Turns out planning a roadtrip or a night out and building a tool to make this planning simple require pretty similar management tools
As we have told here, planning a yearly roadtrip with our buddies through a mix of email, WhatsApp and Doodle prompted us to shift direction completely and we did what every startup needs to do from time to time: Pivot!
While working on a completely different idea six months ago, we figured we endured a pressing problem in planning everyday activities with friends and family through WhatsApp and/or email. The countless times someone asked about info which was posted mere hours ago, the mixture of “getting things done”, cat videos and funny pics, they finally got to us.
What we noticed (well, were forced to notice) is a general pattern of communication in these channels, be it chats or more sophisticated collaboration tools: Content meets Non-content. The mixture of information which has a relevancy beyond the upcoming 5 minutes with “information” which, honestly, often does not have much relevancy at all (yes, we love ourselves a good ol’ cat video — but come. on.) is an immeasurable timekiller and we felt it.
The countless times someone asked about info which was posted mere hours ago, the mixture of “getting things done”, cat videos and funny pics, it finally got to us.
As told here, Slack was the solution of choice for managing our early steps towards building a business. Unfortunately Slack requires A LOT of discipline to be an efficient collaboration toll. Just scrolling through our competition channel for old times sake gave me goosebumps. I counted particular competitor URLs up to five times.
Of course one might argue we were using Slack just wrong — there is a simple bot for everything, or whatever integration or “hack” solves our need for a simple store of information which was gathered in a central (or specific, if need be) discussion channel. But we didn’t feel that these tools really would have solved our problem: Working on a joint project efficiently in a small team.
Unfortunately Slack requires A LOT of discipline to be an efficient collaboration toll.
So we took a step back. Discussion via chat is important and a great help to foster ideas and collaboration. BUT leaving the results of these discussions at that very chat might pose a little problem and/or requires to use multiple tools at once. One of our Alpha users, a startup founder himself, actually build JayPads for himself via a screensplit with Slack and Google Docs. If something important came up during the Slack discussion he would then proceed it towards a Google doc for future accessibility. Which of course is the exact functionality of a JayPad.
As you can see we make vivid use of the possibilities a chat offers for collaboration. Especially since we work from different places most of the time. This is vital and a means of discussing which works extremely well for us. Once we have formed an idea or came to the conclusion that another product is a competitor which needs to stay on our radar, this result is quickly noted in an according …note. This helps us a) utilize the greatest strength of a chat: quick and rapid discussions (or just talking nonsense and having fun) while b) keeping the results from these discussions somewhere more permanent but easily accessible. It’s like we are having all those great conversations all day long and when we form a noteworthy thought, or to do, or URL, or feature — we simply put it into a sticky post on the left. That. Is. It.
Of course this tool lacks basic project management features like assigning to dos, tracking progress, and so on and so forth. That’s what other tools like Trello, JIRA etc. were build for. But getting started with an idea, giving your new business a more structured push in a small team, these projects do not require such features. What these projects require is a simple tool which helps getting to speed quickly and efficiently. More complex solutions might help down the road once scaling takes part and teams are build. But we firmly believe a JayPad can get you to that very point faster.
Similarly everybody takes part in WhatsApp group chats where from time to time the next night out, barbecue or weekend trip is planned. Finding a date which fits more than 5 people poses a really big problem which is solved by many scheduling tools. In the best case scenario someone posts a link to such a tool into the quickly collapsing WhatsApp group and a date is found. Of course not until at least two people have asked at least twice for “that link again”. This is exactly the same principle as using a splitscreen of Slack and Google Docs. Organizing a meeting of a group of people through a chat channel alone is impossible (or at least requires a lot more work than it should). Thus the parallel use of tools. Why not switch into a single channel, which does not require any account, or login, and most importantly is able to let a plan be made under one roof? We honestly do not have an answer for that.
Which is why we build that single channel.