The New York Times came out with a story about microblogging in the enterprise. It makes references to Yammer, Present.ly, and of course, Twitter. Most of the interviewees are companies that have adopted the services – Rubicon Project was the one that stood out for me.
As a few of you know, I’m a recent convert to Twitter and am slowly getting wrapped up in the missionary evangelical zeal that I mocked for so many months. When Yammer went live, I tried to get the good folks at Kosmix involved and so far the “launch” has been a miserable failure. A few updates trickle in here and there. No one has been instantly “hooked” onto the service. Several folks have come by my desk and made it a point to roll their eyes (these are the crusties who still don’t use Twitter, so we can ignore those data points) at me.
Why, I wonder, would a service like Yammer draw glowing reviews from Rubicon and fall flat at Kosmix? Here are some details that I could come up with:
- I have been unable to articulate a clear value prop to folks on our end. As a Twitter user, I “know” that Yammer will be useful to us but I’m unable to pinpoint exactly why and am unable to sell it.
- The service spread virally through our office and lots of folks signed up, then posted a message saying “What the hell is this?” and then bailed.
- Kosmix is 65 people with almost everyone located onsite. To top that, we’re a VERY instant message heavy culture, more so than the 2-3 other places I’ve worked at. People dont perceive the need for an additional IMish service.
- We’re horribly open door and the joint resembles a fish market right around 1130 am every day. There are about four hallway conversations occurring at high pitch and ping pong balls flying around as shots go awry. We know too much about other departments, not too little. The founders are very accessible. We eat lunch together every Friday. Getting updated isn’t usually a burning problem.
- We’re small. I can see Yammer being more valuable at the 100+ level with lots of sales people that are remote and see engineers once in three months (my previous company).
- We’re NOT a Twitter heavy culture. There around 7 people who are heavy Twitter users. More than a few others share a bewilderment at the Valley’s obsession with Twitter (you know who you are).
This is not a shameless plug for the good folks that fund my expensive Star Wars costume habit (that was a joke, you nerds). This is an acknowledgment of my kickass ultra cheap commute thanks to Kosmix.
As you know, I recently moved up from my little hovel in Palo Alto to, well, a little hovel up in San Francisco. I live close to the Caltrain station on 4th and King as well as 280. I’ve been desperately trying to figure out how best to commute 45 minutes one way and not whine about it. Also note that my job implicitly requires me to show up at work 4-5 days a week. No cushy work from home action for me.
So you do the math: 80 miles a day, 5 days a week, at a bone-crushing 4.08 per gallon and 20 miles per gallon. I’ll save you the time – its in the 350 dollar neighborhood. That doesn’t even include weekend driving, wear and tear and the hidden costs of road rage (serious).
So how kickass is it that Kosmix pays for 50% of my Caltrain tickets *and* pre-taxes that bad boy to give me an additional saving?
Add that stuff up: 48 dollars for a 10 ride from Caltrain, out of which Big K paid for half. 96 bucks a month, minus tax benefits 🙂 Add to that the sixty bucks I ponied up for a laptop wireless card and you’re looking at a 140 dollar per month outlay.
I could buy a goddamn iPhone every two months! How sweet is that?