or: It’s complicated until you make it simple

We’re smart people – we’ve been making collaboration software for the better part of a decade now. We live to connect people & information, no matter where in the world they are.

We’ve been having a problem that’s got us all scratching our heads. We want to have a (gasp) meeting, to present some ideas that we’ve all been working on. We’ll need to screen share, and talk to each other, and listen. All in real time. We’re scattered from Vancouver to Thailand.

We can’t figure it out. It’s the audio part that has us beat. And by ‘us’ I mean the people in the Chicago office. We can screen share, and one person can talk. But we have this great theater, full of people who can’t keep their mouths shut.

Our A/V Club reports our audio set up won’t support aggregate input devices, meaning another microphone. Our non-Chicago folks can hear the speaker, but not the audience comments. The result is pathos & fury, heads hung in failure, the stench and shame of defeat.

Here’s what we’ve tried:
- Campfire conference calls. They’re great if all you want to do is talk, which often we do. But if we need to screen share, we need something else.

- Speaker phone & screenshare via IM. Works great if there’s only one remote person. We need more people involved.

- Google Hangouts. Yup, we investigated it. Great service, but it’s limited to 10 people, unless you want a public hangout, which we don’t. (Sorry, it’s not personal)

- GoToMeeting & WebX & Join.me. GoToMeeting works great for our Basecamp classes. They’re all great if we have one speaker.

- AdobeConnect. We need an “Enterprise Specialist” to help us connect. What does that even mean?

- Meet-ups. A few times a year, everyone hitches up their wagons & moseys to Chicago to interact in person. Having everyone in one room works flawlessly, but it’s not always practical.

SvN readers, we want to pick your juicy brains. How do you do this? We’re certain this is a solved problem. We’re appealing to your benevolence & mercy.

Let’s hear it.