A screenshot of a recent Cruiseable team video chat on Glip.
And the major disappointment that is Disqus
Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, angel investors, venture capitalists, developers, businesses, innovators, educators, students, journalists, travel analysts.
For months, we’ve been hacking our way through the launch of the Cruiseable website and mobile app by relying on a frankly random collection of collaboration tools, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Sites, Google Groups, Google Hangouts, Skype, Basecamp, Asana and Trello.
It’s a small miracle we managed to launch with a beautiful-looking site despite the mishmosh of tools that resembles a five-car pileup on I-80.
But now we’ve hit upon an integrated tool that brings order to the chaos: Glip.
It’s the coolest project management tool that you’ve never heard of. And we’re a startup, so we don’t have a big budget for this stuff. We’re paying $5 per team member per month for 10 staffers, which isn’t nothing — but it’s well worth the investment.
A screenshot of Cruiseable’s Glip account.
Glip is one part communications platform, one part task management tool and one part resource clearinghouse. Up until a month ago we still had team members and contractors emailing each other on their personal accounts (and I’d wince at every hotmail and aol email address) and we’d wonder why our correspondence would get lost or go unanswered.
Now, Glip tracks every written communication you’ve had with each colleague, either one one one, or as part of a Team (Cruiseable General, Growth hacking, Marcom, Business Development) or an ad hoc group that you set up with specific individuals. It’s like an archived Skype chat, only friendlier and more versatile.
You can set tasks for people to carry out (or to ignore — but at least there’s a record!). You can create a resource database by adding relevant Notes. You can add other documents in other formats to a nearly bottomless directory of Files.
Business video chat at an affordable price
The coolest feature, though, is the one that still needs some work: video chats. We switched from Skype (which kept crashing with six or more participants) to Google Hangouts (which has always had shitty resolution and maxed us out at 10) to Glip and were stunned at the fidelity of the video. WOW! The videocam images really pop, at least for those of us with modern laptops.
On the downside, Glip still needs some work. Its video chat feature appears powered by a third party, Zoom.us, and every time I start a video chat, it prompts me to download the zoom.us app. [Note: Glip has now partnered with RingCentral.] And Glip’s Twitter presence is pretty much nonexistent.
Glip has integrations with Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Google Drive and Hangouts, which we have yet to explore. All in all, it’s genius. For an agile startup like Cruiseable, this is just what we needed. Thank you, Glipsters!
Disqus: We’re using it, but we’re not happy about it
Our mantra at Cruiseable is, build where we need to and borrow where it’s good enough.
Any modern startup has to offer customers and users a voice on your site or platform. So we needed a conversation solution that wasn’t a bulletin board.
I’ve long been disappointed by the dismal state of comment plug-ins. Intense Debate wasn’t an option; we built our own CMS instead of using WordPress. We’ve heard good and bad things (but mostly bad) about Livefyre. Facebook Comments was tempting, but it lacked the ability to integrate with our users’ avatars/icons. There are others out there, but none seemed particularly robust.
So we went with dull and serviceable but reliable Disqus.
What we didn’t realize is how utterly unconfigurable it is.
Want to increase the tiny font size, which was clearly engineered by 20somethings and not for an audience of 40- to 70-year-olds? You can’t.
Want to add color to the bland gray color scheme? Want to link to the user’s profile page on your site instead of to her previous comments on Disqus? Want to say ADD IMAGE instead of relying on the teeny tiny hidden-away image icon? Want to add a Flag link at the bottom of a comments on your site? Can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t.
Disappointing would be an understatement for a product from a company founded in 2007.
The discussion industry, such as it is, needs a serious kick in the ass.JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.