Or at least, he says, that’s true until someone figures out a way to do it directly brain-to-brain.
“If we knew how to invent telepathy, we would be selling telepathy software,” said Lauer. “Sadly, we don’t have that.”
In the meantime, there are a lot of fans of texting. Zipwhip, a Seattle-based company launched in 2007, raised $22.5 million last year to grow the business. That’s on top of at least $17 million raised in three previous rounds. The company employs nearly 200 people, and 20,000 businesses use its communication products. Zipwhip enables texting from landline numbers between businesses and their customers.
“In our own small way, we are contributing to humanity,” Lauer said.
His dream is for every U.S. company to embrace texting, facilitating easier communication in all manner of interactions, including the possibility of sitting on one’s couch and texting in a pizza order.
But in a world of more widespread texting, won’t people struggle to keep up with the messages, just as they do with email inboxes spilling over with unread or unanswered missives? The solution is simple, says Lauer. Brevity in texting is key.
“We should try to keep it as a short-format kind of medium,” he said. “You can consume it quickly and respond quickly.”
Not everyone is so disciplined in their SMS correspondence. That’s why Zipwhip makes tools such as one providing the ability to flag messages that need more time and attention as “unread” so they aren’t overlooked.
In terms of tech-assisted communications, PowerPoint presentations also rank high for Lauer. He’s not sure why the slideshow tool has become passé or maligned by some. He returns to the importance of clear, concise writing, suspecting that excess verbiage might be the fuel for PowerPoint’s detractors.
“Some people abuse PowerPoint,” he said, larding up slides with too many words, running them to the border of the images. Used correctly, PowerPoint highlights the essential messages that a presenter is aiming for, driving the idea home.
In PowerPoint, texts and, perhaps, Working Geek profiles, less might just be more.
Says Lauer: “White space is your friend.”
We caught up with Lauer for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his appropriately pithy answers to our questionnaire.
Current location: My office overlooking Safeco field
Computer types: Windows
Mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S8
Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: PowerPoint! I recently went back home to Michigan to give a speech at my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and ended up giving a PowerPoint presentation. I’d also rather text than use Slack or Outlook most of the time, but love a laptop with a badass GPU so I can dig into Fusion 360 3D design software on weekends to relax.
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? As long as I have my laptop, I’m good to go anywhere. I work just as fine in my office as anywhere else.
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? Work your ass off and you’ll always get stuff done.
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? Google+. All of the nerds of the world hang out on Google+. While the rest of social media is talking about what they had for dinner, we’re trying to figure out how to change the world.
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? Right now: 18,343. I’m always caught up on texts within minutes, though. I practice a zero unread texting inbox.
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 42? Seriously, every hour is booked — even into the evening.
How do you run meetings? It depends on the meeting. If it’s a beer and product meeting, we run it with a pitcher of beer in the middle of the table and encourage discourse. If it’s our Monday management team meeting, it’s a three-hour long, highly-structured event where we run through departmental updates and week-by-week key performance indicators, or KPIs. Every Friday, we do an all-hands company meeting called GLF (Gourmet Lunch Friday), complete with a PowerPoint presentation, of course. It’s all about defining the goals of the meeting and tailoring the approach to best achieve those.
Everyday work uniform? Dark jeans, a nice button down shirt, sport jacket in dark blue or grey — it goes well with my salt and pepper hair.
How do you make time for family? I make time for my family every day. It’s that simple. I get home, have dinner, hang out with my kids who are 6, 9 and 12 years old. By the time they go to bed, I’ll get back on my laptop.
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? YouTube, specifically quantum physics videos — quantum entanglement, how the universe works — topics that are so confusing and hard on your brain that it almost gets your mind off of everything else.
What are you listening to? Top 40. Right now I’m loving “Happier” by Marshmello.
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? I like news aggregation websites, have come around to the LinkedIn news feed and nerd news like Slashdot and Hackaday.
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore
Night owl or early riser? I’m a night owl, but I make a concerted effort to get a perfect eight hours of sleep every night, which means I don’t need to use an alarm.
Where do you get your best ideas? In the morning, in the shower — it’s a great time to think.
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? Jeff Bezos. He’s gotten some bad press lately, but I admire what he’s achieved and how he’s revolutionized the e-commerce market.