Five For Friday: The Most Collaborative Moments from Star Trek

William Shatner may seem like an odd choice of a keynote speaker for the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland where I was this week, presenting on Avaya’s editorial and social media strategy (and also taking a small victory lap).
But then consider how the 82-year-old has continually re-invented himself from his iconic role as Captain James T. Kirk – cop TJ Hooker, lawyer Denny Crane, Priceline pitchman, video blogger, Broadway actor, documentary filmmaker, sci-fi novelist, autobiography writer…the list is endless. Shatner is a supreme self-promoter. But he has plenty to talk about – the guy is BUSY.
I got to ask Shatner a question after his hilarious speech – there’s me below, asking him whether he thought Star Trek was marketed better or worse than Star Wars (his answer – “Star Trek wasn’t marketed at all” was meant to be politically-sensitive but rang untrue to me) and also sharing that my son is named Tiberius
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Shatner’s Kirk is often viewed as a throwback Alpha Male, the kind who bosses around the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise while disregarding his own bosses (locking lips with every green-skinned alien female from here to Alpha Centauri would seem to be a GROSS violation of the Prime Directive). 
That’s an oversimplification. Think of how reliant he was upon the advice of the uber-logical Spock and the uber-humane McCoy. This collaborative mindset was even more pronounced with the other Captains and in later movies. Here’s the collaborative moments that stood out for me.
5. That one where Kirk and the Klingons yuk it up together like bros
In the original series episode, “Day of the Dove,” an alien life force stokes a battle between Kirk and his crew and a bunch of Klingons – admittedly, not a hard thing to do – in order to feed on the resulting psychic energy of hatred. It even magically replaces all of the crew’s phasers with swords and knives. En garde!
Spock and Kirk figure out the alien’s intentions, and convince the Klingon commander Kang that the way to weaken and drive away the alien is to stop fighting and together laugh at it. I think I’ll suggest this the next time our intra-department meetings get testy.
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Join in Spock – laughing is logical.

4. The one where Kirk and the Klingons collaborate to avert a war
“Day of the Dove” was about a fight between two crews. The movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was about a potential all-out war between the Federation and the Klingons. Released in 1991, the movie was a timely allegory about the fall of the U.S.S.R. and how the U.S. would respond. There’s lots of stealthy, tech-aided collaboration between the Enterprise and the ‘good guy’ Klingons to foil an assassination attempt that would have crushed sensitive peace talks and launched an all-out war between the Federation and the Klingons.
3. The one where Spock helps Kirk fight…Spock?
Did you forget already that there were two Spocks in the 2009 reboot of the Star Trek film franchise? Leonard Nimoy plays the elder Spock, who has been transported into from an alternate universe into the same one where the younger Spock played by Zachary Quinto exists.
In a crucial scene, the older Spock advises young Kirk how to provoke the younger Spock into anger so that the latter will relinquish his temporary command of the Enterprise starship back to Kirk on the basis of being “emotionally compromised”. That seems unfair – who knows your emotional trigger points better than yourself? Still, this allows Kirk, Spock and crew to repulse the Romulan bad guy. All’s well that ends well. 
2. The one where Picard and an alien collaborate in order to communicate
The classic 1991 episode “Darmok” from Star Trek: The Next Generation has a profound message. You can speak words to someone, but they won’t grasp the deeper meaning you’re trying to convey unless you two have shared the same experiences.
Picard is sent to negotiate a peace treaty with an alien race. Using their Universal Translator software, Picard can understand the alien’s words “Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra” but cannot understand the meaning behind the metaphor. Frustrated, the aliens beam Picard down to their planet along with their leader, who offers Picard a knife. 
Take it – just don’t stab me with it.
Rather than fighting each other, the alien wants Picard to join him in a quest to defeat a fearsome beast. In that battle, the alien leader is mortally wounded, but not before Picard understands the meaning: he and the alien are like the Darmok and Jalad, forging a friendship as they work together battling a common enemy. The alien’s ultimate sacrifice cements the budding friendship between the two races.
1. The one with Spock’s Goatee
I’m referring, of course, to “Mirror, Mirror,” the Original Series episode that launched a thousand bad Sci-Fi Channel movies about alternate universes where the good guys turn evil, don muscle shirts and stop shaving.
Though his eyebrows remain shockingly kempt.
This episode is chockful of BAD collaboration. In the mirror universe, the evil versions of the Enterprise crew build violent alliances and backstab each other to get promoted. So evil Chekhov tries to assassinate Kirk, but is betrayed by one of his accomplices. It’s like a demented sci-fi reality show.
There are also some good examples of collaboration:
Evil Spock works with Good Kirk and his crew to send them back to their universe
Good Kirk advises Spock that making peace and collaboration with other races rather than conquering them will help the Empire (the evil Federation) thrive. 
And Evil Spock’s reply? He agrees. Because collaboration is logical, after all.
Are there other moments from Star Trek that stand out as exemplars of collaboration?

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If Getting Work Done Takes Too Much Work—Take the Team to Zang Spaces

Fast Company recently published a survey finding that the average tech CEO works 300 days a year, 14 hours a day. One third of that time is spent managing email, while another third is spent in meetings. Two thirds of a tech CEO’s time is spent communicating and collaborating, and this issue touches everyone in an enterprise, even Bob in Accounts Payable. It turns out getting work done just takes too much work, primarily due to the number of redundant tools users are given to accomplish tasks. Our application Zang Spaces™ addresses the enterprise communication problem in a big way.

What We Have Today

Desk phones and cell phones are great for communicating, but you can hold only one voice conversation at a time, which is nowhere near enough in our multi-tasking world. Digital transformation may seems like a new trend but enterprises digitally transformed communications years ago with tools like email, instant messaging, and web conferencing. While it’s ubiquitous, email is a horrible tool for collaboration. IM lets you participate in multiple conversations at the same time, but everyone has to be logged in at the same time to communicate, which is just dumb. Online meeting tools bridge the challenges of distance, but once a session is complete it’s usually gone forever. Newer collaboration tools such as on-line storage lockers are great for working on documents, but they’re “unitaskers” which only add to the tool overload.

How to Make Work, Well, Less Work

Cloud-based Zang Spaces doesn’t require anything to be installed in your data centers, or on your PC. You can use Zang Spaces to communicate, collaborate, and manage tasks in a single, easy application.

From One to Many

Zang Spaces can be used to communicate and collaborate with individual users via audio, video, and messaging. Since anyone can use Zang Spaces, you can invite resources from outside of your organization to collaborate. Zang Spaces can also be used to communicate and collaborate with groups of people. Simply create a virtual meeting room, called a “Space,” and invite the members of the team to participate by entering their email address.

Smart Messaging

When you first enter a Space, you see the group’s chat stream. Unlike IM, which requires users to be online to receive messages, Zang Spaces uses Smart Messaging. Unlike plain ol’ IM, you can catch up to the conversation that has happened while you were away, and then add your comments for others to read. The chat stream is synchronized across all of your devices, so you can add quick responses from your phone, and then elaborate when you’re back in front of a PC.

Order from Chaos

One of biggest problems with group chat is multiple conversations happening in one thread. Users lose track of what they’re trying to discuss, and it becomes a mess. Zang Spaces delivers order from this chaos with a tool called Posts. On a single form, your team can have topi- based, threaded discussions, which makes it super easy to stay focused. With Posts, you can even upload files that are relevant to the discussion.

Stay on Task

When you have a team working together, many times there are multiple tasks that must be managed to deliver results. Instead of adding another unitasker to your users’ crowded toolboxes, they can manage multiple tasks in Zang Spaces. Users can create tasks in a Space and assign them to one or more team members. Team members can discuss the task, update progress, and upload files relevant to the task on a single form that makes it a breeze to reference later.

Real Time, Not Real Complicated

When you need to get the team together in real time, thanks to the magic of WebRTC, with a single click in your browser, you’ve created an audio/video conference with team members. No plugins to download or software to install, simply share your desktop with team members, and even offer a dial-in phone number for audio-only access.

Start Now

Zang Spaces is absolutely free to use! Simply visit, sign up for an account, and you’re set. You can send and receive as many messages as you’d like, you can hold audio and video calls with individual users, create as many Spaces as you need, and even host five-party audio conferences … at no cost. If you need additional capacities, Zang Spaces Plus and Zang Spaces Pro offer huge capacities for a great price.

Want to learn more? Get your free account and then send me a message in Zang Spaces at

2017 Avaya Customer Innovation Awards Honor Five Companies Leading the Way in Digital Transformation

Every year, Avaya and IAUG recognize a handful of customers who are innovators. These customers are recognized with Customer Innovation Awards. Last year’s award winners included a number of technology firms. This year’s five award winners, recognized on stage at Avaya Engage in Las Vegas, include three customers in the financial services sector, a leading global retailer, and a leader in the film production industry.

Each of these customers is benefiting from the latest Avaya solutions to meet business goals—whether the goals are growth, customer experience, cost management, or risk mitigation.


BECU, which began life 80 years ago as the Boeing Employee Credit Union, today is the fourth largest credit union in the US, with over $12 billion in assets and over a million credit union members. In 2016, BECU embarked on a digital transformation journey focused on the customer experience. BECU relies on Avaya Elite Multichannel running on an Avaya Pod Fx™ infrastructure.

BECU engineer Rick Webb says, “BECU is rapidly expanding and needed a technology partner that could support that expansion and keep our members happy. The Avaya Elite Multichannel infrastructure does just that, while providing increased flexibility and allowing BECU to better meet the expectations of our more than 1 million members.”

Green Shield Canada (GSC)

Green Shield Canada (GSC) is a one of the leading health and dental benefit carriers in Canada, with over 850 employees across seven locations. Starting last year, GSC is deploying the Avaya Equinox™ Experience and seeing strong results. Competing with larger players in its industry, GSC sees strong collaboration among its workforce as a key ingredient for success.

Jim Mastronardi, GSC Director for Enterprise Infrastructure says, “Green Shield Canada has over 850 employees across seven offices in Canada—from Montreal to Vancouver. We saw an opportunity to explore technology upgrades that would enhance company-wide communications and bring our teams across Canada closer together. With just a single training session, employees have hit the ground running with the Avaya Equinox tools. The video conferencing option has provided a solution to overbooked meeting rooms, and the instant messaging feature is already cutting down on the number of emails being sent.”


Scotiabank prides itself on “being a technology company providing financial services.” As a long-time Avaya customer—and a beta customer for Avaya Oceana™ and Avaya Oceanalytics™—Scotiabank is on a digital transformation journey to better serve bank customers worldwide. Scotiabank contact centers located in Canada and the Caribbean & Latin America region have benefited from a next-gen centralized architecture leveraging the latest Avaya solutions to better serve customers.

Scotiabank has already developed and deployed Avaya Oceana and Avaya Breeze™ apps, and continues to innovate in an ongoing drive to improve customer service and meet customer needs in a competitive market. The success of Scotiabank’s transformation program has enabled the bank to move with greater agility, improved reliability, and speed to market. This has changed the framework for deployment from months/years to days/weeks while improving the overall ROI/TCO.

The Crossing Studios

The Crossing Studios is one of Vancouver’s largest and fastest growing full-service studios and production facilities for film. The firm caters to companies like Fox, Nickelodeon, Showtime, and Netflix. The Crossing Studios were unhappy with the stability and quality of the disparate systems previously in place across their seven studio locations. In 2016, The Crossing Studios deployed a Powered by Avaya IP Office solution offered by local provider Unity Connected Solutions.

Powered by Avaya IP Office has improved stability, reduced TCO and provided the advanced features that the business needs to serve a very demanding film industry client base, including high scale audio conferencing, extensive web collaboration, and rich multi-vendor HD video conferencing. CTO Mark Herrman says, “We needed something that would support our rapid growth, support our clients, and support our bottom line. Thanks to IP Office and the hosted cloud model, we’re able to keep pace with dynamic, fast-moving film productions, staying as flexible as our clients need us to be.” Estimated savings are in the six figures for the first year alone.


Walgreens is using custom Avaya Snap-ins to bring centralized contact center reporting capabilities to local branch sites, for compliance purposes and to help improve the overall customer experience. Avaya Professional Services were instrumental with the deployment, which relies on an Avaya Pod Fx infrastructure.

These companies are each leaders in their respective industries. As part of their digital transformation journeys, they recognize that when it comes to selecting a trusted technology advisor, “experience is everything.” #ExperienceAvaya.

3 Trends Defining the Future of Employee Experience

As a marketing professional, I’m often asked what I do for a living. When I reply that I’m a “marketer,” my family, friends, and even colleagues usually follow up with: “Yes, but what is it that you DO?”

I used to frame my answer around the Four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Depending on who I was talking to, I could illustrate with examples ranging from pretty simplistic to more complex and in-depth.

As my career has progressed, however, I’ve come to see that HOW I do my job is as important as what I DO. Yes the Four Ps are still relevant, but in a distributed, hyper-connected world bringing together the right resources with the right information at the right time has become the cornerstone of my daily success. This change has been driven by three trends that I find are relevant for most employees today:

  1. Mobility.

    I, like millions of other employees, no longer sit in an office all day every day. As a marketing executive, wife and mother of young kids, my schedule demands that I be both flexible and available in many different places. So mobile devices and apps have become an indispensable part of my work and home life. Marketing is a high-touch profession involving lots of other people up and down the organization. Whether I’m traveling to a conference, meeting with an executive, taking a child (or children) to the doctor, attending a parent-teacher meeting, or watching a baseball game, I need to be connected anywhere I go. Today I am. Mobile everything (calls, messaging, web, video, email, even conferencing) keeps me connected, and it’s all available now with a single touch, one login, and one easy-to-learn solution.

  2. Globalization.

    As a global business, Avaya’s people, resources and intellectual property are virtually everywhere. Years ago, that meant I had to rely on long-distance landlines and plane travel to meet with company executives, product managers, vendors, customers and my team. Now they are all within easy reach, whether I’m in my office, at home or on the road. I, like many other professionals, DO much more—am responsible for much more—than ever before, because I’m more responsive and productive. I don’t have to travel unless truly necessary, yet I still get the face time I need with all of those other people, even if they are halfway around the world. Today’s digital technology and unified communications keep me in touch.

  3. Collaboration.

    Our marketing team is global, scattered around North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, etc. I typically only get to see people once or twice a year in person. Yet it’s vital that we interact and collaborate regularly on a range of initiatives, from market research and new product introductions to advertising, promotions, web presence and social media. As a result, I’m in back-to-back meetings most days with associates across various organizations at Avaya. We rely on smart digital technology to keep track of and manage all of that, from scheduling meetings, to sharing digital, video and audio content, to recording meetings and sharing notes afterward. If we need to bring in another colleague, it’s a simple click. A voice call comes in while I’m in a meeting? I schedule a callback with a simple click or tap. Meeting runs late? No problem—I switch seamlessly from desktop to smartphone and keep going even as I walk to the car for my next appointment. Every day is full like this, yet across locations, devices and time zones my colleagues and I are able to stay up to date, engaged, and in action. Having the tools to manage this pace of activity makes a big difference in our teams’ ability to be effective.

Employee experience has been and will continue to be undergoing enormous change. Mobility, globalization, collaboration increasingly influence how people live, work and play. Whether we’re marketers, bankers, doctors or other professionals, what we DO is increasingly defined by HOW easy it is for us to connect, interact and collaborate with others in a smart digital world. Would simplified communications and collaboration accelerate your enterprise? I’d love to hear from you—send a note to