With nine offices in three continents, 650 employees, and a remote-friendly work culture, Apply Digital has had to find ways of making clients and employees comfortable working and connecting over video. Chief Product Officer Scott Michaels likes to warm things up and release tension on video calls with new clients with mmhmm.
“I start with a silly question: ‘Are you a Star Wars fan or a Star Trek fan?’” said Michaels. “One of the main uses was that kind of icebreaker moment with clients.”
“Writing something in Slack is not the same as getting the emotion out of actually having a video.”
Chief Product Officer of Apply Digital
Michaels also runs the innovation lab for Apply Digital, so he experiments with and evaluates tools constantly. Working with enterprise-level Fortune 1000 companies requires a high level of polish, and he uses mmhmm to bring creative and branded backgrounds to all of his calls. “I still find that people comment on the quality of my backgrounds as being higher; people don't really know how to do animated ones on the other platforms as much,“ said Michaels.
Michaels often advises colleagues at tech-forward companies to try mmhmm. “I have a lot of friends in the startup world and I recommend mmhmm in that environment a lot because it can make a more engaging presentation, being in it like the weatherman and pointing,” said Michaels. “That's very effective and keeps people's attention when people can drift pretty easily. That extra level of polish and surprise and delight can work in a startup environment.”
Remote and hybrid teams at Apply Digital are living in the out-of-office work world mmhmm was built for, using asynchronous video instead of meetings to communicate with each other. “Writing something in Slack is not the same as getting the emotion out of actually having a video,” Michaels said. He believes teams should be encouraged to show their true selves and not to let perfection get in the way of good communication.
“That's probably the biggest thing in getting remote and hybrid teams to work better together. People honestly will struggle with putting themselves out there unless you're able to help them break that down and realize it doesn't matter,” he said.