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Summary:

Asana, the startup that wants to help workgroups collaborate easily, is adding a new feature to its SaaS to attack what it calls a huge productivity suck: email. And it’s doing so with a new feature ironically called Inbox.

asanainbox

Asana, the company that wants to help workgroups collaborate efficiently, is adding a new feature to attack what it calls a huge productivity suck: email. And it’s doing so with a new feature ironically called Inbox.

Inbox is a central place for an information worker to aggregate only the relevant and requested files and messages about given projects and share task lists etc. Users subscribe to and unsubscribe from the feeds as they want to see them

Four-year old San Francisco-based Asana, co-founded by Facebook veterans Dustin Moskowitz and Justin Rosenstein and backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Benchmark Capital, is betting that social networking tools transformed for the enterprise will not fill the bill. It claims big customers, including Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter, use the service to minimize extraneous meetings and to cut down on distractions.

“We don’t really see things like Yammer, SocialCast and Chatter as competitors but we also don’t see them as particularly useful. They just took something popular in the consumer space and ported them over, but research shows many people don’t see the value in them. We’re about a work graph, not the social graph,” Rosenstein said in an interview Tuesday.

Inbox gives users the information about the projects they want to see. “If you click on a message in Inbox, you get all the associated context and information surrounding it,” said Rosenstein. “Inbox keeps your communication directly connected to the shared record of what you’re working on.”

Asana’s service is free for up to 30 users and then is $100 per month up to $800 per month depending on number of users. For more on Asana Inbox, check out this company blog post.

In some ways, Inbox reminds me of what Lotus Notes (now Domino) started out as — a way for workgroups to keep their project information together and communicate about it. Rosenstein agreed with that comparison. “Lotus Notes was ahead of its time. That time has come,” he said. Mitchell Kapor, co-founder of Lotus Development Corp., is an Asana advisor.

  1. Reblogged this on ramblingbog.

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  2. Very cool stuff. We use Asana just having an online place to keep weekly checklists that are easy to work with has really helped keep us on track.

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  3. Asana was a little too complicated (more functions than I need) for the group I work with (and a little pricey). I’ve been using it for a little over a year, and cheaper, one-time fee alternatives like Appfluence’s Priority Matrix and CulturedCode’s Things have been getting the job done with a lot less clutter, in my opinion.

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  4. Niraj Ranjan Rout Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Isn’t it intriguing how every tool that tries to replace email ends up looking like email?

    Its wrong to argue the case for tools like Asana vs. email by drawing parallels with the shift from snail-mail to email. The shift in the former is nowhere close to that in the latter. Collaboration tools really are going ahead of themselves by claiming to slay email. Something that slays email will have to bring in a paradigm shift in how we communicate, in terms of the medium or the style of communication. We don’t see collaboration tools doing that.

    Blogged about this here at length – Dear Asana Inbox, why do you want to slay email:http://blog.grexit.com/dear-asana-inbox-why-do-you-want-to-slay-email/.

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