Presentations at a Glance

By Heather Baldwin

Tony Goodrow, president of Affirmative Technologies, a company that sells volunteer management software to not-for-profit organizations, demonstrates his product remotely to multiple unsophisticated computer users. To do this, Goodrow settled on a product called Glance, a technology rolled out in April 2002 that is doing a radical thing to online presentations: simplifying. Glance lets you instantly show a live view of your PC screen to anyone you choose. There are no bells and whistles, no polling features, no white boarding – nothing except the ability to show other people anything that’s on your own computer.

“My partner and I came out of the video conferencing world, a world of very complicated products that weren’t always reliable. You needed a team of IT folks to get them going,” says Taylor Kew, president of Glance Networks. “Now a lot of our Web conferencing competitors are going where video conferencing has gone. They’re taking a Swiss army knife approach, adding more and more features and functions. But 99% of our customers just need their prospects to see a screen to look at a document, show slides or demonstrate how a piece of software works.”

Glance Networks’ mantra is simplicity. Getting into a presentation, for example, is a matter of giving prospects your Glance Web page address and telling them to enter a four-digit code. There’s nothing to download – all the prospect needs is an Internet connection. For presenters like Goodrow, it’s ideal. “The people we deal with have very little computer knowledge. The last thing we want to do is make our software look complicated by giving them a complicated routine just to see it,” he says.

Pricing is simple as well. For one-to-one presentations you’ll pay $20 a month or $200 a year. For one-to-many presentations it’s $40 a month or $400 for an annual subscription. For the robust functionality of some of the leading Web conferencing providers, you’ll pay about $100 per seat per month. “When you’ve got someone on the phone and have that 30-second window, we’re a quick way to show someone your product for the price of parking in downtown Boston,” says Kew.

For now, Glance works only in a Windows environment, so Mac users are out of luck until sometime down the road. For more information, visit