Ideas and Validation October 21, 2020

Async communcation. The future?

freshWorld

Hey all,

I'd like to invite you for a little brainstorming :)
I'm new here and really interested in async communication and I've seen many great products so far in this field.

I'd love to know and opinions related to this market segment, where are available such as: https://carrot.io/ or https://twist.com/.

Is that a growing market? How much value do they represent?
What situations can you think of where these app come handy?

Stay safe,

  1. 3

    I'm a Developer on a small team and we use Slack. Copying code into the rich test editor is lousy. I think with tools like these it can be hard to get a team to switch to a using a new tool.

    1. 1

      How they grow then? Like twist.com. In an article I read weeks before, that the interest's rapidly grown up because of the pandemic. (for twist).

      1. 1

        Twist is made by the guy who made Todoist. He's huge. I don't disagree these are good ideas. It might just be a challenge getting teams to switch from the tools they are currently using. I wonder how Carrot makes income?

        1. 1

          "I wonder how Carrot makes income?"
          Exactly the same feeling here but they do, i think. Furthermore, they do as well: https://threads.com/
          There's a quote that they're "supporting teams of from 2 to 2000"
          Who and how? Idk..

  2. 2

    I think Basecamp has some blog posts about this and how they work.
    Chat is discouraged and no conversations about decisions and making decisions should happen over chat because people may be busy and not be able to jump in at that exact time to talk about it. So, they use async post that require thought out pitches and thought out responses. This makes sense to me.

    But, right now in organizations people are overwhelmed by the options and what they're using. I use email, Teamwork, Slack, Hubspot ... there is content in Google docs, files, etc. and we kind of use the right thing for the right thing when we're lucky.

    Transition is a major barrier, if you made something you would almost have to make a migration automation from an API or something from the competition.

    Good luck if you go down this road, lot of features and integrations to implement. :)

    1. 1

      Yeah, I agree with you.
      And what do you think about async meetings? It's in the same topic, but a niche, and they're growing really fast.

      1. 1

        I think it's an interesting idea and that most organizations need to think about meetings differently in general. Meetings today are often just a block of time people get together with inadequate prep and direction. Most meetings are like a built in babysitter. Scheduled weekly or monthly to make sure you have your work done or you've produced what needs to be produced. People rush to finish up what they're working on to have it ready for the meeting - it's a deadline.

        Even with all the tools we've got to do project management, and set todos, schedule things - I've found this still works the best to make sure stuff is getting done on time. :( As much as I hate it.

        Jeff Bezos also has some good insight into meetings such as:
        Prefers a written memo of detail / well though out content that can be read prior or read right at the beginning by everyone versus wasting time with someone slogging through a power point slide by slide reading it to you.

        1. 1

          By async meetings you mean something like this: https://grapevine.team/
          Right?

          I still can't figure out all the + and -'s of these type of apps I mentioned before.
          Because, carrot makes written anouncements searchable, etc whereas grapevine is for extrovert teams.

          Which way do you think will the market move to?
          What do teams prefer? Videos or mail-like messages?

          1. 1

            I'm curious what the async video world will look like, since we do video work at Boast.io - However, it's hard for me to picture "async" meetings. If everyone is leaving their response as video that would be a personal nightmare for me. Not to say there isn't a market for it but the idea of a boss or someone recording 5 - 10 minute videos that you have to go watch to then interpret the gist when that boss spending 30 minutes to craft the message well in text that only takes you 3 minutes to understand is what I prefer.

            I could see video being a good fit for Monday morning sales team hype. CEO records the video based on last weeks metrics, what the goal is for the week and puts that out there for everyone to see what is important for the week in non-real time.

            But, async meetings where people are just dropping in video recordings of themselves versus being forced to craft articulate and concise text messaging that can be easily read and understood sounds anti-productive.

            That's just me... doesn't mean there aren't people who would absolutely love it. In sales / marketing I know it's more important how you say it and how you present than what you're actually saying. So if the content being collaborated on is attempting to convince or persuade via emotion and you're trying to build rapport video / audio is AMAZING.

            https://www.businessinsider.com/whats-more-important-what-you-say-or-how-you-say-it-2012-4

            But, it's usually not as important collaborating with teammates.

            1. 1

              Wow, such an amazing answer.
              You have some very good points that are hard to beat.

              And could you see that the world is moving toward to the async way like Carrot provides?

              I've a feeling that the tech-world (esp. SaaS) holds a lot news in communication. I feel something is missing yet, and a big boom will arrive soon.

              "Not to say there isn't a market for it but the idea of a boss or someone recording 5 - 10 minute videos that you have to go watch to then interpret the gist when that boss spending 30 minutes to craft the message well in text that only takes you 3 minutes to understand is what I prefer."

              Sounds sooo reasonable...

              If you had tp choice to pick a market and develop an for the problem that the market solves. Which would be your choice?
              The Carrot way, or rather the Grapevine.team?

              1. 1

                Not sure. But when you're the smaller, underfunded, underdog the best option is just be different. For better or worse, doing it different and taking a completely different angle to something at least provides some unique aspect and maybe it will work out or grab hold.

  3. 2

    The multiplication of communication channels also hinders productivity... It does not solve the productivity issue. Too many channels and too many versions... A human brain can only watch one video or listen to one recording at a time -which is still better than any other known kind of brains...

    There is also the effect of fragmented information that cannot be easily indexed, taking us back to a pre-Internet time when one had to spend hours looking for cat pictures at the local library.

    It's quite good for one to many and one way communication, like TV -you get the picture?

    1. 1

      Yeah absolutely. But company-wise the one way comm. is important, isn't it?
      You may recieve lots of emails day to day about changes within the company. That possible could be solved with a more visual kind of thing, such as carrot, or threads.com i mentioned in an other comment.

  4. 2

    Technically speaking, doing anything asynchronously means being able to do multiple things simultaneously, whereas doing things synchronously allows us to do only one thing at a time. The traditional world is built in a way that promotes synchronous comms, where each person is responsible for only one thing at a time, therefore people are used to it. Recently, micro-businesses become more and more popular, the concept of a person wearing many hats also become popular, they start to look for a way to be multi-tasking. When COVID hit, it's even hotter because remote work becomes a thing, where people have different working timeframes or even timezones, sync comms simply don't work.

    I have been exploring this market for a short while, it's quite crowded, there're still quite a few potential angles, though. One angle I'm looking at is to kill meetings, research shows that more than 80% of meetings can be canceled or converted into asynchronous comms.

    1. 1

      Yeah awesome explanation in depth.

      It's crowded, yeah. Lots of tools are comming out nowadays to remove meetings with async video sharing. So you can be there whenever you want to.
      Or the tools i mentioned before. Carrot has an exact same alternative: https://threads.com/
      Both haave users. It may be worth reading the quotes on threads.com website.
      Quite interesting why ppl use it. Don't you think?

  5. 2

    I don't know the market share of these tools or how they're doing. But, as a data point, I definitely prefer asynchronous tools.

    1. 1

      Why do you prefer this type of communcation?

      1. 1

        Because I find synchronous, real-time communication overwhelming. And it encourages an informal, flow of consciousness writing style that generates a lot of noise and makes it harder to follow and search conversations.

        1. 1

          Nice, awesome! And what product do you use already?

          1. 2

            Whenever possible (which isn't often) I use discussion boards (e.g. Discourse) and email.

            1. 1

              You communicate via email with your teammates?

              1. 2

                I almost never get to decide which group communication tool to use, but sometimes I happen to use email.

  6. 1

    I built a similar product at https://www.simpletasking.com. I work on multiple projects with people on different times, so our need of async tools.

    1. 1

      Yeah, nice promotion tho :P

      And what do you think about async video meetings? Have you considered to use it?

      1. 1

        Never tried or seen async video, is an interesting ideas.

        1. 1

          and would you like to use a Carrot like app?

          1. 1

            We already have our own software, very unlikely we will switch. Carrot looks very interesting, and I like that they are open source. We may also open-source simpletasking.

            Still you should built a quick prototype on top of carrot and see how people react.

  7. 1

    My very simple view: the world is getting more overwhelming in terms of information, and each of us has less time, so the "value of time" becomes higher over time. That being said, async comm is becoming increasingly important because it frees up time and make sure that 1) only the right people need to exchange info and 2) people can be better in organizing their time.

    As more teams learn about the better way of "working remotely", I def think more will adapt to async working style. But this is going to take time, since the majority is still familiar with the office/sync/meeting/walk up to someone type of collaboration.

    Other than team comm, I've heard from trainers/teachers that instead of live training/class, they would want to have a way to auto-pilot the experience so trainees/students can do it at their own pace. There are tools for this but still not up to a "good" level.

    I would love to work on something around async comm :)

    1. 1

      Yeah, this point of view can be true! Awesome approach!

      I'm working on an idea for that as well, would you like to brainstorm with me? And do it together? :)

      1. 1

        Wow - didn't expect that! I actually just recently ended my journey running a startup and now I'm planning to write out my lessons learned first. Have no plan to start something else anytime soon as I want to take some time to figure out what's next for myself ...

        1. 1

          Would you mind just a litle brainstorming on Discord? :)
          It's always insteresting to hear about other point of views in the SaaS fields.

          Btw, wish you all the bests with your startup :) What's that about?

  8. 1

    The market for remote, async team communication is incredibly saturated at the moment.

    With the advance of remote work and a global pandemic on top, the need for such tools has seen a tremendous growth. But this was also the most logical product to build in this new work context - companies are forced to work remotely = let's build remote team communication tools.

    To be honest, I really can't tell the difference between many of them, so at some point it comes down to very small differences, e.g. I like the visuals of X better than those of Y, or the free tier of Z offers more than the one from W.

    Personally, I think it's way too late to start working on a new remote collaboration tool. The cost of switching from an existing tool to a new one are often too high (not in terms of money) and remote teams need to be really unhappy with what they're using to consider changing it.

    Then again, I might be wrong and not thinking outside the box in terms of new features that would completely change the game.

    1. 1

      "I like the visuals of X better than those of Y, or the free tier of Z offers more than the one from W."
      I think this is why most of the goods and services exist. Think about cars. Everyone has a interior, exterior expactation. And in the terms of normal use cases none would recognize the nounces between e.g. a bmw(litle bit more sporty) and mercedes(more luxury). If you drive in a city, both are quite, comfortable and dynamic. So what does matter at the end of the day? The design and the brand behind it. Which gives you a more prestige? That's the winner.

      1. 1

        You're right.

        But relying on marginal improvements means you can only capture new users, who aren't already using an existing tool. For those that are already using something else, switching just because the design of the new tool is slightly better won't be something to consider.

        To "steal" users away from (the many) existing solutions, you'd have to solve a really big pain point they all share. I'm not sure what that is.

        1. 1

          "To "steal" users away from (the many) existing solutions, you'd have to solve a really big pain point they all share. I'm not sure what that is."

          Yeah, very very true! Thanks for sharing your opinion with me!

  9. 1

    I didn't even know these kinds of tools were a thing! I work for a large company and we use Slack for communication. I read up a little bit on Twist and it sounds like a good alternative, but the biggest hurdle to switching to a different app would be convincing the entire company to switch communication apps, which is a big ask considering the number of integrations, chat history, etc. that would need to be somehow moved or preserved.

    1. 1

      I read about twist before as well, someone told me, that it was hard to make a switch. And not because of the app itself, but the way you have to communicate. You're forced to think about titles and sometimes you get confused where to put your message.

      But still a good alternative. May I ask that how many of you are in the company? :)

      1. 1

        I currently work for Workday and I think we have about 12K employees, so quite a few! 😅

        1. 1

          And haven't you think about bringing a new app into the team or the company for long-time discussions that need to be organized?

          1. 1

            Nope! Mostly because I didn't know about other solutions and for the reasons listed above.

  10. 1

    The future? More like the present.

    1. 1

      Yeah, but which way does it go forward?

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