Archive for the ‘office’ tag
We live in a world where young, ambitious women will now contend with a new, and sadly pressured life question – are you “leaning in”?
While Sheryl Sandberg, the second in command at Facebook and author of recent bestseller Lean In, and her ambitious following of female professionals have a nuanced understanding of the concept, in common speak, the words “lean in” convey something too simple, intense, and aggressive.
“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” writes Sandberg in the book.
Sandberg, who is trying to launch a social movement to empower women, is admirable and certainly has wisdom to offer. However, the intensity and pressure conjured by her phrase is not the right message we should be sending to female youth. In fact, remember old high school basketball coaches barking at us to lean in? Sandberg’s message is reminiscent. “Lean in ladies! Be aggressive. Run faster. The quarter is almost over. No taking a rest now!”
Yet, unlike basketball games, careers are not broken into quarters. They are more of an evolving marathon filled with twists and turns. The opposite of a sprint. And while muscling forward may help one win a basketball game, it’s not clear that more energy, effort, and aggressiveness is what will get women into the boardroom.
What we’ve realized in debating the message of “lean in” while looking at the careers of people like Sandberg and Mayer, is that something big is lost in the colloquial phrase that Sandberg is championing. We must redefine the phrase to convey a vision that is as big in spirit and excitement as it is in raw ambition.
As Sandberg herself states, success depends on a fair bit of luck. Both Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Sandberg had the good fortune to jump on the Google train in the early days. And Sandberg’s COO role at Facebook has catapulted her into tech godliness that was largely unpredictable.
Yes, smart negotiation, ambition, and sponsors were important. But, what distinguishes Sandberg, and what we’ve learned from our own careers is that success is also about creating, recognizing, and seizing opportunities. It’s about putting oneself in a position that maximizes luck.
Let’s look at Sandberg. She had the confidence to jump between jobs with the government, the World Bank, and tech companies, following a varied and non-linear path. Mayer grabbed the CEO opportunity at Yahoo despite being pregnant, and knowing that she’d be following a long series of executive failures.
In our own careers, it’s been the opportunities that came from new connections made in school or at a conference, or from invitations to write, speak, or create, that pushed us forward.
And at Kaltura, we look at examples like Becky, one of our key project managers, who, after being told that she didn’t have enough technical experience or background, decided to take a leap, jump into a technical job and learn engineering basics on the side in order to make a career transition.
Or Charly, who, with no degree or any technical background whatsoever, led customer support at one of our competitors and later joined Kaltura as a key account manager. Yes, these women fought hard to get ahead, but what really sets them apart is that they identified a passion, took risks, and seized new opportunities.
What we see in these examples are ambitious women that “leaned in” to advance their careers and families simultaneously. The message of “lean in” should not be to push harder, as Sandberg argues, “put your foot on the gas pedal and keep it there.”
The key, rather, is to be mindful, intentional and clear-eyed about possibilities that emerge in life and work. It is about not being guided by fear, but rather knowing your passions, being bold, and taking risks. And for women who are nearer to the top, leaning in is about being conscious of setting precedent and shaping institutions in ways that will also create paths for younger women.
So, to women (or men) who feel compelled and inspired by Sandberg but also scared about the implied added pressure to constantly push higher and farther – take a breath. There is a way to lean in and achieve success with levity and spirit. Lean in to life. Opportunities will emerge.
The key is to be confident and aware enough to see them.
Dr. Michal Tsur is a serial tech entrepreneur, having co-founded online security firm Cyota and open-source video platform Kaltura, where she is currently president. Leah Belsky is a fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, where she contributes on online collaboration and technology policy, and is currently SVP Operations at Kaltura.
Quickoffice In The Browser: The Reason Why Is Microsoft Suddenly So Scared Of Google’s Productivity Tools
We’re just a few days away from the start of Google I/O, the search giant’s annual developer conference, and while we actually know very little about what Google plans to announce during its massive, 3-hour keynote on Wednesday, there is something brewing in Mountain View that has Microsoft’s Office division on edge. Over the course of the last week, Microsoft started a very negative anti-Google Docs campaign that fits the mold of its more general Scroogled anti-Google ads. But why the sudden focus on Google’s productivity tools? That reason, I believe, is Quickoffice in the browser.
Quickoffice, which Google acquired last June, allows users to read and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the iPad, iPhone and Android. Unlike Google Docs, which remains a relatively limited productivity suite when compared to Microsoft Office, Quickoffice does a very nice job at allowing you to open and edit Office files without losing the document’s layout and other advanced features that Docs can’t currently handle. Just last month, Google brought Quickoffice to Android and the iPhone and introduced the new Chrome Office Viewer for displaying Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Google doesn’t say so explicitly, but it’s a fair assumption that this tool uses some of Quickoffice’s magic as well (it was previously only available for Chrome OS).
When it comes to editing Office documents in the browser, Microsoft’s own Office Web Apps are an underrated gem in the company’s lineup and right now, Google doesn’t have anything in its repertoire of web apps that comes even close.
Quickoffice, however, is coming to the web. When Google introduced the Pixel Chromebook in February, it also dropped a hint that it was porting Quickoffice to Chrome, using its own Native Client technology. At the time, Google’s Sundar Pichai said that many people love Google’s productivity apps, but in the business world, Microsoft Office is still the de facto default. Having Quickoffice available for Chrome and on Chromebooks, he said, “completes the story for a lot of users.” During the February event, Google said that it would take about three months to launch the browser-based version of Quickoffice with full editing capabilities – and that puts the launch date almost exactly in line with next week’s I/O.
Microsoft knows that the competition in the online productivity space is about to heat up and may just put it on defense. For many potential Office 365 and Office Web Apps users, a full-blown Office-compatible productivity suite in the browser from a company like Google presents a very viable alternative to using Microsoft’s tools. It’s no surprise then, that the folks over in Redmond are launching their anti-docs marketing campaign now.
After Bing and its Scroogled campaign, Microsoft is now taking aim at Google Docs. Jake Zborowski, Microsoft’s senior product manager for Office, actually published two anti-Docs blog posts today: one homes in on document fidelity, and the other, which includes a number of user testimonials, argues that Google Docs isn’t quite ready for primetime.
If it took me a little while to get Michael Atalla, the director of product marketing for Office 365, to actually say “Google” in my chat with him about Microsoft’s productivity tools earlier this week, Zborowski doesn’t beat around the bush for even a second. “Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble,” he writes. “Why take the gamble on converting your Office files to Google Docs when you can use Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Office Web Apps to create, share and edit your Office files with your content intact?”
That, Microsoft says, is true on the web, but also on the tablet, where Google’s Quickoffice usually does a pretty good job at converting documents (though not in Microsoft’s example, of course).
So what about the new Chrome document viewer? Also too much of a gamble for Zborowski: “The last gamble with Google is how the company helps you view Microsoft Office documents using their file viewers. Even this is a gamble that may be too risky to take.”
There is, of course, also a video that accompanies the post, which reminds folks that they could lose their promotion if they decide to switch to Docs:
In his second post (“Office is a team player”), Zborowski also argues that Google Docs is missing too many features, though in this case, a number of Microsoft customers make the argument for him. Here is an example:
As we continue to improve Office, we look for changes big and small that help people do more with less effort. Some improvements are small, like the new paste options we introduced in Office 2010. Other features reduce the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task like Flash Fill and Quick Analysis in Excel. The breadth of capabilities Office can lead to significant gains in what people can accomplish. With Google Docs, on the other hand, people have to find ways to overcome feature gaps by working harder, spending their time finding workarounds, or potentially using third-party tools to overcome the gaps.
– Andy Springer, Director, Rookie Recruits
To back all of this up, Microsoft also launched whymicrosoft.com, which includes more testimonials, screenshots and other resources for those who haven’t been scared straight yet and are still considering the switch to Google Docs.
And here is the video that goes with that post:
All of this anti-Google Docs/Drive rhetoric just before Google I/O probably isn’t accidental. With Quickoffice, Google now has the basis to offer a pretty compelling alternative to the Microsoft Web Apps (which, and Microsoft has a point there, are generally more fully-featured than Google’s tools) and I would expect the company to launch more Quickoffice-based products next Wednesday.
When it comes to productivity apps, Office is still clearly the market leader, and Microsoft is now also quickly iterating on its online apps for Office. When it comes to its competition with Google’s online productivity apps, though, it’s hard to figure out if Microsoft is feeling superior or threatened (or a bit of both). Earlier today, I talked to Michael Atalla, the director of product marketing for Office 365 at Microsoft. In his view, Google doesn’t really get how businesses use productivity apps.
Businesses, Atalla told me, are looking to find the right mix of tools from companies they trust. He believes Microsoft has the “broadest vision of productivity” that includes everything from the basic Office tools like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, to database servers, Skype and Lync for connectivity and real-time presence indicators, and support for multiple platforms.
Productivity, he said, “is more than just working in the browser” (a clear nod in Google’s direction), because organizations also want security policies, the ability to work with data on-premise and off-premise, and a full set of business-focused capabilities (including business analytics, for example) — some of which can’t yet be replicated in a browser or just aren’t part of the standard online productivity suites yet.
He also noted that while Google provides businesses and consumers with the same set of tools, “one size doesn’t fit all.” And while Microsoft “deeply understands that businesses need capabilities that go beyond consumer needs,” he clearly implied that Google doesn’t. Google’s focus, he somewhat jokingly added, seems to be on Glass and not on the productivity apps on Drive.
Google’s I/O developer conference will kick off next Wednesday, and chances are the company will announce at least a few updates to its productivity suite. Its acquisition of QuickOffice has given Google access to better technologies to provide Office users with the kind of high-document fidelity that only the Office Web Apps currently offer online.
I can’t help but think that Microsoft is trying to preempt some of these announcements with the release of its Office Web Apps roadmap earlier this week and its overall publicity campaign around productivity (and it’s somewhat infamous Scroogled campaign).
Coming Soon To Microsoft’s Office Web Apps: Real-Time Co-Authoring, Editing On Android Tablets, Easier File Management
Microsoft’s Office Web Apps have been around since 2010. Since then, they have slowly morphed from lightweight document viewers to relatively full-blown Office apps. Going forward, Microsoft senior product marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre wrote in a blog post last night, the plan is “to deliver Office Web Apps that people can rely on to create polished Office documents from start to finish, all from the Web.” To do this, Microsoft is going to focus on three key areas: user experience, social and collaboration, as well as better cross-platform support.
In concrete terms, Lefebvre writes, this means the Office Web Apps will soon get better collaboration tools. Currently, the Web Apps allow users to co-author documents, but Microsoft’s doesn’t allow for Google Wave-like real-time co-authoring just yet. That, however, is in the pipeline. Microsoft, she writes, will “introduce real time co-authoring in the Office Web Apps so that all file authors will automatically see presence and edits from others as they happen without needing to refresh.” This feature is already available in the PowerPoint Web App today and will surely roll out to the other apps in the near future.
Also in the queue for the near future is the ability to edit documents via mobile Chrome on Android. Windows 8 tablet and iPad users can already do this, but as Microsoft has focused on Windows and iOS, Android users have often been left behind. Microsoft says it wants to “enable you to access Office content and tools from your device of choice through cross browser support on those devices where Office isn’t installed or available.”
Other new features and enhancements in the Microsoft pipeline are support for easier file management from the apps, faster launch times, and support for “find and replace” in the Word app.
If you regularly need to open Microsoft Office documents in the browser, Google now offers you a new Chrome extension that renders Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly in the browser. Currently, these documents open in a Drive-based viewer, but after you install the new Chrome Office Viewer (which is officially still in beta), these documents will open directly in the browser.
Until now, this feature was limited to Chromebooks, but now it’s also available for Chrome on Windows and Mac. You do need to run Chrome Beta, however, as it’s not available for the stable release channel of Chrome just yet.
The advantage of this new plug-in (which weighs in at over 20 megabytes), Google says, is that it ensures that you are protected from malware because the files open in a specialized sandbox “to impede attackers who use compromised Office files to try to steal private information or monitor your activities.”
While Google doesn’t say so in today’s announcement, chances are this new feature is at least partially powered by the technology it acquired when it bought Quickoffice last year. When Google launched the Pixel Chromebook in February, it also said it would port Quickoffice to Chrome, using its Native Client technology. Those three months are almost over, so we’ll likely see a bit more from Google with regard to Office documents in the browser.
A comedian who’s tagline is “I can’t really tell if he’s being serious or not,” has posted a video about his experience with Reddit, and explains how he infiltrated the network and discovered the easy way to win the adulation of Redditors. Through reading, commenting and posting on various sections of the site, Robbie Sherrard figured out the Redditor code, and opens Pandora’s box in his tell-all video. Alright, it’s not actually that much of a reveal, but we definitely laughed at the office when we read it.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Commuting to work via bike is a great way to get exercise and save on gas money but if your office has a strict dress code it may seem like you can’t both ride a bike and wear a suit. If you’re willing to take a few minutes and pack a more formal change of clothing you can look sharp at the office and still bike commute. More »
Today was graduation time for the tech stars of Boulder, Colorado. These 11 startups pitched to a roomful of investors at the Colorado Theater, which included Morris Wheeler, founder and CEO of Drummond Road Capital and Ben Siscovick, Partner at IA Ventures.
Already a higher percentage than any previous TechStars class have committed to investment. ”I’ve already made soft commitments to two groups and I’m hoping to come to an agreement with a couple more,” said Wheeler.
“Reliably out of 11 companies to present today at TechStars Boulder Demo Day, all are very investable,” Aziz Gilani, Director at DFJ Mercury, told VentureBeat.
If you’re not familiar with TechStars, it’s an accelerator founded in 2006 in Boulder, with programs in Boston, New York City and Seattle.
TechStars invests $18,000 in seed funding and provides a $100,000 convertible debt note for every startup. The calibre is typically high: 13 of the 126 companies debuted at TechStars have already been acquired.
Ubooly is a stuffed animal for kids. It’s an educational toy powered by a smart phone that brings kids on adventures, teaches them foreign language and more. Ubooly is voice activated so kids can talk to their Ubooly and make decisions.
A site that shows what the true price of a hotel room, anywhere in the world should be on any day of the year.It is not influenced by any hotel chain (like Orbitz or Travelocity or other hotel deal sites) but rather takes into account historical rates and data to show travelers if a hotel is a good deal or a total rip-off.
Verbaliziet offers travelers and businesses access to a human translator anywhere in the world. It’s available in five languages and it costs $5 for 5 minutes for a traveler to call, tell the translator what they need in a taxi, a pharmacy, a restaurant, anywhere.
PivotDesk is launching in Denver and Boulder to help increase entrepreneurial density by giving businesses a way to rent out their extra office space. It’s co-working on steroids. Entrepreneurs and founders can avoid long term office leases for a small amount of space.
Roximity allows merchants to send targeted messages to consumers as they drive by. For instance, consumers can alert the system using a hands free, voice command that they are hungry for lunch and it will locate lunch deals nearby. Read here about Roximity’s recent partnership with Ford.
A site for clothing and furniture consignment stores to go online in a highly curated way. 27Perry works with independent thrift stores across the country to feature the best items on sale. The company is raising at seed round of $350K.
Rollsale is a marketplace to take the wheeling and dealing out of selling a used car. It’s an online marketplace that connects sellers with car dealers. There are approximately 250 million used cars in the United States.
Salesloft is enterprise application that works in Salesforce and other CRM tools to help sales professionals to engage with their clients. By pulling in social data (like LinkedIn updates and tweets) and bio information right into a CRM, SalesLoft brings new touch-point to sales folks.
MobiPlug lets homeowners manage their devices right from their smartphone with a single application that talks to various protocols and off the shelf devices. There’s no contract unlike Xfinity, ADT and other competitors.
The world’s simplest cloud hosting service with unlimited bandwidth. Aimed at individuals and startup companies, Digital Ocean lets anyone deploy a virtual server in less than a minute. Digital Ocean already has 500 active customers and 10,000 virtual servers (5000 were added in the past 30 days).
A way to sort and manage photo’s and media posted on various networks. In addition to time, location and date a photo or video was shot, Birdbox maintains the social context of the photo and video including comments, retweets, tags and more.
Any favorites? We will keep you posted on the funding amounts raised by each of these startups.
No one likes 9 AM. It’s early, we’re tired and we still have hours of work ahead of us. But we’re not the only ones who get off to a slow start. Everyone in the office—bosses included—is in their own world for the first 30 minutes of the workday. Rarely does anyone disturb us or give us a huge task that early in the morning. No, those precious 30 minutes are all ours. And if we use them properly, the rest of the day can be more productive. More »