Global connections are the heartbeat of our business. We use the web and social media, and most of our editorial work is done by email. But we couldn’t live without Skype (some might say Berkshire lives on Skype). But with Chinese and China-focused colleagues, we use an app called WeChat. Here’s a survey of what they offer, with a PS about why we still love email.
WeChat is a multipurpose messaging app made by Tencent, a Chinese internet company. It’s ubiquitous amongst Chinese colleagues and any dinner or meeting in China is certain to conclude with connected on WeChat by scanning a QR code. QR codes are ubiquitous in China in part because they are used to connect with companies and to get discounts. WeChat can be used on the desktop, too, by scanning the QR code. We find that Chinese colleagues use WeChat instead of email. The voice and video call features work well, and group chats (text or voice) have become part of our lives.
We still use Skype a lot, and it’s long been the practice at Berkshire to Skype quick questions rather than use email. We hold staff meetings on Skype with people in four or five locations. It’s our preferred platform for recording podcasts (with a compatible recording app). We generally treat it as a phone connection, something a lot of people don’t even realize is possible – they think of Skype as always being video. This is a bandwidth issue for us, especially with some countries, and also a pajama issue, since there are plenty of times when we’re talking at 5 or 6 in the morning, Massachusetts time.
PS: The problem with using Skype or WeChat messaging for business communication is that when you want to check dates or details, it’s scattered and hard to search. For important exchanges, we send the conversation (WeChat makes this easy, Skype does not) to email so it can be archived.