1. Build A Better Conference Call Tool. 2. Fire Management.
Zoom is the pinnacle of modern-day conference call technology. It’s also a piece of shit.
The way America has vaulted business meetings to some taboo of inescapable counterproductivity over the past fifty-odd years, it isn’t difficult to imagine we’ll all wake up one day to learn such practices were surgically cemented by Soviet saboteurs in some marathon Cold War plot. Suffice it to say, if we can’t tell the difference between business as usual and a corporate sabotage conspiracy, we’ve got a gargantuan culture problem on our hands.
To be sure, a culture problem and a technology problem are different animals. But just as policy steps in when culture fails miserably, so does technology. The key to tech-driven culture shifts lies in developing solutions that quantify and democratize what was previously mysterious and inaccessible. And on those counts, Zoom and the like are guilty of simply putting lipstick on a pig, instead of doing the necessary work to realize a) lipstick doesn’t solve this problem, and b) lipstick should be applied to the lips, not the butthole.
Most organizations expend more effort on measuring and optimizing their printer paper budgets than they do meetings. Given that meetings are the most expensive part of the workday (and dictate what everyone will do with the rest of their workday), it’s safe to say this lack of analysis is an abysmal black hole of business intelligence, made even more problematic in work environments where “people management” is little more than an annual review process at the bottom of every supervisor’s priority list.
So, let’s conceive a teleconferencing product that actually makes use of the resources a meeting sucks up. In doing so, we might find that the technology makes people management more of a collaborative, always-on process — which in turn, might reveal that we’ve got a few too many six-figure paperweights parading around as middle managers.
Raw Audio Signals
If I told you an app should listen in on conference calls to gather insights, your first thought would…