Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 .

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ” –Aristotle, “The Politics”

When you sit down and think about it, many of the greatest accomplishments of the human race are collaborative efforts. The cathedrals of medieval France. MGM musicals like “Singing in the Rain” or “Royal Wedding”. Democracy. The Renaissance. A double double cheeseburger with fries from In ‘N Out Burger.

These are things that could only have been created by a group effort – human beings working together.

Why?  Because we are, as Aristotle observed more than 2,300 years ago, social animals. We live a common life together.

So if we live a common life together and are, at heart, social animals; why do so many teleconferences not work? What, exactly, causes them to be disappointing? I think I can confidently state that it is not because we are either beasts nor gods.

What causes many teleconferences to fail is a combination of inefficient technology and basic human politeness. These are what I call “the pain points of teleconferencing.” And they are solvable problems.

1. Set an agenda. Stick to it.

Unless the teleconference is between NFL owners, nobody gets to talk about the Super Bowl.

Before your next teleconference, send out an agenda to everyone. These are the items we will be discussing, and this is the order in which we’ll be discussing them. People are busy, and while your teleconference may in fact be the most important part of their work day, it is not the only part of their work day. Nothing kills a teleconference quicker than desultory talk about the weather, the latest flu outbreak or last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. We all have other things to do today besides chit-chat right now. Stay on point, stick to the agenda, finish the call.

2. People are going to arrive late. Deal with it.

It’s just going to happen: people are going to show up late. They’ll have a million good reasons. We don’t need to hear them. We also don’t need to recap what’s been discussed already.

Think of it this way: somebody shows up late to Mass. The priest doesn’t stop the proceedings, introduce everyone, and then recap what’s happened so far. No. If you show up late, you check where in the liturgy (agenda) we are, listen in and catch up on your own.

There’s no reason a teleconference can’t operate that way either.

3. Use technology that works.

Teleconferencing technology should do the following:

— allow automatic sharing of documents during the call

— visual identification of who is speaking and participating

— late entrants can join without interrupting — or stopping — the call

If your teleconferencing system can’t do these things, your calls are going to be less effective, more painful for the callers, and, ultimately less collaborative.

We’re human beings. We’re social animals. We’re working on a problem together. Any technology you are using that disrupts collaborative work is anti-social and goes counter to who we are in our essence.

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!

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 .

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Ah, it’s that time of year again. The air is getting cooler, the leaves are starting to fall, football is coming soon to fill the weekends, and TechCrunch is having another Disrupt conference. Here at ÜberConference we have a very soft spot in our hearts for TC Disrupt. It was just a little over 3 months ago that we took the stage at TC Disrupt NY 2012 and came away with the first place prize and trophy. The entire experience was a blur as we were racing to get the product ready to launch, preparing for the Startup Battlefield, flying the entire team cross country, etc. The time since Disrupt has been pretty crazy as well, as we scrambled to welcome a rush of users, added a bunch of new features, and more. So taking a step back, and catching our breath, we’re really happy about how things have progressed here at ÜberConference in the last 90 days since Disrupt NY.

First and foremost, we’ve done a LOT with the product. You can now create instant conferences, hold an IM conversation during the conference, make an ÜberConference “private” to invited participants, and view an ÜberConference call without having to create an account. There are also deeper integrations with calendars for easier scheduling and Evernote for rich call summaries, as well as many other little improvements. We’re even more excited about all the things we have in the works that are coming out soon.

The other major news was the addition of Andreessen Horowitz as an investor and having Blake Krikorian join our Board. These guys are amazing investors and great partners and we’re extremely happy to be part of both the Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures families.

Also, we’re hiring like crazy. We’ve added many great folks in the last few months, and are always looking for more. IOS developer lead? We’re looking for you…you too Android lead. Other SWEs, please come on by for a beer and a chat. We’d love to meet you.

So, in summary, we’re thrilled to be returning to Disrupt. We’ve got a booth there, some cool schwag to give out, new features to demo, and lots of friends to meet. Come visit us at our booth or afterwards for a beer. We’ll be there the whole time.

There is the one little thing of needing to track down what we did with the TechCrunch Disrupt trophy. We’re supposed to give it back on the last day of Disrupt, but with all the excitement, aren’t sure exactly where it is at the moment. I’m sure it will show up…

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 .

We’ve just upgraded UberConference to High Definition (HD) audio.  Anyone who joins a conference call from their computer now sounds absolutely fantastic.  As if our visual interface wasn’t enough, now you’ll really want to connect to calls through your computer.

Call into your next conference call on Chrome to experience the difference. Schedule your call now!

For now, Google Chrome is required to enjoy Audio HD. We’re working on adding support for Firefox.  As more browsers support WebRTC, we’ll add them too.

Friday, April 25th, 2014 .

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Congratulations to CEO and co-founder Craig Walker who will be receiving the 2014 Georgetown Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Outstanding Alumni Entrepreneur. Craig was chosen by the board of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance for his level of innovation and service to the entrepreneurial community, demonstration of positive impact on business, and other qualities of an entrepreneur and Georgetown graduate. The award will be given as part of Entreprelooza on Georgetown’s campus.