Putting Tech to work – BLOKS AI Productivity

I had been eagerly awaiting the Beta release of an AI assisted productivity tool called BLOKS. I have now been using it for a few weeks and am happy to report it is exceeding my expectations – right out of the blocks (pun intended).

The most prominent use case seems to be recording and summarizing meetings and it took me a while to fully test this. Instead I was loving the ability to capture thoughts on the fly and be able to find them again. You can capture screen snippets, type in thoughts and on the mobile app just talk-to-text in your thoughts. By adding relevant hashtags, people (from your connected contact list and it also associates companies based on where people work) and the names of meetings from your calendar you can easily search for the information you need at a later date. If you have a meeting booked on your calendar it automatically pulls up relevant information you may need. For someone who is always writing notes on different pieces of paper, storing in Apple notes or keeping in my head just this fairly basic functionality has had a huge impact.

Back to capturing the key details from meetings. This product is agnostic of whether you are using Zoom, Teams, Google Meet or physically in a meeting room. We often use all of these options in a single day. All it needs is to be able to capture voices. My first test was for a volunteer junior sailing committee – 5 people in a room and 5 people on Zoom. Somehow it picked up points I had completely missed and even points raised by people in the room which were difficult to hear. What really impressed me was the summary generated after the meeting – everything was arranged in sensible topics with key bullet points. It also generated a list of action items at the end of the meeting which was OK but did not capture everything. Luckily there is a handy feature for turning any of the bullet items into a to-do list.

Did it get everything correct? No. It spelt the name of a “Feva” sailing boat as “Fever” and I think I can excuse it for that small mistake. Do you need to check and edit the contents? You do. For the benefit I get I am very happy to start using this tool now knowing it doesn’t do everything perfectly but does do 80% of the work and will only get better.

Since examples are better than me writing, I have pasted the meeting notes below – unedited and using the formatting it came with. You can judge for yourself.

Thank you to the team at BLOKS – love your product focused development.

SUMMARY OF A COMMITTEE MEETING OF 5 PEOPLE IN A ROOM AND 5 PEOPLE ON ZOOM PRODUCED BY BLOKS

The program is preparing for the opening of the season and making various improvements. They are inviting private boats on June 26th and considering displaying artwork and making a plaque for the Junior Commodore. They are also preparing for ice cream sales and improving their website and Facebook presence. The program has added new equipment and is working on cleaning and organizing their facilities. They are also enforcing their curriculum and promoting students who pass certain skills. The program is holding a parents meeting to encourage involvement and discussing the importance of training. Billing and uniform orders are being worked on, and trophies are being ordered from Gifted.

Preference

  • We need to give them preference.
  • So, we’re comfortable.

Communications and Publicity

  • Kathleen provided an update on the opening of the season email.
  • She will send it out tomorrow evening.
  • They worry about landing in inboxes too early.
  • She asked a detail on the commissioning.

Commissioning

  • They are inviting private boats on Monday, June 26th.
  • They want to set them out on the lawn.
  • They are considering having Lily’s artwork displayed.
  • They want to make a plaque for the Junior Commodore.

Ice Cream

  • They are doing ice cream this year.
  • They want to get the freezer filled up.
  • Gabby did an amazing job last year
  • The kids have to learn how to account for it and keep track.

Website and Contact Forms

  • There are two places where there’s a contact form provided.
  • Tim has been adding a good contact form to their sailing.
  • They now have a page on next door.
  • Tim has done a lot of work with MailChimp.

Facebook Groups

  • They posted on Facebook groups, but didn’t get much response.
  • They only have 11 spots left.

communication

  • There were steady inquiries about something.

visibility

  • Efforts were made to improve Facebook presentation.

marketing

  • A new member focused on marketing joined.
  • More marketing talent will be tapped into.

equipment

  • Equipment maintenance is going well.
  • New equipment, including a water cooler and opteas, were added to the fleet.
  • One boat had a flat tire.
  • J.B. will fix up a body.
  • Three cornhole games were scored for the junior set.

facilities

  • The junior selling office is a mess and needs cleaning and organizing.
  • The parent workday will be used to clean it up.
  • Brendan volunteered to help clean the junior selling coaches room.
  • Someone is interested in buying the 29er.

curriculum

  • The curriculum is good but needs to be enforced.
  • A certificate or recognition will be given to students who pass a certain number of skills.
  • Guidelines and checklists will be provided to coaches.
  • The goal is to make students take sailing seriously and pass to the next level.

Fever Racing

  • To be part of the fever racing group, one needs to master certain skills.
  • There are two fever groups this year, beginner fever and crew fever.
  • The beginner fever group will learn basic selling skills.
  • Traveling on the boat for the day is allowed, but certain skills need to be mastered to become a real fever.

Promotions and Benchmarks

  • There will be a formal promotion at the end of the session.
  • The coaches use the benchmarks to assess the progress of the participants.
  • If someone improves rapidly, they will be moved up, but there will be a formal promotion at the end.
  • The promotions are just to give the coaches a benchmark to work with.

Big Board Team

  • The big board team has 14 enrolled kids this year, which is double the number from last year.
  • The beginner fever group will learn basic selling skills.
  • The team will have regattas on Wednesdays.
  • There is a need for more picnic tables for the junior selling.

Parents Meeting

  • There will be a parents meeting on the 6th.
  • The meeting will be held in person, but there will be an option for Zoom.
  • The goal is to encourage parents to become involved in the program.
  • The meeting will be an opportunity to talk about what the program is doing and what it needs.

Safe Power Boat Handling

  • The Safe Power Boat Handling course is a requirement for a New York State license.
  • The course provides a New York State license, a Connecticut license, and a Jet Ski license.
  • Some people have not sent in their licenses or certificates yet.

Follow-up Phone Call

  • If anyone needs help, they can contact me and I will follow up with a phone call.

Email Communication

  • Some people do not respond to emails
  • For those who do not respond, try contacting someone they know for a response.
  • Some people do not read emails.
  • COVID may have affected their email access.
  • It is difficult to reach those in boarding school.
  • Emails are not always reliable.

Training

  • Training is important for success.
  • People are only as good as they are trained.
  • Training should cover all aspects of the job.
  • Training may have been inadequate in some cases.
  • Training can be improved.

Billing

  • Billing is a work in progress.
  • People have a certain amount of time to pay.
  • Refunds are only given in certain situations.
  • Late payments may incur a penalty.

Uniforms

  • Uniforms are being worked on.
  • There is a shirt order being placed.

Trophies

  • Trophies are being ordered from Gifted.
  • Engraving is not a good option for the regatta trophies.
  • Perpetual trophies will be engraved.

Action Items

  • Encourage parents to become involved in the program at the parents meeting on the 6th
  • Send out the opening of the season email tomorrow evening
  • Clean and organize the junior selling office and coaches room
  • Improve training for all aspects of the job
  • Fill up the ice cream freezer and teach the kids how to account for it and keep track
  • Enforce the curriculum and provide guidelines and checklists to coaches
  • Order trophies from Gifted and consider engraving options
  • Improve the website and Facebook presentation
  • Work on billing and uniform orders

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