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Portfolio September 22, 2014

Our Investment in Talko

The Power of the Human Voice

By and

We now work at the speed of mobile. We’re in constant communication with one another via our phones and we use many different channels to communicate, depending on the content and what we want to convey. We send quick text messages and IM thoughts to each other throughout the day and closely monitor these conversations for replies. We can save, search and retrieve with simple commands.

This confluence of cloud, mobile and social platforms has spurred a shift in human communication. While we may be communicating much more frequently, we’re often saying much less.

Voice is the most powerful and effective way to connect and to clearly communicate tone and emotion and yet it’s often our least used tool.

This is why we are excited about our investment in Talko, the latest invention from the legendary Ray Ozzie.

With Talko, Ray is taking on an incredibly important problem: how to bring the most basic, atomic human connection point – our voices – into the technological revolution of the 21st century. Lots of people have tried, but it’s not easy. The most important part of the phone experience (voice) has never really been innovated upon. It has never been integrated natively to the web, the backbone of how we work.

Our diminishing human connection in the workplace is real. It not only impacts us as people, but also impacts how effectively we work and how quickly we can scale our businesses. Business leaders tell me all the time how hard it is to just get things done. Often times, the most effective way to get things done is by talking to each other — human to human. And for people and teams on the go (which is most of us these days), the smartphone is the conduit by which we do this.

When Ray Ozzie first showed us Talko, we couldn’t help but think that this product has the power to fundamentally improve how we connect with our teams. The design reflected his drive to curb the impact that “losing our voice” has had on the workplace and on our lives. He is committed to building not only something beautiful and that people will love to use — but anchoring this tool with the power of our voices.

And, in true Ray fashion, he’s done just that. Not only can you use Talko to talk, but also as a repository to annotate and keep track of conversations and important action items within. There is a beauty when using it in conjunction with email and other forms of communications — it simply just makes sense.

Technology has made its indelible imprint on business and society, helping bring new solutions to old challenges. As we look to our phones more and more as the mechanism to connect with the world — and with each other — we need to remind ourselves that amazing things can happen when we just talk to each other.

“Our diminishing human connection in the workplace is real. It not only impacts us as people, but also impacts how effectively we work and how quickly we can scale our businesses.”