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October 22, 2005
Inside view of AOL-Weblogs merger: Instant messaging a go-go
Jason Calacanis gives us an inside glimpse of the AOL-Weblogs merger, week two. A huge part of the communications, it seems, is on instant chat. He has 100 Weblogs Inc colleagues on AIM, and has now added 25 AOL execs to his buddy list. "...Two minutes into these big meetings," he writes, "everyone just looks at each other and says “OK, great idea.. let’s do it!” We then all run back to our laptops and pound out a bunch of IMs and start working."
I know I'm sounding like an old fogey, but I've turned off my AIM. An open AIM is just begging to be interrupted. Sometimes I'd like to turn off e-mail and the phone, too. Calacanis' workday, while productive, must be madness.
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Madness... yes, beautiful madness!
Seriously, IM is the essential startup tool. You can't build a startup company if people don't have it. 99% of communication should run via email and IM. Most decisions get *screwed up* when people meeting f2f, because f2f meetings are emotional, personal, charged, etc.
People are blunt, efficient and to the point on IM, and to a lesser extent on email. Of course, you have to be careful because IM doesn't convey emotion people can take it the wrong way sometimes.
"Get it done!"
on IM can be taken many different ways... on our team it's a rally cry before battle. At another company it might be belittling--depends on the established culture and nature of the personalities.
That's where the 1% f2f comes into play. I use the 1% f2f to have a really bonding time with out team. All the business stuff is on email and IM.
A lot of the best folks I know in business feel the same way. Mark Cuban is one of the best examples. Mark and I are good friends at this point having traded hundreds if not thousands of emails of the past year. We've known each other for 10 years now. You know how many times we've talked on the phone? Zero... as in never. We see each other every couple of months at a game or a conference, share a couple of laughs and then it's back to work and pounding out emails to each other. There's no reason for me to waste his time with phone calls or meetings--and frankly I feel the same way.
I laugh when my friends ask me to get them a meeting or call with Mark because I've never had a business meeting or phone call with him myself!!!
People have the same experience with me... people call my office all the time to setup meetings or phone calls. I have the same response "I'm on the phone right now, what's on your mind?" or "Just email me your proposal" or "IM me when you're in town." Most of our deals are done over IM.
The folks who get the most time with me are the ones clever enough to add me to their IM list and be BLUNT with their issues, proposals, ideas, etc.
I love when someone says "I want to do X with WIN, are you interested?"
Being direct/blunt is such an asset in business. I find these folks who are always chasing meetings funny because in the time it takes to setup a meeting you could have a) explained your proposal and b) said "yes or no?" to the person. In other words, the time to get a meeting is greater than the time to get a yes/no on a three line proposal (and no proposal needs to be more than three bullet points).
Anyway, it's a real interesting issue you point out. Sorry for rambling... must be the caffine from this fine cup of joe or the sugar from this Magnolia bakery cupcake!
Love your blog...
Posted by: Jason at October 22, 2005 12:09 PM