Long distance collaboration (and love?)

This post is split in two parts, in the order above. So, feel free to jump to the part that interests you more ;)


I just spent 56 min on a Skype conference with Abhi and Udki, discussing a variety of things that they'd like to discuss in today evening's 30 minute meeting (which I have with the team in Pilani).

Yeah, Abhi in Bangalore, Udki in Fountainebleau (France) and me in Pilani (India) spent around an hour discussing what should have taken no longer than about 15 min of facetime.

Clearly, there is something wrong. Does one get less smart when on Skype? I wonder.

One hour is a long time. Allows plenty of time for experimentation. This is what I discovered:

  1. Turn off the screen: You won't believe it, but staring at a screen makes you react slower. My theory is that part of our brain is busy reading what's on screen, and is continiously interrupting your train of thought. Somewhat like talking on the phone while reading a book. However, staring at a screen is worse-- it updates in real time!
  2. Use a wireless headset/headphone: Increased mobility. Also, I can't think unless I'm pacing. So, if Skype glues you to your seat, there -- slower communication
  3. Alternatively (to 1 & 2): Use an ultraportable/laptop with wifi: Yeah, heavier to lug around, but still does the job (at no extra expense). Plus you can shut the lid, and get rid of the distracting screen.
  4. Three's a conference, more is a crowd: When you have more people in the conference, everyone speaks at once! Not just is it distracting ("Sorry, please continue..."... "No, what were you saying?"), but you waste time everytime this happens ("hey... I forgot. I think you should continue...").
  5. Skype can't record: Not at least by default. I've heard GizmoProject can, so should give it a spin. It's funny, really: you have a conference, but no minutes, no transcipts, no records at the end of it.
  6. Use with discretion: Yeah, Skype offers "phone quality" sound; but it just doesn't feel the same. I'm sure there are enough folks like me out there, so do ask whether they're everyone's ok with Skype. I'm still new to the program, and regularly feel like a dork. I don't even know how to say something "aside" in a conference!
Ok. That was Worldly Gyaan about Skype. Now for the "love" part:

"Someone" told me yesterday he spent Rs 1500 last month speaking to his girlfriend on the phone (That's around $35). That's a lot for a student. Especially given the fact that the said girlfriend lives in Delhi (Rs 300 by bus roundtrip).

Love costs a lot, long distance. Unlike collaboration, I have no tips here. Just a question: methinks this is a huge market. If anyone could come up with a way to cut "Someone"'s bill by half, the entrepreneur's going to be richer than God.

So why isn't anyone doing it?

PS: Love seems to cost even more, long distance. "Someone" tells me the said girlfriend spent about Rs5000/- ($117.50) in the same period. Love may be blind, but it certainly talks a lot!

5 comments :: Long distance collaboration (and love?)

  1. Well, if lovers get cheaper call rates, then the world will be 'love'lier! (with some people going all out to seek love!)

    And the Gizmoproject link's broken, chief.

  2. Gud post.. mates!!

    Here's the Gizmoproject link

    For Skype call recording use this plug-in


  3. read it pretty late. all good things come to an end. at least the phone connection did end :(

  4. Hi,

    Just a stumbled first time visitor.

    The point made about doing something for love birds does identify a bottleneck situation. Am still wondering if there's a revenue generating thread for the same!

    Anyway, I appreciate your analytical skills.


  5. i didnt like talkin on skype though... i was talkin to my dad...
    n i cud get his response after 6 bloody seconds.. n mind u.. my dad aint slow! :P