Yuuguu: Now part of Powwownow

July 30th, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

Now that the ink has finally dried in various lawyers’ offices, we have some proper news to report today. So much so that I feel like donning a mac and trilby, and standing outside in the Manchester rain with a stick mic to say it. That’s probably just me being a dramatic wannabee reporter. Or Columbo. I’m not sure which.

Anyway.

The news: we have some new owners


We all think this is actually rather splendid news. From a strategic, CEO viewpoint our top-man Anish Kapoor says it like this:

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We’re excited to be joining the PowWowNow team. Both companies want the same thing, which is to turn the idea of working together without travel into a practical reality. During our talks, it was clear that we could build on each other’s strengths – and create a truly ‘first choice’ service for web conferencing, collaboration and unified communications. We’re already pretty excited about our initial ideas, and really looking forward to the future.

Which about sums it up. Although I have to say Anish doesn’t normally talk quite as formally when he’s not being badgered into doing Press Releases. He’s from Manchester, and would much rather just get stuff done than flannel the press. But I digress.

As a development team, we had a great night out with Powwownow’s management team in Manchester recently. True enough, we all seem to see things in a pretty similar light. Powwownow have been working hard to make teleconferencing something that becomes a ‘no brainer’ – professional, cheap, no barriers to setting up. And to make it like this for the one person company or multinational alike. Similarly, we’ve spent our time at Yuuguu doing the exact same thing. We want to make it a ‘no brainer’ for people to get their hands dirty on each others’ computers from anywhere across the globe.

Amongst other benefits, Powwownow will certainly bring a talented team of marketers to what we do. That really excited us as developers. Yes, you read that right ‘developers excited by marketing’. But we’ve thought for a while that whilst we work hard to make Yuuguu great, and our word-of-mouth marketing has been a tremendous success, it wouldn’t harm us to blow our own trumpet a little more.

So, a great ending to this week for all of us here at Yuuguu. I think we’ll be seeing some interesting innovations in the product pretty soon.

What would you like to see? Let us know at @yuuguu (or @almellor) on twitter, or on our forums

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Good overview of Social Media tools

July 23rd, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

social-map-2010
This will be a useful tool for many of you, courtesy of Overdrive Interactive. Click the link to download two pdf files, which help to untangle the maze of Social Media tools on the web today.

Each pdf contains clickable links to all the sites for Social Media and Search Marketing that the authors felt were the most useful.


With an enormous number of tools out there, all with slightly different audiences, uses and – if you like – local customs, it can be difficult to get past the super-popular ones. We all know that we should tweet and facebook in business these days. But looking further afield has its advantages. Your specific business might well have ready-made groups of prospects, partners or co-workers elsewhere. It would be wise to introduce yourself!




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Tip of the week: Break up long messages

July 9th, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

Yuuguu’s Instant Messages are most often used for fast, frequent communication between a team. These messages tend be short and to the point. But each message can actually be very long indeed, making Instant Messages ideal to hold in-depth meetings.


The key to using long messages effectively is to keep them readable. And that means breaking them up into paragraphs. This simple video shows you how.

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What we mean by ‘like being in the office over the web’

July 2nd, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

I came across a nice review of Yuuguu the other day on a site discussing tools for teamwork. I commented on it partly as a thank you, and partly as I think there’s much more to Yuuguu for collaboration than the review picked up on. Yuuguu is far more useful for teamwork than simply a screen sharing facility.

The thing is, when we started yuuguu we were clear that we were building a team collaboration app. It’s grown a little since then, so it is also good at other things. But back in the day, we had a metaphor of ‘just like being in the office’. So, I took the time to explain how yuuguu features came about as a response to the question ‘What would you do in an office – and how would you do it over the internet?’

This is what I said. Hope it helps you get more from yuuguu!




We designed Yuuguu ground-up as a collaboration tool. It gets used for all sorts of stuff like web conferencing, sales calls, demos and what have you where it works very well. But it really is best at the remote teamwork application you talk of.

We started with the idea of ‘what do you do when you are in an office?’. We realised that the value of being in an office is that you can look up from your desk and see who is in, who is busy, and who looks free to help. So we added presence indicators to yuuguu – green and red lights by the side of everyone’s name which say ‘available/busy/do not disturb’.

You would then next perhaps shout or walk over to a colleague you thought you could work with. So, on yuuguu, we added instant message chat. You can send a quick ‘got a sec?’ kind of message by clicking your colleague’s name, typing the message in the drop down box and hitting enter.

You would then give them some context about why you wanted their advice. In the office, you walk over to your desk and start pointing at work on your computer screen. This is where the screen sharing and remote control features came in. We made sure that you could show your screen to up to 30 people, so you can do group-work with yuuguu. We later added ‘web share’ which is where people can view your screen share with just a web browser, without downloading the yuuguu app itself.

Of course you need to talk whilst you’re doing this, so we added low-cost, no-set-up voice conferencing using real telephones. We later added Skype integration, as a lot of people were wanting to work that way.

About the way in which you share your screen and the other person can accept/decline, we made it that way as a privacy control. Nobody can just ‘log in’ to your computer and see what you are doing unless you explicitly allow them to, and are fully aware of it. We saw that as much more appropriate to professional teamwork. That said, we’ve been asked to change it a few times, so currently we support a button ‘Please show me your screen’ which turns things round a bit. We might well make a more remote login style thing in the future.

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World Cup – work / life balance

June 23rd, 2010 by John Kleiser, john_kleiser

An empty office
Keeping a work-life balance during the World Cup can be difficult. So much so that the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has provided some useful guidance:

  • Flexible, where possible – for example, by altering start and finish times during the working day or allowing longer lunch break. Remember to balance the needs of your whole workforce including those who don’t have an interest in the World Cup.
  • Clear about what you expect from employees – in terms of attendance and performance during the World Cup. Managing employees expectations of what might be possible is key to keeping them onside.
  • Communicative – start talking to each other now about the World Cup and how you hope to manage leave and working hours
  • Open and honest – if you cannot accommodate any changes to your work practices then say so. Also, you may need to remind employees that any special arrangements for watching matches are only temporary.
  • Fair – you need to be seen to be fair about the way you respond to requests for time off and avoid favouritism – don’t forget to ensure those people who aren’t interested in football aren’t in some way treated differently as a consequence, such as those with caring responsibilities, for example.

With the World Cup getting interesting, it would be a shame to let the chance to watch your team’s game slip through your fingers because you are on the road after a meeting. Why not use this as an opportunity to try out our web conferencing or remote team collaboration tools?

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Seth Godin: Goodbye to the office

June 18th, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

An interesting post (as ever) from Seth Godin this week, titled Goodbye to the office.


I completely agree with his conclusions. But I can add one. Namely ‘What is it that you actually do during your meetings – and does that have to be done face to face now?



Yuuguu was started because we observed the same facts as Seth, and came to the same conclusions. The groupthink says we go to the office to work with other people. The reality is that the interaction is more limited than you would suppose.

Even when we are actually face to face with a colleague, does it really have to be done in the fully expensed, facility-maintained, air-conditioned, water-coolered sunk cost we know as ‘The Office’?

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When we looked at it, our answer was ‘No’.



Why?

Professional work has a rhythm. The team agrees goals. We break the work into chunks. We decide ( or fight or cherry pick! ) who does what. We do it – largely alone, with an occasional helping hand from a colleague. We fit the pieces into the jigsaw. We ship. The rhythm starts again.

When we looked at what we actually did during the ‘meeting up’ parts of this cycle, we found that only a small fraction of our meeting time needed to be face to face. The bulk of it is a throwback from an earlier, less-technological era.

We found that we were meeting up to simply point at things on each other’s computer screens. To chat. To have tiny, ad-hoc discussions. To ask for, and offer help. To physically lend a hand by working somebody else’s computer keyboard and mouse.

So we thought ‘what if we could make all that happen over the internet? Would that change anything?’

Pretty quickly, we realised we could change everything about the way people work. Once you realise that for much of your previous face-to-face time, you were only there because tools like Yuuguu did not exist, you can free yourself into a far more dynamic organisation.


Waterwheel - Cromford

We no longer need to be situated next to the drive shaft from the water wheel to go about our business. It is time to recognise that the ‘factory work mentality’ is just that: a mentality. Hundreds of years of familiarity with the safe, old ground of doing things the safe, old way.

But times have moved on. There are now better ways.

Yuuguu is not just about saving money in office costs (it does) and travel (it does), nor is it just about saving time travelling (which it also does) and getting decisions made faster and better (which it does very well). It is about finally breaking the 21st century workforce away from a 19th century mindset that frankly we can now do better, faster and cheaper.



And Seth Godin seems to agree. I don’t know about you, but I take that as quite an endorsement that our foundational ideas were on the right track.



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Tip of the week: Add a little Smiley

June 11th, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

No self-respecting Instant Message chat is complete without its quota of smileys, or ‘emoticons’ to give them their more grandiose name. You can use them – or switch them off – in Yuuguu.


This video shows you how.

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Tip of the week: What did we say?

June 4th, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

Yuuguu’s Instant Messages are a great way to conduct meetings. What’s more, they provide an easy way to find out what was discussed. So, if you’re the wrong side of your morning coffee, and need to find out what was said yesterday, the ‘Recent Chats’ feature is just for you.


Now what colour was that button, again?


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Tip of the week: How to log out of Yuuguu

May 28th, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

One common question we get is ‘how do you log out of yuuguu?’ It’s a good question where you have multiple Yuuguu accounts – or you are using a shared computer and want to stop other people from seeing your messages. This video shows how it’s done.


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Tip of the Week: Quick Groups

May 21st, 2010 by Alan Mellor, almellor

In keeping with out ‘keep it quick, keep it simple’ philosophy, we’ve made it easy to pick just the group of people you want right from the contact list. You can do this other ways, but this way is the quickest – and not everyone knows it’s even there.


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