startup circle, Cass Phillips. 

You wouldn’t know it if you saw her in action, but Cass Phillips, owner of the popular event blog Web Wallflower, is actually an introvert. This can be a crippling trait for any business owner who needs to reach the right people at networking conferences. Lucky for you, she shares all her insider secrets on how to talk to anyone, become an influencer and connect with the crowd at any event.

Key Networking Tips:

  • People love to talk so really try to listen.
  • Add to the conversation with insight. Challenge the person you are having a conversation with. Be authentic!
  • Learn to be excited for others.
  • Carry an empty glass with you in case you need to duck out of a stale or unproductive convo.
  • Be honest, but only if you feel brave. If you are not truly interested in what the person has to say it’s okay to let them know you are not the right person to talk to. You can also politely offer to keep your eyes and ears open for someone they would want to connect to.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Friday, February 14th, 2014 .

You know how every so often you get roped into dealing with something that you really don’t want to be involved with?  I’m not talking something life-threatening like the Ebola Virus or listening to your uncle from Wisconsin lecture you about religion while you’re stuck in a car with him going to a funeral.

No, I’m talking about the modest little peeves of modern life, the ones that really get under your skin.

For instance, you’re sitting in the cafeteria at work, and a nice conversation is going on about the Academy Awards or the California drought or something interesting like that and then some wisenheimer in the group says this: “Hey, did you see that Justin Bieber got arrested?”

Oh, boy, here we go.  Next thing you know all ten of you are talking about Justin Bieber.  Including you.  You’re stuck.  Everyone has their views and all of a sudden you find yourself  saying you blame his father because you were reading on TMZ.com that he was there in the nightclub that night and also was involved in setting up blocking off the street so that Justin and his friend could have their idiotic drag race and then somebody says, ‘well, that’s not what I heard’ and then you have defend your sources on this topic and bam!  Fifteen minutes have gone by and it’s time to return to your desk.  As you sit down you realize that the fifteen minutes you spent talking about Justin Bieber makes your teeth hurt.

And don’t think you’re alone.  Look what happened to esteemed broadcast journalist Andrea Mitchell during a discussion the other day on the NSA.  There was breaking Justin Bieber news.  Look at the pain on her face.  It’s heartbreaking, and it’s happened to you, too.

This is roughly where I rank teleconference PINs: right up there with a group discussion of Justin Bieber.  They’re both just hellishly painful, unnecessarily pointless, and yet, somehow completely inescapable.

You’re part of a design team that has several remote participants (including you) and it’s time for the weekly teleconference.  You dial into the teleconference system and they give you a PIN number you have to use to participate.  The computer-generated voice rattles off twelve completely random digits.  You’re writing them down:

8-9-5-8-1-3… oh, man, your pen stopped working.

Try it again.

8-9-5-8-1-3-8-9… the woman at the desk next to you just got a delivery of a dozen roses from her new boyfriend and she is squealing with happiness.

All right, let’s give this one more try.

Okay, you write: 8-9-5-8-1-3-8-9-4-9-7-5

Whew.  Got it.  That only took six hours.

Time to key it into your phone.  8-9-5-8-1-… wait, is that a 3 or a 5 I wrote down?  Call back and get the PIN all over again.  Yes, it was a 3.

And on it goes.

That’s why UberConference doesn’t use PINs.  You go to the website, log in, find your conference and click.  Voila.  Everyone’s there, you can see who’s there, and you’re ready to go.  It’s beautiful.  This is gonna go great, you think to yourself.

And then the person running the conference call says: “Hey, everybody, welcome to the call.  Before we get started, did you see that Justin Bieber was arrested?”

ARRRGGHH.

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

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 .

It was great sponsoring the Startup Grind event last night that featured the fireside chat with Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest. The event was packed, and it was nice to see the big turn out and have the opportunity to meet a bunch of new people. It was also cool to be back in Google Start Up Labs, where the event was hosted, which was also the first office for Firespotter, though in those early days we were in the building across the street. The new building is even nicer.

Matt shared a number of interesting learnings and experiences from his career starting from getting his dream job at Apple as an intern on the early iPod team through his success founding Nest.  It was interesting to hear about the secrecy and corporate culture inside of Apple and how that translated into successful PR for the company.  Matt talked about how many of the things he learned and people he met at Apple evolved into the strategies he used and people he hired at Nest. He also shared several insightful tips on founding a company, creating great products, working with VCs, and building a rock star team.

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 .

Demoing your startup’s new product without PowerPoint is tough. Competing for an award judged by two very experienced CEOs and a highly respected VC is even tougher.Hosted by former TechCrunch co-editor (now current DEMO Conference Exec Producer) Erick Schoenfeld, the inaugural DEMO Mobile in San Francisco had UberConference CEO Craig Walker sitting with Garrett Camp, Founder & Chairman of Uber and StumbleUpon andChi-Hua Chien, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. (Yes, the UberConference team are Über users – we get asked that one a lot.)

This year’s mobile-and-productivity class included FieldLens, Tylr Mobile, TouchMail, and Altia Systems, who walked away with a DEMOGod award. UberConference CEO Craig Walker actually launched his previous company GrandCentral (today known as Google Voice) at the Demo Conference in 2006.

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