Productivity tools podcast

Speaker 1: All appropriate. I am so excited for you all to listen to this episode of Forward Pondering Founders. Prior to we get began, I just wanted to allow you to understand that we’re officially beginning an e mail list, as we’ve some huge plans for the podcast and we’ll be telling people on the email list initial and possibly only the people on the e mail list. So really feel free to sign up and get around the e mail list at That is F as in Frank, two, zero, R as in red, .com, and I will see you over there. Get more information about task tools podcast

Speaker 1: All correct. How is it going, everybody? Welcome to another episode of Forward Considering Founders, where we’re talking to founders about their companies, their visions for the future and tips on how to collide. Today, I’m quite excited to become speaking to John Xie, who’s the CEO and co-founder of Taskade. John, welcome for the show.

John Xie: Yeah, thank you. Excellent to be here.

Speaker 1: Yeah, wonderful to have you on. Let’s just get appropriate into it. For people that never know, are you able to explain what Taskade is?

John Xie: Yeah, certain. So, we built this definitely crazy tool and it is a mixture of a lot of points in one, but ultimately, the vision has been to make a unified workspace for remote and distributed teams. And with Taskade, we produced it pretty very simple for teams to chat and video conference with one yet another, manage tasks and projects, but also create product specs and documents, all with one straightforward and sophisticated tool.

John Xie: And I feel one element that’s genuinely lovely about Taskade is the fact that it really is not only designed for real-time collaboration, it really is also asynchronous. So it could perform across with diverse teams on different time zones. And the app at the moment right now is accessible on practically just about every platform imaginable, from web, to desktop, to iOS and Android, to even getting a Firefox and Chrome extension.

Speaker 1: Holy smokes. We’ll must go into that inside a second, soon after we dive into a few of the features and whatnot. But, oh wow, each platform. That is awesome.

Speaker 1: All suitable, so let’s stay around the product for now. So, can you go into several of the type of some… I know you’ve tons of functions because I’ve used Taskade, but are you able to go into a few of your favored features along with the ways that teams can get benefit out of them on Taskade?

John Xie: Yeah, confident. So I consider the key elements of Taskade will be the fact that you simply have the task management portion after which you also possess the communication aspect of it. The projects on Taskade are extremely distinctive due to the fact it really is practically like a piece of origami. You’ll be able to create a activity list and after that it is possible to transform it into a thoughts map with all the exact same information structure. Then one of one’s teammates could collaborate with you on the similar project but in a column view, then she or he has to switch it back into a activity list view.

John Xie: When we began this idea, the concept was to help visual thinkers and people which might be like me, which are just crazy and can’t focus and concentrate, and have like a Schuyler brain, to become capable to strategy, organize and seriously concentrate on the major picture, but additionally truly be capable of drill down and assume small and write factors down and break it into tiny actionable measures.

John Xie: So Taskade truly is like an outlining tool at its core, that’s incredibly flexible, actually real time, having a chat and communication element attached to it. That’s generally a chat space next to your project.

Speaker 1: All suitable, so we’re going to function play slightly, mainly because I’m not essentially the most … or I’m somebody that unquestionably needs a tool within this category of organization and communication. And I am kind of one of those people that scatterbrained a bit bit. I have some papers over there, I have some stuff on Google docs, what ever.

Speaker 1: So, I am curious, for people like what you just talked about that have a scatterbrain, let’s say they’re founders, become a founder. What could be your advice or guidelines on what to do on Taskade first? What to add in 1st? Tips on how to get one of the most out of it within the beginning, then the best way to ramp up? I’m curious when you were just giving me guidance as a potential user.

John Xie: Yeah, positive. So I think one issue that we genuinely encourage new customers and new teams to accomplish is the fact that you begin off with one of our current templates, suitable? And after that from there on, actually make an effort to get to find out many of the standard keyboard shortcuts, like tab and shift-tab to outdent and indent, and be able to collapse and un-collapse different sections inside your document, within your process list. And naturally, playing about with all the distinctive views and components.

John Xie: It may possibly sound incredibly complicated, but in reality, we genuinely attempt our greatest to keep this product as very simple and as sophisticated as you can, mainly because we understand, having built and created products for shoppers in the past, that really the second you make points even two or 3 clicks away, no one will ever discover it.

John Xie: But since day one, I feel for us, Taskade has been made for remote and distributed teams which might be seeking to genuinely just get things carried out and get perform accomplished, from ideation all of the strategy to completion. So becoming capable to brainstorm, outline after which commence to tracking the task, assigning the activity and syncing that together with your calendar. And after that going back for the very same exact app, to ping your teammates to obtain an update, and to ticking that box off and checking it off and finishing it.

John Xie: And I consider today you see teams performing this across multiple tools. And we ourselves have often been hacking together several unique tools in order to get this done. And that is exactly where the original notion came about, combining collaboration with communication around tasks and notes and getting function accomplished.

Speaker 1: So, you most likely do not like when people make comparisons like this. So just for understanding, I am going to produce it.

Speaker 1: Would you say you are sort of like a Slack plus Asana combined together with the very same backend and flow that communicate with every other and seamlessly? Can you describe it like that?

John Xie: Yeah, sure. I assume in lots of techniques, we’ve got quite a bit of teams coming to Taskade from products like Asana, products like Trello, then they have been using Taskade for communication inside the quite starting, but not to the sense that it’s hashtag channel-based, proper? Like Slack where it gets a lot more focused around, I think, group chat or team discussions.

John Xie: With Taskade, conversation and discussion is constantly inside context and substantially extra focused around a project you are functioning on. And that was component of our philosophy where, okay, if you want to chat and you would like to socialize and you choose to have a sense of a neighborhood and belonging, you are able to do that with many different group chat tools. But for us it is possible to truly video conference on the project itself. You can also reference the job that you’re functioning on on a project as you happen to be chatting. But it is not about chit-chat, and yeah, in a lot of strategies, our users uncover it improved than possessing a group chat tool as a result of the way that we’ve created communication on Taskade, and we’ll continue to really improve that as we go forward.

John Xie: With regards to the Asana comparison, I consider it is a attractive product. I think that the reality will be the company has been around for 10 years. They’ve a good deal of technical debt within their product, nevertheless it is extremely strong, and I believe for teams like ourselves and nimbler teams that are technical as well as product-driven you really don’t have to have 90% with the functions that is there. And to Taskade is occasionally like… The original mindset was possibly it really is much better to just start out a brand new, and get started having a fresh plate, and come with a brand new product notion constructed on a modern Slack, with writing in mind very first and foremost, not just adding one task assignment at a time. And definitely giving users that all-natural feeling of pen and paper for tasks and communication and collaboration. That’s the thesis.

John Xie: But, yeah, so you are employing, I consider, Asana and Slack would be the larger or the most significant, some of the greatest players in this space at the moment.

Speaker 1: Well, I believe what is fascinating is the fact that they are major players. There is tons of huge players. It’s like major space, giant marketplace, a lot of players. But you are tackling greater than one region of it, which I believe is exciting. And so as to do that, it sounds like you have taken this method of being everywhere. What I mean by that is, I am on your website at this time and it says, “Download our apps on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, and Firefox.”

Speaker 1: I am curious how… I never even know what to ask. How extended did it take to build out all of those? And more importantly, the superior question is, why did you get started with all of them? Or did you not, and that’s just lately? I am curious to hear ethos about it, building there on all the platforms.

John Xie: Yeah, sure. I assume considering that day one, it was extremely vital for us to make a tool that’s scalable and accessible across every platform, simply because we are designing for teams which can be distributed for teams that may be collaborating with customers. And you could be on iOS, they could be on Android. You may be a person that stayed within the office all day. I may perhaps be somebody which is traveling a good deal. And with Taskade, considering that day one, it was aspect of our foundation when we have been designing product specs and technical specs. And fortunately, there is certainly technologies these days that makes it possible for us to seriously scale across platforms.

John Xie: And initially and foremost we are web primarily based, right? But then we are able to make a web-based product natively for every platform as a result of technologies like React, to React Native and so on and so forth. But, yeah, it is actually something that is extremely challenging, and most people when speaking to us earlier onset, “No way you guys are going to frigging do that.” And we were in a position to actually pull this together within a matter of a year and a half or so using a pretty little team. But even inside the really starting, we bootstrapped the company for, I would say, pretty much six, seven, eight months ahead of we even had a single check or interest from angel investors.

Speaker 1: I would like to get into an location that we do not discuss a whole lot around the podcast which can be operating the group and managing that group and whatnot, even though the team is like you in addition to a couple other people. So, let’s talk about this.

Speaker 1: Inside the last year in addition to a half as you constructed out all of those, how significant was your group? And just for context, how big is your group now? Has it changed or you nonetheless staying super lean?

John Xie: Yeah, positive. So we began off with 3 co-founders, Stan, Deon and myself. Then as we began developing this product out, we scaled to five people total. And right now we’re nine total. The group has been completely distributed considering the fact that day one. Stan is based in Singapore. Sheila, our 1st engineering employ, she is primarily based in Philippines. Ellis is based in Malaysia. Then, most lately, we added even more members to the group which might be spread across.

John Xie: So for us, we are dogfooding our personal product. And truly, when it comes to operations, with regards to definitely understanding the aspect of remote operate and distributed teams, we do not even believe about it within a sense of our shoppers, mainly because lots of people tell me remote collaboration to them may very well be the truth that they are working across the creating, across the street, or on a distinct floor, since they don’t have time for you to book an office, appropriate? Or meeting area. But for us, definitely, it’s across distinctive instances zones and figuring out the way to very best optimize for the time that you just do have face-to-face with every other for real time.

John Xie: And after that I assume one philosophy that I definitely do think in may be the truth that real-time at times, but asynchronous collaboration the majority of the time. And that has worked genuinely nicely for us. And additionally, I think one factor that really helps could be the fact that Stan, Deon and I, we’re all gamers. Deon and I in fact met online playing Star Traveler in middle school. Dan located out we had been neighbors in Queens, and that is how I began functioning with each other. And Stan can be a massive Dota fan, Dota 2 fan and I think for us we’re like, “Okay, games have currently figured this notion out with regards to multiplayer, with regards to how you can develop this sense of neighborhood and to scale.” And we wanted to bring a great deal of these components in to the workplace, into activity management, into obtaining things carried out. Yeah.

Speaker 1: I would like to deviate slightly bit and go down that rabbit hole slightly. I’ve been pondering the rabbit hole of games. I am interested to hear, what do you see going on in… Well, essentially sorry, before I ask any of that, are you paying focus at all towards the gaming industry and Esports or any of that or are you currently quite heads down on Taskade?

John Xie: I will say no. We have been definitely constantly maintaining our eyes open, something tech associated, yeah.

Speaker 1: Got it, okay. So I would just love your thoughts on what is happening in EA sports and what is… I don’t know and where do you consider it’s going? I am fascinated with that whole world and I consider when VR catches as much as it, we’re going to be live inside the future for sure. So, I am just curious, what are your thoughts on Esports and where do you feel it’s going and are you currently involved with Esports at all?

John Xie: Yeah, no, sure. It really is actually funny you just brought up VR mainly because right after YC we had been like, let’s take a tiny break. We in fact bought the Oculus Quest then Deon began designing Taskade UX and mockups instead of Oculus Quest. I consider it was the brush paint or one in the paint ups in 3D. I thought that was hilarious and we’ve screen captured it, but we really do think that the way that gaming has evolved, it really is generally been like driving multiplayer and this notion of reduce latency forward, to bring people with each other regardless of where that you are.

John Xie: But with Esports and using the launch of league of legends one example is, it seriously produced this whole ecosystem of like people taking games seriously. And I believe that will continue on. It really is just a matter of time exactly where this becomes a lot more and much more mainstream. I’d say within VR itself even though, I have not noticed anything that seriously took off with regards to multiplayer inside the VR ecosystem but I do think that can transform. Anything that that may be watchable, as entertainment but additionally within the VR round. That’ll be really frigging thrilling. And I’m hunting forward to it.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I personally am waiting for… well, not necessarily waiting, but operating for the day exactly where I amass some amount of wealth and after that I will 100% open up a sandbox VR franchise in Phoenix, Arizona. And just form of make… If I nevertheless live in Phoenix and just make that the spot for VR Esports, if it is possible. I see sandbox VR performing their point and I just believe it is so fascinating of being aware of the power of VR. I am genuinely interested to find out what’s going to happen in that. Not in the subsequent 5 years but a lot more so within the next 15. I feel in 15 years we’re going to have some genuinely intriguing stuff.

Speaker 1: And anyways, so you happen to be perhaps the seventh or eighth particular person non coincidentally that is come onto the podcast which has this interest in remote perform, the remote movement. And I’m type of just curious, I don’t think I’ve ever asked this prior to, why is remote taking place now and how far do you feel it really is going to go?

John Xie: Certain. I assume for us when we started developing Taskade, there’s this entire movement, basically it did not start seriously taking place back in early 2017 and in 2016. But for me personally, even during high school when I was constructing my initial company, my team was just like completely remote simply because I had to visit school and I was running a business with people in Canada, within the US, in India and using what ever technologies attainable so that you can work with them. And at that time I remembered there was the PalmPilot. Then there was the Blackberry. There was also like a Windows mobile phone. And just technology was not there but to create perform attainable and to make remote work and distributed definitely feasible.


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