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

More Meaningful Conversations In Convo, Thanks To Our New Chrome Extension

We’re proud to launch Convo for Chrome to make sharing web research and insightful articles with your team much easier.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.48.59 AM

When you find a great article on the web, simply click the Convo icon to share and discuss with your teammates. Want to mention a specific part of the article? Just highlight the text and it’ll be linked to your comment for added context. Your teammates will always know precisely what you’d like to share.

It’ll be even easier to keep updated. You’ll get notified in your browser when your team shares a link and starts a discussion on Convo.

There’s a lot more that you can do with the Convo extension in the browser:

  • Right click a page in your browser to share it with your team.
  • Select some text to annotate on the page, and then post a comment.
  • Right-click an image to share it with your team. Integrated buttons on some favorites, including Twitter.com, TED.com and YouTube.com  for quick sharing.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.50.33 AM

Today, teammates, insights, and ideas are everywhere. Build and bring insightful team conversations to your browsing.  Download Convo for Chrome today.

- Tan and Team Convo

Maintenance activity over the weekend

We have scheduled maintenance and updates for Convo over the weekend. You may experience limited, intermittent connectivity on Saturday December 21st, between 11.00 PM – 1:00 AM Pacific while we undergo some updates on our servers.

Will update when everything is back to normal.

Update: Maintenance activity completed successfully. All systems go.

Convo Upgrades Security to Provide End-to-End Data Encryption

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Convo, a cloud-based collaboration service, today announced a major upgrade to its security model and became first in its category to offer at-rest encryption for their customer files and messages.

“Storing data of every type in the cloud is a fact of life for today’s enterprises,” said Faizan Buzdar, founder and CEO of Convo. But simply encrypting data in transit is no longer the gold standard. Customers demand data that is ‘at rest’ on a server to be encrypted too. They want so-called ‘bank grade’ security. A quick look at today’s headlines will tell you it is what the current environment calls for.”

With at-rest data encryption, intruders would only see undecipherable messages that are garbled and unreadable in the unlikely case that a server or hard drive is compromised.

“Our customers are security-minded enterprises both large and small, many of which operate globally,” Buzdar added. “They design, create, and collaborate on projects that are highly confidential using our service. As a result, we are always anticipating possible security threats and responding with relevant product features to safeguard our customers’ data.”

Key highlights of Convo’s new security model include:

  • Encryption at transfer with 256-bit SSL
  • Encryption at rest with high-grade 256-bit AES
  • Encryption keys are securely stored in separate locations and frequently rotated
  • Uninterruptible power and backup systems, plus fire and flood prevention at storage sites
  • Convo employs multiple data centers to host customer data; all data centers employ physical security, strict access policies and secure vaults and cages.

Convo is designed and tuned to keep teams productive. Convo makes it simple to embed active discussions into shared links, text, or files of any kind including images, presentations, or even a video. This avoids cumbersome version control, launching multiple applications, and any confusion in pinpointing exact feedback. Everything is archived, searchable, and where it should be with Convo. Convo is available for Mac, Windows, Web, iPhone, and Android.

About Convo
Convo provides secure messaging, file collaboration, and more coordination for the modern workplace. Whether it’s running a campaign, launching a new product, or breaking the latest news story first, Convo is simply the secret weapon for getting more done. Convo already helps power 6,000 businesses including TechCrunch, CBS, Jones Lang LaSalle, The Next Web, and many others. Convo is proudly backed by Morgenthaler Ventures, the same early-stage VCs that funded Apple, Siri, Lending Club, and Evernote.

Convo's Security Model

Convo’s Security Model

See the official Press Release here.