Is it Your timezone or Mine
by Markus Brinsa
How to get rid of the timezone hassle when booking meetings across different timezones.
Imagine, you are in your office in New York City and a client from the UK wants to schedule a call with you. Usually, he sends you an appointment request through his calendar app like Outlook, iCal or Google Calendar or he sends you the request by email.
Maybe its only me but 99% of the times I receive an appointment request through a calendar app, I am not available at this time, either because I am already booked or because I am in a different timezone and it will be in the middle of the night for me.
Receiving the meeting request via email causes another issue. Almost always, these emails state a time but not the related timezone. I cannot count the numbers of emails going back and force asking "is it your timezone or my timezone?". What a waste of time!
And how to make sure that you picked the right timezone in the end? Which timezone is Scottsdale, AZ in? - Mountain Time, right. But hold on, Arizona is not participating in Daylight Saving Time. So, during the summer, Scottsdale has Pacific Time. Confusing? - Confusing!
Therefore, I searched for online scheduling tools. I wanted to have my available times online so that everyone could book a call or a meeting with me based on my availability.
I found a bunch of tools promising exactly what I was looking for an and I gave it a try. Unfortunately, I run into the same issue with all these apps. All of them assume that your opening hours or your availability is in the same timezone all the time. This might work for shops, restaurant, for people who work in one timezone only but it is not working for people like me.
My availability is 10AM to 10PM on business days. So far, so good but the "10AM to 10PM" availability could be in New York on Monday, in Los Angeles on Tuesday and in Singapore on Thursday before going to Berlin on Friday. And this is where the problems started. None of the apps allowed me to setup my availability in different timezone in a proper way.
What I need is a solution like this. My office is in NYC and therefore, EDT (UTC -4) is currently my timezone. When I go to LA on Tuesday, 10AM to 10PM is in PDT (UTC-7). Wednesday, I am not available because I will be on the flight to Singapore. In Singapore, I am available from 10AM to 10PM in SGT (UTC +8) and in Berlin on Friday, from 10AM to 10PM in CEST (UTC+2).
I want to get this done with a few simple clicks but none of the app offered this kind of functionality. I talked to their support teams and even to the founders of some of the service providers but nobody really understood my pain and all responded that they cannot do it because their systems need a default timezone to work properly.
I was very close to give up when I came across a startup from Edinburgh in Scotland who offered an online scheduling solution for beauty salons. Beauty salons? - Yes, beauty salons - and it seems to be a very profitable business.
But how could an online scheduling specialist for beauty salons help me with my timezone issue? Well, first of all, they listened and they understood. They listend to my timezone hassle, they understood the problem and - most importantly - they understood the market opportunity, especially for the North American market where people have to deal with 4+ timezones all the time.
We had these conversations in early December 2014. Today, end of May 2015, I can say that they not only fixed the problem for me but moved the solution to a level where I can truly say that they offer the world's first and ultimate multi-timezone scheduling software. Just three weeks ago, they received outstanding feedback on America's largest startup & investor conference "Collision Conf" in Las Vegas and I am pretty sure that this is only the beginning.
Today, if you want to schedule a call or a meeting with me, no emails going back and force anymore. You simply go to http://markus.seikouri.com,pick the time that suits best for you and you are done. No matter if I am in NYC or Berlin on the selected day, you see my available time slots in your own timezone. No timezone math anymore. And there is 2-way sync with all major calendar systems so that I get all my appointments directly synced into my calendar.
If you like to learn more about multi-timezone online scheduling, please visit http://appointedd.com/zonedd. And if you want to give it a try, feel free to use coupon code "SEIKOURI30" for an extended free trial.