You may have read our review of Convofy last week where, for the most part, we liked it. In fact the only person who didn’t really latch on to it was me. So when it came time to write about its demise, I was called upon for an article chock full of all the negative things I could say about Convofy. Unfortunately, that’s not what you’re getting.
I admit, for the first few days we started using Convofy, I wasn’t impressed. The features were just too similar to things we already use in business today. Obviously, these features are all crammed into a single application, which is convenient, but there wasn’t a lot of new things brought to the table with Convofy. It isn’t a leapfrog of innovation, it’s a small step forward. The problem is, a small step forward won’t catch on in business.
Now we at the Noisecast may be a bit different in the sense that we try to embrace all sorts of new technologies, but business people aren’t as open minded as we are. True business people want consistency. True business people want their devices to just work, even if they’re outrageously complicated. As long as they’ve passed the learning curve for it, you’ll have to pry it from their dead fingers to get them to change to something new. That explains why businesses all over the world buy Blackberries by the truckload. It’s not because they’re any easier to use, or because they give business people better options, it’s because it’s a standard, and people are used to them. I’ve had arguments with a few people at my office as to why they continue to use the same dated Blackberry models, when iPhones, WP7, and Android devices can do the same things, and sometimes do them better. Even though they can never give me a real answer as to why their old Blackberry is better than my iPhone, the answer always becomes clear: They’ve had it forever, they know how
it works, and that’s all they need. They aren’t concerned with the latest thing. They’re concerned with getting their job done. So if a device comes along that does something a little better than how they can do it now, they’re not interested. In my opinion, true innovation in business can’t just be an incremental step forward, it needs to reinvent the wheel. It needs to be so new, and so different, that refusing to use it will leave you in the dust. The only way to get business people to jump ship on old tech is to have the replacement technology threaten their livelihood.
So that’s where Convofy comes in. Convofy is a great tool in some ways, and kind of bleak in others. But most importantly, it’s nothing new. Like I said in the original review, Convofy takes everything we already can do, and puts it in a nice box. So while it may be slightly more convenient, it isn’t much of an innovation, and that’s exactly why we stopped using it. It wasn’t anything planned. It wasn’t anything we saw coming. How could we? We tried to use it for some serious discussions, but somehow, we’d always end up emailing each other. And that’s the problem with it. Email has become so ingrained in our brains that we simply can’t walk away from it. Even here at the Noisecast, where we love new tech, we fall back on the familiar. Convofy didn’t stand a chance. It was doomed from the start.
So what can innovate business? Well, it’s not the easiest question to answer because it hasn’t been invented yet. Whatever it is, it can’t be a better version of current technology.
It needs to be totally new. Like sending emails with your mind. MindMail (I’m trademarking that). It needs to be something groundbreaking. It needs to be able to work with old technology, but be so much more convenient that choosing to ignore it will put you out of business. Then the business world will react, because business is only concerned with staying in business.
In the end Convofy was interesting, and honestly kind of fun, but it didn’t stand a chance. Every single one of us ended up resorting back to emails because, even though we love shiny new things, email is in our DNA. Convofy just ended up being a place where we’d post some funny stuff and occasionally chat, both of which were easy to do, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than that to make it stick.
AGRIPPA’S SECOND LOOK
Look, I still like this program. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a “demise.” Unlike Ron, I still see its merits, its value. The problem is in use-case for us. I can imagine it being remarkable in a number of scenarios with a number of other types of organizations. The problem is one we each mentioned before in the first review. It’s treading ground we already have covered. We already communicate, interact, and collaborate in so many ways that Convofy, while excellent, was redundant. It became one more thing to download and log into.
I’m still a believer. I look forward to the mobile app making Convofy more convenient and useful. I look forward to some sort of integration with other services, even rudimentary, that may allow me to trim my “log ins”. Most importantly, I look forward to a browser/online based version that doesn’t require me to load a client on my desktop and deal with that hassle. The general tone in the Noisecast after little more than a week is that of ambivalence, boredom, the dulling of a new toy. On the part of Ron, as you can see, is vindication (perhaps even a slight glee). From Steven, he is a loud believer and still supports it fully. My reaction is more nuanced, sitting on the fence. I see the value for… someone, I just don’t see it for us yet. Convofy is an app I intend to keep a very close eye on. It will stay on my desktop and we will probably continue to use it just to track its evolution. The burden is on it to make us change our consumption habits and jump on. I’m watching you, Convofy. Make me proud (I know you can). My verdict is still “pass” and “approve” it just now comes with caveats.
I think the reason why Convofy failed for The Noisecast was because there weren’t enough people to use it. It’s hard to keep Convofy as a viable method of communication for your business when you have less than 10 employees who are all either alcoholics or suffer from severe ADD and apathy for life. I still stand by my original analysis that Convofy is a great tool. Most of the people on The Noisecast were bitching about it not having a mobile app and that an app was needed to run on a desktop. If Convofy had an iPhone app and had a web-browser version that was as powerful as TweetDeck Web, then Ron wouldn’t have all that sedimentary rock sand in his vagina.
I think the general disdain in this review from our team is a great example of the increasing ungratefulness and feelings of entitlement the Internet generation. People forget that Convofy was only released to the public a few weeks ago and it is still heavily under development in its beta state. But I digress. I think that Convofy works great for a business with larger employee base or a business that is focused on continuous collaboration and project-management. A small design team, for instance, would benefit greatly from Convofy, since they can bounce ideas back and forth in real time almost instantaneously. A blog business, on the other hand, doesn’t require that fast paced collaboration to that degree. Which is why Convofy was not a good fit for The Noisecast. Oh well, I hope they all enjoy the abuse of Reply All in our internal emails.
QUOTE FROM CHRIS
I know I’ve been a stick in the mud for Convofy, and my co-workers here at the Noisecast have been gracious enough to let me know it. I’ve started rooting for Convofy though. I maintain that there were a few things that I wasn’t a fan of, but after using it some more, I must admit, Convofy does what it does well. It’s definitely an interesting tool and while right now it may be too similar to what we already have, it has potential. I’d imagine some businesses will grab on to it, and some won’t, because Convofy is innovative enough to be interesting, but unfortunately that doesn’t always sell in the business world. Since it’s still only in beta, we’ll continue to track it and maybe someday down the line, Convofy will wow us all by giving us something that we just can’t live without.