IBM buys Ustream: is it a workforce communication play?

IBM has added Ustream to a long list of video technology company acquisitions in the recent past — like Clearleap acquired last month — buying the streaming video vendor for around $130 million (according to Fortune). The company had raised $50 million in venture funding, and was the sole video partner involved in the launch of IBM’s cloud marketplace in 2014. The typical analysis is that this rounds out a spectrum of technologies that now make IBM a player in corporate streaming video, particularly targeting customer contact and marketing activities. But I’m betting that IBM’s primary focus will be — although not be limited to — workforce communications. Marcia Conner makes my case in a tweet. Ustream Align is an inside-the-company video ‘collaboration’ — or ‘workforce communication’ — product built on the
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Work chat Fleep’s slash commands and email integration

I’ve been closely watching the development of work chat vendor Fleep, and since I reviewed the product in August (see Work chat tool Fleep has native task management: Is that a key feature, or just nice to have?) the company has addressed so many areas I won’t try to cover them all, I’ll let them do that for you. I am just going to focus on the slash commands and email integration. Slash commands — Fleep’s chat (or ‘conversations’ as they call them), support a number of commands that are preceded by a slash (‘/’):
/pin <message> — create a new pinned message
/task <message> — create a new task message
/taskto @someone — create and assign a new task
/bug <message> — create a new bug report task with ((bug))
/add <email> — add new members to the conversation
/kick <email> — remove members from the conversation
/leave —
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Zappos sees more staff departures, but is Holacracy to blame?

More departures at Zappos leads commentators to question if Holacracy is the culprit. Recall that Tony Hsieh offered employees a big payout if they decided to quit during the transition to Holacracy. But that’s not the only transition going on there. Zappos has been involved in a major web transition, moving onto parent Amazon’s back-end technology platform:
David Gelles, The Zappos Exodus Continues After a Radical Management Experiment The latest departures came from a group of employees who were helping Zappos migrate to Super Cloud, a back-end infrastructure run by Amazon. The arduous, years-long effort to move Zappos to Amazon’s servers has effectively frozen the company’s website, and employees working on the project were offered more time before taking the buyout. Mr. [Arun] Rajan [Zappo’s Chief Operating Officer] said that the migration to Super Cloud, which he had hoped to complete last year, was still ongoing. Meanwhile, 38 percent of
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Is the PC going extinct?

New numbers tell a dark story for PC manufacturers, except perhaps Apple. New Gartner stats are unequivocal: worldwide sales are down 8.3%.

Source: Gartner

Apple is the only brand bucking the tide, with growth of 2.8% and market share of 6.7% at this point. The economic downdraft is likely having a large impact, and even Microsoft’s Windows 10 might not be able to counter that trend. The elephant in the room is tablets: are they now at the point where they can replace PCs, even for the most hardbitten PC users? I know that I am not ready to make the shift, although I do travel with an iPad, and use it frequently. I’ll have to take another look at the new iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, because that’s where we are all heading.

Is Twitter going past the 140 character limit?

Yesterday, Jack Dorsey hinted at relaxing the 140 character limit on Twitter:

I wonder if that’s a response to users concerns, like mine:

Jack Dorsey seems to be saying that Twitter will soon be letting people write Tweets with more than 140 characters without resorting to images of text.

I’ll turn it around: Twitter should be based on modern mobile communications (chat, IM, etc.), not old school mobile communications (SMS).


Sortd and the trajectory of the email inbox

Email is often characterized as hellish: at best a necessary evil and at worst a monstrous time sink.
Email has evolved into a weird medium of communication where the best thing you can do is destroy it quickly, as if every email were a rabid bat attacking your face. — Paul Ford
In this post I am not going down that rat hole (as worthy a digression as it may be), and I will simply accept the fact that email exists, we use it, and it is an integral part of many working folk’s workflow. I won’t be talking about email zero, or other approaches that take a Fordian slant. There’s been a great deal of innovation in email clients for mobile devices — a topic I’ve written about a great deal — but this is about the breadth of what is in email clients, rather than in the gestural and
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