Close-up of construction worker texting on mobile phone

Escaping the Feed Based Messaging Economy

How many message feeds do you have open on all of your devices right now? Teams, Slack, Jira, Asana, iMessage, WhatsApp, SMS, Signal. Telegram, Hangouts? Now go back and try to find something you wrote or received last week — let alone last year.
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(Originally posted on Linkedin)

How many message feeds do you have open on all of your devices right now? Teams, Slack, Jira, Asana, iMessage, WhatsApp, SMS, Signal. Telegram, Hangouts? How about vertical-specific messaging and notification feeds from all of our data workhorses that spit out volumes of messages to our mobile notifications centers or email inboxes? We crave heads-up instant access to real-time decisions and app after app has answered the call. The problem is that most of these feeds create data silos filled with orphaned ideas, tasks, and moments of brilliance. Even the most organized of us can slip up and text a to-do or deadline on iMessage instead of Teams or Slack where we expect to find it. And with work-life balance often being a challenge, no matter how we try to keep the lines clean, decisions and data can amass organically all the time. Now go back and try to find something you wrote or received last week — let alone last year. 

Our lives are filled with countless feeds where we can generate, disseminate, consume and lose data. 

A Problem Born from Our Own Behavior

No disrespect to Neil Papworth, but our dependence on instant messaging and data feeds galvanized in the social media wars of the early 2000s when Facebook and Twitter brought feeds to the masses. Love it or hate it, but these platforms gave applications a model to successfully drive user engagement. From consumer apps to B2B platforms, the collaboration data feed became a ubiquitous fixture in a data-driven world. Messages, images, files, URLs, notifications; more and more apps wanted to deliver real-time data to your smartphone, laptop, or inbox in hopes it would drive engagement and adoption. 

For most apps, their ideals were altruistic; flat tabled data is stale and hard to consume, and the feed is a great alternative form of delivery. Moreover, many apps don’t require regular visits, and long stretches without users logging in is death for a new product judged on activity and renewals. Apps react by creating “collaboration” elements that drive peer-to-peer communication. If the app is worth our while, this drives more return visits, more engagement — and yet another feed with orphaned data.

The idea of “One App to Rule them All” is a common reaction and excellent in theory. Build one platform that does everything, and there is no need to go anywhere else. But when an app tries to do too much, they tend to do nothing well. We live in an age of constant innovation, and not allowing ourselves to find new tools that increase productivity or our operational efficiency is just not practical. This is even more prevalent within industry verticals where specialized, and at times homegrown tools will always have a home. Large-scale platforms offer value for some, but cost, availability, and ease of use can drive people to use external messaging platforms where decision-making data can be lost forever. 

A New Look at Communication Productivity

As collaboration apps and features become more prevalent, we are moving away from email and leaning heavily into these tools for critical tasks because of their ability to provide us with real-time decision-making. But these tools are built for quick decisions, not long-term forensic search and archiving. Long-running large-scale projects can extend multiple years; try finding something that happened last week. Finding an audit trail for those important decision-making events can mean getting paid or taking a loss. Compound the problem with multiple collaboration tools, siloed feeds, internal and external stakeholders – finding that data you need when you need it can be impossible and costly. 

The shift from email to real-time communication and our dependency on the volume of critical app-based data to make mission-critical decisions requires a new paradigm. This focus on communication productivity and the need for a better mousetrap is what drives us at Hivot. We are on a mission to remove our dependency on siloed feeds to provide a better way to communicate and collaborate without changing the apps or tools we already use. We are also turning our lens specifically on construction and industrial trades underserved by mainstream tools and where the challenge is uniquely acute – with a boon of new cutting edge technologies and their masses of siloed data, alongside a complex group of stakeholders and agendas  

But our tenets are simple: Communicate more effectively with the entire project team, easily pair decision-making conversations with platform and point solution data, track and trace threaded conversations through multiple apps, quickly find any content from any feed. Ultimately removing hours of manual integration, reducing waste, saving time and money. 

Learn more about what we are working on, and join us for the journey at http://hivot.com

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