Monday, July 23rd, 2012 .

 

It’s been a busy time at Firespotter since we started the company and raised our Series A financing from Google Ventures in April 2011. First we launched Nosh, the consumer food app that answers the question “What’s good here?” at any restaurant. We then launched NoshList, an iPad app for restaurants that texts diners when their tables are ready (and we’re seating our 2 millionth diner this month…not bad since it launched just 5 months ago). We also built Jotly, the iPhone and Android app that lets you rate anything. Our latest product, ÜberConference is our first product in the voice communications space. We launched ÜberConference at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2012 and were overjoyed at winningStartup Battlefield.

As we look back on the past 15 months, we’re very happy with all that’s been done. We are also excitedly looking forward to our increased focus on more and more telephony projects.

With that said, we’re even more excited about the recent closing of ourSeries B financing round, led by the great team at Andreessen Horowitz. Blake Krikorian joins Wesley Chan and me on the Board of Firespotter and we’re thrilled to have Blake with us. This round gives us the firepower to hire quickly and go full bore on all the exciting opportunities in the evolving communications space.

As the proliferation of tablets and mobile devices continues to change the nature of communications, we want to be there leading the charge for innovation. People are still sick of being taken advantage of by their communications providers with their hidden fees, difficult interfaces and clunky solutions. We will always strive to be the “good guys” of communications by being fair, innovative, and relentless in our pursuit of creating the best communications products in the world.

If you are looking to join a great team that is disrupting a huge space, we’d love to talk to you. Check out our jobs page on ÜberConference.com.

Friday, March 21st, 2014 .

“The jungle is dark, but it is full of diamonds, Willy.”

-from ‘The Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller

And that is the problem salespeople have had for years and years and years: the jungle is dark but it is full of diamonds.  There are sales out there to be made.  People, businesses, organizations, families — they need the things salesmen sell.  The problem is the jungle was dark, and finding the customers who need or want to buy what you are selling is time-consuming, wasteful and exasperating.

My first job straight out of college I was in sales. I sold dictation equipment for Lanier.  It was a grind.  I’d walk the streets of San Francisco — my territory was from the point where Market Street and California Street meet and extended as a triangle all the way to Van Ness.  This was old-fashioned knocking on doors selling.  I had virtually no information about any prospect and would try to find a picture on a desk or trophy on the wall to find something we had in common.  It rarely worked.  How great would it have been to have the LinkedIn profile of the guy I was pitching?  Where he went to school, where he used to work, etc?  Or what connections we had in common!

When I’d stay in the office to cold call, that was it…COLD.  Blindly dialing businesses.  Ouch.

Everyone who has ever worked in sales immediately recognizes this scene from “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

That was sales preparation in those days: here are the leads, now go out there and make some calls and close some sales.

It was a remarkably frustrating and inefficient system.  All I knew about these “leads” was a name, a business and a phone number.

This has begun to change dramatically in recent years.  A number of cloud-based software packages have emerged that significantly increase the amount of data a salesperson can access from almost anywhere about customers and potentials customers.

Knowing more about my leads, as I do today…boom!  Success.  And I don’t need to be in the office tied to some proprietary database to do this…it’s all in the cloud.  I’d rather do it from home in my pajamas anyway, and now I can.

Salesmen are now armed with enormous amounts of information.  They have access to prior purchases with the company (great for upsells, renewals, etc), complaints from the customers (Zendesk), and basically every interaction anybody in the company has ever had with a prospect or existing customer (Salesforce).

They also have the ability to work from anywhere, 24/7, and appear as professional as if they were sitting in their office, thanks to all the cloud-based information and tools.

My frustrating experiences in sales informed a lot of the product decisions we made early on in designing our company’s teleconferencing product: UberConference. UberConference makes great sales calls possible in four ways:

1. We make it easy for a potential customer to get on a call (no PINs).  The easiest way to lose a potential customer is to provide them with even the smallest barrier to communicating with me.  PINs are a potential barrier.  That’s why I insisted we not require them in UberConference.
2. You won’t waste everybody’s first 15 minutes figuring out who just joined the call (visual).  We provide on-screen updates so you know who is there as soon as they sign on.  No need to reintroduce yourself each time a new caller signs on.
3. You know who’s talking at any point: is it the IT guy or the finance guy? That may not only be helpful to know, it could be critical in closing a sale.
4. You get a rich UberProfile on each caller.  You can see their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ accounts and get an idea of who the person is to whom you are speaking.  This could prove to be crucial in the trust-building phase of a sales relationship.  The more you know and understand about your customer, the better you can serve them… and sell to them.

I lasted only one year in sales.  I realized it was too hard for me so I went back to school to get my MBA and then to law school to hide for a longer time.   Had I had these tools I may have stayed in sales.  Thank God they didn’t have them back then!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 .

We do our best to listen to feedback from our customers, and we’ve been hearing quite a few requests to give UberConference organizers the ability to choose who receives the summary emails sent after each conference call.

We originally implemented this feature to give meetings more context. The summary emails contain links to any shared documents or recordings, correlating with meeting notes for reference. They also include interesting stats, like who was there and who talked the most and the least.

If UberConference Pro and Business organizers would rather not have the email summaries sent to every participant after the conference ends, they now have the ability to manage that in their settings.

To specify who should receive the conference summaries, go to uberconference.com/settings (when logged in), and scroll all the way down to the “Notification Preferences” section. Under “Call Summary,” you will see the option to disable or enable the conference call summary for participants or for yourself. Don’t forget to click on the “Save Changes” button on the bottom of the page.

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.59.14 PM

 

We’re continuously trying to make Business features more robust for our customers, and disabling call summary emails is just one of the many ways you can customize your conference calls with UberConference Business. Business users also get advanced features like custom hold music, up to 100 callers, dial out to add guests to call, local conference phone numbers, and more.

UberConference Free users still maintain control over the summary emails for themselves.

Follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop on all things UberConference! @uberconference

Monday, August 13th, 2012 .

At ÜberConference, making sure you have the best possible experience on every call is very important to us. Call quality is a main priority for us, and we’re always monitoring and measuring quality metrics and testing out different configurations, partners, and settings. As we get close to exiting our beta period, we have made some significant improvements to our service, and will be migrating users to our newest platform. We have started emailing users about this transition and most will get a new ÜberConference number assigned to them as part of this process. Everything else should be the same. You’ll just use a different number to dial into, and ÜberConference should be even better!

Monday, November 12th, 2012 .

As avid users of Google Apps, we at ÜberConference are proud to be silver sponsors of gSocial 2.0, the largest independent event for resellers and independent software vendors that offer Google Apps solutions for business and enterprise customers. The event is this November 12-13 in Sunnyvale, CA, and offers a number of sessions and opportunities for sharing best practices and networking with others in the Google Apps channel partner community.   If you are at the event, we’d love to meet you. ÜberConference will be there both days, and will also have some round table sessions for demos and general discussions from 3:15 – 4:15 on the second day.

ÜberConference is conference calling done right. We make it easy to join phone conferences without having to enter a PIN,  see who is in the call and who is speaking, and run calls smoothly with powerful call management features.  Led by Craig Walker, the founder of GrandCentral and Google Voice, the team includes other past members of the Google Voice team, and has deep experience in developing innovative telephony features at scale.  Winner of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012, ÜberConference has received rave reviews in the press for its innovative approach to conference calls.  The company is backed by top-tier investors, Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures, and has raised $18 million.

Our ÜberConference Google Apps integration launched on October 24, and is currently first among the Top New Apps in the Google Apps Marketplace.  The app makes it easy for anyone in a Google Apps domain to sign up and login to ÜberConference from the Google Apps “More” menu in the title bar. It also automatically syncs Google contacts with ÜberConference contacts when users sign up, so all the social caller ID and PIN-less dial in features of ÜberConference are ready to go.

With the launch of ÜberConference Business this past week, setting up and managing conference calls across a business is even easier.  An UberConference Business account lets you sign up multiple accounts at once and assign accounts to users by sending out email invites or distributing a unique link.  Its simple to add and remove users, just like you’d do with Gmail and Google Apps, and management of billing and accounts is all in one place.