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.

Monday, June 30th, 2014 .

IMG_5556

“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.

Sunday, October 28th, 2012 .

chrome-storeUse Chrome? If not, you don’t know what you are missing. Chrome is a great browser for speed, security, ease of use and it offers the flexibility to integrate apps like ÜberConference right into Chrome. Installing theÜberConference Chrome app is simple, and lets you click to visit ÜberConference when you open a new tab in your browser.

To get the app, just visit the Chrome Web Store and search for UberConference. After installing the app, you will see the ÜberConference logo appear in the Apps view of Chrome.

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!