A collaboration app that brings conversation to your files

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Thanks @alexisohanian for hunting us! So, what's this Amium thing? First, let's get the innevitable X for Y's out of the way: Amium is like Github but for any file Amium is like Slack and Dropbox had a baby, a beautiful baby Amium is like Quip but for any file (seriously, but also couldn't resist) Have you ever worked with a remote team or even just a co-worker and wondered if they updated a file? when did they update it? what changed? It turns out that collaboration on files (like real, honest-to-goodness, collaboration) is still pretty hard. Most of us use file syncing/sharing tools, but when it times to actually collaborating on the files, we send them as attachments or links, and we do all the back-and-forth collaboration over email or chat, completely out of band of the file syncing tool. You still end up with multiple versions in your downloads folder, and you often still end up searching email for the latest version of that file you worked on based on some comment someone left you. When we talked to people, we found out that one of the most important things that most file sharing tools miss today is actually being able to have a conversation about the files we create. We wanted to see if we could address this. One of the things we've realized is that by treating shared folders as chat rooms, and treating files as threads in these chat rooms, we could enable collaboration workflows that are incredibly powerful. This led us to create Amium. Amium brings conversation and activity feeds to your file. Any file. With Amium you can easily see what files were updated and when, preview the updates, live collaborate on them, and so on. We've been testing it in private beta for quite some time, and the response has been phenomenal: Our early testers completely stopped sending/downloading file attachments and links. They've told us they improved their productivity dramatically because they don't have to hunt for files anymore (or try to figure out if/when something they were waiting for was updated), and the ability to comment on any files acts almost as a natural "version commit message". I'll be here most of the morning to answer questions, but I hope you try it out for yourself. We think you'll like it! Yuri edit: Check out our blog post!
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@yuris Hey!! This looks pretty slick. Couple of questions from me :) What sets this apart from others in this space? Quip coming to mind (which sold to Salesforce yesterday) - I know you reference this above too ;) During the beta have you see people using solely this versus collaborating in Amium but chatting in Slack and separating the two? What have been some of the biggest challenges while building the platform? and lastly - What's next? :)
@bentossell Thanks! Happy to answer some questions :) RE: Quip. I'm a fan of what they've done, and am obviously happy for their outcome! I think you could think of Amium as "Quip for any file". We go beyond documents and spreadsheets and also support conversations/collaboration on photoshop, powerpoint, CAD, etc. types of files. Literally any file :) In the beta, we've seen people use us alongside Slack, or as a resplacement. Amium combines the functionality of file sharing and messaging. I think it intuitively replaces existing file sharing tools because it makes collaboration on these files easier, and eventually may replace general chat tools inside the organization as well. One of the things I've noticed about our own usage of Amium is that since we started using it, I've *completely* stopped using Finder or Windows Explorer. Almost all interaction with the files and the filesystem happens through Amium, and so I think of this product almost as a "collaborative filesystem". In terms of what's next -- I think part of the really interesting thing that happens when you have file threads is you can start creating workflows around these files with notifications directly on them. So, for example, one of the first integrations we did is with HelloSign, which allows you to send a file you're chatting/working on for signature by simply typing `/sign` in the file thread. You never have to attach it, upload it, or do anything! I think these types of integrations become very interesting long term, and we'll be spending more time on them.
@yuris Thanks! Ahh I see - kinda like a Quip on steroids + Slack + Basecamp + Invision + magic powder + fairy dust + secret sauce ? ;) Remote teams use a variety of different things which are only connected by things like a Slack integration. Definitely see the opportunity here for a rocking all-in-one platform. How do you ensure Amium is/or becomes that much better than current solutions?
@bentossell How much fairy dust am I allowed to take? One spoonful? :-) I think for us it's around making collaboration on files as easy as possible. The process of creating, revising, etc. any type of document. Developers have GitHub, but for non-developers, there's really no good tools here. One analogy that comes to mind is that Amium is to File Sharing as Windows was to DOS.
@yuris @alexisohanian awesome product guys, is this something we could use for vector files as well? Artwork and high quality eps files or just documents? Thanks!
I've known Yuri and the AeroFS team for a while, and got very excited when they showed me the early prototypes for Amium. Collaboration on files is still much harder than it needs to be. We create files in one place, and then send them as attachments or links over e-mail back and forth when we actually collaborate on them. So, it turns out, most collaboration actually happens outside of the collaboration tools! Sad! As soon as Yuri showed me the alpha for Amium I could immediately see how much faster and more seamless it makes collaboration. Being able to have a conversation directly on a file and capture the full history of that file is invaluable. Developers have Git and Github where they can work on revisions together and capture history and changes. Amium provides a similar experience, but for any type of file. Try it and let them know what you think! I know they'll be reading + participating in this thread.
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This is seriously what Slack should've done with files. It might be time to switch again...
@rickyyean You should definitely try it and let us know what you think :)
Is this an answer to my prayers? I can't tell you how often we find ourselves annoyed with file sharing limitations at the office. I always find myself wishing there was a love child between Slack and google docs or dropbox. Very excited to give this a try.
nice. makes sharing docs on microsoft office from super irritating / that actually existed?! to all-day-every-day.