Category Archives: Commentary

Back to the (Office of the) Future

Over the years, there have been numerous articles musing on what the office of the future would look like, but how have those past predictions matched up to reality today?

Back in 1975, BusinessWeek published “an in-depth analysis of how word processing will reshape the corporate office.” In the article, industry experts were divided over whether they would be able “to call up documents” from their files on-screen and connect electronic terminals to each other or if this vision of the future was, in fact, “scare talk.” One of the biggest concerns raised was how word processing would change the traditional secretary-executive relationship.

I think it’s safe to say that the predictions in the article put forward by George E. Pake , then head of Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto Research Center, were largely correct. According to Pake, in 1995, there would be a TV-display terminal with a keyboard sitting at his desk and he’d be “able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button … I can get my mail or any messages. I don’t know how much hard copy [printed paper] I’ll want in this world.”

I have it on good authority from Jonathan Howell, Huddle’s CTO, that in the 1990s, everything was networked, all internal communication was done via email on a mainframe and desktop printers (with “desktop” referring to ubiquity rather than size) were commonplace. However, Jonathan was working for IBM in the 90s; what was it like for the rest of the workforce? You could indeed access your files with a click of a button on your computer. Networked desktop PCs were becoming increasingly widespread in offices worldwide, and in August 1995, Microsoft launched its much-anticipated Windows 95. The World Wide Web started to take shape, and Yahoo became one of the largest directories for web content. In short, advances in technology during the 1990s resulted in the “revolution in the office” that Pake predicted. Laptop computers were also becoming hot sellers, so the idea of a mobile workforce, while still a long way off, was starting to develop.

However, Pake’s vision of a world without “hard copy” remains a fantasy. In spite of the increasing popularity of email and the web, the rise of devices such as the iPad and enterprise content management tools, such as Huddle and SharePoint, the paperless office is still out of reach. The desktop printers that became a familiar sight in the office in the ’90s continue to be the worker’s trusty companion. According to the WWF, the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. People still want to have physical documentation. Whether it’s business records, receipts or utility bills, people continue to feel they need to store paperwork in a safe, physical place for future reference. To drive widespread adoption of new technologies, a cultural shift and change in habits needs to take place. Just as the introduction of word processing and automation to the 1990s office changed the traditional secretary-executive relationship (or “office wife” bond), enterprise content management and collaboration technologies are disrupting the way people work today. Transforming working practices takes time.

In 1987, little more than 10 years after BusinessWeek’s predictions article was published, Apple Computer created a video envisioning how people would use technology to work in the 21st century:

The touchscreen “Knowledge Navigator” tablet device shown in the video could easily pass for an early prototype of Apple’s iPad, while the University Research Network accessed for information on deforestation in the Amazon rainforest looks suspiciously like the web. We are now accustomed to seeing touchscreen devices — according to market research firm iSuppli, worldwide production of touchscreen modules for use in computers is set to hit 117.9 million units in 2014 — but in 1987, mainstream adoption of such devices was still years away.

Another application shown is video conferencing: The professor is seen happily conversing with his colleague on-screen. Now, of course, video conferencing is part of most workers’ everyday lives, whether they are based at home or in an office: another hit for Apple’s vision of the future. While I doubt avatars with bow ties fielding calls and managing diaries will take off (unless Clippy 2.0 is overdue?), but virtual customer service assistants are now a familiar sight: Jenn at Alaska Airlines and Lucy at O2, for example. It may be a while before speech recognition is as seamless as that shown in the video; it is still a familiar (albeit often frustrating) technology.

The paperless office and a diary-managing avatar may not be a reality just yet, but many of the predictions made decades ago aren’t too far off the mark. However, there were some visions of the office of the future that just didn’t come to fruition, such as the short-lived Microsoft at Work (MAW). On June 9, 1993, Bill Gates launched MAW, which was supposed to connect common business machinery, like fax machines and photocopiers, with a communications protocol allowing control and status information to be shared with computers running Windows. It never got off the ground, and by 1995, it had disappeared from view.

Andy McLoughlin, co-founder and EVP Strategy at Huddle, can be reached on Twitter @Bandrew.

Christmas is Almost Here!

“Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”
~ Joan Winmill Brown, American author and editor.

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Great Gifts to Give


These priceless gifts are not seasonal. We can give them all year long. As we give them, we will find that giving enriches the giver as much as the recipient. These gifts are worth a million dollars, but they don’t cost a cent.

1. The Gift of Listening
But you really have to listen. No interrupting, no planning your response. Just listening.

2. The Gift of Affection
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate your love for family and friends.

3. The Gift of Laughter

Clip cartoons. Share great articles and funny stories. E-mail especially good ones to people you know are feeling blue. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

4. The Gift of A Written Note
It can be a simple “I love you” or “Thanks for your help.” A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5. The Gift of A Sincere Compliment

A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal,” can make someone’s day.

6. The Gift of A Favor

Every day, go out of your way to do something kind. Try it on your way to work, or wherever you go today.

7. The Gift of Solitude
There are times when we want only to be left alone. Be sensitive to other people’s feelings, and give the gift of solitude to others.

8. The Gift of Good Cheer
The easiest way to feel good is to make others feel good.

I’m asking each of you to try some of these out.   Start now!

To Father with Love

 To Father with Love

Fathers are the biggest source of strength for a child.

The innocent eyes of a child perceive father as the all-powerful, most knowledge, truly affectionate and the most important person in the family. For daughters, fathers are the first men they adore and fall in love with. While for sons, their fathers are the strongest person they know and someone they aspire to emulate.

Even for the grownups fathers are someone whom they look up to for the most experienced and honest advice that is always in the best of our interest.

For this great figure in our life that we know as father – it becomes our utmost duty to pay our humblest tribute on Father’s Day.


A Mother’s Love–In Honor of Mother’s Day


By unknown Author

A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

  • For cutting the grass: $5.00
  • For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00
  • For going to the store for you: $.50
  • Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: $.25
  • Taking out the garbage: $1.00
  • For getting a good report card: $5.00
  • For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00
  • Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:

  • For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge
  • For all the nights that I’ve sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge
  • For all the trying times, and all the tears that you’ve caused through the years: No Charge
  • For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge
  • For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge
  • Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is:  No Charge.

When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said,

“Mom, I sure do love you.”

And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: “PAID IN FULL”.


  • You will never know much your parents are worth until you become a parent
  • Be a giver not an asker, especially with your parents. There is a lot to give, besides money.


  • If your mom is alive and close to you, give her a big kiss and ask her for forgiveness.
  • If she is far away, call her.
  • If she has passed away, remember her and pray for her.



Ministry Helps Single Moms ‘Survive ‘N Thrive’ –

Single moms all have different stories.

Some are divorced, some got pregnant out of wedlock, while others lost their husbands at war. But no matter how they became single mothers, they face the same struggles.

Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin knows personally about those struggles. She raised her children on her own for years, all while pursuing a fast-paced career in politics as her state’s first female lieutenant governor and a member of the House of Representatives.

“My mother used to always tell me, ‘You’re not the first woman who’s ever had this happen to you so get up and get going and we don’t have to go under the mountain, we can go over the mountain. We don’t have to have a pity party, we can rise above all that,'” Fallin recalled.

It was advice that stuck. Now, helping women rise above their circumstance has become one of Fallin’s passions. She especially wants to stop what she calls the “generational curse” that is passed down from grandmother to mother to grandchild.

“I really think one of the ways we can better our states is by empowering our citizens and letting them know that they’re not alone and helping them find a better path to life,” Fallin said.