Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Organization of Collaboration

Coffee was in a Kavarna cup with some kind of Reagan-rock retro playing in the background at Kavarna, but I'm back in the studio now waiting for the kilns to cool. What a morning! (And what was I doing at Kavarna?) I was at Kavarna to get a different IP address from the address I have at home so Google would let me create a gmail account for Todd (and thus to enable me to drag him kicking and screaming into the century of the fruitbat). Google did not cooperate being under the illusion that I was trying to do something nefarious.

It all began at 5:45 this morning when I woke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and decided that the best thing I could do today to get organized was to organize Todd. I already had a full morning scheduled so I got up at 6:00 so I could get on the computer to create a gmail account for him and get him set-up with Google Docs (the "why" on this organizational step in a subsequent paragraph). Leaving the Sprout snoring gently sprawled on her back with her hands tucked behind her neck, elbows akimbo, I padded down to the kitchen table in my jammies, said good morning to the sleepy-eyed spaniel and the still-dozing deerhound, and commenced to internetting.

I went to the gmail homepage and dutifully filled out all the little boxes necessary to create a gmail account. But when I tried to submit the form, I got: "Google Error: We're sorry... ...but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. We'll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we'll see you again on Google." I Googled (oh the irony!) this error and tried all the proffered solutions (including going to Kavarna) and nothing worked. Google hates my laptop. I finally had to create the account on my iPhone--after struggling for over an hour with it.

So why is it so necessary that Todd have gmail and Google docs and access to the on-line studio calendar? I have long maintained that collaboration is the way to effectively grow a fine crafts business, and streamlined communication and organization is the key to effective collaboration. Enter Google. Sure email (in this case gmail) is a good thing, but even better are shared calendars and shared google docs. For the past couple of months I have had a spreadsheet shared between me and Black Cat ArtWorks that details our orders (at least my orders for them--we're still working on a form for their orders for me) and soon we'll have one up with our interstudio invoices. Earlier this week I brought Becky on-board and shared the Siyeh Studio calendar, shipping calendar and class calendar with her, and also created a shared stands inventory sheet. Today was Todd's turn.

The task of computerizing Todd is more difficult than you might imagine. There are certain things he is very resistant to-and contact with the Internet is high on that list. But as our business grows, I need to be able to get orders to him without having to resort to carrier pigeon, or calling him and reading off the orders to him, or scribbling them on the back of a piece of scrap paper and handing it to him right before getting on a plane... Thursday I gird my loins and go out to his house to "train" him. For today I just read him the list of orders over the phone that are in Google Docs all bright and shiny and newly minted. *sigh* Baby steps. The account exists. He may be a camel, but he WILL drink.


Douglas said...

Organization is good. I have a gmail account but haven't looked into the other systems. Maybe I need to see what all it can do for us.
Thanks, for the offer. I will call you later today.

Bill said...

Have you tried passing a horse through the eye of a needle, while you are at it?

Is a bear Catholic?

Dee said...

ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!! i can't wait to see todd again and get his end of this experience ;)

good luck thurs! i would LOVE To be a fly on the wall during this training session LOLOLOLOLOLOL

Cynthia Morgan said...

This is gonna be fun. Uhm...have you tried Google Voice? I'm falling in love with it, very convenient, especially for the technoresisters. (as opposed to resistors, which are technical already). It automatically sends calls to ALL your potential phone locations...and to email.

BTW...I'll give you a buzz about Ernie and a couple other things. Lemme know when you get time.