All product launches at Flud start off with a pre-meeting email from Bobby, our CEO, describing what we’re all trying to build. It’s a great way to get the entire team on the same page before the product kick-off meeting. Our recent web app launch started with the email below:
What we are trying to accomplish
We live in the age of context, of connectivity and of sharing. The enterprise has seen little innovation in these areas especially pertaining to news and intelligence. Professionals like you and me are relegated to email and portals for sharing information. Emails are great for other things, but not for consumption, archiving, or centralizing knowledge and making it searchable for everyone in the company.
Flud is an answer to this problem. We are riding major trends for enterprise intelligence, among them are: social, mobile, influence-driven, data-dependent, content-enriched platform. We want professionals to be informed and enable them to gain deep insights into industries and clients that matter to them. Insights that make them smarter, make them more influential in their company and ultimately helps them advance their careers.
What we’re building
The most critical thing to understand is we are taking the mobile app and the web dashboard and mashing them into one web application. We need to take the entire mobile app experience and make it web-friendly. Make it look and work like it is part of the app family. We need to find intelligent ways to integrate our data into the portal to enhance the user experience. For the most part I think the controls and main data modules of the dashboard will live in its own area in the web app, but there are things in the dashboard that any user (not just admins) can get value from while reading stories. Ex: Showing influential users in the company, or showing top stories/top feeds being consumed in their company.
The web app needs to feel like the company owns it (without giving the company controls over the color and look/feel). Which means we need to have their company name somewhere up there so the user knows its their company’s flagship news product.
The main things users will do right away on this web app are:
1) Log in with their company credentials and create a profile
2) View stories based on what people in their team are reading and sharing
3) Use the bookmarklet to flud stories from the web
4) Discover new sources of news based on what they need more information on
5) Control their profile settings
6) Comment on stories
7) Create new groups on the fly and add users to those groups to share content with each other
8) Compose stories for their coworkers using our authoring tool
9) Send push notifications to their team with important stories
10) Create a reading list of stories they want to read later
The web app is a critical leg in making us cross platform compliant in many companies who don’t yet rely on mobile devices. We need to launch the web app no later than January 15, 2013. This means we need to rapid prototype, rapid design and rapid build. Two months is a short timeline to launch the web app, but keep in mind that Flud successfully pivoted, redesigned, rebuilt and relaunched all its product offerings within a short 3 months… this is perfectly possible if we all divide and conquer together.
What we’re up against
Our product will initially be misunderstood (as all ground breaking products are) and people will think we are trying to build against Yammer, Basecamp, Chatter and other social intranets. We aren’t. We are building against Microsoft Sharepoint Portal, IBM Websphere, Oracle and other incumbents that make billlions of dollars on legacy software that professionals hate to use. We can and will disrupt them. This web app puts us head-on against these incumbents.
Web apps to consider looking at in our space:
Other good interfaces:
tweetdeck on the web
Let’s come together again and build something amazing for our users. They deserve it and we’re the right team to do it! I look forward to our meeting in the next few hours.
All my best,