Seth Godin’s Akimbo: The Zoom Revolution, Part 1

In his Akimbo podcast, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

In this podcast, Seth discusses 17 changes that videoconferencing has influenced the way we work and live, compared to the traditional meetings. We need to be aware of the changes and perhaps even learn how to leverage the trend to our advantage.

The number one thing is timing. It used to be that a physical, face-to-face meeting requires a lot of coordination due to time zone and physical location differences. We often start meetings late because we need to make accommodations for people to be in sync. Now we can begin the videoconferencing on-time because everyone knows how to get there on time.

The number two thing is commuting. Commuting goes away for the large part because of videoconferencing adoption. Some professions are required to be working in a fixed physical office, but most people do not.  For most people, the office’s purpose is to be with the other people who are exchanging ideas with us. If we use videoconferencing correctly, we can dramatically accelerate the efficiency and the joy associated with connecting with other people professionally.

Number three is the size of the group. There was a natural limit to how many people could be on a phone or voice-only conference call. The flexibility of a video call allows us to shift the size of the group dramatically. We are learning to discover how to connect when we do not have the barriers of space involved.

Number four is the idea of multimodal. When we are in a voice-only conference call, the only thing we can do is talking. At a video conference, we can speak, see other people, and work on a shared document all at the same time. Multimodal is a game-changer because side conversations do not have to detract from the meeting’s main topic. We can also create intensive creativity environments where lots of things happen in a brief time.

The number six is the breakout room. Breakout rooms are essential because breakout rooms change the rhythm from happening over the central conferencing meeting where there is a forced synchronized march. Video conferencing allows us to quickly create environments where we can break it into smaller and more focused gatherings, working together inside the medium to make something of real value.

The number seven idea is the video itself. Video, as we learned from television, is incredibly powerful at weaving the culture. Showing up in the office has one other important function, which is people seeing us. They see our energy, and they can engage with us and exchange emotional energy. Video conferencing may be a poor substitute for that, but it is a much better alternative at this moment. When we organize a video conferencing meeting, we should do it with the intent for the right reason.

Number eight is the concept of being synchronous or asynchronous. Video conferencing gives us both options. We can hold conferencing that is meant to have synchronized conversations. We can also do conferencing asynchronously by making a video and distribute it. People can watch it, re-watch it, take notes, and have a short and synchronized discussion.

Number nine is the ability to record. We can now get conversations on record with ease.

Number ten is the ability to add a translation. We now have the technologies to provide translation in video conferencing on the fly.