Brightpod is a new small and simple work media application that delivers minimum functionality with maximum simplicity. It could be a textbook example for the minimum viable product, in a clean and intuitive design.
For reasons that completely escape me, Brightpod is being marketed as a solution for marketing, but there is nothing marketing-specific in the implementation, aside from some predefined project templates that the company calls ‘workflows’. At present it seems that there are only six of these workflows (such as ‘wordpress site’ and ‘social media marketing’), and
there is no way to create new ones.
[11 Feb 2013 -- Sahil Parikh of Brightpod corrected my mistake: there is a way to create custom workflows, which is going to be put on the New Pod page in the very near term.
Also, GigaOM readers can get access to the beta by using the code 'gigaom' (without the quotes) at the www.brightpod.com site.]
A Quick Rundown
Brightpod’s notion of contexts are called ‘pods’ (I wonder if they stole that from Dave Gray’s ‘podular organizations?’) These are equivalent to projects. Here I have defined two:
Within pods, you can create and comment on messages, tasks, and files.
Tasks can be delegated and have an optional due date. Tasks must be defined as elements of task lists, and those task lists can be displayed like Kanban boards:
Task lists can optionally be associated with milestones (which have both a start and optional end date) and milestones are displayed with percentages based on the proportion of associated tasks completed.
Messages and tasks can have file attachments, either uploaded from the user’s PC or linked from Dropbox. Here’s an attachment to a task’s comment thread.
One cool feature — one that goes a bit beyond the minimum viable product level — is the Attention page, which is a combination of all of a user’s overdue tasks and upcoming tasks, and delegated tasks that are overdue or upcoming.
Another cool idea is the ’round up’, where email addresses can be added for people that should be kept in the loop on the comment thread of a message without having to be inducted into Brightpod, They can participate just via email, and their replies are added to the thread. Neat.
Brightpod is a small and simple entrant in the exploding work media marketplace, offering the core functionality needed for coordinating work. The offering does not have capabilities that might conflict with other coordination tools, like events, or direct messaging. It would work well as a social layer for groups managing their sharing of documents on Dropbox, most obviously. Perhaps that is how the product came into being? As the necessary social stratum in a marketing firm that was managing their work in Dropbox?
The only essential feature missing that I can think of is some sort of hook into file versioning, which is a messy area. But these folks might have a small and simple solution, perhaps based on Dropbox file versioning.
Oh, since they implemented workflows, shouldn’t I be able to define new ones myself, please? Maybe make a workflow from an existing pod?
There’s a 30 day free trial, and after that there are three payment tiers: $15/month for 5 users, 10 pods, 1G storage; $65/month for 20 users, 40 pods, 5G; and $120/month for 50 users, 100 Pods, 20G. I suppose if your want more there is a way to negotiate it.
I also think it is revealing of the mindset at Brightpod that the company blog is hosted on Tumblr.
I wonder if I could get GigaOM Research to move onto Brightpod?