When you think about how quickly technology has changed our lives, it’s astounding. Remember your first green screen computer? The first time you heard “You’ve got mail!” How about the first time you saw a video play on a computer screen?
We tend to take a lot of new technology for granted these days. “Cool,” we say to ourselves, minus the exclamation point, when something nifty and new pops up (never mind the millions spent in dollars or hours that some clever company blew to develop it). In a flash we’re on to the next task.
Sometimes the techno idea is rather simple, but brilliant nonetheless. So it is with WebOuts, our cover story by Sean Johnson this month. People are often surprised to discover the company is based here, in the New North. WebOuts takes videos of people, drops the background out and then plays them over the top of website pages.
The coolest thing about WebOuts is not the technology but the results they bring. Because you see one, uncut take of the individuals walking around, talking with their hands and using their natural mannerisms and speaking inflections, a WebOut leaves you feeling as if you had met them. You go to a website to find out about a company, the owner walks onto the page and starts talking, and a sense of familiarity comes over you in a way a phone call (much less an e-mail message) cannot match. Companies say they save money on travel and save time on in-person sales calls, because clients feel as if they’ve already had a face-to-face meeting.
In business just two years, the owners of WebOuts are doing business nationwide. They were bursting to tell about how a major national franchise recently called to enlist their services. They’ve got a check in hand and plans to travel to the client – but alas, they’re sworn to secrecy. Let’s just say you won’t know what’s brewing until you stumble onto the company’s website sometime later this year.
Of course, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. In this tight job market, savvy job seekers do everything they can to get in front of potential employers. Employers obviously need to meet candidates for jobs they need filled, but with limited time they can meet only with the most promising individuals. Colleges, universities and technical colleges in the region have employed business liaisons to help bridge this gap (see page 24).
With our tag line “Connecting Business and People in the New North,” we at Insight know the importance of bringing people together. As I write this the buzz is still big about our recent commercial real estate conference, InDevelopment, which we hosted with the help of Woodward Communications. More than 270 bankers, builders, developers and economic development professionals from throughout Northeast Wisconsin gathered to network and learn from each other. For a recap of the event, turn to page 46. More photos appear online; go to our digital version, read the story and then flip to the next page.
Insight is continually adding new and better ways of keeping in touch with our readers. Look for our blog at www.insightonbusiness.com and watch for ways we incorporate videos, webcasts, podcasts and flash media to help bring the pages of our online magazine to life. The technology helps make all this possible. I hope you’ll agree, the personal connection makes it come to life.