Your Office TVs Suck — The Saga

Chances are it’s true. TVs on the walls at offices just about always fall into one of two traps: very stale content or they are simply turned off. Props is hellbent to change that - for you - right now.

Either important but stale info or just taking up space

If you have TVs around you, when was the last time you remember getting some valuable information from them? How about a laugh or just a smile? Rare if ever.

You probably have printed out meme’s on your office wall which become a part of your culture, shouldn’t your TVs have a leg up on that nicely weighed 8.5 x 11 paper?

Your TVs deserve better.

Saga’s hinge on complicated problems and our’s was TVs - not that we knew that yet. No bullshit here, this is how it unfolded.

How did we fall onto this problem?

When we initially set out to build Props we wanted to build an employee recognition product. We started by hooking into Github, Zendesk, Salesforce, Pager Duty, and connecting important events back to employees.

This solution worked. Our web feed comprised of events from the sources listed above and a web form to directly recognize employees was functional but we knew that recognition had be done this way before. It always revolved around at least one new destination for users which was what we were stuck with. We needed a more natural way to: 1) write up your recognition, and 2) see who is being recognized.

How to recognize someone

Nobody wants another login to juggle. The act of writing a recognition being a thing makes it feel formal, suck more, and happen less. For us, the place to recognize was a simple decision. We created Propsbot, a Slack bot that would listen for ‘Props’ reactions, or language like ‘mad props to…’, so people could recognize others naturally as conversations happened.

Props reaction tells Propsbot this is something that should be recognized

That’s a formal recognition. Slack killed the destination issue and made giving props infinitely easier. We get tons of those but the real gold is in moments like these.

Someone says something great. Props to them.

The difference? No effort is going into giving that person props. No grammar checks or worry of excluding others. This is raw recognition. From what we’ve seen, letting your team notice these moments changes how your team communicates fundamentally in ways that are nothing but good.

How people see the recognitions

Again, this is normally solved by an additional web destination (feed) or maybe via a email/Slack. At this point, you can guess where this leads — yep, the TVs. TVs kick the everliving shit out of web feeds, email, and chat channels for this sort of thing. Why you say? Recognitions don’t warrant a response. They certainly don’t warrant interrupting what you’re working on. They should be passively observed or simply acknowledged (more on this in a later post!).

Any user can set a GIF that plays before they are featured. Your office TV channel showing people that are driving change in your org.

When we added the Slack integration and pushed the content to our TVs it was a massive hit. Coupled with the Propsbot, it drove our engagement 6x over night and that engagement has been sustained since January 1 in all of our setup customers.

Selling it — Reality check

A lot of office TVs are turned off but they didn’t supply the reality check — it was the TVs already showing static content.

Someone put that dashboard on that TV and cares a lot about it so replacing it is a non-starter. Adding a feature to show the occasional iframe’d dashboard would sort of solve the problem but it would be seriously half-assed.

“Damnit. Our product is a killer app on the platform we need to build… like right now.” — me

Building the Office TV Operating System

Once the geeky excitement over building something like this started to wear off it was down to business. We first turned to the existing corporate TV management system market; it was largely focused on static content minus the obligatory Twitter feed add-on.

Our system needed to be truly event driven. Slack reactions, Github pushes, Salesforce leads being closed, needed to show as they happened — the immediacy of the information being shown had been animately advocated for by our growing beta users. In the downtime we wanted the dashboard, weather, calendars, slideshows, Twitter, etc. Ya know, the normal shit.

Aside from the technical details, we wanted to remove any paywalls from getting Props setup. Proprietary hardware is a no go.

We also needed simple team on-boarding, not requiring a sales process. A user experience that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out would also be a nice plus (rare in the corporate TV world).

Not perfect yet but simple. The apps you show on your TVs and how often/long they should show

Now what? We freaking launch!

Currently we are using our Slackbot for our on-boarding process.

Props is free for small teams forever. It starts at $50/month for teams over 25 employees. All you need is a chrome browser and a couple minutes. It would be nice to hook your device with the Chrome browser up to a TV. Not sure if I mentioned that.

Setup props! http://www.propsboard.com/

Mad crazy Props to our early supporters:

http://Rjmetrics.com RJMetrics

http://Getguru.com Rick Nucci

http://Zonoff.com

http://Dramafever.com DramaFever Design Team

http://snipsnap.it/

http://comcast.com Comcast Labs