What Slack, Skype, and Every Other Team Collaboration Tool Got Wrong

Why ‘Context’ will be the tipping point in the battle of team collaboration tools

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

We made a mistake.

For years, we’ve been pulling people away from where they work and forcing them to collaborate on a standalone tool.

Slack, HipChat, Skype… while fantastic tools, have forgotten a key part of the collaborative process: Context.

Collaboration needs to happen where you work.

When you’re working through an issue or trying to come up with new angles to take your app, you shouldn’t have to deal with context switching.

Collaboration should feel like you’re talking to someone who’s right there with you, working through the issue side-by-side, even if they’re across the world.

That’s the goal. And we’ve failed to get there. Until now.

First, a familiar startup story

I sold my first startup — a popular CMS in Sweden — 5 years ago.

After the sale, I focused on a new problem: team collaboration. The solution I came up with was Incentive, Inc., a standalone all in one place team collaboration platform used by clients all across the world including Ping, Achieva, and a super-secret international government organization I can’t name (cool, right?).

We were proud of the fact that we were helping businesses work together better. But we couldn’t shake that familiar, nagging startup feeling.

Yes, we’re solving a problem, but are we solving the right problem?

We started thinking about the piece that’s missing from all current team collaboration tools, ours included.

We started thinking about context.

Why context is the most important missing piece of your team collaboration tool

If you’re an accountant working in Quickbooks, you should be able to collaborate within Quickbooks. You shouldn’t have to click over to Slack to send a message to your team. Or jump on Skype to make a call with a client.

Quickbooks is just one example, but the same goes for designers, developers, writers, and any other professional working in their tool of choice.

Why separate where you work from where you collaborate?

This was the problem we knew we needed to solve.

After months of brainstorming and development, we think we have a solution. We call it Weavy.

Weavy brings collaboration into the tools that we — the founders, developers, and other startup hustlers — use every single day.

Weavy was built with the belief that collaboration should be an inherent feature in every application we build. Not a standalone product.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You should focus on developing the tools of the future. Focus on revolutionizing the Human Resources industry, the Accounting space, or whatever vertical you are working in with the tools you’re building. Then add Weavy to make your tool fully collaborative.

Bootstrap. Node.js. PHP. They all save you time. Think of Weavy the same way.

With one line of code you can bring collaboration into your app. That’s it.

These aren’t magic beans we’re selling you either. We’re proud to say that one of the first companies to see the benefits of Weavy was Microsoft.

We built Dynamics Connect™ for them using the Weavy framework. Now anyone on Microsoft Dynamics 365 can use our collaboration tools within the platform. No more clicking away to communicate with your team. All collaboration happens where the work happens — right in Dynamics.

Using Weavy to help startups around the world

I’ve been fortunate to have success with each company I started. But I remember the lean times. I remember the late night hackathons and the early morning pitches.

I remember beating the pavement in search of any funding I could get just to buy me and my team the tools we needed to succeed. I remember everything about being an early stage startup. Those memories drive me every day as I’m sure it drives you.

So in honor of the tough times, we’re launching a new startup program where we’ll be giving the Weavy framework to any startup with less than two years old, has less than $50,000 in annual recurring revenue and is privately held, for free. No cost. Just head over to Weavy.com and apply.

(If you’re above that you can still apply and we’ll select a few larger startups).

That means you can add instant messaging, file sharing, document collaboration, task management, and more to what you’re building at no cost. Just head over to weavy.com/startup to fill out the application.

And to be clear, this is a white label version. We’re not going to slap a Weavy logo on it. It’s yours to use and integrate as you see fit. Add it to your platform and then, when you pitch investors, you can show them the additional features you have now.

As I said, I’ve been lucky to have built multiple successful startups. I understand the hustle and the importance of giving back to the community when you get to the other side.

Next time you have a chance, take a look at your successes. Think about where you started and then think about how your company has grown. If you can give back to the startup community, do it. The more we support each other, the more the world will benefit from the technology we create.

Happy coding. (Is that a thing? Do people say that?)

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that Microsoft is one of our biggest fans and they want to get you into their program too.

Jim Brisimitzis, GM for Startups @ Microsoft
“People pitch me their ideas every day. I’ve been hit with thousands of elevator pitches throughout my career. Some good ideas. Some bad ideas. Then there are the Weavy Ideas. Those are the ones that stick with you. I can’t wait to see all the Weavy Ideas that come out of this Startup Program.”

Select startups that applies and is accepted into the program, has a shot at stuff like their development and test software, including Azure, Windows, Visual Studio, Office and SQL Server for free. Plus, enjoy access to hundreds of free training classes, technical content to help you on your journey.

This is part of Microsoft’s commitment to nurturing startups. We will recommend several participating startups to their team for consideration.

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