Since we announced Glip’s acquisition by RingCentral in June, I know some of our most loyal and enthusiastic users have been holding their breath. I get it: we have all watched a favorite product get acquired by a larger company that promises great things for it – and then watched our favorite sink beneath the waves. The founding team leaves, the acquiring company doesn’t know what to do with this thing it has bought, and the product either gets killed outright or wanders into irrelevance.
We are not going to let that happen with Glip.
With RingCentral’s backing, we will double down on the core web and mobile persistent chat and team productivity experiences that Glip users already know and love. We have already added some great developers and plan to add more. In the past 5 weeks, overall activity in Glip has more than doubled, even though we have barely started to ramp up our marketing. We are offering more base features for free, and you can enjoy them without subscribing to any other RingCentral product. We will invite you to upgrade to a converged product, but we will make it a polite invitation.
Of course, we want you to see how RingCentral and Glip are better together. A lot of the work we are doing right now is focused on providing truly unified communications and collaboration, where you will be able to transition smoothly from text-based chat to a voice call, phone conference, or video meeting. Many of you already use Glip’s integrated video and screen sharing service. The RingCentral version will be an enhanced version of the same thing. If you want to add voice services, we will make it easy and worthwhile to do so.
The first version of that converged offering will be coming to market very soon.
I am incredibly proud of what a small, tight-knit group of developers and product leaders accomplished with Glip, as a stand-alone organization. But this is our opportunity to go big. This is how we are responding to those of you who picked Glip over Slack or switched to Glip from Slack or HipChat or any one of several better-known competitors whose products you have told us weren’t as good or complete. By combining persistent team chat with integrated productivity tools, plus the ability to smoothly move a conversation from text chat to video chat and screen sharing, we gave you more of the essentials for team collaboration in one package. The voice option you get by adding a RingCentral Office subscription is a natural extension.
Integration with other digital tools that your team uses productively is certainly important, and you can expect to see us expand our integrations and enhance our developer program. But Glip enthusiasts appreciate the ability to create and assign a task, for example, right within the same stream of communication they use for ongoing discussion and file sharing. They don’t need to switch contexts to another app or enter some obscure series of codes to invoke the functions of a bolt-on application.
The question Glip enthusiasts ask is, “Why doesn’t anyone know about Glip when there is so much noise about Slack?”
Much as we might like the quality of our product to speak for itself, first we have to get noticed. Customers of RingCentral Office are about to get access to Glip for no additional cost, as part of a comprehensive cloud-based communication and collaboration service. That will instantly give Glip access to a larger audience, and we believe it will magnify the value of RingCentral’s established product line as well.
Slack has done a lot of things right to earn the attention, growth, and positive press it now enjoys. But Glip deserves its fair share of that, too.
The truth is, the opportunity is bigger than Slack. Many collaboration and unified communications products are converging on what analysts have dubbed the workstream, a better way for employees to keep in constant communication within the flow of their work. By integrating Glip, RingCentral will be the first to show the value of combining a collaborative stream of messages with voice and video for truly unified communications and collaboration in the cloud.
What the workstream innovators have proven, collectively, is that organizations really can move away from the dysfunctional, tangled threads of internal email conversations. What’s required is an alternative closer to the smart phone and social messages we use to make immediate connections with our closest contacts in our private lives. We combine that with the security and reliability we expect for business communications. Social collaboration products that looked like clones of Facebook didn’t quite cut it. We needed to reimagine how social and mobile communication in the context of work ought to look and function. Now, instead of email being the essential channel of communication – and your company’s chosen collaboration product acting like yet another “inbox” you must check as time permits – workstream products become the environment where all the people you work with most regularly are easiest to reach.
We believe Glip is the best there is among this generation of tools. Going forward, we will compete aggressively and, more importantly, enhance our own workstream at a faster pace. By joining forces with a cloud phone service that has had to prove itself in terms of security and reliability many times over, we will offer Glip customers access to that same operational excellence.
Having transitioned from Glip CEO to RingCentral VP of Collaboration, I should also say that I am committed to seeing this through. I and several members of Glip’s core team have actually done this before, creating a fantasy sports product as a startup, selling it to CBS Interactive, and staying on to turn it into one of the most successful elements of SportsLine.com. A bunch of us worked together again Multiply.com, an early social network that pioneered features Facebook and others capitalized better, such as the concept of a social news feed.
The fact that Multiply.com as an independent company never became as famous as SportsLine.com, let alone Facebook, should tell you a lot about why we decided to join forces with RingCentral. With Glip, we are applying what we have learned about creating successful consumer user experiences to creating a better business collaboration experience. We see a big opportunity, and we don’t want to let it slip away.
We also don’t want to let down our early adopters, those who had enough faith in us to transform their work communications around Glip. We created this product because it was something we needed, too, to work more effectively. If we let you down, how much more would we be letting ourselves down?
The bottom line: Glip isn’t going away, it is only getting better and going bigger.