Yes, I Wear SpongeBob Boxer Shorts – That’s Why I’ll Pass On Video Technology For Now

Let me first say that I am not fan of video chatting. Actually, I wish the technology had never been invented in the first place. Is it because I’m a fan of the orthodox? Don’t like the change? Are you an angry person?

Yes, I am all of that. But that’s not the reason why I don’t enjoy video chats. The reason is because I’m a mom of teenage kids. They were also issued by their school and their buddies for free Macbooks at the beginning of this year. In the first few minutes of receiving these devices , they quickly figured out how to make use of the video chat software included in the. This means that I cannot go downstairs to the kitchen to drink an iced drink at 10 in the evening without hearing the giggling teenage boy who lives 2 miles away shout “Hi Mr. Marks” or “Nice boxers Mr. Marks.”

The fact is, video technology is on the horizon. It’s inexpensive. In the case of some small business owners , it’s become a critical part of their companies’ communications.

Like Marty Grunder. And Lee Buffington. Both use Oovoo, a video chatting service, to assist them in running their business. According the Marty, “it’s revealed a whole new world.” It’s also revealed in the tenth grade that I’m wearing SpongeBob boxers.

Marty is a consultant and speaker for the landscaping industry. His clients benefit from his expertise to expand their businesses as well as improve their profitability. And he relies heavily on Oovoo to assist him with this.

“The last several days in a row I had back to back coaching sessions with clients,” Marty recently said to me. “These were with landscapers located in different parts of the country. I did it all face to face…from my desk.”

Lee Buffington is one of Marty’s customers. The company he runs, north Alabama based Turf Tamer Inc. provides both commercial and residential landscaping services including designing/building the landscape, lighting and irrigation. He also makes use of Oovoo to communicate face to face with both prospective and current customers to discuss plans.

For guys such as Marty and Lee A picture is worth more than a thousand words. And a video’s worth a million. However, they’ren’t the only small-scale entrepreneurs benefiting of video chat software. Doctors are sending assistants to conduct house calls on their behalf. They’re sending videos instantly from their mobile phones to consult. Roofers are showing video evidence of flaking shingles to their office estimators to ensure that their estimates are more precise. Realtors are showing new houses to customers as soon as they go on the market.

It caused me to consider my own business. My firm sells CRM, accounting, and other software for business. Should I be using video sharing software like Oovoo (or Skype, or others similar to it) in addition?


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The services seem simple enough to set up. For God’s sake the two of them Marty and Lee have jobs as landscapers. They mow lawns for a living. If they’re capable of it I’d imagine that anyone could (just kidding).

All kidding aside, the use of a service like Oovoo is incredibly simple. It’s as easy as setting up an account yourself. You’re then listed in the Oovoo community as a member – others can click on your listing and request to be connected. But your video doesn’t have to be in the hands of another Oovoo member. You can send an email that contains a link to the person who you invite. The recipient clicks the link and immediately he’s able to see your computer’s web browser. If he’s got a video camera on the computer, you’re also seeing him.

Skype will require you to install software (it takes a short time, but it’s not a long process). Oovoo does not. The applications are compatible with PCs as well as Macs. Most computers today come with video cameras integrated into them. If not, buying one and connecting it to the USB port is a breeze. Lee and Marty both recommend it. Lee and Marty say to make sure that you purchase a good camera, too.

I completed everything. It was easy to download Oovoo and then it was installed on my laptop in less than minutes. After that, I provided a URL to the video conference to my friend who clicked within a minute I was able to see him (he did not have a webcam on his computer). I also did this for my 10th-grader (trust me, he has a fully operational webcam on the back of his Macbook) and we were instantly seeing one another close. It worked, almost too well. The video chat technology makes me wonder just how I thought my children were cute and snuggly.

By the way…I completed all of this for nothing. Oovoo is similar to Skype, iChat (that’s Apple’s software included on their products) and other video-based chatting software is totally free. No charge for the two-way video. Also, calls to other Oovoo members. Oovoo can get away with this by charging for advertising so be sure that you don’t accidentally click any third party’s hyperlink while in the video calling screen. You can purchase premium services such as audio calls, greater number of participants in a video conference more resolution, and better recording video conference calls and sharing of desktops too. Business plans, that include these features , as well as more tech support and administrative capabilities, vary between $39.95 per month , for a single user to $699.95 monthly for fifty users.

Marty and Lee seem to love the idea of. “If I say ‘how’s business going’ and I don’t see a client’s face when he answers then I’m not getting the whole answer,” Marty declares. “I need to look in people’s eyes if I can really help them. It adds a whole new level of accountability.” Lee loves the opportunity to be in touch with his clients and present his ideas without having to take a whole day out for travel.

It’s possible that you think I’m in for this, right? Unfortunately, I’m not. In fact, I’m going appear to be talking for a few minutes for my company. I’ve got my own reasons.

To begin with, it’s a little too intrusive. Maybe I’m old school. Maybe I’m just a little nervous having unknown teenagers see me wearing my boxers all hours of the night (it’s not a beautiful appearance). However, I do a lot of work at home. While working on my phone, I’m doing other things – walking around or checking ESPN or clipping my nails. I’m not so sure my clients would want to see all of that. I’m not certain ANYONE is interested in seeing that. It’s my bet that the people I’m talking to aren’t always keen to see what they’re doing too. Some things should be left to the imagination.

Most importantly, video chatting isn’t really necessary in my company. I don’t have coaching or consulting like Marty. I’m not demonstrating landscape design like Lee. I’m not evaluating bedsores or a damaged gutter hanging off a roof. Nobody wants to see my face. They want to see my software and how it will make their users more productive. I’ve got some great desktop sharing tools to assist me in that.

Video chatting? It’s a lot of fun for teens. It’s valuable for some business owners. But with a look like mine? It’s not worth it.

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