Bring your Dropbox, Box and Drive files to life on Convo

Do you use file-sharing services at work? Does your day look something like this?

  • Someone sends you a file over a popular file-sharing service like Dropbox, Box or Google Drive.
  • You download it, or wait for a sync to complete.
  • You get your team together for a meeting to review the content, discuss changes that are needed and collect feedback.
  • You incorporate everyone’s feedback and then send the latest version on to your VP or Partner for their approval… and they decide they want you to take it in a new direction
  • All feedback, edits and revisions are finally incorporated into the downloaded file and a new version has been saved… and then you receive input from your colleagues overseas who have just come online – and the process starts again.

Convo

That’s a bunch of emails exchanged, versions created, and files managed on your hard drive.

Guess what?? Your day just got better!

Now you can share files from Dropbox, Box and Drive directly with your team – on Convo. Convo generates instant rich previews of popular (and-not-so-popular) work file formats like PDFs, Word Docs, Excel, even Photoshop PSDs and more than 32 others!

You can preview these files without downloading them and then use Convo’s annotation tools to draw a box around content or highlight text and then leave a comment for your teammates, providing them with clear, actionable feedback. Your team can see and respond to your markup quickly, and know exactly what you mean and what you’re referring to. That means they are able to respond faster and with the clarity of context. Whenever a team member adds a comment, you get notified in real time on your desktop or mobile device. Oh yeah, did we forget to mention…? You can annotate files on your iPhone too! At Convo, we are constantly working to help you get your work done not only faster, but better.

Faster views on your iPhone

In addition to our file-sharing enhancements, we’ve also packed a bunch of improvements into our iPhone app. When someone posts a new message or comment, your feed will automatically update to show the latest input, regardless of what view you are on – your main news feed, a group view, or a user view. And if your connection is a little slow, you can always pull to refresh.

You will also notice a new, cleaner message and comment box.

Get your team on the same page, and earn free storage

Convo customers on the Basic plan already get 1GB of free storage and Premium customers get 50GB.  But starting today, you can participate in Convo’s referral program to earn additional free storage. For every referred teammate that joins Convo, you will earn an additional 500 MB of free space for your network to use. Both Basic and Pro networks can earn up to a total of 16 GB of free storage.

To get started, open the menu on your iPhone app and select “Refer Teammates” to invite people who haven’t joined yet.

Today’s announced enhancements make collaborating on shared files a whole lot easier. And in addition to these updates, today’s release also includes some other improvements and fixes.

We love hearing from you, so try out the new features and tell us what you think. Or stop by to say “Hi” on Twitter or Facebook.

Two Million Conversations And Our Goal To Make Files Less Scary On Mobile

“Leadership is a relationship. Relationship is a conversation. If the conversation stops, the relationship is over. We rely on Convo to keep the conversation going.” -Brian Bacon, Chairman and Founder of Oxford Leadership Academy

It’s exciting times at Convo, as we’ve reached quite a milestone – two million conversations started on our platform. Over the past two years, we’ve brought on over 9,500 amazing companies who want to spend less time on internal email and more time on getting actual work done.

Conversations are started around many different things across our network: sometimes it’s a link, a tweet, and yes…even a file. Having conversations around files hasn’t been the easiest thing to do historically, especially on mobile devices. Since the invention of the iPhone, you haven’t been able to do much more than preview a file and reply to an email with a comment on it, which is a daunting task that nobody wants to take part in.

Big companies like Google and startups like Quip are bringing features like text-file editing to our phones, but there’s still a huge opportunity to make the process simpler and more realistic compared to how you work in an office. Today, our latest version of Convo for iOS takes on that pain that we’ve all felt for years.

Convo for iOS

We’ve noticed a definite increase in mobile usage amongst our customers, 109% over the past three months to be exact. We’d like to see that increase, and we know this update for iOS will help that. You’ll be loading files faster than ever, sharing animated GIFs and annotating any type of file including images, PDFs and Word docs right from your phone.

Conversations started around a file tend to be more in-depth and usually require you to be sitting at a desk. We think we’re on a path to change that.

annotation_mobile

Never be afraid to open up a PDF on your phone again. With some technical wizardry on our end, we’re able to speed up the preview loading times of files and get you right into the first page of that 300-page legal document…or slide 5 of the Powerpoint document you created for an important meeting.

loading_graph

Not only can you preview the document faster, you can immediately jump in and annotate it with suggestions for changes or any type of feedback you like.

Hosting and sharing a document is only part of the way there for getting things done, and Convo now lets you do the rest…on the go. Simply send a file from Dropbox or Box right to Convo and get the conversation started.

dropbox_file_mobile

According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, we spend 13 hours a week on email at work and only 6.4 hours a week collaborating with coworkers. We aim to flip those numbers. With that, will come more productivity, great ideas, happiness and yes….less internal email.

Give the new iOS app a try and let us know what you think.

- Faizan and Team Convo

Scheduled maintenance over the weekend

We have scheduled routine maintenance and updates for Convo over the weekend.

You may experience limited, intermittent connectivity on Saturday May 3rd, between 12 AM – 3 AM Pacific while we undergo some updates on our servers.

Will update when everything is back to normal.

Update: All updates are successful and Convo services running normally. Thank you for your patience and happy collaborating.

conversation

Which came first, the file or the conversation?

Now that a lot of companies are turning to the internet to handle all of their project tracking and hosting needs, we’re now just scratching the surface of how to run a company “in the cloud.” All that phrase really means is that we’re not always in the same place at the same time, but can’t afford to let work halt because of it.

While I’m out and about, I should be able to check in with our team on how our latest mobile apps are going, without missing a single beat. It sounds simple, but it’s really not.

The “easy button” is a myth

Image

Until now, we’ve thought of sharing files as “collaborative.” That’s simply not the case anymore. I’m not sure that I’ve ever witnessed a document create itself out of thin air (but wouldn’t that be nice?). A board deck doesn’t write itself, a Word Doc doesn’t have a personal assistant typing things out (sorry, Clippy) and there’s usually quite a bit of conversation before assets are created. Those conversations take place in person, on Skype, Gchat and every other tool that lets people connect.

The reason why I came to Convo is because I saw the entire vision, the thought that every idea started with a conversation, that every design or offer letter generated by a company had to start somewhere. Naturally, I feel like that “somewhere” for me is Convo. Without a conversation there is no file, without a file there is no project, without a project there is no company.

It all starts with a conversation

Rather than attempt to be the “one size fits all” “collaborative” “enterprise” “end to end solution,” Convo started with a very simple thesis: Allow people to have a conversation no matter where they are, with context that you need to move a project forward. It’s painfully obvious that Skype  and/or an IRC chatroom doesn’t get the job done. If you think about what your day-to-day is like, you’re having multiple conversations about multiple things and keeping that context intact so you can catch up and react quickly is key. You can’t do this with email either. It’s just not actionable. Plus, it’s broken. In fact, I really wish every company would ban internal email because the concept is such a mess.

ImageIt is extremely difficult to replicate the quintessential team moment of standing in front of a white board while people shout “how about this?” or “how about that!” Those are the moments that shape what your company actually ends up executing. Here’s an example: Google Docs is great, and annotation on a simple doc is pretty cool. However, you can only discuss the actual document that everyone is in at the time. This means that the document, which is probably a part of a bigger project, becomes the hub for chatter, and if not, then yep…back to Email, Skype and Gchat.

Ugh. Broken.

The reality is that when you’re planning on say, moving your office to a new location, you all have to be looking at a group of files. This could be a lease, a floorplan, photos, etc. Jumping into one document together, the lease, having a discussion about that, then heading over to another file and chatting about it over Email, and then sharing a bunch of photos of the space somewhere else will give you a headache fast.

But this is exactly what most of us are doing right now.

What’s next?

Since everyone has the cloud hosting and sharing part down, thanks to services like AWS, Dropbox, Box and Drive, we’re left with “what now?” Some of that we’re seeing with acquisitions, features and piece by piece construction of a suite of apps, but at the end of the day, it will always come back to the conversation.

A fast, secure and contextual conversation. In one place. Then let the files flow. And then more conversation…

You get the picture. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but we’re not walking away until we have.

- Drew and Team Convo

Publishers that get there first



Convo is the tool of choice for some top tech publishers who need a centralized workplace for their dispersed teams. It’s become their communication backbone for getting to the breaking story, first.

“We’re in an industry where finding important information online before others is key, and every second can be critical when big news breaks. We find Convo to be really useful. It’s the heart of our day to day to communications.” – Martin Bryant, Editor-in-Chief at The Next Web

Convo becomes the office when teams are all over the world. Without needing to jump back and forth through tools, publishers who use Convo can build stories in the minimum amount of time because information is all in one place. Advanced search helps find conversations and files that might have been lost in the shuffle.

Convo becomes my memory. I don’t have to recall. If we need to pull it up, we can to pull it up. It’s important because we won’t get the story if I can’t find what we need.” – Matthew Panzarino, Co-editor at TechCrunch

Convo is more than a tool for TechCrunch — it’s become a part of their workflow. Internal communications got tighter, decisions are made faster, and breaking stories are published at a more rapid pace with a much higher bar of quality.

Check out Convo for yourself.

-Tan and Team Convo

 

Beyond Project “Management”

The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing but it shouldn’t be at the cost of actual work getting done.

We know coordination is important; however, more often than not, it’s loosely defined. Is it just a shared team task list? Is it a place to share files? This feels incomplete.

Better conversations will push projects to conclusions. In-person meetings can be great but sometimes a rare luxury in a fast-paced office. Convo is built in a way where important decisions can be made with multiple stakeholders without slowing each other down. We want to go for both — keep coordinated AND produce great work alongside with teammates with minimal blockers.


Our vision is to have the right work conversations visible, inclusive, and contextualized so productivity (and relationships) don’t suffer. Ultimately, we want you to spend more time with your ideas, your creativity, and the often neglected un-automatable parts of work.

This is more than a small, incremental improvement over email, but instead, an evolved workflow that can deliver serious, compounding results.

Faster coordination. Faster feedback. Faster to market.

Planning a project with Convo:

  • Start a Group to keep everything together
  • Post an overview including objectives, timing, budget and performance metrics visible to the whole project team
  • @mention teammates or stakeholders and annotate specifically who owns what and when it’s needed
  • Centrally upload files so teammates don’t have to hunt down who attached what, when, and why
  • Produce, share, and iterate collectively and clearly. Put forward the best possible output
  • Ship it

Try Convo for your next project.

-Tan and Team Convo

Reclaim Your Productivity With Faster And Smarter Creative Reviews

Have you tried to conduct a design critique with a screen-share or conference call? It’s not bad as a quick fix. But it’s painful, and far from being an ideal solution, especially when you need detailed creative feedback from multiple teammates.

We’ve all experienced this feeling…..

 

How about an in-person meeting? Sounds nice; however, finding calendar availability every time a decision needs to be made can be a serious chore and a drag on the business.

It’s important to become less and less dependent on these types of meetings which waste valuable resources and kill momentum.

It might be time to form some different work habits.

With Convo, effective creative feedback is rapid, contextualized, and most importantly, actionable. Raise the bar on your design work and get to market even faster.

 

Save time by simplifying stakeholder feedback and approval. Break away from messy email chains coming from every direction.

Who has the time to sift through this when all you want is to just get things done?

Learn about other Convo features.

-Tan and Team Convo

Digestible Reporting

Do you know if your reporting is actually being used? Companies analyze their data and create reports to learn how people use their product, but there are times where findings are lost in the shuffle.

Between dispersed teams and busy schedules, this is just how it is. A shared dashboard or report that isn’t easily digestible will most likely be inapplicable because who has the time?

Don’t run the risk of valuable learnings collecting dust. Shared insights to remove friction, reduce drop off, and drive the bottom line are far too important for your business.

Convo can help. 

Our three core beliefs on tackling reporting the smart way:

Simplicity
Don’t overload teammates with massive reports. Make key takeaways bite-sized by pointing them out with our annotation tool. If the data is easier to understand, it’ll be more actionable.

Speed
Mark up and assign key takeaways to specific teammates or departments with a simple @mention. Convo will notify and point them exactly to what they should see once they click through. Everything moves faster with the right context.

Consistency
Setting up a weekly cadence of sharing data with the wider team breeds testing culture. Experiment, learn, improve, and repeat. There’s no silver bullet for growth. Improvements are continuous and iterative.

 

Learn more about our features.

-Tan and Team Convo

Unlocking value and productivity at work

The McKinsey Global Institute just released their latest report on social technologies impacting value and productivity in the workplace. Their research has shown, “two-thirds of this potential value lies in improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises.”

When MGI researchers looked at how workers were spending their time, they found:

“28 percent of the work week managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks. But when companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35 percent, the time employees spend searching for company information.”

These value adds are realized from faster, more efficient, and more true collaboration. In a fast-paced and demanding work environment, this workflow is becoming more of a necessity to stay competitive. Ultimately, the benefits translate to organizations saving time, energy, patience, and money.

MGI’s estimates suggest, “that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent.”

MGI Social Technologies

In their report, researchers go on to explore the potential economic impact across four commercial sectors: consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional services. The findings projected, “these technologies, which create value by improving productivity across the value chain, could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across the four sectors.” These numbers are just staggering.

Email is limited when needing to work across dispersed teams. As a result, teams become overly dependent on conference calls and screenshares to provide much needed context. This vicious cycle of “looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues,” as the report mentions, is clearly broken and costly.  We’ve tuned Convo with annotation to skip many of painful steps above, and make work communication clear and actionable. In the end, we know nothing gets done without context.

Let’s break down how useful annotation can be for putting together a board deck:

  • @mention individuals or teams you need to gather insights or files
  • Upload related files so everything in centralized on one post
  • View and leave comments on slides together as a team
  • Stakeholders can circle the sections that require changes with our annotation feature. A snippet of that would be linked to their comments so all feedback is crystal clear
  • Everyone involved has visibility and inclusion throughout the whole process
  • Any additional revisions can be done in the context by pointing out actual text or images with our annotation feature

annotation

These are only some of things we’ve been geeking out on to make teams more productive. Try us out for free.

The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies | McKinsey&Company

Convo For Android: Better, Faster, Stronger, Smarter

We’re excited to announce our completely redesigned Android app, which includes a number of improvements on speed, beautification of your images, as well as an easier way to tackle advanced search.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 11.01.59 AM

Here’s a rundown of what to expect:

  • 40% faster commenting and messaging.
  • 100% faster feed scrolling.
  • Enhanced gesture support including pull to refresh on feed, swiping to see more comments, swiping to view menu. Browse images on reel in feed or in the image viewer using familiar gestures.
  • Gorgeous high-resolution thumbnails in feed and improved image gallery.
  • Advanced, faster search with refinement options for advanced users.
  • New left menu makes common destinations easy to access.
  • A new message is always within reach with the new fixed toolbar and brand new message and comment boxes.
  • New “Comment” and “Like” right-side panels bring data to you without changing your view, load all previous comments within these new views.
  • Perform basic operations like “Comment” and “Like” from within the feed.

While a lot of your teams  use a mix of mobile platforms, we’ve definitely seen an uptick in Android usage and requests recently and have dedicated more resources to building out a fantastic experience. There’s some interesting things we can do on the Android platform, and you’ll see more of it in the coming months.

Have a play and let us know what you think.

- Drew and Team Convo