by Maggie Ronan
For my One User Per Week chat this week, I spoke with Ralph “Stew” Goss, a loyal Xobni user since learning about our Outlook product back when Bill Gates demoed it during his keynote at the MS Office Developers Conference:
Since February, Stew has been wearing many hats as an Application Specialist, Programmer, and IT wizard at the Portland, ME office of Redlon & Johnson, one of the nation’s leading wholesale distributors of industrial products. Ever the evangelist, Stew told me one of his early moves there was to introduce his new Outlook-using coworkers to Xobni. A highly technical data buff himself, Stew likes to share his appreciation for the power of Xobni’s approach to email search. When he installs the software on new users’ machines, two of his favorite features to show off are Xobni’s attachment-finding speed and how you can zero in on a particular email by person, rather than typing in a keyword and choosing amongst every instance of that word in your email corpus.
Around the world with Xobni Analytics
At a previous organization, Stew worked in international customer service, frequently providing support on projects centered as far away as Korea and China. With this extreme time zone difference came various logistical challenges, including an email schedule that caused his Outlook inbox to fill up during sleeping hours. Rather than being daunted by this asynchronous flow of correspondence, Stew realized he had just the tool to manage it intelligently: Xobni Analytics! When he read an email from a particular contact, he would take note of his or her sending patterns to get a sense of what time the contact was most likely to open his response. Instead of constantly adding and subtracting hours to account for time zones, Stew said he could use the graphs* in Xobni Analytics to gauge the response time required and manage his work flow: if it was likely the middle of the night at his contact’s home base, “I knew I could wait until the end of the day to respond.” This way, Stew could figure out which contacts would be apt to see his response first, and prioritize his emails accordingly.
Please sir, may I have some more Actions?
Stew was overall very satisfied by his experience with Xobni, but when pressed for constructive criticism, he did come forth with the suggestion that we could perhaps take better advantage of the “Actions” tab in the Xobni extensions panel. Currently the actions available to users there are “Schedule time with…” (which auto-generates an email to set up a meeting with your contact with your availability as represented in your Outlook calendar) and “Email…” (which…well, opens a compose window so you can email that contact), and there is some unused space underneath the options shown there. It’s interesting to think of ways we could capitalize on that spare real estate–keep an eye on that tab to see how that area develops, and if there are more actions you’d like to see available in the Xobni sidebar, do let us know.
In addition to his day job as a Xobni evangel–err, Application Specialist, Stew also runs GuruTech, a business that specializes in creating scripted products and doing custom work in Second Life. Thanks Stew, for the great conversation.
If you’re interested in being featured in our One User Per Week blog series just comment on this post, and I’ll get in touch with you. Phone calls are about 30 minutes long, generally pain-free, and have even been described by participants with words such as “enlightening,” “interesting,” “useful,” …and some even go so far as to say “fun.”
*Even if you don’t actively use Xobni Analytics in the sidebar tab or popout window, it’s working for you every time you perform a search. Your contacts’ Xobni Ranks dictate the order in which they appear in search results in the Xobni sidebar and in which they are AutoSuggested to you in the compose window (if you’re using Xobni Plus).