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Reinventing Business Conversations, with Rick Segal

In Blowing up an industry,  Rick Segal suggests that conference calling services could be easier to use.  His vision is that you would be able to easily find people, invite them to conference calls and participate, without having all of the usual mess that surrounds conference calls – dial-in numbers, pin codes, and the like.

I gave Rick a call when I read his piece, naturally, because I’m pretty sure that Calliflower conference calls do most of what he wants already. With Calliflower, you pick people from your address book, and send them an invitation, which includes an iCal so it gets into the calendar of your choice.  Calliflower keeps track of who has responded and who hasn’t.  It keeps an agenda for the call for you.  It lets everyone know if you update the agenda.  Everyone gets reminded just before the call starts.  The reminder includes the dial-in number, so all you have to do is click the number on your PC or on your mobile phone, and it automatically gets dialed using the phone or PC VoIP application of your choice.  If you want to save some shekels and use VoIP you can do that to with our partner Truphone’s application, integrated right into the Calliflower site.

And as you can see from these three screen shots, Calliflower is pretty easy to use too…

Step 1.  Pick a topic for your call, include some agenda information, and pick a time.

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Step 2.  Invite people to participate.

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Step 3. Review the invitation list and press finish.

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I think Rick is looking for what what Calliflower does. The one thing we don’t do, that he mentioned, is provide an Outlook plug-in.  Frankly, like most people I try to stay far away from Outlook plug-ins. Despite the tantalizing functionality improvements offered by many plug-ins, 90% of the ones I’ve tried have resulted in a dramatic destabilization of Outlook for me. Like the old joke about the guy who goes to the doctor complaining about having a headache, and the doctor suggests he stop banging his head against the wall, I learned my lesson.  No more plug-ins for me, except Plaxo which I still use.

We look at what Rick is asking for as table stakes.  In addition, Calliflower conference calls have moderation features, avatars so you can actually see who’s on the call (yes – you can banish those annoying role calls to the dustbin of history), a live chat wall, recordings, integration with social networks and more.  We agree! It’s time to reinvent business conference calls. And the best part is that the conferencing market is a huge and growing market which is crying out for basic productivity tools.

So that’s what we do.

Now, it’s not Rick’s fault he didn’t know about Calliflower.  That’s a failure on our part to get the word out.  So to correct that, I’ve invited Rick and a few other people from my address book to a demo call on Monday at 1:00 PM EDT.  It shouldn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes of time. I’ve made it a public event, too (Calliflower lets you have both private and public calls), so if you’d like to join in and find out how Calliflower can meet your business conference calling needs, just click on this link. You can create yourself a Calliflower account if you don’t have one and add yourself to the call. Calliflower will do the rest.

Hope to see you on the call, Rick!

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Frederic Boulanger August 17, 2008, 8:10 pm

    Alec – one aspect of Calliflower that is not addressed and would be very useful to address is the availability management. It would be extremely useful if you could tie into Tungle as the availability provider ie – as calliflower scheduling service. They take care of the Outlook integration and others, and off you go. Too often sending an invite results in too many back and forth and a total waste of time to finally negotiate a time that works.

  • Alec August 18, 2008, 3:14 am

    I agree with you Fred. There's a big problem with coordinating meetings across corporate boundaries, and Tungle is a great solution.

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