22 Mar.

Outlook 2016 Quick Tip: Where have my buttons gone!?

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and install Office 2016 Technical Preview.

For the most part many things look the same (except Skype for Business which is a quite different skin around Lync).

As a person who lives in Outlook I was momentarily paralysed with fear when I lost some of the buttons I use most frequently:

  • Pop out draft responses into a separate window
  • Accept/decline meeting responses

While I contemplated balling myself up in a corner and rocking, or taking to social media to ask Microsoft why they dared changing functionality that wasn’t to my liking – instead I just went with the “Oh well, something has changed and I don’t have time to figure it out. It’s frustrating but I’ll live.”

After a quick internal discussion on Yammer with one of my colleagues who had also found the same we decided to do some quick testing.

What you’ll see on the right side of Outlook is these options based on what you’re currently doing:

Reading an email Reviewing a meeting invitation Replying to an email
 24 Feb.

Reflecting on 5 years of Paradyne

It was 5 years ago today that Paradyne Pty Ltd was registered as a company. The name was born out of the terms “paradigm shift” and “dynamic” – two key terms which I felt encompassed what lay ahead with the changing IT landscape.

Back then I was an idealistic technically-minded person who had limited business experience, but a lot of ideas about how things “should” be done.

I started Paradyne as an equal partnership with a long-time friend who I had worked with a number of times previously and built a close friendship on. Just over a year later my friend chose to exit the business as our visions were no longer aligned. Unfortunately in that separation I also lost a good friend. While it was an amicable separation we have never spoken again – something I will forever carry as one of (many) costs of starting a business.

Over the past 5 years Paradyne has had its ups and downs. It’s come close to the brink of closing its doors a couple of times but conversely had its high times when I felt like Scrooge McDuck swimming through money in his safe. There’s been moments of extreme stress and moments of pure elation.

One thing I’m proud of is the name and reputation Paradyne has built. We are well regarded within the halls of Microsoft and Telstra, and have also reached into a number of other vendors and partners.

The first time I heard that someone didn’t like us because we kept dominating the Office 365 business and limelight I smiled because it meant we were a force to be reckoned with.

While I’m not writing this blog post from the roof of my superyacht (maybe at 10 years) we have enjoyed a number of successes. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done and the impact we’ve made both to the organisations we’ve worked with as well as the people within them.

I don’t want to waffle on much more so I thought I’d finish up with a list of my business-related top 5 mistakes and challenges as well as wins and accomplishments.

Mistakes & challenges:

  • Hiring the wrong people
  • Staying too cheap for too long
  • Not getting external guidance & mentorship early on
  • Spreading myself too thin
  • Acting without thinking

Wins & accomplishments:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Getting in first on a number of things and being remembered for it. Nobody remembers second (except Buzz Aldrin).
  • Building a business that allows our staff and our customers to work from anywhere, and put family first
  • Being awarded Microsoft Office 365 Most Valuable Professional for the last 4 years
  • Working with some amazing partners and individuals who have driven me to do better

Both of those lists could go on for pages. One of the things I’ve learnt from running a business for the past 5 years is that no matter how much you think you’ve learnt or perfected things, there’s always lessons to be learnt and improvements to be made.

The landscape has changed. When Paradyne started we were an engineering focussed organisation and we built our brand and messaging around it. Nowadays we find ourselves more being an instrument of change – not just to technology but to the way people work and interact with each other.

While the technology continues to evolve, so must we. As people, as a business, as humans we have come a long way in the last 5 years. I am truly excited to see where the next 5 years takes us and what lies ahead.

To infinity… and beyond!