Tuesday Buzz: Better Than a Whiteboard

How Microsoft’s Surface Hub, with its goal of juicing up meetings, became an unlikely hit, despite its high-four-figure price tag. Also: a clever session-engagement strategy involving cookies (the kind you eat).

For Microsoft, 2,000 customers usually isn’t a lot. But in this case, it’s a pretty big hit.

According to Ars Technica, the Windows giant expects to hit that number with its Surface Hub, a massive touch-screen tablet designed to replace the out-of-date tech often found in conference rooms, by the end of the year. Given its starting price of $6,999 for a 55-inch screen, Microsoft expected to sell just a handful of them to the corporations that demoed the devices.

But instead, Ars reports, Surface Hub buyers aren’t buying just one or two—they’re buying an average of 50 devices for each deployment, making that 2,000 number a bit of a red herring. By creating a modern-day whiteboard, Microsoft may have generated a billon-dollar business.

What’s the appeal? Despite the high cost, the platform’s it-just-works approach means that significant time is saved when starting meetings, and the devices help maximize collaboration.

The kicker: The devices have been so successful that Microsoft was able to increase prices. Not bad, eh?

Session Gimmick of the Day

During an early session at this week’s ASAE Technology Conference & Expo, Craig Sorrell of Results Direct presented on the topic of improving websites, along with Rhea Steele of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Standard stuff for a tech conference, right? But it was Sorrell’s approach that stood out.

As the duo walked the audience through the process of making cookies—and tied the metaphor to the process of building a website—he tweeted his “recipe” on his Twitter feed, which had the effect of drawing attention to his ideas and, well, making people hungry for cookies.

Definitely not half-baked, and the dough didn’t seem like it was pre-made, either.

Bad news for LinkedIn users. As SocialFish notes, some of LinkedIn’s search functionality is going away.

Suffering from procrastination? Lifehacker shares a psychologist’s strategy for getting past it.

What’s in the box? Idea Architects’ Jeffrey Cufaude is sending people mystery gift boxes full of “a few lightly used books” on a variety of topics. Sign up to get yours.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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