Posts Tagged 'interview'

OUPW: Sue Rothberg, Video Production Company Principal

Sue Rothberg

  • Name: Sue Rothberg
  • Position & Company: Principal, Sue Rothberg Productions, a Boston-based video production company specializing in a documentary-style storytelling approach for clients.
  • Xobni user since: the Beta days (over a year ago)
  • Product she uses: Xobni for Outlook
  • Favorite feature: “the way Xobni indexes all my emails with sub categories such as attachments, network of other people, etc. What used to be a very time consuming task of searching for an email is now a breeze.”
  • Product request: Xobni for the soon-to-be-released Outlook for Mac

Taking care of email to get to the real work

As she runs her own video production company, email is not the core component of Sue’s business (that status might be better granted to, say, producing video), but the time she spends in Outlook is still vital for client relations and putting the pieces in place for her work to get done.  We originally set out to help people spend less time searching their inboxes, so hearing accolades such as the following gets us PSYCHED.  Sue said of Xobni for Outlook: “I would say it is one of the best applications ever invented…and I am not kidding.  I have been an Outlook user for the better part of 10 years, and Xobni has made the application easier to use, more robust, and most importantly, it has made me more efficient.”  Awesome.

File deleted?  Not a problem if it lives on in your inbox

Sue’s Xobni to the Rescue story: “Once I had deleted an image, but when I searched, Xobni found the attachment within an email. There have been many other times where it saved me by finding something that was deleted or by getting to an email address very quickly so I could locate a file that had been exchanged…this application is a must for anyone who is an Outlook power user.”

Many thanks to Sue for sharing her Xobni experience.  Have a Xobni story you’d like to share?  Want to be featured in One User Per Week?  Let us know in the comments!

OUPW: Sarah Craddock – University Residence Hall Director

SarahCraddock

  • Position: Residence Hall Director
  • Company: University of Northern Colorado
  • Xobni user since: 2007
  • Product she uses: Xobni for Outlook
  • Favorite feature: Files Exchanged
  • Email philosophy: “Inbox zero, whenever I can”

Between carrying out closing procedures for the academic year and gearing up for the summer schedule of conferences and other events, Sarah had tackled one of the busiest weeks of the year at her job as a university Residence Hall Director just before I caught up with her.  The amount of activity Sarah is responsible for managing naturally leads to a flurry of time-sensitive email–and a great opportunity for Xobni for Outlook to have a big impact on her efficiency.

“What’s that thing on the side of your screen?”: Sarah has first-hand experience of the “over-the-shoulder” factor of Xobni’s sidebar in Outlook.  Coworkers walking by are accustomed to the standard colors and UI of Outlook, but when Xobni’s presence grabs their attention, they often stop and ask Sarah questions about the plugin.

Rising in Xobni Rank: Once she had shared Xobni with her coworkers*, their discovery of Fun Facts, including Xobni Rank, brought out the competitive spirit in some of them.  Developing strategies to get to the top of someone’s contact list has become a running joke in her office.  The winning tactic?  Of course, working closely with someone tends to lead to them becoming a highly ranked contact for you, but there was a quick and dirty method of making use of company listservs alluded to as well…

It was interesting to hear how Xobni works for Sarah in her position within Higher Education (especially since it was quite different from the experience of my first OUPW interviewee in Higher Ed).  If you’re interested in sharing how you use Xobni as part of the One User Per Week blog series, let me know in the comments, and I’ll be in touch.

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*Oftentimes, Sarah uses our in-product invite system to share Xobni with others.  We love it so much when people do this that we give away one Xobni Plus license a week for a user who sends invites through the product.  Try it out: just click the heart button at the bottom of the Xobni sidebar, and Xobni will suggest Outlook users to invite from your contacts.

OUPW: Xobni & the First Job

JoTroSchwo

  • Name: Joe Troyen-Schwartz
  • Position: Business Analyst
  • Heard about Xobni through: Matt Mak, an Analytics specialist at Opera
  • Product he uses: Xobni for Outlook
  • Favorite feature: Attachments Exchanged
  • Product request: Xobni for Gmail

I’m excited to feature Joe in OUPW this week, not only because he’s an enthusiastic Xobni devotee, but also because he exemplifies a user type that has yet to make an appearance on our blog: the recent (well, within 2 years) college grad.  Although frustration with enterprise software is widespread, using stodgy business software can be especially painful for those of us who have gone through school accustomed to using all the cool tech tools we choose.  The functionality Xobni brings to Outlook makes the office software behave in a way much more like what Joe and other Millenials have come to expect from the technology we use.  It certainly seems to resonate with Joe–here’s what he had to say about Xobni:

Detangling the inbox jungle: “Xobni organizes the jungle that is my mailbox into meaningful views.  Groups all conversations by contact, and then allows me to slice and dice from there- by conversation, attachments, links, or just superpowerful search.”

Attachments in a flash: “I don’t even save files on my hard drive anymore.  Seriously, it feels like cheating.”

Email invincibility: “Today my Outlook wasn’t working so I had to spend the day without Xobni.  I felt mortal.”

It’s always awesome to hear Xobni having such a dramatic impact on an Outlook user.  It’s particularly reaffirming that workers at Opera are adopting Xobni, as the consulting firm is known for leveraging the best tech tools for both internal and client use.

If you want to participate in OUPW and get your name in lights on the Xobni blog (and a free t-shirt!), let me know in the comments.

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.”

One User Per Week–Revived!, featuring Mason Carpenter

Last year we began a blog series called “One User Per Week” in which Xobni users graciously allowed our co-founder Matt to pick their brains about their relationship with Xobni, including how they found out about us, the capacity in which they use our products, their favorite Xobni tips and tricks, and the top feature requests they have for us.  We had some great conversations and learned a ton from our users, but then got a little distracted*, and One User Per Week went on hiatus.

Well, today, I am pleased to announce: hiatus ended.  The One User Per Week blog series is being revived—and version 2.0 will include such enhanced features as a consistent schedule, posts addressing new Xobni products in addition to our Outlook sidebar, and a new author (err, that’s a feature alteration, rather than an enhancement 🙂 ).  I’m excited to take over the reins and get an in-depth understanding of how individuals make use of Xobni.  And so, without further adieu, let’s jump right into One User Per Week: The New Class.

mcarpenter

Mason Carpenter, Professor at Univ. of Wisconsin School of Business

My phone call last week with Mason Carpenter, Professor of Management and Human Resources at the University of Wisconsin School of Business, was a great jump-restart to One User Per Week.  We’ve never featured someone who works in higher education before, so I was eager to hear about how Xobni is getting put to use in a university setting, and Mason is an engaged Xobni evangelist, so it was great to hear about how he’s been spreading the word about Xobni, as well as how he sees it fitting in as a tool in the online social networking landscape.

The hunt for the “Ultimate Aggregator”

Mason is very interested in social networking and in particular, tools that incorporate social media into business.  He has a bold dream that one day he’ll encounter the “Ultimate Aggregator”, in which all of the information he is looking for about an individual is just there.  That dream is something that our company and Mason have in common, so it was pretty wonderful to hear him say that currently Xobni “is the closest thing I have to one-stop shopping.”  We’re working hard on becoming the Ultimate Address Book, so that “the closest thing I have to” will be omitted in future utterances of that statement.

Attachment magic: “It’s just there.”

The volume of email Mason manages working at an educational institution (over 100 non-junk email messages daily) qualifies him for the dually elite and painful categorization we refer to as Email Power User.  So while he initially was attracted to our Outlook sidebar, which he heard about through a friend at McKinsey & Co., for its social media integration, he has found Xobni’s search capabilities invaluable for hunting through his historical email.  He noted that he has become especially dependent on Xobni’s ability to find attachments: Mason, like most Outlook users, used to take for granted that finding an old attachment exchanged with a contact would be a pain.  With Xobni, he reported, “it’s just there.”  Again, that’s exactly our goal—you shouldn’t have to think about the right syntax to construct your search to get the information you need, it should just be there.

For recruiters, Xobni profile = instant snapshot of a candidate’s web presence

When I spoke with him, Mason was looking forward to a talk he’s giving in April to 100+ HR professionals who work in MBA recruiting.  He was excited about the prospect of sharing Xobni with this group, since, in addition to the major productivity boost Xobni provides its users in general, its social network integration makes Xobni specifically valuable for recruiters, in that it can instantly get them a snapshot of a candidate’s web presence.  By now, most of us know that recruiters often evaluate candidates’ online footprints to weed through the tremendous volume of applicants they encounter daily, and Mason confirmed for me that a basic Google search** is one of the top tools for this group of professionals.

One trouble with getting info about a candidate this way is that sorting through the search results to find ones that pertain to the specific person you’re looking for (particularly in the case of more common names) can wind up being a pretty time-consuming task.  Spending 5 minutes to enter a candidate’s name into a search engine (and maybe Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter) manually and then comb through to find relevant results might not seem like that much time, but apply that process to 20, 50, 100 candidates and suddenly you’re talking about serious time.   It was exhilarating to explore this use case with Mason because he had some really good insight into how using Xobni could improve this process for recruiters.  We’ve gained a lot of traction in the HR community already, and I’m excited to hear about how Mason’s presentation of Xobni will be received in his talk next month.

It was a pleasure to chat with Mason, and I’m looking forward to talking to more users for future OUPW posts.  If you’re interested in having your Xobni experience featured on the blog, please let me know by commenting on this post (be sure to leave your email…which will not be visible to anyone but our blog admins), and I’ll get in touch with you.

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*In our defense, we’ve had a lot to be distracted by during that time, including the release of Xobni Plus, Xobni Enterprise, and most recently, Xobni for BlackBerry and Xobni One.  But enough excuses—I’m willing to bet that we’ll be able to release some hot new products and maintain this blog series at the same time going forward.

**As a side note, if you haven’t noticed before, we have a Google search bar integrated into our Outlook client, should you want more info from the web than what’s already presented in the Xobni profile you’re viewing,: Search bar screenshot

Xobni interview and tour video on intruders.tv

Last week Immad from Intruders.tv visited the Xobni HQ for an interview with Adam, Gabor, and myself as well as a brief tour of our office. You can check it out here


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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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