At one point at WWDC I hung out with Nick Arnott and Jay Graves from Double Encore. It was great to hear that their team has been using Glassboard, and so I asked Nick if he could write up their shared experience. Enjoy!
Many of us at Double Encore have made occasional use of Glassboard for various purposes since it initially came out, but WWDC presented the perfect opportunity to get everybody on board. A couple weeks prior to WWDC, we had every employee that would be attending the conference join our DE WWDC 2012 board. It immediately showed its usefulness as we started using it to discuss things like dinner plans or coordinating adventures for the Sunday before.
While this was handy and nice to have, the app really started to shine once the conference started. We could have the team spread across two floors and six rooms, and still keep in touch. We were all doing our own thing, but we were still at the conference as a team and could still share what we were learning and photos and all of our excitement with one another.
After the sessions you could just look at Glassboard to see what people were up to next. Or throw out helpful reminders like “don’t forget your Push IO wrist band for the party” (which I would have if not for that reminder). Jay even decided to start letting everybody know when he was back at the hotel safely each night, usually around 2 or 3am… which prompted several of us to find the Quiet Hours for Notifications setting.
A week in San Francisco for WWDC is full of varying and different opportunities for everybody to experience their own conference, and Glassboard allowed us to do that as a team. For us, Glassboard added a great deal of value to the whole experience and I think it opened our eyes up a bit to other ways that we may want to try utilizing it with the team.
During WWDC earlier this month I was on a couple boards devoted to the event. There were quite a few different boards out there: teams used Glassboard to stay in touch during the conference and after-hours revelers used the app to meet up and imbibe. Now that I’ve had time to recover, I’d like to share some thoughts from others about their Glassboard use during the week.
Mike Hay, from Black Pixel:
“Using Glassboard to organize loose groups of people at WWDC was excellent. The product features were perfect for that use.
The app was reliable and fast. Notifications and messages arrived at the same time (a feature others can’t match) and the app did not crash in a week of use.”
“There were three apps I found to be essential during WWDC 12 and Glassboard was one of them. Coordinating what sessions my team was attending during the day as well as what hijinks my friends and colleagues were getting into at night is way easier than in previous years thanks to Sepia Labs.”
“Glassboard was so great at WWDC this year. At this point I don’t know how I did conferences without it.”
People had constructive criticism for us too. That’s why I love showing off an app like Glassboard to other software developers. They are honest and can astutely describe what they would change in the app. Thanks everyone for your continued feedback. We really appreciate it!
Tell us how you Glassboard by sending us a message at email@example.com.
In our never-ending quest to talk to every single customer who uses Glassboard, we sometimes come across stories where people are using our service in a new and interesting way, or in a way that we hadn’t thought about before. This story is a little bit of both. Recently we talked to Ted Kasten, the CEO of Advanced Sports Media (the company behind ESPN’s Draft Analyzer software) about how they are using Glassboard to help with customer support.
To understand how they are using Glassboard, we first need to understand the context of how they are using it. The Fantasy Football Draft season is very short, lasting about two months leading up to the beginning of the NFL season. As Ted puts it, “The good news is that Draft Analyzer is a must-have for people putting together their Fantasy Football teams. The bad news is that they are doing it all at the same time.” During the peak sales season there are literally thousands of questions that come in at all hours of the day, especially nights and weekends when customers are at home. To handle the load, ASM hires several people in different time zones to answer the onslaught of feedback.
Ted and his team use an internal ticketing system to help manage support cases — but this system doesn’t provide for ad hoc questions for internal escalation: “It provides only a partial solution for us and actually ends up increasing our workloads as we spend more time managing the tickets than our customers.” And while ASM does their best to train their support people, there are always questions or situations that need escalation to the rest of the team. Many times it’s just a quick, “what do I do here,” but sometimes the escalation needs higher level customer service. As a result, ASM needed a system that could enable a fluid, ongoing dialog with the others on the team, or as Ted puts it, “a system that would make the dialog as fluent as if we were all in the same room at the same time.”
In the past, the company relied on email, but it wasn’t ideal. Of the many reasons why email doesn’t work, the most important is that email does not support the urgency or the focus needed to answer the escalations. Email also does not provide a central location for others to review, so when new employees came in there was no history to learn from. “We quickly became buried under hundreds of saved email threads from numerous recipients answering slightly different versions of the same questions.”
ASM also looked into chat services, but that required everyone to be online at the same time, so it was a non-starter. ASM needed an asynchronous communications service.
To make matters more difficult, all of the employees were off-site, so they needed a service that was cloud-based. And because of the nature of escalations on nights and weekends, they needed a system that could be easily accessed both from the web as well as from mobile devices, so that no matter where other team members were, they could be kept in the loop. “If a customer needs help for their fantasy football draft in a few hours or their money back, I need to get the answer to the support team immediately, not in a few hours when I check my email again. The Glassboard mobile app notifies me of the issue and I can respond as easily as replying to a text message.”
We’re honored that ASM has chosen Glassboard! Do you have an interesting way that you’re using Glassboard? Tell us about it! firstname.lastname@example.org
- We’ve quadrupled the number of users in the past month
- Glassboard was featured on Google Play
- Nick Bradbury was just written up in the Knoxville News
- And he just delivered the keynote at Codestock
- WWDC was last week, and we got some great shout outs like this and this and this
But what’s most important is that people are finding Glassboard useful. As our own Brent Simmons put it, “the whole thing feels great.”
So thank you — we’re inspired and humbled!
On the inessential board in Glassboard, a user asked Brent to clarify our stance that Glassboard can be an email replacement in work settings. Here is his response:
“At Sepia Labs we’ve been using Glassboard since the first alphas of 1.0 — and we’ve found it’s a great way to work together. We hardly use email at all.
We do use some other services: Lighthouse and Google Docs, for instance. Glassboard doesn’t replace a bug-tracker, and it’s not a spreadsheet app or word processor. But it is a great way for a team to communicate.
One of the things that’s made a big difference is the web app. We’re at our desks a lot of the time, and the web app is convenient and easy.
One small example of how we use Glassboard:
Recently we needed to re-do the big graphic for the app’s page on Google Play. I posted it to our internal group. People replied. I posted another version. People replied. Etc. — until we finished. It didn’t matter if people were at their desks or not — they could all see the graphic and make comments with feedback.
We also use Glassboard to share links — like to Nick’s recent interview in the Knoxville newspaper, or to industry stories we should all know about.
We coordinate. Ask questions. Debate features. Write up our ideas. Talk strategy. Brainstorm about blog posts. Tell jokes.
I consider our use of Glassboard as an advantage we have over other teams — we work together better than any other team I’ve been a part of. It’s remarkable.
And that’s why I’ve said on my blog that I believe this is the future of working together. Because I’ve been living it, and it’s awesome.”
Whenever I take a look at my phone to see what’s happening in Glassboard, I always start with notifications. Notifications will tell you when:
- Someone has commented on or ‘liked’ your message
- Someone has commented on a message that you commented on
- Someone has joined your board
- Pro tip: on iPhone, if you see a notification on the front of your phone and you want to go straight to that message, tap & hold the Glassboard icon and slide all the way to the right. That action will take you directly to the message.
All Boards (News Feed)
Once i’ve reviewed all my notifications, i’ll head over to the All Boards news feed. Like Facebook’s news feed, this is a central list of every message from every board you belong to. It is a date ordered list, so the most recent items are always at the top. For each message you’ll only see the 3 or 4 comments most recent comments, to see all comments, you’ll need to tap on the message. Since I know the order of this list isn’t going to change, as soon as I recognize a message I know I can stop.
So that’s it in a nutshell. You can catch up with the important goings on in Glassboard in 2 easy steps. Don’t forget you can also dive into any board just by tapping its name in the sidebar – then your news feed will only show messages from that board. Either way – you can get caught up quickly!
Do you have another way? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re in software development, you’ve probably had to manage a beta at some point (although I must admit, in my own early days of coding I never did a whole lot of testing). There are needs of both the developers and the customer that can’t always be fulfilled via email. What software developers need is something that enables them to:
1. Distribute a beta privately to the customer
2. Provide an easy means for the customer to provide feedback
3. Route issues and questions to the right people (sales? support? etc.)
Shawn Platkus, a senior software developer at Xitron, saw Glassboard as a means to do all this. Here is what he had to say about using Glassboard for beta testing:
When I release a new beta version to the customer, I simply post a thread in Glassboard stating the version and date that the product was delivered and include the download link to the version.
Our customer had a few initial hurdles getting the software up and running, and he posted his questions along with a screenshot to our board and I was able to respond immediately and relay the solution to him within minutes.
He then goes on:
Another win for me with using Glassboard is that I invited the sales rep for this customer to be on our Glassboard board. The customer posted in a comment that he would like to have two additional licenses of our product so that a couple of his employees could test the product on their workstations. As the developer, I have no way of generating licenses or making the decision to even allow him to have extra licenses. Getting this accomplished through email would have taken a lot of my time routing emails to the right places and then following up on the process. However with our sales rep on our Glassboard board, he saw the message from our customer before I did and responded that he would handle getting him the extra licenses to use.
So far Glassboard has been all win for me in managing this beta process. One issue I hit almost immediately was the 1000 character limit, but then the next day I saw a post where the limit was increased to 10,000 characters[Shh! Don't tell anyone, but that's the new character limit in the web app]. That’s going to be plenty for bug reports and feedback, so the one hurdle I had with using Glassboard for this has already been resolved.
Jenny’s previous post on using Glassboard at conferences got me thinking about a recent trend that we’re seeing, that new social networks like ours are helping to foster. The trend is described as ‘shared experiences’ and it represents the benefits you get from mutual participation, and how the dynamics of an event can change once others are involved. This isn’t a new concept, but the ways and means by which people are creating shared experiences is becoming more common as services like Glassboard make it easier to communicate and coordinate groups of people.
A great example of a shared experience can be seen through the antics of Improv Everywhere; the people who brought you “Frozen Grand Central” or “No Pants Subway Rides“. Charlie Todd organizes massive groups of people to perform really outlandish activities, and each of these ‘missions’ is truly unique and special. One of the goals for these projects is to “give people a story they can tell for the rest of their lives”, and in many cases Charlie’s done just that, both for the knowing and unknowing participants. Charlie has discovered a multiplier effect that comes about when you put large groups of people in uncommon situations. The magnitude of the experience is amplified by the number of people involved and it creates an event that is larger than the sum of the parts. If Charlie was to stand frozen in Grand Central all by himself it would not have nearly the same impact.
Another great example of the power of a shared experience can be seen in Derek Sivers analysis of “Leadership lessons from Dancing Guy”. If you haven’t seen this video, take three minutes and watch it. In a TED talk from 2010, Derek dissects the process of creating a movement through the example of a guy dancing at a music festival. Derek’s points talk about leadership and the birth of a movement, but what we also see is the transformation of an experience – from a single, odd guy dancing by himself to a massive group of people celebrating the moment. Its wonderful.
But shared experiences aren’t just limited to car alarm symphonies or flashmobs. People can come together for a variety of reasons and benefit from shared experiences, as seen by the Polymath Project and other programs designed to engage smart people from all over to solve extremely complex problems. For others, shared experiences can come from the simplest of situations: conferences, classes, or even family reunions. In these situations, you don’t always need to get everyone to sing the pythagorean theorem a capella to make it special, all you need is to engage people and lead them to a common outcome, be it collaborative note taking in a training seminar, or organizing the after-after party at a conference. Either way, you never know when creating your own shared experiences will “give you stories that you can tell for the rest of your life”.
Conference attendees need a way to keep in touch (sorry Twitter, you’re just a bit too noisy). Last year at WWDC, everyone I spoke to was using GroupMe. This year I hope you will all download and use Glassboard to coordinate with people. In fact, there are already a number of boards being formed to help everyone keep in touch with their fellow Apple enthusiasts (some of which are ironically discussed on Twitter).
Glassboard will keep you in touch with your group…
1. Create a board before you head out to the conference.
2. Invite your close friends and colleagues, the people that you want to eat with and share cab rides and such.
3. Post your location when you are somewhere you’d like everyone to meet. Post photos and videos and your thoughts on sessions and after-parties.
…and help you network with new people…
1. Create a board during a session.
2. Invite people you are surrounded by that would like to continue a discussion after the session.
3. Use the board to meet up with your new contacts some other time during the week, or to coordinate when you can collaborate at some other time.
…and preserve your online integrity.
WWDC isn’t just about the conference, it’s also about the after-parties. When using Glassboard you can go hog wild and share pictures and videos you wouldn’t necessarily want to broadcast via your Twitter account. So bust out your best dance moves and Karaoke renditions of “Bad Romance” worry-free.
Facebook is considering opening up their social network to children under 13 years of age. Perhaps no one told them that kids have been lying about their age on the Internet since it began.
What will happen if they decide to move towards granting legit access for children is that kids will see a pared down version of the site. Also, it’s likely that all interactions on the site will need to be policed by the parents (because, after all, would you trust Facebook to do that for you?). Although this approach is lawful under COPPA, it doesn’t provide incentive for kids to stop lying or for parents to have to keep track of everything their kids do on the site. It’s hard enough to keep track of one’s own privacy settings, can you imagine doing it for all of your rugrats?
Presumably opening the network up to more users could be lucrative. They are expanding their audience to include a very easily influenced demographic that in turn easily influences their parents. On the surface it might seem that Facebook’s ad-revenue business model would benefit greatly from this change, but it’s not just that. It’s about the games too.
I approached the two people on the Sepia Labs team that have children for their opinions on this. Nick Bradbury recognizes the real motivation for Facebook to include children on the site: “I’ve read some of the articles about FB opening up to kids, and they’re too focused on thinking FB wants to show them ads. This isn’t about ads: it’s about games. FB wants to get the kids who play things like Wizard 101 to start playing games on FB – and paying for them, through their parents’ account. There’s a ton of money in that.”
Nick also mentions, in regards to his son who will soon be 13, “I’m actually fine with him having an account, but only because we’ve taught him how to act responsibly on social networks. We’ve taught him that what he says on any social network – or even on IM – can last forever, so he needs to be careful with what he says. And I’ve also taught him that what he writes can’t be hidden from the watchful eyes of geek daddy ”
Alternatively, Walker Fenton hasn’t had to field requests for Facebook access: “My kids are 8 and 6, they don’t yet know Facebook. They only know Glassboard ” Quite the refreshing approach!
What do you think? If you’re a parent, would you want your kid to have access to Facebook?