I discovered telepresence by happy accident. A friend of mine in the robotics industry sent me a link to the Suitable Technologies website after a conversation at dinner one night. Fascinated, I signed up on their mailing list and started learning more about it. When I was asked to speak at the Spark The Change conference about remote teams doing great things, the idea of using the Beam Pro came to mind immediately. I wanted to both try it out for giving a presentation, and allow others to beam into the conference to attend talks they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see.
I met Abe at a party in 2006 and we’ve been close friends ever since. We have a lot of things in common, but one of those things is our mutual obsession for music. From the first day we met, we we’ve been sharing music. And we quickly started doing that on Skype. Skype can show what you are listening to on iTunes in the status, and so we would be commenting on each others tunes all day long (tangent: Skype then added the very annoying “feature” of sending all your contacts a notification every time your status changed – which I didn’t know about until clients started saying something. And those of you who know about my love for experimental music can appreciate the odd names that must have flashed across my client’s monitors Anyhow…
Last night was my monthly Toastmasters meeting. I had planned to attend and give my 4th speech from the handbook. The organizers informed me that this night would be a competition… Humorous Speaking! When I protested and said I didn’t know how to be funny on purpose, they would hear nothing of it, and said “Good luck”!
I figured I would just give it a try and use the opportunity to talk about something non remote working related (a special treat for my fellow Toastmasters)!
I was invited to go on a summer holiday in Switzerland with a group of friends. Because the weather was good, we decided to go to a high altitude camping place with minimal facilities. That meant cold temperatures, no electricity, and the ‘2-minute showers’ were a 400 meter (uphill) walk from the tent. Did I say “summer holiday”?
While I can’t say I was looking forward to it exactly, I figured “never waste a good (first-world) crisis“, and at the last minute, I decided to turn the experience into an experiment and go completely offline for 10 days: no phone, no iPad mini, no laptop, no camera.
A guest blog post by Florian Hoornaar, Entrepreneur and “Man-friend”. Florian recently went from running a company where his employees worked in the office together, to a company where everyone works remotely.
Today is not a good day. Today I can’t get anything done. I’m looking at my computer and all I see is a blur of characters, lines and rectangles. Apart from efficiency, I know the quality of my work will suck. Today, I give up.
A work holiday is where you leave your home and travel to a new place – with the intention of both working and exploring the world at the same time.
This recipe is not for the traveler who is always on the go, or for the person who only works in one place. It’s for those of us who are exploring the world while working. It’s the ultimate experiment in work-life fusion!
Over the last few work holidays, I’ve put together a recipe for working on the go. And of course, I’m still experimenting and improving.
Last night, from the comfort of my home in the Netherlands, I beamed in to Las Vegas where Suitable Technologies had a booth at the InfoComm conference. Their last newsletter asked for people who wanted to “party with the beam”. And since Collaboration Superpowers is hosting a Beam Pro that will allow people to beam in to the Spark The Change conference in London, I wanted to see what the experience was like for myself.
At 21.00 my time (12.00 Las Vegas time), I logged into my Beam application, clicked Connect, and voila! Vegas, baby! I was immediately in the Suitable Tech booth with other Beam Pro-ers and conference attendees. I rolled around a bit and got used to driving – and then another Beam Pro approached me. It was one of their staff who was beaming in from Palo Alto.
- Does dressing up matter when we work remotely?
- To what extent does it affect our psyche?
- In what ways does it affect how people interact with us?
- Does it affect our productivity?
So for 30 days, I wore 30 different “outfits” and observed what happened next.
After the first successful work holiday, Florian and I decided to try a new experiment. This time, we wanted to take things to a more minimal level, asking “Can we go deeper into the mountains and still get work done? Do we need to be in a city, or can we still work from a small village?”
There’s a place in Switzerland we’ve been to often enough where we know the owners. We knew they had a small cabin we could use with decent internet. So we emailed them in advance, described what we were trying to do. They responded with “Come on over!”