Serial Entrepreneur & Enterprise RIA Pioneer

Jeff Haynie

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Micro communications for your business with Yammer

This past week was a pretty significant event in the web2.0 world - at least to people who follow startups and Techcrunch. This week was the equivalent of the web emmy’s for startups, called the Techcrunch 50. Most startups presenting had absolutely no business model. Except one that really stood out. And, it not only stood out, but the guys at Yammer took top prize.

I’ve been a pretty active twitterer for quite awhile now. It’s quite addictive and impossible to explain. Here’s one way we discussed today at the office in an attempt to explain it:

  • Phone calls are for urgency
  • Emails are for content and detail
  • IM is for immediacy
  • SMS is for quick confirmations
  • Blogs are for news and commentary
  • Wikis are for knowledge sharing
  • Twitter is for casual, micro conversations

With so many different ways to communicate, and so much more information available at all times, it’s becoming very difficult to manage our digital lives. However, on the other hand, we have more and more tools at our disposal.

If you don’t twitter, it’s probably hard to understand. I’d urge you to try it — but I warn you: you’ll probably hate it initially and give up quick. But, it’s one of those transformative events that will happen and you will “get it”. It’s OK - some people never get it (and shouldn’t). Others get it pretty much right away.

Yammer gave me one of those a-ha moments this morning. When I heard about Yammer, I thought, “hmmm…. that’s very interesting and obvious”. I signed up (it was a great experience) and invited a few people around me. They all joined within a few minutes. I started yamming (what do you call it?) — and within not too long — I decided to invite the rest of our employees. Within a few hours, everyone had joined (except one person who was traveling). And by the end of the day today (remember, we signed up mid-morning Pacific time), we had already had 11 members, 3 tags and 105 posts.

Yammer is twitter - but for business communications. It essentially is a clone; with finer control and a decent revenue model. With Yammer, you can use it for free. However, if you pay $1 per user per month, you unlock a number of enterprise features such as access control features (IP ranges), custom logos, etc.

Yammer will be a very powerful internal tool for communication - especially for passive information that can be followed or produced as desired. It’s much less invasive than email, a lot less urgent than a call, and provides a nice way to organize content across the company.

It’s especially nice for distributed teams like ours. We have people now in Atlanta, Texas and California. This is a nice way to bring everyone together in ways that aren’t possible with email or phone calls. It allows everyone to participate in cross-concerns across our organization.

Congratulations on the Yammer team. This is a great product.

As a parting note, there are others that are clamoring for this market as well. One that announced a little prematurely, namely because of Yammer’s announcement this week, was Present.ly. I haven’t been able to do a review yet of their application, but it looks similar and they seem to have quite a number of nice features as well and they’re ready to rumble. Ahhh, the fighting entrepreneurial spirit is so refreshing.

So, if you already twitter or are now considering it: you can follow me on twitter for random, sometimes useless, sometimes interesting tweets. You never know what might happen….

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More Stories By Jeff Haynie

Jeff Haynie is co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator. He started Appcelerator to provide a true open-source solution to enterprise RIA and SOA-based services development, after growing frustrated by the limited options and complexity in other solutions through his own development work. Prior to starting Appcelerator, Haynie served as co-founder and CTO of Vocalocity and CTO of eHatchery, an extension of Bill Gross? ideaLab. Haynie is an expert software developer and entrepreneur. Haynie has been active in standards development, as well as a contributor to open-source projects, including early work on JBoss. For more on Jeff Haynie, visit his blog at http://blog.jeffhaynie.us.