Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 .

Gina Bianchini, CEO of MightyBell spoke to us at Failcon this past month on some of her biggest disasters in business (the flop when she was in charge at Ning, pivoting in several business ventures, and even her latest course change at MightyBell), but what stood out for most was her advice to women when they are in work meetings.

According to several studies, men and women who act the same and say the same exact thing are perceived in a completely different way. Gina says it’s no accident women try to be more demure and apologetic in work situations.

Some takeaways (for both genders):

  • Notice the other women in your office. Notice when they are being cut off. Speak up for them and ask that they be heard. Say, “Can we go back to what Chloe was saying? I’d really like to hear her finish on that.”
  • Make sure you are not dismissing someone based on their gender. Recognize your own gender bias.
  • If you want to make it in Silicon Valley, learn how to SELL! Women may not get the same credit as a male entrepreneur, according to Bianchini, but they can learn how to sell to the users and gain their funding straight from the source.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

MightyBell

Hauzz

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 .

appslogohd

We are excited to announce that we are one of the first Google Apps Premier Technology Partners. This builds upon our existing integrations with document sharing in Google Drive, integrating video conferencing through Google Hangouts, and in-browser calls through Google Chrome. The program will offer our team additional product, technical, marketing, sales, program, relationship, and support benefits to bring UberConference to more people.

 

Our team is excited to build even more integrated solutions with Google Apps services. Our customer base has been integral in utilizing the tools we have built to work seamlessly with Google Apps. The Weather Company uses our Google Drive integration daily. Ferrazzi Greenlight saves 15 minutes every meeting by driving more productive calls through Google Hangouts. The Chrome and Gmail integrations make it easy for AdRoll advertisers to click on any email or phone number and initiate a conference call.
We are looking forward to offering new product features in the Google Apps Marketplace and continuing to work with Google to bring richer solutions to more users everywhere.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 .

 

Meet Felix Wood. A relentlessly active 5th grader, he leaps, backflips and sprints through life. The iron chef of his family, he makes breakfast and dinner most days, delighting his three sisters and blowing up the kitchen. His favorites right now include marathon monopoly games, “all-the-sports” and his chameleon.

Felix visited his mom, Chelsea Wood, who works as a fabulous business development manager out of our North Carolina office and created this video for a project he’s working on. As a member of Duke’s TIP program for gifted students and Cub Scout he frequently works on enrichment projects.

Felix is a a Junior Olympian who has competed on several a competitive jump rope teams, he is currently working to become a ‘Skip-its Legend.’ Among a long list of requirements, he has to interview community leaders, demonstrate rigorous jump rope tricks and lead three community service projects. He chose to make lunches for Raleigh’s homeless, mentor inner-city children, and conduct a food drive for unemployed local families.

Watch this fantastic tour of our Raleigh office concluding with an interview with CEO Craig Walker. From Felix’s perspective, any company that can have “so much coolness” must have a team of geniuses at its helm. He asked Craig ‘what it feels like to have achieved telephony world domination’.

Great job highlighting what a fun place UberConference is, Felix! You are well on your way to legend status!

Monday, July 14th, 2014 .

shelf

There’s a powerful and remarkable management tool available to you right now. It’s in your pocket, just sitting there getting covered with lint and scratched up by your house keys.

It’s your smartphone.

And what’s even better, you can run your business without even being in the office.

How do I know?  We do it at Firespotter Labs.  Our company has launched two major products (NoshList, a restaurant seating app, and UberConference, a conference calling app) and are about to launch another product (more on that later). And most days, we rarely have a full complement of engineers, designers, and management in the office.  In fact, two days a week everyone works remotely.

There is a distinctly practical reason for this: not being in the office prevents meetings. There is nothing intrinsically evil with meetings. Sometimes, we need to get physically get together to go over where we are on projects, build group understanding and consensus on how to move forward, and to encourage personal camaraderie and a sense of teamwork.

But meetings also take up time.  Time that is diverted from working on our products.  We have found that a sometimes remote workforce that can quickly assemble in our offices is the most effective way for us to manage our company.

Here are the four key tools accessible on your smartphone that can help you  manage a staff while being mobile:

1. Use cloud-based apps for documents.  We use Google Docs for documents and spreadsheets and Dropbox and Box for sharing documents. You can fully control who has access to these documents, and who has edit privileges.  Google Docs allows us to share documents immediately without email.

2. Use a project management app.  We use Asana.  Tasks are posted, deadlines assigned, and the person responsible is listed.  Everyone knows can see what everyone else is working on and when it is due.

3. Use a chat or messaging app.  We use Gchat.  Even in the office — which is an open office with employees sitting at stations on long tables — we use Gchat to communicate with each other individually with requests, questions, etc.

4. Use a conference call app.  For obvious reasons, we use our own product, UberConference.  We conference with each other many times every day– linking each other on calls, many times with employees spread all over the country — to touch base on particular issues or to hold meetings.  It is our intimacy with the needs of businesses in conference calling applications that drives our design of this product.

All of these tools are accessible from your smartphone. You can be anywhere and with your smartphone you can use these tools to effectively manage your staff and move your business forward. Especially with remote teams in different cities, it’s the future of work.

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.