What the hell is Jeff Barson doing?

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Where am I?

This is the blog of Jeff Barson. I'm currently running HireVue Labs, former Director at Sendside, founder of Surface Medical, Nimble, Medspa MD, Freelance MD, Frontdesk, Uncommon, and Wild Blue... angel investor and startup advisor. Oh, and I'm a artist. More >>


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    "Everyone wants to kill the king. But the prince, he just sails along telling all the ladies, 'One day I'm gonna be king.'" ~
    Vince Chase, Entourage

    What is Sendside?

    Everyone at Sendside has been asked; what is it? Well, here's a pretty good overview of what Sendside is and why we're building a Platform that doesn't have the shortcomings of email.

    Willam does a pretty good elevator pitch there around why email can't work for many businesses and doesn't really address the functional needs that may organizations have around their communications.

    Sendside is what email could have been if, when it was designed in 1982, it was architected with all of the benefits of 27 years of technology advancement and innovation.


    Wall Street & Technology Article On New Transparency

    Wall Street & Technology just pushed an article that has a few Sendside clients mentioned prominently discussing the need for financial service businesses to manage their communication streams and focus on customer needs.

    Wall Street Adjusts To Transparency Demands

    Contango's Bichler points out that while there is no such thing as providing clients with too much comfort, firms must take clients' time constraints into consideration. "We have clients who have a strong understanding of the market but a finite amount of time to do communications," he says. "We need a channel to communicate with them."

    Until the financial crisis rocked the markets nearly a year ago, Contango used to send out paper communications or e-mails to clients, Bichler relates. But that's no longer sufficient. The market might move 3 or 4 percent very quickly, and clients want to know immediately what is happening, Bichler says, adding, "We knew we needed a stronger electronic solution."

    Eight months ago, Contango started using technology from Sendside Networks, which launched a new tool for brokerage and hedge fund clients that combines Web content, audio, video, Flash presentations or existing print collateral into a single, multimedia message.

    To avoid overloading clients, "We're trying to tailor our communications to what our clients want to see," Bichler explains. "People who want to simplify their lives do not want too much excess content." Personalizing communications to customer preferences, he continues, is what creates loyalty.

    To that end, says Loughton of Praesideo Management, which also uses Sendside, the insight the solution provides on how clients respond to messages is particularly valuable. "You can see whether they're opening a message and [in the case of an audio message] spending time listening to it," he relates.

    It's nice to see our financial service clients responding so positively to what we're doing at Sendside. Of course, fin services is just one of the vertical segments using Sendside.


    Be Extrordinary ~ Sendside Packages

    Sendside Packages solve some very difficult problems for organizations large and small. This short video demonstrates how Sendside Packages let you seperate your business from competitors and compete in ways that they can't match.

    View a Package about how Sendside speeds Sales

    View a Package about Sendside powers Marketing

    What's Sendside good for? Hell, you're supposed to be creative...

    Selling: Hey! You can now communicate complicated or important messages thorough one simple communication. As you see through the tabs above I've sent an overview, relevant facts, a magazine and even an application. Any organization that needs to communicate now has unlimited capabilities to do so and tell a complex story easily and simply. You'll be providing your clients custom 1 to 1 communication and interaction that they've never seen before.

    Customer Communications: Sendside's clear communication capabilities provide the ability to 'send' information instead of asking others to come and get it. Instead of a static email, Sendside offers the capability to send high-touch, highly-interactive communications and use your existing content.

    eCommerce multiplied: With Sendside you can tie in to your existing infrastructure, or not. But Sendside can still solve the headaches, costs, and inefficiencies around multiple sites with a comprehensive solution that's easy on your end users.

    No IT Integration or Downloads Needed: Since Sendside is delivered as a service, there's no need to force downloads or installs on your team or IT pros. Just login and go.

    Uber-Security & Compliance: Sendside's legendary security is trusted by banks, hedge funds and boards of directors for their most confidential info. Sendside's security is 'baked in' and always on, allowing every user to have complete trust in every communication and conform to any compliance need. Did I mention there's no spam, fraud, or phishing??? Tres cool.

    Safety: Sendside gives everyone piece of mind with jaw-dropping capabilities like Reach, Prevention, and Recall that allow you to see every person who has access to your message, prevent forwarding, printing or downloading, and even recall a message at any time, even after it's been read. This type of control gets you some mongo bang-for-the-buck since you can switch inventory or the entire communication in-stream.

    So there it is. Of course there's much more... Interactive, video, messaging, real-time reporting and analytics... Jump the curve to Sendside.


    Dwight Schrute Makes Better Business Decisions

    According to new research co-authored by a Brigham Young University business professor, better decisions come from teams that include a "socially distinct newcomer."

    That's psychology-speak for someone who is different enough to bump other team members out of their comfort zones.

    Researchers noticed this effect after conducting a traditional group problem-solving experiment. The twist was that a newcomer was added to each group about five minutes into their deliberations. And when the newcomer was a social outsider, teams were more likely to solve the problem successfully.

    The research is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

    "One of the most-cited benefits of diversity is the infusion of new ideas and perspectives," said study co-author Katie Liljenquist, assistant professor of organizational leadership at BYU's Marriott School of Management. "And while that very often is true, we found the mere presence of a newcomer who is socially distinct can really shake up the group dynamic. That leads to discomfort, but also to a better process that ultimately yields superior outcomes."

    The key factor is simply whether newcomers are distinct in some way from the other group members.

    What explains the results?

    According to Liljenquist, newcomers in the experiment didn't necessarily ask tougher questions, possess novel information, or doggedly maintain a conflicting point of view. Just being there was enough to change the dynamic among old-timers who shared a common identity.

    When a member of the group discovered that he agreed with the new outsider, he felt alienated from his fellow old-timers - consequently, he was very motivated to explain his point of view on its merits so that his peers wouldn't lump him in with the outsider.

    The person who found himself disagreeing with the in-group - and instead agreeing with an outsider - felt very uncomfortable. An opinion alliance with an outsider put his social ties with other team members at risk.

    "Socially, that can be very threatening," Liljenquist says. "These folks are driven to say, 'Wait, the fact that I disagree with this outsider doesn't make me weird. Something more is going on here; let's figure out what's at the root of our disagreement.' The group then tends to analyze differing opinions and critical information much more thoroughly, and that facilitates much better decision-making results."

    Another revelation

    The experiment also revealed a fallacy in the assumptions we make about our own effectiveness in groups. The subjects in the experiment were members of different fraternities and sororities. In general, when the newcomer was from the same sorority or fraternity as the other team members, the group reported that it worked well together, but was less likely to correctly solve the problem.

    In contrast, when the newcomer was a member of a rival sorority or fraternity, the opposite was true - these groups felt they worked together less effectively, yet they significantly outperformed socially homogenous groups.

    "What's really distinct about this research is that, from a self-reporting perspective, what people perceive to be beneficial turns out to be dead wrong," Liljenquist says. "The teams that felt they worked least effectively together were ironically the top performers!"

    Link to original article


    Sendside: Converting Prospects to Customers

    Here's a video of William Borghetti, Sendside's CEO, explaining why Sendside fits alongside both lead generation and CRM tools to convert potential customers who have some awareness of your product or service, into paying customers and how that benefits any sales or marketing organization.


    Adobe Support: Does anyone give worse customer support than Adobe?

    I just got told by Adobe to go screw myself.

    Of course, they didn't exactly say that. What they said is, "You'll have to upgrade your Adobe Premier Pro software if you want us to help you."

    Here's the  Adobe issue: I've got an activation issue for an Adobe software product (Premier) that I received as part of a video editing suite. Unfortuanately, it won't activate successfully. It gives me the 'it appears your system configuration has changed' message and when I activate it (which it does successfully) it crashes.

    Look, I'm pretty tech minded. The problem, according to Adobe Customer Support, is that the software isn't correctly saving the file. (It activates correctly and then looks for the file which isn't there and crashes.) In fact, Adobe knows its an issue and has a patch called FF1 for it. So, I call Adobe customer support to get some help.

    My experience with Adobe customer support over the last 4 days??

    Spoke to 14 people. Was told 5 separate times that I'd receive a patch  (FF1) within the next 24 hours that never came. Today, I was finally told that the patch wasn't available and that I would have to buy new software in order to get this to work! Nice. The last customer service rep, "Ron", refused to give me any identity number.

    Between the 14 people on two contenients I spoke to Adobe Customer Support, Adobe Activation Support, and Adobe Premier Support and I wasted 5 hours on the phone to be effectively told that if I didn't pay for customer support troubleshooting, they wouldn't help me activate my software.

    My opinion of Adobe Customer Support is deep in the toilet right now.




    Samsung LED Sheep Show


    It's not often that herding sheep is as entertaining as this viral video from Samsung. Extremely well done but not something that you'll be producing in your back yard.



    "All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors."


    China Green

    China's stunning new green buildings.

    The GreenPix Zero Energy Media Wall, is the world's largest color LED display combined with China's first photovoltaic system to be integrated into a glass curtain wall. It forms the curtain wall of the Xicui Entertainment Complex in Beijing, harvesting solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen after dark, much like a day’s climatic cycle.


    FDA Gives Approval For Three Breast Augmentation

    The FDA has annouced that plastic surgeons can now add a third breast when performing breast agmenation surgery.

    In addition, plastic surgeons will now be able to offer third breast implants. These treatments have been popular oversees (especially in Europe) but are now going to be availabe in the US. Expect to spend much more on bikinis. Three pocket bras are already appearing on eBay.

    ... Three breast augmentation has been show to have no greater statistical risk than single breast augmentation. It's been the norm in parts of Europe for years and we're not looking to penalize American plastic surgeons who could be performing these surgeries instead of having patients go oversees.

    Of course, I own that site and it is April 1st.


    Gmail's 5 second Undo Send. (yawn)

    If you're a gmail user you've now got some new functionality. Undo Send (when enabled) gives you a popup for 5 seconds before it sends the email, theoretically giving you time to prevent your email from being sent with a typo or missing attachement.


    CNN is so smitten with this feature and other gmail trivia like "Mail Goggles" (to help users stop sending "mail you later regret) that it's featured at the top of the technology section:

    "Undo Send" is also just the latest example of the dozens of creative -- and sometimes downright wacky -- online features developed at Gmail Labs to address common e-mail problems.

    The number of lab features has more than tripled, to more than 36, as Gmail celebrates its fifth birthday next week.

    Of course, that other shoe dropping you hear is that this doesn't actually 'Undo' anything. It simply inserts a 5 second timer after you click send before Gmail actually sends your email. That's it. Not to much going on behind the curtain and you won't need a team of crack engineers to develop functionality like that. It's like trying to build a spaceship with paddle-wheel boat technology.

    Now call me prejudiced but I'm going to draw a few comparisons between Gmail's 'Undo Send' and Sendsides' feature, 'Recall' that's enabled with every account.

    First, Gmail's Undo Send; Inserts a popup window for 5 seconds before your email is actually sent.

    Next up; Recall. Sendside's Recall feature allows you to retract any message or file at any time after it's been sent... or delivered, or read, or forwarded.

    Sent it yesterday? Fine. The recipient's allready read it? No problem. It's been forwarded? Yep. In fact, you can see who it's been forwarded to and if they've opened it, when, and every time they've looked at or downloaded your attachment.

    Sendside's functionality is so far beyond what gmail is developing it's unreal. Of course, Google's at a severe disadvantage since Gmail is built on the same SMTP protocols that were implemented in 1982 and haven't changed since then. It won't always be that way of course. Individuals and businesses want to be able to really recall and control their content, see when they're message is read, and stop hassling with email workarounds.

    Email won't be dislodged easily. It has 100% market penetration and works perfectly well for telling your wife you'll be home late for dinner.

    Of course, the horse and buggy had 100% market penetration at one time too.


    Google Design (or lack thereof)

    "When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems."

    Google's lead designer is leaving. When I first heard this I thought... "Google has a designer?"

    Indeed they do, or did. (I"m sure they still have pleanty of designers.) But, their lead diesigner is leaving and has posted something I didn't expect from anyone associated with Google and design, a thoughful post on how anyaytics and performance based testing can strip away both the aesthetics and the humany from an interface.

    Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your favor? Ok, launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the drawing board. And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.

    Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.

    I can’t fault Google for this reliance on data. And I can’t exactly point to financial failure or a shrinking number of users to prove it has done anything wrong. Billions of shareholder dollars are at stake. The company has millions of users around the world to please. That’s no easy task. Google has momentum, and its leadership found a path that works very well. When I joined, I thought there was potential to help the company change course in its design direction. But I learned that Google had set its course long before I arrived. Google was a massive aircraft carrier, and I was just a small dinghy trying to push it a few degrees North.

    So true it makes me wonder how the guy survived as long as he did. The amazing success that Google has shown has been without any aesthetic that's recognizable at all. Two things are for sure; Google is not Apple, and when a company is ruled by engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems.


    400+ Creative Business Card Designs

    400+ Creative Business Cards


    Robert Cringely

    "If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year killing everyone inside."