Logo: Glance

The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

6 posts categorized "Entrepreneurship"

November 09, 2010

Video: Innovations that Will Revolutionize Rich Media Communications | Wainhouse Presentation by Glance CEO, Rich Baker

Including Insights From Ray Kurzweil, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Jeff Han, and Patti Maes...

Earlier this year, Andrew Davis invited me to put together a presentation about emerging technologies that I felt might impact the rich media communication industry.  He wanted me to present it at his Wainhouse Research Futures Summit in July 09.

Watch the presentation >>
(password = glance)

In truth, I think any talk about the future is pretty presumptuous -- even silly.  I doubt anyone has much of a clue about what will drive future innovation -- certainly not me.  Having that insight liberated me from worrying about having to say anything "profound" or "right".  I felt it just had to be fun.  Fun to give and fun to watch.

Even better, I realized I could design the presentation so that I wouldn't even have to "give" the talk itself.  I could let others give the talk for me. Here's how...

I spent some late nights scouring the web for talks given by thinkers and innovators and researchers that I felt had some really great ideas.  I intentionally focused on people completely outside the rich media industry, as I think the best ideas come from "outsiders".  

I narrowed my list down to a few particularly pithy talks, edited them for length and strung them together into a narrative.  

I looked to Hollywood for inspiration as well -- because I think some of the most creative ideas come from screenwriters unencumbered by the mundane constraint of having to worry about building their creations.

 I hoglance.netpe you like the result (password = glance). The presentation opens with some great insights by Ray Kurzweil about how technology seems to advance exponentially everywhere he looks.

I include some clips of Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrating one of his innovations (called Seadragon), which lets you effortlessly zoom in and out of big data sets of super-high resolution imagery.  I think it has tremendous potential for the publishing and rich media industries.  

I also take time to admire some of the futuristic motion-sensing UI to manipulate massive amounts of video content, made popular in Spielberg's 2002 Minority Report.  I learned that Tom Cruise's frantic hand gestures were in fact guided and inspired by real-world gesture-based work pioneered by MIT Media Lab researchers, who have since founded oblong.com and managed to implement many of his motions in a real product, which I briefly preview.

I also include parts of a fabulous live demo from 2006 by Jeff Han (NYU), showing just how intuitive (and fun!) a brilliantly intuitive multitouch lighttable can be when manipulating massive amounts of visual data.  Witness the inspiration behind the stunningly popular iPhone that appeared a few years later...Picture 7

The Media Lab's Pattie Maes also earned a segment in my talk for a wearable, wireless (and totally geeky!) rich media device.  Don't expect me to walk around wearing one of those things, but it might inspire someone to come up with something practical someday.

I also have fun showcasing original and modern versions of the Pepper's Ghost illusion, invented back in the 1800s.  A monstrous new display based on that illusion makes for a great show in front of a big audience, but it's such a totally fake experience for the presenters that I find little real-world value in it.

More practical is USC's impressive new live 3D videoconferencing technology.  It's truly 3D.  It's real.  And maybe someday it could appear as convincing as Princess Leia's famous hologram in Star Wars.

Please have a look.  Admire the work of some really bright people.  And tell me what you think.

(For copyright reasons, I password-protected the hosted video. The password is glance.) Enjoy!

Rich Baker - Innovations that could revolutionize rich media communications on Vimeo.

FYI, I built my talk in Keynote.  I recorded each clips on my Mac using Screenflow, an elegantly intuitive screen capture and editing product that I highly recommend.  

Our intern Scott then used Screenflow to capture the streamed video of my talk.  Then he imported my original video clips into ScreenFlow, positioning and overlaying them, then re-rendered everything with ScreenFlow into the video you see above.  That way, you get to enjoy the clips in this video at a nice high quality level.  (Make sense?!)

-- Rich Baker, CEO and Founder, Glance Networks

July 15, 2010

Maximize Your Work Productivity in 12 Simple Steps | Surprisingly Astute "Must-Do's" From a Young Mind

My 11-year old twins came into the office the other day - strangely, they love to "play office" here in Glance's solar-powered, renovated mill space, usually dragging along a friend or two (obviously, they don't yet know the grind of the working world!). "Playing office" involves things To Do List, workplace productivity, business strategylike writing any and all thoughts on the whiteboard wall, making Powerpoints crammed with unusual clip art, rolling around on the swivel chairs, "leading meetings" from the conference table, and xeroxing non-paper objects. 

While the others were haggling over who got the red erasable marker, one of my daughters went off and wrote her work "to-do" list. Looking at it later, I realized that its a surprisingly wise and strategic compendium of business objectives and tasks, which if followed, will ensure workplace success:

J. G.'s To Do List

  1. Make them listen to me.
  2. Figure out what the company does.
  3. Get party organizer.
  4. Organize fundraiser.
  5. Make computer work.
  6. Ignore their fighting.
  7. Actually do my job.
  8. Have an opinion.
  9. Talk.
  10. Remind them that I'm not 21 yet.
  11. Give ideas.
  12. Go home.
Simple steps to a successful business: know your company mission, raise funds, brainstorm, have an opinion, communicate it, act your age, do the job, ignore petty distractions, make sure your technology works, and of course, celebrate your successes and don't forget to go home.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

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April 06, 2010

Turning Over the Stone

Today I got out my stones to sharpen the kitchen knives again.  It's a kit of two stones in a small cedar box, a rougher soft Arkansas stone and a hard Arkansas stone for putting on a fine honed edge.  I bought this set when I was around fifteen years old (probably in Arkansas) and have used it for over thirty years now.  Halls Arkansas sharpening stone

I've always used one side of the stone, and they're a bit worn.  And despite my care to always use a good honing oil and clean them afterward, the one side is a bit more clogged with microscopic bits of dark steel.   I took a look at the other side, clear and flat as new.  And I thought about just how long I'd been using them, about how old I was, and about the future.

And I decided to turn the stone over and start using the other side. 

I guess I could have saved the other side and passed them down to my son, but he can start over on the first side again.  These things last more than a lifetime. 

We bootstrapped Glance Networks with no outside investment.  We built it all ourselves and grew it carefully.  We never had any pressure from VCs to grow big or sell or IPO.  Maybe that's good, maybe not.  But it's worked for use.  We're quite proud of what we've done, and how we are able to do business.  I used to joke that our exit strategy was to grow old and die and leave the business to our children.  Well that isn't so funny any more.  We've had to deal with mortality at Glance, and I think it's made us all a little more accepting of whatever the future holds.

A knife is an incredibly elegant, simple tool.  A handle, a blade.  You might think that makes it easy, a knife's a knife right?  Not much to it?  Hardly.  My sons are young enough I can still make them laugh with the Crocodile Dundee line ("thawt's not a knoif...").  You know the difference when you have to use a cheap knife, plastic handle, inferior steel.  Or the frustration and danger of a dull knife.  A high quality, well sharpened knife is a joy to use.

P.S.:  My sharpening kit came from Hall's.  Who knew these guys were still in business so many years later!  Clearly they're doing something right...

-- Ed Hardebeck, VP Engineering, Glance Networks

 

March 25, 2010

The best pay: Kind words from customers

As an entrepreneur, you wake up one day all excited about some oddball idea -- one of those "Wouldn't it be great if..." inspirations.
 

 

 

You look to find a few folks who share your enthusiasm. Together, you work and work and work to get an initial version up and running.

 

And then... if you're one of the lucky ones... the really big payoff finally happens.  Customers you've never met take time out of their day to say something completely unsolicited and remarkably kind about what you created.

 

We've been fortunate to enjoy that experience many times over here at Glance.  


 

I remember the epiphany Carla had a few days after coming on board to help us with marketing.  I had just forwarded another happy customer email to the team. She turned to me and said, "I just can't believe our customers. They simply love Glance!  No one ever said they 'loved' the bank I used to work at."

 

This morning's email box held another delightful gift to us, one that I'd like to share with you. This kind of note really makes our day.

Hi Folks,

 

When you run a business that really does a good job, people usually don't give you the praise you deserve; they just take you for granted.  So, as a small business owner, I thought I'd pass along a quick story.


 

Our [audio] conference line vendor's service has gotten so bad that we are now forced to find another vendor.  Our office manager went looking about for a replacement and ran across one that does both online conferences and telephone conferences so she sent out a company-wide email inviting people to attend a meeting where the prospective vendor would demonstrate their product.  She also set off a bit of a firestorm - people were literally *mad* at the idea that someone might even *consider* giving up Glance.

From the support dept:

 
 

 

"From a support point of view I do not want to lose Glance. If we move away from Glance for conferencing I would want to keep a Glance account for support. It is a great tool which gives me the ability to easily view and control remote computers."

 

From customer support:

 

"I really like glance... why are we considering changing??? We just need a new phone line asap. "

 

From sales:

 

"We have no intentions of leaving Glance."

 

Finally - from me, trying to calm fears and keep everyone from jumping all over the office manager:

 

"We're all big fans of Glance so we aren't really considering a change there at this time."

 


 

I almost had to laugh at just how strongly people felt about this.  I didn't of course, I was too busy calming everyone down.  Keep in mind that no one was writing a "testimonial" on behalf of Glance - these were all people just defending their work and speaking from the heart.

 

So...to everyone at Glance: Keep up the good work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a good day

-- Rich Baker, CEO & Founder

January 22, 2009

Hitting the Customer Feedback Jackpot

 Recently we hit the jackpot with J., a random customer of ours who uses Glance for web demos. We sent a standard note inquiring about his satisfaction...and, surprisingly, he came back with a deluge of professional-grade suggestions – the kind of high-level stuff you'd expect from a senior marketing manager of a multi-national tech vendor...or something like that.

Turns out the guy was a Senior Global Marketing Manager of a huge, legendary tech giant, but that's besides the point – we're used to getting great advice from all kinds of people.

The point is that user feedback is as good as gold. And with thousands of users an email away, we like our odds. That's why everyone at Glance, including our CEO (who had the pleasure of initiating the email thread with J.) invests uncommon amounts of time and energy into listening. As far as we're concerned, anything less would be the real gamble. Thanks, J.!

-Carla Gates

November 07, 2008

Cooking a Turkey in the Dishwasher: Good Idea or Gratuitous Complication?

Every so often I overhear a call where someone is looking for a particular feature that Glance does not offer.   My first instinct is to start mentally roughing out how we would implement a whiteboard or recording or whatever the request is. Sure, it would be fun to add all those bells and whistles to Glance, and some of these ideas will appear in future versions.  But simplicity is our mantra and the reason for our loyal customer base.

In fact, as it turns out, simplicity has not come at the expense of meeting our customers' needs. Often we've been able to direct customers to other products, some of them free, that work beautifully alongside Glance:

  • Marking what's on your screen: Check out Drawhere.
  • Recording screen sharing sessions:  A lot of our customers use Camtasia. It's great, because it doesn't just record your session.  You can use its editor to get it into the form you want. Then export it in any of a bazillion formats to post on your web site or embed in a presentation.

It would take us a long time to catch up to the sophistication these single products offer, and we'd rather focus on perfecting high-quality screen sharing, period.

Cooking tip:  Leave the turkey to the oven this year.

-- Debby Mendez, Glance Networks