The Tools We Use: Part II

Posted on March 7, 2014 by in Blog Friends & Partners Inside Hover

We’re a tech company. So, it probably won’t come as a surprise that we kind of like technology.

We each have favourite tools that make it easier to get stuff done, but there are some we all use everyday. They help us better collaborate on ideas, stay organized on projects, and make Hover the best it can be. Our arsenal of apps and gadgets is always growing to supercharge our productivity, creativity and communication.

Following up with our last post about the tools we love, here are some more of our favourites:

Slack

Slack is the latest addition to our toolbox. It’s a real-time messaging app that allows for streamlining conversations into channels for different teams or topics, as well as direct one-to-one messaging.

We know it’s essential to have a strong flow of communication across all of our teams, including product management, development, marketing, reporting and customer support. We also know it can be difficult to organize this kind of information from different sources in an onslaught of emails. Slack helps us stay up to date with what’s going on in different departments and coordinate our goals.

Slack conversations are quicker and more searchable than emails. Since it’s highly customizable, you can choose to join as many or as few conversations you’d like to be part of. We love that Slack is constantly updating with improved features and integrating with other apps we use, like Drive and Twitter.

We also love that Emoji and phrases like “Slack it to me” have found their way into our regular intra-office dialect.

slack

Yammer

We’ve been using Yammer since 2008, as steadfast believers that there may be better ways to collaborate and exchange ideas than in emails and meetings. And according to the latest Global Web Index report, we’re not the only ones – Yammer is now the fastest growing social site, including public social media.

Essentially, Yammer is an internal social network just for our company, complete with user profiles, comments, likes and hashtags. It helps us increase co-worker connectivity in a unique way and nurtures a strong organizational culture. We use it to post updates about the status of our projects, share interesting links, and even crowd-source ideas for what we’re working on.

When we first adopted Slack , it raised the question of how it would fit in with Yammer for internal communication. We’ve since realized that was kind of like wondering how steak and potatoes would work. We use the two apps in conjunction as services with slightly different purposes. In the words of our CEO, Elliot Noss, “Slack is very good at a lot of things and Yammer is better for threaded, asynchronous discussion.”

yammer

@HerdCoffee

When it comes to productivity tools, coffee is arguably our favourite and definitely our most delicious one, so we take it pretty seriously. How seriously? We brew only freshly ground, locally roasted Balzac’s Coffee, and every time a fresh pot is brewed, everyone in the office is notified via Twitter and IRC.

What started as a dream of being assured a fresh cup of coffee was waiting at the end of a walk to the kitchen became @herdcoffee. That’s what happens when your office is occupied by tech-enthusiasts and engineers.

Our (already elaborate) coffee machine tells us when a fresh pot has started, whether it’s regular House or dark Sumatra blend, and it’s estimated completion time. Using Raspberry Pi and a little bit of code, a coffee-event is published to a local mechanism and tweets the start and end of each brew cycle.

Necessary? Maybe not. Awesome? Definitely.