Monday, July 14, 2008

How Do You ooVoo? Getting to Know The People Behind ooVoo

Last week, following my video conversation with ooVoo CEO Phillipe Schwartz, I met with several others who work behind the scenes at ooVoo as part of their How Do You ooVoo? event. I learned more about their marketing efforts, upcoming events and product enhancements. I'd like to thank them all for their time to meet with me (Marty, Greg, Phillip and Lisa) and I look forward to more ongoing conversations.

My video conversations last week started with Chief Operating Officer Marty Walker on the business side of ooVoo. Marty joined ooVoo a few years ago from the Iams pet food brand for Procter & Gamble where he was vice president & general manager. Iams marketing strategy was was more "word of mouth" and they didn't spend millons of dollars on focus groups which he said is similar to ooVoo's current efforts. They started working with Joe Jaffee and his team at Crayon, who include Scott Monty, Greg Verdino and Deb Wiseman, on outreach and connection with social media influencers. The successful My ooVoo Day With... event is a product of that relationship.

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Later in the video chat we were joined by Mansur from Saudi Arabia. It proved to be a challenge though to communicate with him since Mansur was 60% deaf and couldn't see us but we could see him. We both appeared as icons on his screen and he was only able to text chat with us. After a few minutes of attempting to troubleshoot the issue he signed off saying, "I love oovoo."

The next day I met with Greg Sobiech and Philip Robertson. Greg is responsible for marketing programs to attract and retain customers and Phillip is Director of Marketing Communications. We had a great discussion which included the upcoming My ooVoo Day With: Political Edition that's planned for late July. That event will be represented by 23 bloggers from all over the political spectrum (liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Independents) talking about politics. Stay tuned for more information.

I asked if was possible to do an "ooVoocast" where a multi-party ooVoo chat could be broadcast to many and be interactive through chat. Phillip said yes it was by using SplitCam to broadcast your desktop to uStream.TV or any other broadcast solution. Tom Herman, Vice President of Product Development, has a detailed post on the ooVoo blog that describes how to Stream ooVoo Live.

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My last ooVoo conversation of the week was with Lisa Abourezk Vice President of Marketing. We talked about what ooVoo is doing to get their message out how ooVoo is "an enabler of conversation." She said words really don't describe that "wow moment" of a multi-party ooVoo call and I have to agree, it really is a cool experience. (I recommend headphones though to avoid the echo.)

As part of their outreach efforts ooVoo is sponsoring 20 PodCamp 'scholarships' to college students interested in attending the PodCamp Boston 3 unConference scheduled July 18-20. Details are on the ooVoo blog. ooVoo also enables conversation by "ooVooing in" remote presenters at conferences like the annual BlogHer Conference in San Francisco which is actually scheduled this weekend as well. ooVoo also donated $20,000 to the US Air Force in a similar outreach as Cisco has done with their Telepresence suite.

Lisa emphasized that ooVoo's value is far beyond what you see. The more you use it the more valuable you find it. I plan to use ooVoo more often and I'm looking forward to the new features. In an upcoming ooVoo update it will include Java applet 1.7 version which will let you send a url to a friend who doesn't have the ooVoo client but does have a web cam to join the video chat through a web browser interface.

Thanks again to all my new friends at ooVoo for your time and conversation. I look forward to another ooVoo with you again soon.

UPDATE: From the ooVoo blog Phillip Robertson wrote this about PodCamp 3:

"While I'm at PodCamp, I'll also be joining crayon's Greg Verdino, SHIFT Communications' Doug Haslam and Morpheus Media's Adam Broitman in a session about "Smart Social Media Marketing." We'll chat about how ooVoo has been using social media channels to promote and implement programs like My ooVoo Day With... and the forthcoming My ooVoo Day: Political Edition, and to engage directly with both influencers and customers on a day-to-day basis in addition to social media and marketing with Greg, Doug and Adam – they are the experts and worth coming to listen to. I hope to meet some of you at PodCamp - so be sure to join us for our session. We'll be in the HIM Room from 11:15am to noon on Saturday, July 19. You can get all of the event details at the PodCamp Boston site."