How We Communicate #1: Bill Porter

By Richard Hughes on October 01, 2014

First, tell us a little bit about yourself

My job is in UK Sales for BroadVision, and I am responsible for all of BroadVision’s sales activities focused on communication and collaboration solutions. I am based at my office at my home in southern England, but travel a fair amount around the UK visiting customers, partners and prospects, and occasionally outside the UK for company meetings. When I am travelling I rely heavily on my iPhone and my iPad for communicating, and getting work done. At my desk, I use a Windows 8 laptop, but quite often find myself looking at, or responding to messages simultaneously on all three devices!

How many different services do you send and receive business-related messages through?

For communicating and working with other people in BroadVision, I use our Clearvale social intranet and Vmoso for sharing information such as meeting notes, exchanging ideas, raising questions, updating status notes, etc. When I am at my desk, Skype gets used for voice calls, including conference calls, and I also use a web conferencing tool. When I am out and about, I use the Vmoso iOS app heavily, and the Clearvale app on my iPhone or Clearvale via the browser on my iPad. For voice, I use the iPhone as a phone.

Although there is relatively little internal email communication to/from people within BroadVision, I do use email quite extensively for arranging appointments, sending information, answering questions, etc from prospects and others outside of BroadVision.

For networking, I look at LinkedIn sometimes, and follow Twitter. I also belong to a London meetup group, which has a simple social networking site. 

For keeping up to date and sharing photos with friends and family, I use Facebook. Some of my friends are not on Facebook or other networks, and I communicate with them by email and text messages. Sometimes we even talk! My sons like to use WhatsApp and Snapchat, so I use those from time to time as well, and I share photos with some of my friends using Apple’s Shared Streams.

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work? And what device do you access it from?

Before I get to my desk each morning, I use either my iPad or my iPhone to check anything new in BroadVision using Clearvale and Vmoso.

How much of your communication takes place from your desk, and how much while you’re away from your desk?

I’d estimate it is about 50/50.

Do you check messages as soon as they arrive, or save them up for specific times of the day?

Generally speaking, all personal emails and messages are left to the end of the day. For business messages, I tend to look at Vmoso chat messages as they arrive since they are often quite interactive by nature or urgency. I will notice when information is posted and shared with me on Vmoso, but will usually not read or comment until I do a number at once on both Vmoso and Clearvale – not at any specific times of day, I am not as ordered as that, but when there is a natural break in other activities. 

How has the way you communicate changed over the last 3 years?

It has become much more varied – there are so many different digital channels now. 

Email – your best friend or worst enemy?

Neither, it is just a fact of life. But it is very helpful in managing my time, that I don’t get snowed by large volumes of internal email. That was something that I was very struck by when I joined BroadVision just over 3 years ago.

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

They don’t bother me, but I am quite judicious with managing those apps for which I allow pop-up notifications. On my phone, I only really allow Vmoso, Text Messages and the Phone (for missed calls and voicemails). Plus Snapchat and WhatsApp because the only notifications there will be from my sons.

If I stole your smart phone and only gave it back to you after I deleted every app except one, which one would you choose to keep?

Difficult. Do I cut off my personal life, or my business life? I assume the phone would still have voice, so I could still speak to my family and friends! Which means it would have to be Vmoso – it is built to be mobile friendly, and gives me both the interactive “chat” style communication, and a means of sharing and receiving information. Plus I would have all my contacts, and could always initiate a voice call or even an email from a contact’s profile, as well as a chat. Ultimately it could provide me with a “universal inbox” for all my communications activities in any case.

If you could fix just one thing in the business communication tools you use, what would it be?

The mobile coverage out of the towns and cities, and provision of wifi on trains and other transport in the UK is still inadequate. When you’re travelling and may only have 3G connection for short bursts of time, there isn’t time to check lots of different communication tools. I need to quickly and easily consolidate all, or at least most, of my communication channels into a single stream.

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If you’d like to take part in the series, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Richard Hughes (rhughes@broadvision.com; @_richardhughes) for more details.