March 12, 2015

Journey from a ‘Full Email Inbox’ to ‘Inbox: Zero’

It’s been a little over a month since I joined Convo and started using this ‘Enterprise Social Network’ (or Work Social Network as I like to call it) for all my work communication instead of email, and meetings, basecamp, asana or any other tool/s that I previously used. A short summary of that transition – I love it. My life is simpler and I feel more in control at work. Typically old habits die hard but for me they went out the window pretty quickly.

Jack Linshi covers Technology for Time magazine and wrote a piece titled ‘The Apps That Will Help You Get To Inbox: Zero’ which talks about how new apps are reshaping the workplace through messaging, mobile productivity, info & file sharing. I was very happy (selfishly of course) to see Convo mentioned as a part of the revolution that is transforming how we collaborate & communicate at work. The article also got me thinking about my personal experience of moving from the ‘Full Email Inbox’ world to ‘Inbox Zero’ and how it has become the new ‘better’ normal.


Convo in Time Magazine


Workplace efficiency is not a pipe dream

As I have moved from the traditional big company world of using multiple tools like Outlook, Gmail, Basecamp etc. (sorry guys!) to having all my conversations in one place, there have been many ‘a-ha’ moments. So my ‘Full Inbox’ friends, its real, it can happen and I am sharing it with you – the moments that made this transition ever sweeter.


1. Fastest onboarding. Ever.

That is not an exaggeration. It was even faster than me taking on a new project in an existing job. Why? You would ask. Well, all files, conversations, debates were in one place. People just added me to the relevant groups and tagged me on to important conversations and I had immediate access to months of decision making and how we arrived to today. There was no ‘Oh let me find that doc’ or ‘John made that decision 6 months ago and now that he has left the company so we don’t know why’.


2. Wait, what? No meetings?

On my first day of work I asked Marisa (our Chief Cat Herder aka Office Manager) if she could add me to all the relevant meetings. She gave me a puzzled look and then I got one invite. Yes, I repeat…ONE invite for our weekly all-hands meeting. Most conversations (even across 3 geographic locations) happen within Convo. I actually do get time to do ‘work’ at work (an alien thought in some big companies laden with meetings) and when I talk to my colleagues, I spend more time building relationships vs. sitting through another stale meeting. And voila – you have a tight knit team!


3. Seriously? I can know what’s going on without being a pain.

Like I mentioned, we have dozens of people in global offices. In marketing, it’s my job to know what engineering and product are developing, customer success is hearing from customers, and sales is closing. And no, it’s not because I am nosy. It’s because I need that information to do my job in the best way possible. In my previous jobs, I would harass all these functions for updates, set up weekly meetings and so on. Using Convo, I am subscribed to key groups within the organization and can see updates & conversations in my news feed. This way I can keep tabs on more areas of the company than ever before.


4. Simplest feedback process.

Let me give you an example how that works. We are exhibiting at the SXSW interactive trade show this March. There is one post on Convo called ‘SXSW Planning’ and all booth images, marketing collateral, messaging, sessions etc reside there and it’s also where all conversations related to SXSW happen. As one of the many marketing tasks, I wanted to create a postcard to market Convo at our booth. Here’s all it took: I wrote marketing copy, @ mentioned the designer to add design elements, and she uploaded a draft for the SXSW group to review. Instantly all of us knew it was ready, we reviewed it, gave comments by highlighting a certain area and commenting. She knew exactly what to change, did that and updated. All I did was ‘Like’ her final post and it was approved. No email attachments, group comments, or version control. To my fellow marketers: this a dream come true.


5. Wow! No Powerpoint & its approved?

If I had to summarize this new world of Work Social Network, it would be supersonic decision-making. One example. We were brainstorming a new ad campaign for an entire week, all in Convo. When the team had reached consensus, we just added our CEO to that post. He read through the comments quickly, got all the context and saw that all his questions were answered. All he had to do was say ‘approved’. We didn’t waste any time regurgitating the conversations onto a pretty deck just to win approval. To me that felt like a Christmas miracle!


I have to highlight that all of the above conversations happened with ‘zero’ email. Obviously I am a little biased and believe that Convo is the best thing for your organization but even if I kept that aside for a moment, it seems that traditional tools are losing favor and ‘Inbox: Zero’ IS the future of work.



Sharmeen Suri
Senior Director Marketing, Convo

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