The JayPad Team

@TalkAboutJack

How planning a weekend trip with our buddies changed our perception of Slack and WhatsApp

Group chats solved a problem and created a new one

Every year we and a group of friends go on a weekend trip somewhere. This is a beautiful tradition and we always look forward to it. What we do not look forward to is setting the whole thing up: Finding a date, a destination, housing, who comes when. Well, you get the idea — all it takes is a myriad of emails and a quickly collapsing WhatsApp group. Fun times.

So, how do you go about your yearly weekend trip with the old gang? Or your next bachelor party? Or your new startup project? Or your local basketball team? Or your next barbecue? If you are like almost anybody else we met, you enter a world of pain.

Planning a weekend trip with your buddies in a group chat: welcome to chat hell!

If there are four people or more trying to coordinate, this WhatsApp group is going to implode quickly. People get tired, the whole process of setting up something fun is tedious and draining.

WhatsApp is too easy to collaborate on something efficiently

Of course chat is great and WhatsApp is a great chat. The problem arises when multiple people try to get something done in this chat. It invariably brings something which might be called “content” to the table. A piece of information which is not fit for the fleeting character of a chat, let alone the mayhem of a group chat. This information might be the launch day to dos, days I am available, competitors in our target market, my favourite foods, the destination I want to visit and so forth. In a group chat this information is posted as many times as it takes the poor soul responsible for collecting and aggregating it.

And we think therein lies the problem: It is easy to post these info into a group chat. And it is annoying to make sense of it. And this is an itching pain for all of us.

Workplace collaboration through chat is just a different monster

This problem extends to collaboration tools as well. Slack did a great job in helping employees getting rid of unmanageable inboxes (for inhouse communication), only to create a different monster: A gigantic group chat at work. Where basically everything is mixed in a multitude of channels. This requires serious management and discipline to work out. And in a lot of cases we have seen, it did not (fun reads here, here or here).

Again, the problem is the simplicity of chat. It is easy to use, requires little to no editing, and is fun. Which means that discussions are filled with funny emojis, gifs, just another question, off-topic anecdotes which scatter discussions and confuse relevant information, or as we put it above, the true content of these chats. A problem these collaboration tools create and escape to solve.

A Slack competitor describes their search feature as follows:

Find a needle in your team’s haystack of communication, in seconds.

Well, an ever growing and increasingly overwhelming haystack of communication might be (as in: “definitely is”) a problem on its own worth solving.

The two dimensions of (chat) communication

We look at communication, be it in group chats or collaboration tools, as consisting of two dimensions. The first is general conversation which is increased due to the very nature of a chat, while the second is content (information, results, to dos etc.). These dimensions might be equally important but are ideally separable in some form. Slack, WhatsApp and the like take the discussion you have with your friends or colleagues online, which is great, what is missing is the writing pad or App you use to keep track of relevant information.

So we took it upon ourself to build a tool which provides the quick interaction of a group chat combined with a more static, much less fleeting, store of information. Needles to the left. Haystack at the right.

This concept is pretty universal: We planned our weekend trip 2017 in a JayPad and manage building JayPads in a JayPad.

Needles and haystack neatly separated in JayPads.

If you know these pains, please make sure to plan your next side project, barbecue, road trip, lunch break, family dinner, or your very own startup using a JayPad.

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