October 2010

Jim and Michele McCarthy are teamwork experts. They’ve spent the last 15 years codifying the best practices of high performing teams, and then teaching them to others in a “teamwork lab” they call Bootcamp.

For the past few weeks I’ve been listening to their 138 episode podcast series – the McCarthy Show.  It’s an easy way to pass the 15 minutes of drive time to the office in the morning – almost as if Jim and Michele had been recording the episodes for my commute!

In Episode 3, Discussion Should be Illegal, they make the case for skipping discussion in favour of action.  Their observation is simple: in many meetings, the discussion before taking a decision doesn’t contribute to getting agreement on the decision. In many situations, the group has already decided!  So ask for the decision before discussing.  If everyone is already in agreement, then skip the discussion and move onto the next agenda item.  It’s a simple idea to achieve results, and radically shorten meetings.

Try it.  I certainly plan to.

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Skype has cut Nimbuzz off.  What that means is that users of Nimbuzz’ popular mobile clients will no longer be able to make calls using the SkypeOut network.  According to Skype themselves, it was for unspecified violations of the Skype API terms and license.  Nimbuzz US General Manager Tobias Kemper provided further detail in an interview with the Inquirer:

Kemper explained that Skype wanted greater control of the quality of service and user experience, something that Nimbuzz was unwilling to do. Kemper claimed that Nimbuzz already used superior audio codecs and that it was not willing to give further control over its network to Skype.

Andy Abramson speculates that the reason for Skype’s decision has to do with a desire to not be positioned by regulators as an interconnected carrier.  There may be some truth to that, but it certainly runs counter to many of Skype’s other efforts to work with entities like, for example, Verizon and 3.

More likely, in my opinion, is the reason Skype has apparently given.  Section 3.1 of the Skype API terms gives Skype broad latitude to control third party’s experience of Skype.  If for some reason Skype felt that the Nimbuzz experience didn’t reflect well on Skype, the terms in this section of the contract give Skype the right to cut Nimbuzz off.

Otherwise, why not continue to take revenue from Nimbuzz’ thirty million subscribers?

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