“but aren’t you just like…” part 1: Slack

Agora is hard to explain. Are we an app? A site? A program? A messenger? Saying things like “idea tracker” or “idea dashboard” seem vague without context. The easiest way to learn what Agora does is to use it- but not everyone does (yet.)

So I am starting a series of posts called “but aren’t you just like…” to explain the product to someone wondering who we are by comparing to what we aren’t.

“So a team tracks idea or you can keep track of an idea to yourself. Isn’t that Slack?”

Slack is awesome. As a small team, we use it every single day. For anyone who doesn’t know, Slack is a great messaging app for teams. It’s more intuitive than old-fashioned IM, and much faster than sending emails. We are not Slack.

Agora is an idea app, not a messaging app. We track, store, and build on ideas- we facilitate conversations, but we are not the medium on which conversations necessarily take place. Slack is not an idea app. Ideas and comments aren’t curated, and ideas are not tracked. In fact, ideating through Slack is actually incredibly difficult.

On Slack, conversations are streamlined, so you’re always looking at the most current topics. To get context when you’re just jumping into an existing conversation, you have to scroll up and read the messages. This might work fine when discussing team lunch or organizing a meeting, but makes tracking progress somewhat difficult. For example, we tried using Slack to vote on a new team outing. As we all contributed our votes and comments, we kept losing track of the original list. It was difficult to follow the progress. I came into the conversation later, and though I read through the messages, lost the opportunity to add value. If someone decided that an outing was indeed happening, I could have lost that information. The conversation couldn’t go anywhere because it moved too quickly and was saturated with messages.

Agora, on the other hand, curates ideas. The point of the conversation is the idea card- which is always visible- and once someone feels that they have the ability to make an idea happen, they can literally move it to the “happening” category and update those involved. If the team outing conversation was moved onto Agora, I would be able to come in late, comment on certain cards, and see what exactly is being taken care of by whom. Yes, I would probably Slack a coworker to learn more about something, but I wouldn’t start the conversation there.

Like Slack, Agora allows you to compartmentalize. You can have private idea rooms, rooms with just 2 other people, and rooms for a large group of people or your team. Unlike Slack, these rooms are meant for storage, tracking, and development of specific types of ideas and goals. Agora can be used for anything- I store recipes and move them across the pipeline when I’ve made them, I invite friends to discuss events, I use a number of rooms in my team to track new ideas that come up in meetings; I even had a room with just my sister to decide the best practices for moving into a new apartment.

If you’re a user, let us know how you uniquely use Agora! If you’re not sold or still curious, find us here to try it out. As always, never hesitate to reach out.