Tag Archives: Skype

Contact me (20 different ways)

This is how I feel when I get into the office (minus the Blackberry) - Source: OU.
This is how I feel when I get into the office (minus the Blackberry) – Credit: OU on Flickr

This post coincides with some thoughts that I’d been collecting about communication methods and was finally provoked with an article in the FT about Coca Cola and JP Morgan removing voicemail from employees’ phones.

I seem to have too many communication methods, spilling over between my work and personal life. Each morning I get into work and go through a process of attempting to keep up with all these methods via a myriad of smartphone apps, PC applications and web browser tabs.

And it’s getting worse. Last week Mrs H went on a holiday abroad while I led a Scout camp in the New Forest. (Mrs H likes camping, but is strictly a good-weather camper, and we had the worst weather during the camp that I can remember). Before departing for a flight to a sunny destination she asked me to install WhatsApp.

I’ve always abstained from WhatsApp because my kids all use it and I don’t want a zillion more notifications from them while I’m at work. And besides, I have enough alternative communication methods for people, including my kids, to reach me. Continue reading Contact me (20 different ways)

Microsoft, Yammer, and the bubble


Microsoft have finally bought Yammer, the enterprise focussed, chat-style Skype/ Twitter tool.

I reviewed Yammer two years ago after a colleague, Ben, heard about Yammer in use at several investment banks in New York. We started using the free version of Yammer at Endava and it spread quickly through the organisation without any promotion – the joy of viral marketing. We use Yammer for asking group questions and disseminating news announcements about our suppliers.

Two things surprise me about the purchase – the first is that Microsoft already own Live Messenger for consumers, and Office Communicator (now Lync – I think) for enterprises.

And remember, Microsoft also own Skype. So maybe the acquisition was defensive – to ensure none of its competitor’s got to buy Yammer.

The second surprise is the cost – Microsoft spent $1.2 billion on the acquisition. Yammer’s annual revenue is estimated to be around $15 million which equates to around 1 million users based on their latest pricing.

Anyone else think that we’re in another bubble?


Why email should be taxed


Yesterday’s news about the price of a first class stamp rising to 60p made me think about post’s arch nemesis: email.

Firstly, I still think that paying 60p for a near guarantee delivery the next day is remarkably cheap. To send a birthday card by post is cheaper than driving the card round to anyone who lives more than 1.5 miles away (I’m thinking about the round trip!). In Germany, a first class stamp costs £1.21.

Back to email – everyone seems to be complaining about receiving too much email. On the other hand, I complain about receiving too much post as well, because every item of post seems to be a bill – but that’s different.

Back to email again – and the fact we all seem to receive too much of it. I even get cc’d on social emails now. So my grand idea is… the government should tax email.

The government is losing revenue from falling post volumes: it’s fallen 25% since 2006, and more falls are expected.

All other forms of messaging have a direct or indirect tax – mail, phone calls, mobile phone calls and even text messages have a cost which includes 20% VAT. The only messaging I can think of that don’t include VAT are email and public messaging (Skype – assuming it’s free, Microsoft Messenger or Google Talk equivalents).

So in order to reduce the quantity of emails addressed to me, and to raise more money for government, please start taxing email!!!!

Photo courtesy of Zazzle, where you can buy that lovely mug.

How fickle the Digital Media industry can be


Today Facebook held a live session to announce their integration with Skype to enable video calling between users, presumably as a quick retaliation against Google+’s advanced video calling technology.

There were a few twists in the online session (around 54,000 people were simultaneously watching) delivered by Mark Zuckerberg and Tony Bates (CEO of Skype):

  • Half of all Skype traffic is video. This is misleading because video traffic is about 50 times the size of audio traffic (the number of kilobytes across the network). It would be more interesting to know how many calls are video calls compared to audio calls.
  • Facebook chose to partner with Skype because companies are only good at what they focus on, rather than being able to do everything. A direct strike against Google. The first question after the presentation was about Google+ (just someone trying to be smart – it really wasn’t a clever or memorable question) and Zuckerberg just answered that Skype would enable hundreds of millions of users to video call one another.
  • The integration with Facebook is… unknown. When asked how Facebook will look when someone tries video calling you, Zuckerberg answered “you go to the page and something pops up”. Hmmmmm.
  • When asked what’s the financial incentive for Skype, Bates dodged the question and just answered that he wants a billion people on Skype. That’s useless if none of them are paying anything though.

When the camera panned to the audience – all the audience were on their laptops, presumably tweeting. And nothing annoys me more than people who constantly tweet at conferences. How do they listen to (and understand) what is going on?

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most influential people over the course of the Internet, and his live audience in the room weren’t even looking at him – see the photo above. Six months ago when Mark Zuckerberg spoke, the room paid him 100% attention and thought he was the greatest thing since the Google search engine.

Eat your own dog food


During the launch of Microsoft Vista, we implemented a number of projects with Microsoft. There were a few things I learned from Microsoft at the time, however one of them – the concept of ‘eating their own dog food’ – was something that sticks out.

The concept is simple. Get your own captive audience to try your products before the public. Understand how they use it. Be ready for the public reaction, because you’ve already been using it for a few months.

You don’t need to create your own products to have this approach.

I strongly believe and encourage the staff at Endava to use the latest social networks, tools, applications, so that we can have a view and opinion on them for our clients. What works better than Microsoft Project? Is Twitter useful? What’s the difference between Yammer and Skype? What’s the best task tracking system, or should we be using TFS? Is an iPhone better than an Android?

One specific client always follows up these types of questions with “And have you used it?”

The only way to answer these questions is to have experienced them personally before providing the opinion to clients.

Photo courtesy of nancybeetoo on Flickr

Why Facebook Connect won’t be the universal ID platform


I’ve read a few blogs and even a full front page FT article recently that the power of Facebook is that it’s joining up the web as a single ID platform via Facebook Connect.

The theory is that you won’t need to register with hundreds of websites to leave comments, read articles, etc. – just login using Facebook Connect instead.

There are two reasons I don’t think this will work:

  1. The smart (and big) brands will continue to want to own their own data. Most brands want a direct relationship with their consumers (see prediction #10), and for decades have had to let their retailers/ resdellers have that relationship. I don’t see those same brands rolling over and letting the social networks and App stores having a relationship instead.
  2. I don’t necessarily want my professional colleagues to see my personal information (including photos) and updates, or asking me to be their friend via Facebook. We use Facebook Connect on some of our sites, and the first few people who become a ‘Fan’ of a new Facebook Page are then displayed in Facebook widgets on our sites. Those first few fans are inevitably the employees of the brand or our partner agencies.
    Another way of saying this, is that the distinction between personal and work becomes too blurred. And don’t get me started about me being able to administer my own Facebook groups of friends. 
    This might change in the long term. There is a shift for younger employees to use personal electronic devices (especially phones) to connect to work email. Less employees want two computers at home, so they’ll do all their personal tasks on their work laptop. The distinction between work and personal devices will keep blending in the medium to long term.

One alternative is for LinkedIn to become a professional ID and Facebook to be the personal ID. I post professional updates to my LinkedIn profile, and personal ones in Facebook because I have two sets of ‘contacts’ on both platforms, with a small overlap between the two.

Another alternative is for the ID to be Skype. The beauty of Skype at the moment is that it’s portable (across all my devices and computers), secure (users can only login once, and it’s voice encryption is superb) and because it doesn’t store any personal information (especially stag party photos) it’s ideal.