Posted by: @spdlm | 07 Feb 11

How did your online meeting go?

We just nailed an online meeting with a potential investor.

Well, almost. It is much harder to gauge the success of an online meeting. For me, there are many parts to a meeting and some of them are physical attributes such as handshake, eye contact and body language. We were reduced to voice and screenshare, which in theory, eliminates potential source of errors. Even then, I had a mini nightmare today. I have used online meeting from very early on but I never had to organise these meetings on a budget. This is how ours went.

As far as I am concerned, GotoMeeting is the first brand that comes to my mind when I think, online meeting with an investor. You want the security of the big brand name, created by people who seem to know what they are doing, in this case, Citrix. I haven’t felt this discriminated against my choice to use Mac as my instrument of work, since I discovered how badly written Microsoft Office 2008 was. An earlier online meeting with a client last week led me to conclude that GotoMeeting just did not bother to make it such a joyful tool to use, compared to, say, a Windows user. I just could not adjust the volume right. Client could not hear me and I could not hear my colleague who is also a Mac user. For some reason, the landline number provided by GotoMeeting didn’t work and my clients resorted to using their headphones as makeshift microphones. I just hope they didn’t use their favourite set.

To avoid this embarrassment, I went on a last minute dash to seek an alternative solution that is as sleek as GotoMeeting. Now, what is important to investors, it seems, is a landline number. Let’s not talk about this issue here. I might write a blog about it on some other day. In search of this alternative online meeting method, I tried Yugma, Mikogo, JoinMe and Webex. All #failed and this is why.

I couldn’t find the option to invite attendees using landline in Yugma. It seems to offer a very smart integration of Skype, which is ideal for me, as an avid fan of Skype, but it was a #fail for this occasion. The requirement to download and install an application was also a negative point for me.

I didn’t even bother testing Mikogo. I was in a hurry and the landing page was far too wordy. I could not ascertain, at all, if landline option was available or not. #fail2

JoinMe was just weird. I really liked the landing page. The simplicity it implied was quite enticing. So I went forth with the registration process, which was as simple as it was implied, but alas! No voice? No phone numbers or even voice-connection between the meeting members. I was testing these platforms with my colleague and we felt quite dumb not being able to find this simple feature, voice. He saw my screen but there was no sound. #fail3

So, how about Webex? Written by Cisco. Sounds good! But what a heavy machinery! After the registration, a long download was required, followed by long stare-at-monitor-waiting-for-something-to-happen session. To be honest, we had ran out of time by this point. #fail4

Back to Gotomeeting. I had to configure the input volume in the System Preference. As I am just so used to adjusting the input/output volume within the applications, I found this surprisingly inconvenient.

In the end, I am not sure if I have learned anything really. As always, I am forced to make a decision between 2 promising companies (GotoMeeting & Webex) both with small but slightly annoying drawbacks. I think, the lesson really is, prepare for the meeting ahead of time, test it, and avoid an experience so frustrating that you have to write a blog about it.

The meeting itself was a success and we would be moving onto a face-to-face meeting soon. Thank goodness for the technology. I recommend GotoMeeting.


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