Facebook for work: This image shows Asana in action.
That product seeks to fill a gap in the current market for collaboration software, he says: “There are tools that are really good for sharing already, like Google Docs and e-mail, but they’re extremely bad at structuring information about tasks and updates.” On the flip side, he adds, tools like Microsoft Project provide plenty of structure but are poor for sharing. “Our chief mission is to find a better balance between the two,” he says. “We have structure and more flexibility.”
Some 100 organizations use Asana today, in an invitation-only beta trial set to become more open later in the year. So far those organizations have been small startups that are testing Asana against more established competitors such as Basecamp, Pivotal Tracker, or Salesforce.com’s Chatter.
Future battles will be fought in another world: that of large-scale enterprises, which typically buy software in large contract orders from suppliers such as Microsoft or Cisco. Asana’s strategy there will be to provide hooks to let its software connect with tools already in use, something that Moskovitz says his engineers have yet to focus on. “We’ll create ways to import data and even sync with certain software in use today,” he says.
Perhaps Asana’s most ambitious goal, though, is for workplace software to become as addictive as a must-have online app. Moskovitz says that the tangible benefits of well-designed workplace software make that possible. “Many people today are being held back because they are so busy doing work about work,” he says. “Anything that makes you more effective will advance your career.”