The service integrates seamlessly into my workflow: When I'm online on my laptop (well technically, when I'm online with Gtalk), then Olark shows the "Chat with the CEO" tab pictures above. When I'm not online, Olark automatically shows a "Leave the CEO a Message" dialog. When someone pings me through the website, it shows up as an IM from a Gtalk user named "Olark visitor".
I originally didn't know if I'd get too much spam or intrusive, non value-add pings by putting this on our company website. But I felt that it was worth the risk since a really high-touch user experience is key to the way that we do SDK marketing. And it's turned out to be a really great way for me to stay close to our userbase of mobile developers.
Just today I had a chat with a prospective SDK user that was pretty incredulous that s/he was actually chatting with the CEO. Below is a summary of the chat (every chat is emailed to me for archival after it concludes):
UPDATES: Stargate is Live! | Also, see SimpleGeo's Implementation
We recently expanded PointAbout from its office in Washington DC, opening a new office for AppMakr in San Francisco (as an aside - interesting personal-interest story about the move here).
One problem with geographic separation is that the people in the other office are very abstract. You might see work coming from them in the form of code, releases, email, etc., but it's very hard for the actual people between offices to make a connection. And that inter-personal connection is very important to us as a company, so I set out to figure out a way to solve it.
My co-founder Sean aptly named this project "Project Stargate," after the science fiction Stargate movie in which shortcut paths to the Universe are opened up through a round, glowing portal (really wanna geek out? More details on Stargate here), so the name has stuck.
I'll be adding to this blog as we figure things out, and I'd really like to have your thoughts in the comments section below, especially if you've done any work to solve this problem (any Y Combinator startups out there working on this vexing issue?). Just to be clear, we all have AIM, or Gtalk, or Skype call & video chat abilities - that's not the problem. The problem is that to initiate a call or IM chat requires effort. And while it may be a very small, minimal amount of effort, nonetheless it's effort, which means that the magical moments where someone turns to another person and says "hey, I have an idea" or "can you look at this for me" are lost. And that's really, really significant. Since effort is required to establish a connection, the serendipitous connections are lost. That's what I'm trying to bring back through "Project Stargate".
Since last Monday, I've been taking the time to recover from all of the work and activity that came with mounting my CD Release Show at 3rd and Lindsley. It was quite frenzied and a little chaotic. There were several scheduling conflicts that had me going all over town and left me and the band with a drummerless final rehearsal. All things considered, the show went on pretty smoothly. The turnout was very good, and my band, including the horn and string players, played quite well. I managed to get through a 12 song set relatively unscathed. My Prince cover went over very well and was a great choice for the finale. God I LOVE that song!!! I was not able to include a song called "Swirl" in the setlist even though I wanted to. I will, however, include it in some of my December shows. I learned a whole lot from this process, and I look forward to mounting another big show some time next year.
I have 4 more shows before the end of the year. A couple of these will be in Charlotte, NC. After I'm done with these performances, I'm taking the rest of December and all of January off from doing shows. Instead of performing, I will be shifting my focus to a whole lot of online promotion. There will be several changes to my website and myspace as well as the launching of a bunch of new things. I will return to the stage in February with a whole slew of shows that will take me through the spring and into summer. Rest assured. The promotion for my album has only just begun.
2009 will bring about some big changes in my life both professionally and personally. I look forward to the challenges ahead and hope to have as much fun as possible along the way. Here are some goals for next year: 1. Transcribe all of my music for posterity 2. Study Jazz piano 3. Learn to play the cello 4. Purchase a brand new keyboard (including a case with wheels) 5. Play as many shows as humanly possible 6. Finish my secret art project This is just for starters. There's so much more I want to do.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a couple of shows in Charlotte, NC. This is my former home prior to moving to Nashville back in 2006. I love performing in Charlotte. It always feels like a hometown crowd for me. There's always a good bit of love from all of my friends over there who come to my shows. They will all get to hear the full album live for the first time. I think it's perfect that my last show of the year will be my album showcase at Pura Vida's Gypsy Lounge. I feel like all of my shows have been practice runs for this particular performance. It will be a relaxed and very intimate show for all of my dearest friends. I can't wait. Have a flower . . . Have a wonderful week!!! There will be more to come soon! -gordo