One User Per Week, featuring Koni Konigsberg

Koni Konigsberg

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Koni Konigsberg, Director of Operations at ROW Adventures, for this week’s One User Per Week interview.  After years of trip leading for the adventure travel company, Koni moved to the full-time position he currently holds, in which he coordinates the day-to-day operations of the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho*-based outfit.  Being Director if Operations involves a much-increased volume of admin work–including, inevitably, a ton of emailing.

Organizing email contacts, in and out of the water

Koni manages a group of full-time employees and seasonal trip leaders that tops out between 40 and 50 people.  Since a large number of the guides is on the road and in the water for rafting trips during the summer, he relies on email to coordinate this staff and ROW’s clients, to the point which he reports, like many of our users: “I live in Outlook.”  In the past, his method of organizing his email was to keep an individual Outlook folder for each employee and distributor he contacted, which required a lot of continuous maintenance on his part.  Xobni has totally changed his email habits since he discovered it a couple of years ago when Lifehacker gave away invites to our limited beta.  He now keeps only three folders: “Distributors,” “Guides,” and “Employees.”   Many Xobni users have reported doing away with Outlook folders altogether.

Keeping track of transients

While having a highly active group of guides clearly has its advantages for leading trips, it can be difficult to keep in touch with members of his staff in the off season, when they are often off on non-ROW-related adventures.  Yearly activities like sending birthday cards (and equally thrilling W-2 forms) used to be tricky when a guide changed email addresses and his manually-entered snail mail address from the Outlook address book was lost.  However, Koni has found that Xobni makes wintertime contact with his guides much easier, since by merging individual profiles as their contact info changes, he can keep an uninterrupted record of all of the communication he has had with them.  He’s also come to appreciate the Facebook friendships he was initially hesitant to accept from his guides, since he can see the cool stuff they’ve been up to in off season while he’s finding their contact info in Outlook.

Feature request: integration of companies’ social media profiles

Koni had a few interesting feature requests, including one in particular that struck a chord with me, since it applies to growing a company’s following across social media.  While he enjoys seeing the Twitter and Facebook streams of his individual Xobni contacts, he finds he’s often also interested in the social media action of his contact’s company, rather than just personal info.  Koni suggested that Xobni offer an option to set a contact’s profile to show her company’s Twitter and/or Facebook fan page stream, and perhaps the ability to toggle between the individual and company profiles.  I’d love to see this kind of functionality be added to the product.

It was great talking to Koni about his experience with Xobni.  If you’re interested in hearing more about ROW Adventures, check out their Facebook fan page.  And, as always, if you’re interested in being interviewed for One User Per Week (and gaining eternal Internet glory, as well as a free Xobni t-shirt), comment on this post and let me know.

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*If you’re looking for a beautiful, slightly-off-the-beaten-path spot to visit in the U.S., you could do a lot worse than Coeur d’Alene.  “Barbara Walters called the city ‘a little slice of Heaven’ and included it in her list of most fascinating places to visit.”

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Xobni’s contact management products offer lightning fast email search and organization of your inbox, as well as an innovative and comprehensive address book for the mobile device.

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