Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 .

He’s a game changer and an innovator…and all over the place. Ben Huh, the guy behind LOL catsand many other internet crazes is a busy man. He says he takes at least 2 or 3 conference calls a day…and hates them! Major downer for a guy having so much fun at work. We discussed what’s wrong with the current tech and how apps like ours at UberConference (and a few others) are changing that.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

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.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 .

Want to share a presentation during a conference call? Or a meeting agenda for people to follow? ÜberConference now makes it simple for you or anyone in your conference call to share notes, documents, and files with everyone else on the call. For free. See how it works:

Creating an intuitive document management system takes smart thinking, and companies like Box and Evernote do a great job with these core features and more. Which is why we’re happy to announce that ÜberConference has integrated with Box and Evernote to bring integrated document sharing to all conference calls. Just link your Box or Evernote account to your ÜberConference account and choose which files to share.

When you share items during a call, we add a thumbnail of the document to the ÜberConference and all participants can access it by clicking on it. Each participant’s view is independent, so different people can view different files at the same time. At the end of the call, links to the notes and files are included in the call summaries for easy reference.

Box makes it incredibly easy to view and share all types of files and business documents, like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Acrobat files, right in the browser through its integration. The embedded Box widget has a number of smart control features built in so you can page through documents, rotate and resize images, and switch in and out of full screen view all within UberConference.

Evernote is an awesome way for people to remember everything, and many ÜberConference users already use our feature for automatically saving call summaries to their Evernote account. With the new release of Evernote Business, it’s even easier to collaborate on shared business notes, and we are excited to be one of the first companies to develop an integration with this new functionality. We have also added in another smart, Related Notes function that Evernote offers, which will automatically find notes that you might want for the call based on the conference name and participants in the call.

If you haven’t signed up for a Box or Evernote account already, you should check them out now. New Box users can also get 10 GB of extra space if you sign up at www.box.com/UberConference

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Friday, March 29th, 2013 .

At UberConference we strive to create the best conferencing calling experience ever, and that extends even to the smaller details like the hold music people hear when waiting for a conference call to begin. Hold music may seem more like a necessary evil than an area for innovation, but we view it as another opportunity for us to touch our users in a positive way, and maybe even make their day a little better.

The challenge with any filler music is that everyone has different tastes, so some sort of “elevator music” is usually chosen for these types of waiting-for-a-call scenarios. While this “easy listening” music is intended to be less annoying, the fact that it is heard so often actually makes it more annoying, in some cases. Combine this with the building frustration a person feels when having to wait for others to join a call, and you are left with a pretty sub-optimal user experience.

So how do you choose a default hold music if there isn’t a great option already out there? In UberConference’s case we decided to write our own. Before we launched our co-founder and Head of Design, Alex Cornell, wrote and performed a whole new song, titled “I’m on Hold”, which you can find on SoundCloud. The song has friendly, country sound with a nice little rhythm, and the lyrics have some fun with the actual experience of being on hold and the thoughts that go through people’s heads as they are waiting. Basically it is a little joke intended to lighten up the mood of a person in the common and not-so-fun situation of waiting on others.

Not a week has gone by since we launched UberConference about a year ago  where we don’t see tweets on how much people like the custom hold music. It has turned out to be one of the most popularly tweeted features, and it makes us smile to see these. Thanks to all our users that have taken the time to give it a shout out. As power users of UberConference ourselves, we obviously have heard the song quite a bit, but as we continue to talk to new people on our calls that are experiencing UberConference for the first time, we often hear positive comments on the hold music and are able to appreciate the joke again from a new user’s perspective. It also softens the tension some in cases when we unfortunately are a little late to calls and people have to hear the hold music at all.

We do realize though that different people have different senses of humor and that jokes get old faster for some people than others. One of our first premium features we added back in September of last year was the ability to upload any custom hold music. We now have a new feature for all users to choose between a few default tracks of hold music. The new tracks are called Wonderblues, Light Touch, and Blue. Just go to your profile and select the hold music option you prefer, and you can even have them randomly shuffled if you want to mix it up a little. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 .

UberConference is launching its packaged app in the Chrome Web Store today. The app is an upgrade to the version that was previewed at Google I/O last May in San Francisco.  Google has worked closely together with UberConference to include it in this consumer preview of its Chrome Packaged App initiative.UberConference’s packaged app provides an updated user interface and makes it easy to start, schedule, and be notified about upcoming conferences – independent of the browser. Packaged apps benefit users by delivering the performance of standalone applications; instantaneous responsiveness, ability to be always-on in the background, and the simplicity of launching from the Start menu with the ease and convenience of the Chrome Web Store.The UberConference packaged app is available here in the Chrome Web Store.imageCurrently, the app is available for Windows users on Chrome. It should be available for Mac soon, and you can sign up on the Chrome Web Store to be notified when it becomes available.

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