Lunchtime Links: The Latest Attempt to Kill Email

Could this new collaboration tool possibly replace email in your office? Also: how being a jack-of-all-trades hurt an aspiring entrepreneur’s ambitions.

It’s hard to imagine a day without email, especially in our offices, where it’s the primary tool for communication. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect and there isn’t room for alternatives.

One of those alternatives, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Cut your team some Slack: Stewart Butterfield, cofounder of the popular photo-sharing site Flickr, has a new network up his sleeve. Slack, a free collaboration tool for web and mobile users, hopes to compete with similar online programs like Yammer and Chatter. But Butterfield has bigger expectations for Slack: His goal is to lessen the need for email by creating a centralized internal communications system. “The idea is to post notifications from these outside tools that companies use so that they do not need to get email messages from these services,” Forbes writer Tomio Geron explains. “The service also syncs in real time between the desktop and the iPhone app.” Do you think  collaboration tools like Slack could replace email or even face-to-face meetings?

Become an expert: Aspiring tech entrepreneur Jerad Maplethorpe felt suffocated by his ambition. In an article for Under30CEO, he shares how he grappled with great uncertainty while working to achieve his goals. He spent a year attempting to become an expert in several skills. With time, he realized such lack of focus was hurting him. What he found was that in order to accomplish a goal, you have to be committed to the idea, but you don’t have to be an expert in everything. Those moments of uncertainty reveal the areas where you need help. “You have to be comfortable with viewing yourself as only a small part of a much bigger vision,” he noted. “Otherwise, you will strain to do everything, burn yourself out, and, ultimately, feel lost.”

Bring out the potential: You don’t have to be the project leader to help facilitate the project. Curtis Ogden, a board member at the New England Grassroots Environment Fund and senior associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change, recommends you “move a group towards realizing collaborative potential” simply by asking overarching questions on the purpose, goals, and process of a project, and about the stakeholders involved. “The point is not to ask these in threatening or aggressive ways, but in a spirit of service to help make more transparent, intentional, and shared a joint endeavor,” he writes for the institute’s blog. How do you coach your team while sitting on the sidelines?

What cool reads have you spotted today? Share the links in the comments.

(Slack screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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