Talker goes free

The time has come to talk of many things: About Talker’s present and future, and about what’s in for you.

Talker is now a part of the Teambox ecosystem. If you don’t know about it yet, I encourage you to take a look at our fine project collaboration software.

We love Talker. Just as Teambox, it became an essential part of our workflow. We want Talker to be useful for more people, and that’s why…

Talker is now free, with unlimited users

We are doing this because Teambox is our premium offering, and we consider group chat something essential for any team.

There is still a premium Talker version offering more storage and logs for those who choose paid accounts.

Sign up for Talker now!

What’s next for Talker

We are working on opening more parts of Talker. In the following months, we plan to release more tools for embedding and writing custom clients.

The focus will be on having rooms that are either public or private, and having different clients that can connect to it.

One of the applications consuming Talker as a chat service will be Teambox, which we plan to integrate fully with Talker.

Working on the next big thing

Since our last announcement, we have big things coming. They’ll take some time, as they have to do with some core features of Talker.

We’re working on back-end improvements for Talker, that will allow us to push it to the next level.

Meanwhile, a question for you: How do you use Talker currently? Would you like to run an open room in your website, so users can chat with the team!

Let us know!

Talker acquired by Teambox

It all started with a vision of what would be the perfect group chat application. A couple months later we think we achieved this goal with Talker. We’re very proud of what we accomplished and especially by the fact that we use it all the time and can not think of working without it anymore.

We started Talker planning to make a living out of it. It ended up being harder then we thought. We’re making money, but not enough to concentrate 100% of our time on it. We think this is a problem. The perfect software is always evolving, rapidly, adapting to the needs of its users. Talker was built from the ground up with that idea in mind, think about the plugins, the chat server is also designed with extensibility as one of its greatest feature.

We think the best thing to do for the benefit of our users is to put Talker into the hands of a team who can bring it to the next level. After some research and hunting we found Teambox, an open-source project collaboration tool. They have an amazing team and embrace the open-source strategy, something we regret not doing from the start.

We’re so excited about this and can’t wait to see where they bring Talker! The great thing about it being open source is that we’re going to be able to continue working on it on our free time and the users will have the assurance of code quality that they come to expect from popular open source projects.

Thanks to all our users for trusting us and be assured we’ll do everything we can to make the transfer as smooth as possible.

If you have any concern regarding the transfer, post a comment or send us an email at info@talkerapp.com.

5 Reasons to Use Group Chat

I’ve been using group chat daily at work for 4 years and without a doubt think it’s the most important tool for a connected team. If you are working with a team of three people or more and you’re not using group chat you are missing out on the best communication tool you can get. Group chat is the best way to improve a team’s workflow!

In case you’re still skeptic, here are 5 reasons you should give it a try, right now.

1. Reduces Interruptions

Context switching is bad especially for programmers right. It breaks the flow that takes time to build up. Anyone that requires a high level of concentration can’t do good work while having meetings or frequent “quick question”. At the same time, being in your own bubble makes it hard to communicate with others.

Group chat creates a low barrier of communication for this all too common scenario. If someone needs to concentrate, he can simply leave the chat room or ignore messages for a while. It’s much harder to leave a group face to face conversation then it is to leave a group chat discussion so ingenious ideas don’t have to wait to be implemented.

2. It Makes Your Team Jel

If you’ve read Peopleware, you know how powerful a Jelled team is. It’s a state in which a team works so well together nothing can stop them.

A jelled team is a group of people so strongly knit that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. - Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister

Here are the characteristics of a jelled team:

  • A jelled team has a specific goal, a goal that is shared by all members.
  • All members of a jelled team have a high sense of responsibility and commitment.
  • All members of a jelled team feel they are accomplishing something of value.
  • All members of a jelled team take interest in each others work, since it’s part of their goal.
  • The members are enjoying themselves. They long to get to work to spend time together while moving the project forward. Laughter is frequent. A jelled team has great communication: with customers, management and in between members.

Group chat is the backbone of any jelled team, it’s they central place to build and share their ideas and aspirations. It becomes the most important vehicule for your team culture. It also makes it easier to bring new members to the team. Transcripts lets them see the team’s history so they feel included.

3. It Becomes Your Team Memory

Ever worked at a place where everyone is keeping track of his own TODOs or don’t know where to keep track of information. Each time someone mentions a good idea you say: “Hey! you should write that down”, but then forget. With group chat, everything is logged. It’s already on file the second you wrote it. You get painless traceability for free. If you’ve done any R&D project, you know how this can be important. Group chat makes this as painless as chatting it up.

4. Keeps Things Casual

Text based chat makes it easy to keep a casual tone. It’s great for sharing a joke, a funny picture or video. People tend to be more open than in face to face conversations. It the best way to make sure everyone keeps a good sense of humour.

5. Keep Everyone In The Loop

When most conversations are in the open, everyone knows what’s happening. One of the most common source of frustration in a team is the feeling you’re being left out of the decision process. Group chat makes it easy to discuss and share about your current project or company news. Anyone can take voice. Everyone is on the same level.

Take the lead, signup for a free account now and start chatting with your team: http://talkerapp.com/pricing

- Marc

Talker Gives An XBox 360 To Charity

We previously mentioned that we had won an Xbox 360 from Microsoft for the best presentation at DemoCamp. Our original plans were to give to the Salvation Army but we were told by a few friends to check out another charity that they felt was more deserving.

We checked them out and were truly amazed by the reach of their work. We gave the XBox away to Robin des Bois a restaurant and organization that truly empowers volunteer workers.

They put together an army of 3000 volunteers that help feed the poor, provide relief in times of disaster (fires, earthquakes, etc..) and psychological help for young victims of violent crimes… amongst other things.

Last night they had an annual party where they put up the XBox 360 up for auction. It made a total of 140$ that will go towards funding their activities.

We’d be lying if we said it doesn’t make us feel all warm inside.

Yo Dawg, I heard you like Etherpad, so we put Live Pastes in your Talker

We’re huge fans of EtherPad. We use it for writing important emails, blog posts (including this one) and all text on the site. But as you might know, EtherPad has been acquired by Google and will shutdown on March 31st.

The good news is that the EtherPad team was kind enough to open source their project. So we took the collaborative editor at the root of all EtherPad magic, and made it work with our server. Starting from now, all pastes (any message with a line break) in a Talker chat will be a Live Paste that you can edit, as a team, in real-time:

Live Paste Screenshot

Simply paste some text in your Talker chat room, click on Edit paste and you’ll be able to collaborate in real-time with anyone in the room. The great news is that every plan has unlimited Live Pastes out of the box!

Having Live Pastes in Talker means that you can be sure that your edited text can be saved securely and privately.

This is just one of the ideas we had to improve how you work with your team, stay tuned for more and signup if you haven’t done so already.

Happy live pasting!

- Marc

Put Talker On Your Desktop

Talker is mostly a web based application. Web apps have their pros and cons. But some tools provide simple ways to combine best of both worlds in just a few clicks.

We’ve designed Talker to work especially well inside SSB like Fluid and Prism. Instead of just wrapping Talker and making it look like a Desktop app, we actually use features that make Talker even better.

Why Put Talker On Your Desktop ?

Using a SSB can help you reduce tab usage, avoid crashes, generally improve your workflow and provides nicer desktop integration:

Growl notifications

Growl

An icon in your Dock (or Start Menu)

Dock

Creating a SSB takes only a few clicks, here are the instructions for Fluid (Mac only) and Prism.

On Mac

  1. Download Fluid.
  2. Run it.
  3. Create a new app: Create a Fluid app screen
  4. You’re done! Simply click on the Fish icon on your desktop the next time you want to start Talker.

On Windows and Linux

  1. Download Prism.
  2. Run it.
  3. Create a new app: Create a Prism app screen
  4. You’re done! Simply click on the Fish icon on your desktop the next time you want to start Talker.

Have Fun!

- Marc

Crack That Joke Or Fail

If a company does not let its employees share videos and comics they’re doomed to find out that important information isn’t getting passed around either.

Humour is the best social lubricant after alcohol. It takes one good joke to relieve the stress of breaking the ice.

Perhaps the best indication of whether or not a team is going somewhere is wether or not the average employee can make a joke to the person heading the company.

Gary

Consulting v/s VC Money: How To Move Forward?

The last 3 1/2 months have been amazing! We built and launched an awesome group chat application product and created our own Startup!

We worked hard and fast because we were bootstrapping and don’t have unlimited funds to work full time forever on Talker. We’re at the crucial point right now where Talker has paying customers but not nearly enough to pay for two full time developers.

The term for what we need to do is “customer acquisition” which for the record are not our favourite words in the world. It sounds dirty as if clients were just people you buy off.

In order to get more clients we’re weighing our options which are:

Option 1: accept VC money

Pros:

  • We have a runway to work full time and stay focused on Talker
  • VCs have the best rolodexes in the industry. They can make things happen.
  • If a VC invests in your company it’s because they think growth could happen

Cons:

  • We give up a chunk of our company
  • We have to deal with VCs… they don’t always understand our series of tubes
  • Most VCs care more about selling the company for a huge profit. A decent alternative of having a lifestyle business out of a startup is not in their interest.
  • They want mega growth.

Option 2: consult part time to finance startup organically

Pros:

  • You get to do interesting gigs and meet people who could help you out
  • Some of the consulting can be done around your product
  • You keep all the shares to your company

Cons:

  • There is no such thing as a part time job when you have the kind of passion we have
  • We’ll work twice as hard(doubly difficult since we’re both fathers)
  • We risk spreading ourselves too thin and have little energy for our product

We’re not decided on what we’re going to do yet. We’re really committed to Talker and we’re only wondering what the best way forward with it is. If you have any feedback or ideas please get in touch! We’d love to pick anyone’s brains!

We Launched! What’s Next?

After 3 months of hard work we’ve launched Talker!

Lets start charging and limiting now

Bye bye Beta, enter subscription plans. Since Talker is our bread and butter now, we need to charge for it :) But we want to keep things fair and have plans adapted to all types of teams. Everyone that had an account is now running on the Free plan, limited to 4 concurrent users and 10MB of file upload. You can upgrade now and we wont charge you for the first month.

The Bootstrap Plan at $8, for small teams bootstrapping their own thing like us!

From the start we wanted to offer a low price plan around $8 but wanted to make sure we could support it with our limited resources. So in addition to limiting the number of concurrent users, we only keep the last 30 days of chat log for accounts on the Bootstrap plan. We’ll start cleaning up old chat history in about a month to give everyone a chance to upgrade. Features we’re limiting in our plans are the ones costing us more resources.

What’s next?

As we use Talker each and every day, we keep finding ways to improve it. We have a bunch of things we want to implement in Talker that will help teams collaborate more efficiently.

In the upcoming months, we want to improve paste and image sharing, pouring our own real-time sauce to the mix and provide a way for people to share plugins they’ve written.

We’re also thinking about ways to open our API and servers even more. If you’d like to have access or information about parts of Talker, let us know!