The Day We Launched a Rocket in the Workplace

Sometimes your job will challenge you, it’ll make you go above and beyond what’s expected of you, to do things you didn’t sign up to do. Galaxies from your original role description. 

But these are the things that are going to make you a more experienced person and shuttle you towards the unknown.

If you think we just migrate Emails here, then think again.

We also send rockets into the sky. Well, higher than the office and in a more environmentally friendly way than the common exploration. It just takes teamwork, water, air and a bit of manpower…

It started with an idea (as most things do). To connect with our potential clients in a different way than an ordinary email. 

To cut a very long story short, we decided to send rockets to a specially selected group of people who we thought would benefit from our email migration tool.

But before you send a rocket by mail to someone, there are a series of safety checks and tests which need to be applied.

You should know that we take our work very seriously and this perfectly measured experiment was essential in the progression of our careers, but sometimes you just need to get away from the desk and have some fun!

With that said, Rocket Science isn’t easy and things don’t always work the first time you try. But after some true team perseverance (see what I did there), we had success with the third attempt!:

The first one needed someone with a science degree to assemble it. None of us have one of those.

With the second attempt we managed to get it off the ground! A staggering 50cm.

And the third one. Well watch the video to find out…

Jeff Bezos, eat your heart out! I’m just waiting for my offer from NASA.

Letter it be

Recently I took a break from writing emails. I picked up a pen, moved it towards some paper, and started to scribble. 

Apart from discovering how much the quality of my handwriting had deteriorated since I was at school, I quite enjoyed it. It felt more personal and meaningful than, say, typing a WhatsApp message.

Before this, the last time I wrote a letter was to my childhood love, a whopping 20 years ago! Kelly lived across the road from me and we would exchange letters and notes everyday for weeks. I couldn’t wait for the sound of the letterbox snapping back against the door. And then I got my first mobile phone…

It just crossed my mind that there’s people in the world (probably mostly those under 20), that have never even written a letter! But then, why should they when they have an endless supply of messaging apps at their fingertips?

I think Instant messaging is fantastic and convenient, and it has greatly improved making plans. but at the same time it can be very noisy and, ironically, disconnected.

We can sometimes forget how important and powerful words are. At the end of the day it’s not so much about how we write them it’s how we use them. It’s about what we say.

The point isn’t that we should all live in the past and start expressing ourselves like Shakespeare, but that words can still make a difference.

I know for sure If someone took the time and energy to write something to me with ink, I would appreciate it a lot more than the common approach. But at the same time if they decided to write to me the modern way, but with some thought and heart to their message then I’m going to remember it equally.

So the next time you write to someone, make it count. 

Or even better, put it in a letter!

I’m still waiting for my reply. Maybe it’s lost in the post…

Migrating from AOL to Gmail if you have 2-step activated

Some third-party email apps require you to enter a single password for login credentials. 

If you’ve activated 2-step verification for your AOL account, you’ll need to generate and use an “app password” to access AOL Mail from these apps (you can read more about this here). Now generate this “app password” and then try starting the import using this newly generated password information to login: 

1. Sign in and go to the AOL Account security page.

2. Click Generate app password. If this option doesn’t appear, you’ll need to enable 2-step verification.

3. Select the app you use from the drop-down menu.

4. Click Generate.

5. Follow the instructions provided to use the app password.

– Be sure to enter the password into your app without any spaces.

6. Click Done.

Once this is done, you are ready to import!

Let’s talk about corporate values

Let’s talk about values. These are the core beliefs that identify company X in its mission statement. Is it for show? Or do you hire, promote, assess your employees based on how they uphold these values?

Enron had some great values on paper: Respect. Integrity. Communication. Excellence. I think we can all agree they did not promote or encourage these values throughout their entire corporation.

Shared values are what makes a company unique. I might speak from a privileged position; it is easier to follow and uphold these when you are 40 instead of 40,000, but you have to start somewhere.

At ShuttleCloud, our values bring us together and decide who will be a part of our future. It is our corporate identity, and I’m proud that we learn and teach is one of our values. 

Today we spent an incredible afternoon with Guille from our engineering team teaching us about Scuba diving.

We host bi-weekly meetings where we sit and learn from one another. Past topics include:

Email…Why?
Behavioural Finance
How a computer works
The Xmas Special
Neuroplasticity/brain Development
The Effects of Architecture on the Brain
History and future of podcasts
Wealth Inequality from the stone age to the XXI century
Architecture meets muscle memory
Eigenfaces
Under the sea

#practicewhatyoupreach

Tips for hosting and domain providers to improve email user expierience

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the virtual edition of Cloudfest and ended up watching the Verisign presentation “Understanding Cloud growth using domain names” presented by Andy Simpson. 

One particular slide caught my attention, where Andy talked about how an initial domain purchase for email use can lead to the attachment of hosting packages and associated products.

Let’s not forget that despite customers purchasing a domain from your company, they can choose to purchase an email solution from someone else, which is why I’d like to talk about actions that companies can take to proactively improve email user experience, so they don’t lose their customers.

black iphone 5 on white surface

1. Offer choice 

Creating your own email app is relatively easy but creating and maintaining a great app that consumers will be happy with is challenging. There are plenty of companies out there entirely focused on providing a great email experience and ready to partner with service providers.

We can separate email buyers into two categories:

  • Simple Solution:  The user might use the software for business purposes, or they might not. The solution needs to be affordable and easy to use and doesn’t require additional features. Providers such as Atmail, Zimbra, Rackspace, Axigen or Titan mail are great at this.
  • Productivity suites: These go beyond just email. Additional features or collaboration tools are the keys here. These tend to be the one-stop shop to run your business on the cloud, including document editors and video chat software. Best examples would include Zoho, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Open-Xchange, etc.

2. Adding email migration

Why does migration matter? More than 75% of business email customers are what we call very-small-business with 1-10 seats. VSBs typically do not have IT admin and are almost always migrating from consumer emails such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook. 

By allowing the end-user to have all their email from the start, in their new inbox, they can concentrate on what matters: Running their business. 

Ideally, there should be migration available for two use cases:

  • Consumer email to business email 
  • B2B email migration – some users will start with a more affordable option before they scale to a size where they can benefit from productivity suites.

At ShuttleCloud we help various partners including Gmail and Comcast with user-friendly email migration solutions. Here is how hosting company One.com utilises our migration solution: video

CONCLUSION

Offering email products alongside the purchases of domain names is clearly a no-brainer. However, to successfully address customers’ needs and to up-sell additional products requires a focus on customer experience.

Knowledge Shared = Knowledge Squared

One of our core values at ShuttleCloud is to learn and teach. Naturally we want to learn more about the industry, get better at our jobs and guide our colleagues who are aspiring to succeed. But it’s also important to step outside the norm and explore new things. After all, the world is a massive place and there’s more to it than Email Migration!

With this in mind ‘Gather Up’ was created. Every 2 weeks we get together on a video call with one chosen person talking about something they know and love. Followed by Q&A – which can sometimes last as long as the talk itself. I am really proud to be part of it. Here’s a few Gather Up benefits:

  • Getting to know the team on a deeper level and discovering their hidden talents (Jay is a Rubik’s cube expert).
  • Catching up with the remote workers who we don’t see much of.
  • Learning about something that we have little or no idea about.
  • A good experience for those who don’t usually present – I love seeing the different ways that people visualise their presentations.

I would encourage any company to invest some time in this. What would your topic be? Here’s a handful of ours:

  •  The Effects of Architecture on the Brain
  •  How to get songs on Spotify
  •  The history and future of podcasts
  •  Wealth Inequality from the stone age to the XXI century
  •  Eigenfaces 

The internet in a Minute

In the time it takes for you to make your morning coffee or read this post. Trillions of things are happening around you. Especially on the internet. At ShuttleCloud we love statistics and numbers. I think because email is so vast, breaking it down into digits helps us comprehend it, whilst also giving us insights and a better understanding of the data. 

So, around 150,000 emails have been sent in the last 60 seconds, but what else has been happening?…

These are pretty big numbers for such a small amount of time. To save me from writing another post about ‘what happens in a day’ just multiply them by 1440!

And here’s some non-tech things that have happened in the last minute:

  • 255 babies were born
  • 5.5 million pounds of garbage was thrown
  • Your body produced around 150 million red blood cells
  • 25 million coca-cola products were consumed
  • 4.7 billion bath tubs of rain will fall
  • At least one person read this article

If you have any other interesting numbers please send them our way! We really do love them!

What will replace email?

I sometimes get asked, is email dead or what will replace email: The answer for me is easy; I believe that more email will replace email. Yes, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Whatsapp, etc., allow us to communicate more efficiently within our organization and make our teams less reliant on email.

IMO this, in return, makes email more valuable; it helps us remove the clutter from our inboxes. It allows email to shine:

Current landscape and future growth of email:

  • Today, there are over 4.0 billion email users worldwide, and this figure is expected to grow to over 4.3 billion by year-end 2024.
  • Revenues for all segments of the Email Market combined are expected to total over $46.8 billion in 2020 and will grow to over $84.2 billion by year-end 2024, an average annual growth rate of 16%. This revenue growth is driven mainly by the migration of on-premises mailboxes to cloud mailboxes (if you need some help in this regard, email the ShuttleCloud team :p ).
  • Total worldwide email traffic, including both Business and Consumer emails, is estimated to be over 306 billion emails/day as of year-end 2020, growing to over 361 billion emails/day by the end of 2024.

To quote an old adage, quality over quantity is what I believe we will see in the years to come. 

Keeping your email safe

Most of the software we use is cloud-based, most importantly, email! I have 5 email accounts, and each one of them has a very specific purpose. Some of my email accounts contain sensitive information, so how can we keep email safe? 

According to a survey published by CIGI-IPSOS (Internet security and trust), email users take the following safeguards in regards to email security:

Most internet users proactively take actions to safeguard their email accounts by changing their passwords regularly and avoiding opening emails from the unknown sources

Some other things you can do to protect your email are:

  • Enable 2FA – which means an additional step of verification when accessing your email from a new location or device (can be done via SMS, USB-key or application on your mobile device)
  • Avoid phishing attacks – Most email users are aware of 3 golden rules, which are:
    • Always be on the lookout for an unofficial or misspelt email address; delete these emails immediately  
    • Never download any attachments or click on links from somebody you do not know
    • Never send your login credentials over email. Not one service ever will ask you to send this type of information over email.
  • Secure your devices – Having your devices protected by a password is not always enough. For additional security, I recommend turning on the lock screen automatically and setting a timer to <5 minutes for a computer and <1 minute for your mobile devices
  • Use a strong and unique password for each account – The most significant mistake anyone can make is to use easy-to-guess passwords such as “Qwerty123”, “favouritefooballteam,” “yourname1”. A good password has to include both capital and lower-case letters, numbers and special symbols
    • Password managers can be beneficial to generate and store complicated passwords. 

Keep calm and stay protected! 🙂

Connecting with partners and clients through Slack

Slack has just undergone a rebrand of one of their cooler features. Slack Connect is the new craze; you’ll probably see it in your Slack dashboard if you’re an admin. 

I. Context:

  • Slack Connect is an all-encompassing term to describe ways you can communicate with another Workspace/organization.
    • Slack had these features before; however, they’ve given them a brand new coat of paint.

There are two main ways to connect with external organizations:

  1. Adding them as single-channel guest 
  • Great if the member might be a student, contractor or does not have a paid Slack plan.
    • Only workspace admins or owners can invite or manage guest accounts
  • Requires the guest to log in to the host Workspace
  • Only the host organization has access to the communication and files when the guest account expires
  1. Setting up a Shared Channel
  • Requires both organizations to be on a paid plan
    • Requires the admin on both organizations to approve the channel
      • I’ve had an easier time with the first approach (Adding each member as a guest). It allows large organizations to avoid lengthy internal procedures and get collaborating with their team in literally seconds.
  • People from other companies can collaborate in the chat right away from their Slack Workspace, where they spend most of their time. 
  • Each company keeps a record of the communication and files after the channel is disconnected.

II: Let’s build rapport

No matter which of the two options mentioned above you select, Slack will provide one key over email. Rapport is easy to build via a messaging platform. 

  • Jokes, Superbowl commentary, and the general “how was your weekend” convo is way more natural over a chat platform than others. At least for me.

If you have a key partner or lead, connecting via Slack will allow you to message counterparts outside of the group workspace directly. Just like a text message, so take advantage, comment on their profile picture, complain about your boss (or maybe not) or say Hello! and ask about their weekend. 

III: Keep the conversation going

A shared channel allows you to move deals and partnerships forward. Save time on the following:

  • Organizing your next meeting
  • Going over details in mutual documentation in real-time
  • Asking that easy question, you don’t want to send an email about

Slack has created a one-spot repository with a search feature, documentation sharing, and both teams’ ability to involve key people in the conversation. All in all a better way to communicate.