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Convore (YC W11) Wants To Be The Easiest Group Communication App Yet (techcrunch.com)
243 points by ericflo on Feb 9, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments

I've seen some amazing, incredible collaboration tools come out of the web.

The main issue isn't the technology or the software or the CSS they use - but the fact that a majority of people don't know how to communicate. I say fix that first.

Also, the problem isn't being able to create groups or include or invite people as much as it is getting people to consistently use it to make it meaningful. My company has a wiki where we convey information, but guess how much information from the one-off conversations we have ends up there?

I would say the problem with your company wiki is a problem of technology. A wiki requires that people become curators That takes a lot of energy, thought, and intention.

I think there is huge room for technology to solve these kinds of problems, and we've only scratched the surface.

I think I understand what you are trying to say -- that the wiki is a bad technology solution to the problem. Its because the wiki isn't where the decisions are happening.

However, in most small businesses (and lets face it, theres more SMB then there is large or enterprise customers hands down) the decisions aren't made on a wiki, or even e-mail for that matter. In a company size of 60-70 or less its still way easier just to walk over to their desk and talk it out. Who remembers hearing a conversation ending with "don't forget to put this on the wiki?" This sentiment being true in my own workplace, the wiki is still considered the de-facto documentation on a subject (guess how many pages are up-to-date).

I believe any successful business collaboration tool will fully grasp facilitating interaction in a way that meetings or quick one-on-one's can't. Having technology outpace human interaction when it is humans that ultimately have to fully articulate themselves I think is the largest obstacle.

TL;DR - I think I agree with you, but the real solution is still difficult to solve with technology alone.

I've been hanging out on Convore for a few weeks and they're definitely on to something - it's entirely replaced Twitter as my online water cooler.

In a way it's similar to IRC, but the ability to create new topics which have their own chatroom-style thread (while still being alerted to conversations elsewhere) means you can duck out and come back again a few days later and pick up the same conversation.

I agree the new features are really useful but would also argue that there is an Evaporative Cooling Effect (http://blog.bumblebeelabs.com/social-software-sundays-2-the-...) taking place - there is hardly any noise on Convore at present. Even with a carefully maintained follow list on twitter I still get so much noise in my stream that I no longer check it regularly.

I am having a difficult time determining from your comment whether you feel this to be a good or a bad thing (and am personally curious: I'm not complaining).

We've been on convore for a few weeks and for certain things it is starting to replace HN for me. There's generally enough high-quality HN-caliber folks to have a quick and intelligent discussion about MongoDB on AWS or whatever, something I always wanted #startups on IRC to be.

Careful though: could be addictive as hell. ;)

Is this just because it was announced here, and is that likely to continue? One of the key problems with IRC is that in a world where anyone can participate, the cool places to go are the places everyone wants to be, which means that you need advanced moderation mechanisms, which in the IRC ecosystem translates to numerous channel and user modes, bots for automated moderation, and network-wide services for overall control. I don't see Convore being well positioned on any of these fronts.

Isn't this essentially what Chatterous tried?

No, Chatterous is about multi-modal communication and a single chatroom per group. Convore creates a new room per topic, providing the organization of forums with the immediacy of chatrooms.

Looks very cool. Looks like there's a Hacker News group, for those that are interested: https://convore.com/hacker-news/

It looks beautiful. But I must be missing something... what problem does it solve that forums or Twitter don't solve? Or how does it do it better? I just signed up and I'm not seeing the utility. I'm asking this sincerely.

with twitter I feel like I'm confined to my "online social circle". Convore seems to get a better mix of people together, oriented around a topic.

Check out ericflo's answer to a similar question to this on Quora: http://www.quora.com/What-makes-convore-com-different-than-c...

Twitter with topics, groups and faster back and forth.

This is really cool but feels a lot like Wave and I cannot help but feel the goal of Convore is to replace it. More power to them I know several people that loved it(students mostly) and miss it now that its gone.

I'm sort of idly hanging out on https://convore.com/appsec/ now, if anyone has appsec questions; happy to field them.

So did Leah Culver's other web-chat project (http://leafychat.com/) get rolled into this?

It looks interesting, I wonder if these type of projects will eventually replace IRC. I could definitely see popular open source projects using this over IRC, especially if they have features like snippet embedding.

Nope leafy chat was/is an entirely separate project (I was one of the devs), I don't doubt some of the UI/whatever for convore was inspired by it though.

Yes, Leafy Chat was a totally separate project built by myself, Alex Gaynor, and Chris Wanstrath for the Django Dash a couple years ago. Leafy Chat was a pure web IRC client. Convore is inspired by IRC but not based on the protocol and functions a bit differently. For example, Convore has the concept of topics, which is not in IRC.

To be fair, IRC has the concept of topic, but it's per channel. Channels can't have multiple official topics, but, as we all know can definitely have multiple off-topic conversations.

I've been using convore and thinking about it in terms of asynchronous IRC with sub-channels. (i.e. each group is a channel, and each topic is a sub-channel composed of the same channel members, with a different topic.)

IRC Topics:


Those are channels and more like Convore Groups.

A topic is more like a forum topic/thread.

I would say a convore group is more like an IRC network, and a convore topic is more like an IRC channel.

This seems useful, but there is no way to see what it does different than all of the other chat apps on the front page.

So I guess I will skip signing up for now.

It multiplexes rooms over groups. So, you join a group, and then people within that group create a "topic". Basically, it is like a realtime BBS with "starring", @replies, and "unread" tracking.

Congrats to Convore on the launch, I've been using it almost since its inception and it's become a staple of my communication platforms.

The YC W11 class has been using Convore nonstop. It's pretty amazing.

And that explains some of the comments I saw about this service. I don't mean to belittle their efforts or YC linked developers, but hearing opinions from developers and users from the inside has somewhat lost its meaning.

Keeping the debate honest and true is key when selling a product by echoing each others consensus.

In fact, I would like to hear a polarized and detailed opposite opinion ( if it exists ) of any service that is summarized as 'amazing'. Just saying.

I disagree. I think it's impressive that they were able to get such a large part of our YC class hooked on using their product, especially since everyone is super busy working on their own startup.

Fun design. Though, doesn't Facebook groups make group conversations like this a lot easier as using FB groups does not require having another tab open? Seems like FB has the social groups nailed. Very curious to hear convore's thoughts... And no, I don't work for FB.

I wonder how they will monetize this? A white-label chat platform for websites that want a chat facility would be one option (StackOverflow rolled out chat recently, but this would have been a good candidate for them). Branded in-house chat for corporates would be another, especially those with distributed project teams that want to communicate around a project. I like the fact that the chat sessions are persistent and revolve around a topic - this makes them very useful in a project environment.

At first glance I would think they need to do the same thing Meebo does: heavy branding. But there is a chance they can monetize sufficient by hosting group chat for existing communities that don't want to build the feature, or even for enterprise.

I've been using Convore for a bit over a week and it's great so far! Keep it up guys

Congrats to Convore!

My initial impression of the site is great. Immediately I was able to jump into the Hacker News group and switch between various topics seamlessly and chat.

I'm excited to be using this for small projects. Create a group and not just chat in one room but switch off between several topics in one group. Just the idea of that I can imagine would make collaboration on projects so much more organized. Great job guys!

I think this is a great idea. Combining the best features of traditional online forums with topic based threads and the easyness of IM communication. Instead of defining the chat by the people in it, Convore define it by the threads topic. Definitely an interesting take on group IM/chat. Also - easy to use, clean design. Me like.

Seems a bit like the first version of Gravity (now convo.io) from the ex-myspace crew, plus chat.

This is a fantastic product. Definitely try it out.

Does it support file uploads, like Campfire?

Not yet. Right now we're still in "minimum viable product" mode, and additionally file uploads start to be cost prohibitive on a free product like ours. That said, we're not opposed to adding this in the future, it's just a matter of when the time is right and how we can best integrate it.

I'll leave my feedback here, but unfortunatley I think they took forums and actually made the problem worse.

I joined the convore.com/feedback group, intending to leave feedback , but theres just no good way to see if what i want to say in an existing topic, and too many topics to view. Shouldn't be that much work for me to tell you about the product. Another problem is overload, it might just be me.. but topics and conversations are moving so fast, its overwhelming, and its like chore by itself.

Nice app! I'm not a designer, but I think some of the buttons look disabled. In particular, the "Mark group as read" has gray text on gray background with very little contrast.

Looks awesome, well done!

I created an entrepreneurship group here to test it out: https://convore.com/entrepreneurship/

Congrats guys - huge!

We did small dumb console reader: https://github.com/foobarbuzz/convoread :)

I don't if it's me but the position:fixed layout makes the page scroll noticeably laggy. I'm using Chrome on a 2.0GHz Mac btw.

This would be great for use inside our company, but only if it's on the Yammer model where everything is company-private. Don't want staff to have to go through hundreds of external groups, just want them to see ours.

If Convore is like IRC, what we need is a private IRC server. Is there any service like that? (Campfire ain't it)

I am currently viewing https://convore.com/django-community/there-arent-enough-djan... but it keeps reloading the page from time to time, interrupting my current reading... in both Safari and Chrome

sounds like a meat-eating hooker

Congrats - this looks very impressive.

One tiny nitpick - on the "discover" page, the first item on the left-side menu is "your friends groups", and it should be "your friends' groups".

Is it me, or do I have to go to the frontpage to be able to sign up? Silly if that is the case, but I'm probably missing something.

I don't find Convore interesting. Give me IRC over this garbage any day of the week.

Flowdock, Convore, Chatterous, and on, and on. The same idea as IRC but less accessible.

I hate to be so glib but, if you can't script it, who cares?

it throws me an error upon connecting with Facebook connect

Good stuff Team Convore!

That being said, I think Convore will face serious competition from Twitter in the very near future.

@ev will be launching Twitter Events very shortly which is the most charming and best implemented part of Convore.

Full disclosure: I am biased because my gig, @SecretSocial, will be better than Convore... http://secretsocial.com

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