May 25, 2019

Ask IH: Is there demand for specific-purpose live collaboration tools?

Björn Wilmsmann @BjoernKW

Live remote collaboration / conferencing tools are ten a penny (Skype for Business, appear.in, WebEx, you name it ... ). However, all of those try to be everything to everyone and to accommodate each and every possible use case, often trading in quality for additional features.
Specifically, each and every tool of this category seems to try and provide video chat - more often than not of only barely acceptable quality - while in many professional contexts a video channel isn’t really required.

Hence, I was wondering if there’s demand for live remote collaboration tools designed for specific target audiences.

Software development of course particularly comes to mind: A tool that’d allow you to share and collaboratively work within an IDE or browser session sounds very useful to me.

Other disciplines such as - broadly speaking - teaching or coaching probably could benefit from remote collaboration tools tailored to their respective needs, too.

What do you think about this?

#idea-validation

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    A tool that’d allow you to share and collaboratively work within an IDE or browser session sounds very useful to me.

    If you have a couple of minutes, check out the video starting at https://youtu.be/GC2qzgbYhpg?t=1795, I found it enlightening in that it put into words something I always sensed. In summary, a large (if not the largest) chunk of the programmers' demographics consists of introverts, for which writing code and interacting with people don't mix very well. You may find it difficult to market to them in the hope that they will introduce your solution in a company, unless you sell the idea more than the actual experience (shared remote coding has always been the kind of technical feat that made our eyes light up), or try selling to managers.

    Other disciplines such as - broadly speaking - teaching or coaching probably could benefit from remote collaboration tools tailored to their respective needs, too.

    Some time ago I took some language classes over Skype and it was clunky, with the teacher and I having to copy/paste to and from the chat area all the time, yet not painful enough that we went looking for an alternative, which would likely entail creating another account and learning a different platform. However, if all we had to do was to add the "SomeCollabTool" contact on Skype and it would tell us both "Your shared workspace is ready, click on https://xyz123.some-collab-tool.com to access it", we would have gone for it. Just saying.