Distributed teams, extreme transparency and buying out your investors
Product Hunt Radio

Full episode transcript -


It's Ryan who were your host of Problems radio, where I'm joined by the founders, investors and makers that shaping the future of text. Today I'm joined by Joel Gascoyne, CEO of Buffer, a simple tool to manage all your social media accounts. I'm a huge fan of the product, have actually been a paying customer for years. A lot of my teammates, that Protestant use it, and on the podcast, we chat about buffers. Extreme openness. Joel is probably the most vulnerable, transparent CEOs you'll find. We also discussed what it's like to manage an 80 person, fully distributed team and how the company bought out their investors last year in a really unorthodox way.

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Ryan. How are you? I am doing well. It's ah, it's It's been a while since I've seen you in person. I never know where you are. Yeah,


I mean, it has been a little outing. Last time was in San Francisco, some somewhere when I was visiting, but yeah, I need to make that happen again sometime soon.


Yeah, it were you right


now. I'm in Boulder, Colorado, being hip, huh? Almost a year on dhe sticking around for a little bit longer. So I travel a lot. So it's kind of like I feel like I'm never here for more than maybe a month without going somewhere else. But it's nice to have a base.


Yeah. Yeah. So for those that maybe aren't as familiar with your background and maybe buffer and everything that you've been working on, can you give me a background on yourself and what you've been building? Yeah,


absolutely. So I am co founder and CEO of Buffa on Dhe. Being doing this about eight and 1/2 years now on DDE Buffer is a platform. It's good to help small businesses with social media s. So we have three different products. Right now, we have a kind of flagship product which is published for posting content to Twitter Instagram, Facebook linked in on Pinterest on Dhe. Then we have to newer products. One is called reply, and that's for the customer service community management via social media. And then we have protocols analyze as well, which is for social analytics. Nothing there. And really, where we're heading is we want to be the platform to help you build your brand and do all the different things that contribute to building your brand on benefits that come with that. So we see that as you know,

you got to be posting content. You've gotta be engaging with anyone that comments on or on content or gets in touch and with customer service. And then you want to be analyzing the Ala Wai and tweaking your approach and things. Yeah, and so we ah ah team is well, so fully distribute team. So completely remote. We don't have an office anywhere. We're about 85 people at this point.


Whoa! You're 85. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've been a buffer user for I don't know how. How many years I ain't much for user for a long, long time. Yeah, and somewhere in your analytics you'll see how many times I use it per day, but it's a regular regular tool for me. But I started using it pretty early on, I guess. Relatively speaking, probably when you were, we'll definitely less than 10 people, I assume.


Yeah, it's funny. We have this point in our database where we switch from numeric ideas for user's to, like hash on dhe. So I bet you're probably one of the people that has, like, a numeric i d. That's in the like $1000 Ming like about


out already. Curious? Yeah, Buffer. A lot of people, I think listening. We're probably familiar, Maybe even uses a buffer, but two characteristics that a really unique about. I think buffer in yourself is one that's true nature of your company. You know, spend eight and 1/2 years building distributed company, and and the other is, is also you've been crazy, transparent with so many things, from like the amount of money people make Thio all the block post that you've been writing about kind of your experience building buffer and both the good, the bad and everything in between. Can you talk about like, the distributed aspect? How did you Why did you start buffer as it should be company. And why you continuing kind of that approach?


Yeah, absolutely. So we I started Buffalo in the UK on then my cofounder, Leo joined me pretty quickly. He was also in the UK at that point. When we started working together, we were both in the U. K. But we lived about 30 minutes away from each other by train. So even from that point, we actually only would meet up and work together on buffer for maybe one day a week. And so I know that at that point we were just using Skype chat on dhe Skype calls to collaborate on. But it's really interesting to think that's not that far from. Know how things work today for us? Um, with 85 people, you know,

it's a Skype chat it slack and instead of Skype calls this zoom, but it's really just scaled up from there. I mean, there's Bean. Ah, it's been interesting journey for us with the choice to be ah, distributed team. We obviously started that way. Maybe one day a week we would get together, and then we both moved together to the U. S. The first time we either was of being in the U. S. Went Thio San Francisco and Silicon Valley. We were there for about six months and had a really great experience then, obviously working together there.

And then after that, we, uh we had an interesting situation where we were trying to get visas but were unable to get our visas. So we had to leave the U. S. And we had a decision to make that point. We were one more person that point. So the three of us and we decided I didn't really want to go back to the UK or your Leo's from Austria. But we've kind of wanted toa experience something new. We couldn't stay in the U. S. And we just closed our seed round on DSO where you had a bit more flexibility. Remember, we're just kind of We were in our apartment in San Francisco and we kind of opened Google maps and thought, Where should we go but ended up deciding to go to Hong Kong for six months and then we went toe Israel for three months, and it just kind of picked these places because you either one of those well,

so I wanted to go somewhere with somewhat of a startup community, but couldn't go to the U. S. And so Tel Aviv was a great option there. But we kind of continued to grow the team whilst we were traveling and working from these places, and the first few people to join the team were through our personal networks. So people in the UK a couple of people in the US before we knew it, when we were less than 10 people, we were spread across, you know, we were in Hong Kong or Tel Aviv. You forget a lot after that. But we had a couple of people in the UK a couple of people in the US and then we even had someone within the 1st 10 people that was in Sydney, as they just happen naturally. And then we also had an interesting inflection point around nine people where and we will spread out. But almost all of us had a desire to experience and spend time in San Francisco.

Several of us we got our visas in the end and moved to San Francisco again on DA several others kind of wanted to be there on. That's kind of where it really became a true decision. Well, then it was kind of, you know, somewhat accidental or or just happen naturally up until that point. But that was when I personally saw as like, Oh, I need to make this decision as a company And I got advice from several people. Remember getting advice from David Cancel in particular, his doing drift. Now. At that time, I think he was. That helps photo even before that. But he gave me really good advice,

which was just kind of pick. Either go fully remote or or go. I'll have an office and have everyone in the same place. And he said, It's really hard to make it work when you're in between those two scenarios. So it really took. That's hard on Dhe thought food, the pros and cons and just at that point decided that will go all in on being a fully remote team. We actually went out of our way, toe higher the next few people outside the Bay Area just to make sure we were really distributed and not kind of ending up with people that felt like second class citizens on, then. From there, we really just crafted all of our communications and collaboration tools, tools and everything around being fully remote.


Yeah, that is kind of similar to product aunts. Guess Journey t become a distributed team in some ways and that it was very organic. It wasn't actually any anything. I thought about it and thought about How do we want to build a company? And should we keep it centralized, or should we hire, you know, across the world? It just sort of happened. And it I am thankful in part because, you know, I worked with some amazing people in half for several years all across the world, but also from a lifestyle perspective, sort of adopted it myself where I don't think I could work a 9 to 5 job that requires me to be in that office and also like, there's an aspect of a lot of companies haven't office, and they have no face time policies.

But they're still sort of this the subjective, facetime kind of nature of of companies that do have offices, especially for management or the CEO of a company. If if you, Joel are building a company with an office and you just never in the office. It's kind of weird. Even if you're working remotely, or even if you're working from home or coffee shop, it's just like a different lifestyle. And I I just prefer the lifestyle being able to work anywhere. I'm currently in L. A. This month, Working remotely and Justus productive is you know, I am in San Francisco. What kind of have you learned? What's been like the what tips do you have for those that were kind of evaluating, maybe building a distributed


team? Yeah, I guess. Kind of what I mentioned one. Maybe just start with that thing that I mentioned, which is a do think it's helpful, especially if you're just getting started with your company. You have that option to just choose to go all in if you can. It's a go out of your way with hiring and things like that just to spread yourselves out. And that will force you to basically craft your kind of collaboration and communication architecture as a company to be done in ways that is gonna be great. Former working eso Everything will be documented. You'll have you know it'sjust, a lot more of an inclusive way toe work where anyone can catch up on notes of what? What has happened in meetings, Things like that, Yeah, I think other things.

I do think there's a ton of benefits you mentioned be able to hire from anywhere in the world. I think that there's a lot of loyalty you get. I feel like contrasting, too. Maybe Silicon Valley on San Francisco, where the competition there for talent is really wild. And, you know, anyone working at a tech company could just step out of, you know, that office and be, you know, staring at 10 other officers. And they will you know, they got great offers, toe get you.

So I think, like there's a huge difference that happens when you I mean for us. We have many, many people in the team that are now it for 56 years, Um, that they've seen a buffer, and it's just ah ah, very normal thing for us, and that makes that's just a huge benefit. I think that people are excited toe to be around for a long time.


Yeah, I find that that San Francisco and New York as well but more so. San Francisco In technology, there's a shiny objects problem, and it's you know, what I mean by that is there is a lot of competition for talent, and there are big companies to that can pay in some cases 50% more in terms of cop above what the early stage started can afford. But the other aspect is there so many shiny objects. And there's this kind of, Ah, I feel like this false sense of If you're not moving to another job every one or two years, you're stagnant and you're not growing or you're not successful with somebody else who, you know, on Twitter, Facebook just posted their new job offering they gotta Google or Facebook or wherever you know. That's not to say that people shouldn't. Of course,

Choo Choos are transition jobs every one or two years. Sometimes that's the right approach, but sometimes it's actually best to stay at the company, and sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone. I've had I've had teammates leave product and then find out that the job that they kind of pursued afterwards wasn't what they thought it was, and they had some regrets and you don't see that I think is much outside of Silicon Valley in particular.


I agree with that. Yeah, we've had the same thing happen as well. And I think that the thing is that this incredibly talented people spread all around the world that you can bring on to your team. And they don't have that same mentality of, you know, jumping to us something else after a year or two. And that's a really big benefit. And I think it just creates these long lasting, like working relationships and friendships. And, you know, we do, Ah, retreat. A company gonna retreat, gathering once a year.

We just had 1/10 company retreat, actually in San Diego a few weeks ago, and it's just amazing, I think when you do have this combination of, you know, new folks that are joining. But they, you know, have that mentality that a lot of people I find joining buffa like they've maybe had a couple of not so great experiences that you know, different workplaces. They're kind of like searching for that place that they can stick around for a long time, and a lot of times they do find that in buffer on. Then we've got other people that have bean part of the team for, you know, 345 years. And it's just this really special mobile thing when we all come together,

actually, in personal, a cz well on, I just can't imagine that that the same kind of feeling from a company where, you know, maybe it's 80 people, but, you know, more than 50% are just in their first year of DNA.


Yeah, we're two hours ago in slack, I notified everyone saying, Hey, we're gonna do our mid year on site here in San Francisco where everyone comes together and we'll be planning kind of the next road map in your head. So we're in the middle of planning that next next trip. I think those air those are super important, even though even though we're distributed, you know, I think it's good to meet in person every now, then one thing that you feel like lead to a lot of buffers. Early success was his early. You're blawg and in your writing, and that's that's how it first connected with you as I read your writing in your block And in fact, I don't. Maybe you may not remember this, but you also even offered up sort of like office hours.

Or like a chance to meet, you know, just opened up your calendar, and I booked the time back in. This is probably 2011. I want to say maybe 2012. That's how we first met in person and not knowing how. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. You do remember, Yeah, it was a coffee shop in Soma. You know, that stood out to me, and and and you don't see a lot of CEOs,

you know, opening up their calendar that way. We're certainly not. Writing is much as you were at the time, was writing very conscious effort in the beginning. Was this okay? I'm gonna write. And this is gonna be my our growth strategy and kind of initial, like content marketing strategy. Or how did you think through that?


Yeah, I think with the initial kind of motivation to write was a lot of ways. Just document the journey on dhe. I think I did find fairly quickly that the what I was writing about whether it was, you know, product development or fundraising or even, like sleep, Uh, exercise of things like that. I did find that other It resonated with other people on Dhe would kind of create these connections, and I I think in some ways even taking us step earlier. It's kind of like my starting to use Twitter came from that similar motivation where oh, like Aiken share these things very easily very freely on. Then it would create these connections. I've got many people that I've met in person that originated from replying thio What them, then replying to my tweak or me replying thirst weeks and same thing happened with blogging on, I think.

I mean, maybe one thing was that Leo and I knew in the early days that we really you know, we didn't have an existing track record or we didn't have any level of prestige of coming from Harvard or Stanford or anything like that. I mean, we had, like, a lot of privilege, were both white male big guys, but like we're, you know, going from Europe. And we didn't really know what anybody in Silicon Valley and I think one of things that way we found, was we We knew we wanted. We needed to meet people quite quickly when we got there on just generally in the kind of startup community globally, we wanted to meet people as well, and I just I think taking that time to document and share became a really good way for us to meet new people.

I have also just found that I really get genuinely just a lot of fulfillment out of helping other people. So even today I still I just met with a founder in, like a early stage found in Boulder yesterday for coffee on Just I enjoy doing that I might try and do. That probably ends up being once a week or once every couple of weeks. L meet in person or jump on a video call and just, you know, chat with someone and see if I can help out. It keeps me also, you know, you keeps me in contact with people that are starting the journey. Where's eight years in? You know, it's a very different kind of situation as well. And then ultimately, I think it did become its current transition morphed into, you know,

partially a marketing strategy as well, and it worked really well that that way. And we did a lot of blowing on ah, on the buffet blawg. And eventually we were You chose to have two separate blocks, which was still have today one we call the social blogger, and one is the open blood on the open blood is really kind of opening up about how we run as a company on the ups and downs there, the challenges and the successes we've had. And then the social blogger is much more focused on social media and our customers and helping them on dhe, providing useful resources for them. So there's bean to me that's worked really well for us. It's also just fulfilling and liberating toe open up and share a swell.


Yeah, well, I mean, that kind of leads toe. The other aspect of that unique about buffering yourself is how open you, Ben and most companies don't share salaries of what they paid people. They don't share their road map so publicly. There is a lot of unique characteristics of buffer that I think I think really engender a sense of belonging and almost like they're your consumers. The users of buffer and fans are sort of a long, long for the ride. At least that's the perception that I that I see what was the thought process of being so open and building in public that way.


Yeah, it's interesting you mention kind of being along for the ride. We've had times where I remember in the early days happened fairly regularly where, you know, we're just we're going faster them were able to scale, Ah, infrastructure, the understanding we had for, like, Dev ops and things like that. And so we would we would go down from time to time And, you know, understandably quite a lot of customers are, you know, even angry or stop set when we're down. It's kind of, you know,

disrupting their workflow. But we would just tried to be very responsive on social media and email and things, and very quickly You contend that around, and I think when you are sharing things transparently is well, you're just building up that trust with the customers. And so very quickly those situations completely turned around into this kind of a warming like support from, you know, this huge community of customers and even non customers, just people that are kind of cheering us a cz Ah, as a company as well. And yes, I think in the early days it came from this desire to just share more openly. And I think we found that by sharing even meeting with another founder, that's maybe a bit further along than we were if we were tryingto get their advice and we just shared all of our numbers openly, anything, we could just get much more useful feedback and advice.

And then they ended up opening up and sharing some of their numbers much more easily as well. So I think those are some of the things that were the initial. You kind of need the that initial win, or or that the validation to then do it more. But it just kind of kept building up for us, and we found while it's got all these benefits with our customers, and then over time we as we grew the team and we got to maybe let kind of critical first hold of like 10 people and it starts to really the team dynamics matter and you've got culture starting toe really become crafted and things we found that being really open within the company as well was just incredibly powerful and also again builds that trust with everyone in the in the team so showing how much we were paying ourselves with the rest of the company. And then eventually that led to was having a formula for salaries, which we still have today and having all of our salaries completely transparent within the company. And even eventually we opened up that upto publicas. Well, it's just something that we kept finding all these benefits from on Dhe. It's also just nice to as a founder, to not feel like, Oh, what what should I keep secret and what should I What can I share and once and you know,

that's hard enough for yourself as a founder. But imagine the person that's like the 60th person that's joined the company. I'm just excited toe, empower them to be ableto go to a conference and just share a lot of stuff for, you know, meet with someone else. Another you know, someone else in similar role of different company and be ableto actually share, you know, on numbers and exchange real inside. Something's so yeah, it's just being something is definitely really hard at times, that's for sure, and even gets harder as you grow really just frank. You keep in mind how powerful and valuable it's being, and I think it just it just feels right at the end of the day is as well.

It I think in a lot of ways, being trance phone is being honestly, it keeps us honest. It keeps us doing kind of the right things. I feel like a


Well, yeah humanizes the company a bit, too, when when people most most companies are, you know, people forget that their actual people behind cos it's not just a machine, but the way that most companies kind of communicated it feels very inhuman and and I think that helps. I think I've struggled with the challenge of how much should I share, especially when things were not going well and more internally in the company. And so there's there's inevitably really difficult times and sometimes you know everyone in the company is pretty clear, like when things were not going well. But how much do I shield? The team is kind of constant debate. I've I've had where maybe being transparent I feel an open about particular things isn't productive. And why put this burden on the team? And instead I should keep to myself on the other side. You know,

being 100% transparent and opened can really think engender a sense of loyalty and trust. I think longer term as well. So there's this. I don't know. I struggle with kind of the palace of those two things. Personally,


it's stuff. I think if you lean water to the really transparent side you you can kind of put your team through this roller coaster journey of things that you're exposing them to. And I do think sometimes it's my responsibility to handle certain things. I think the way I try and think about it, as well as one of things I realized over time is it can affect productivity. It can, you know, be a bit of a boat emotional burden, sometimes for people in the team. But it's also just the act of doing It kind of builds this Brazilians from the in the team as well over time, and that's really powerful, too. So then if something does happen, you know that we have toe get through as a team, just a better place to a zoo. Whole group toe. Get through those things.

I think 11 thing I do try to do is when I'm sharing something that could be concerning or alarming, potentially trying, just frame it. I think one thing I realize is it's not just about showing the information is all the data. You know, say you're you're you're burn rates growing or something like that. It's about sharing the context as well, and even showing that I think that's what makes transparency to take them much longer as well. It's not just like okay, all the day to successful. It's you've got it, then give people the context around the data. And one thing I started to do, as well as actually just showing my own view of it. My own opinion is like in some ways it's kind of like This is what's going on, and this is how how I'm perceiving it.

This is, you know, this is why it's we're gonna get through this and it's it's so old, good or in some ways it's kind of like, you know, people don't necessary of the time or their focus on other things, too. Actually, figure out how to feel about it is in some ways, it's showing how they how they might wantto interpret it and feel about it.


Yeah, There there is. So I think this is the last year you went through an interesting transition with company and you and you're still here kind of your take on this new road block course. Of course, you read a block like most things, But you you bought back equity from your investors. And, you know, that's I don't know if I have heard of any any company startup in technology doing that. I'm sure they're probably a few of them, but it's not very common. How can you share some background on that? And how you came that that decision? Yeah, Wait


s so we raised two rounds of funding in the journey of Buffer One was in 2011 seed round, and then we also ways to Siri's A in 2014 on Dhe. By the time of the series, a a lot of this kind of culture of working transparency, experimentation in general was really kind of set down on very clear towards so we went out to try and find investors that would be as excited about that aspect of buffer as about the you know, that the products and the growth potential there and so that's kind of way felt like we found investors that were onboard with all of that and very excited about the future. And in those conversations, we also luckily we're at the point where we were actually profitable. We didn't really need to. Is the funding on DSO in the negotiations? We also shared that there's a good chance we might not want to ever sell the company or go public. And so we might want to give a return by a dividends well, that kind of thing. And so when we shared that, ah, the lead investor suggested that we put something into ah into the terms of the investment that would basically allow them to get as, ah,

a certain kind of sat down return by was buying back those shares. And I think it's something that's not necessarily it's not like it's not the the best case outcome for sure, but it was something that we were ableto put in place as kind of a ah, back up in a way of like, okay, we have this option. So


and was that the And for those maybe Ernest familiar with veces most most institutional veces they're looking for, you know, an outsize wild return of 10 20 100 x and exactly this buy back some multiple on that. Or how is that kind of structured?


Yeah, it was a I think it was like an eight or nine cent, uh, annual kind of return. And so that's what it was set up as Andi in the in the end, we bought back and A VE 40% return over three years. So definitely much lower than those kind of like 10 x 20 x levels that veces would be going for on. But also, when we raised the round of funding, we went out looking for investors that would be comfortable with taking a much smaller stake than veces normally would take. They would normally want 2030% of the company and a board seat as well. And so we didn't what We also didn't give a board seat that point as well, so that just coming in to be make myself and Leo, my co founder, on the board. And then I think over time, just kind of like fast forward through where,

where things went. Me and my co founder started to have some Miss Lemon on over the course of maybe a year and 1/2 2 years, we really tried to dig into a lot where you realize that we actually had different views of where to take the company. So he he eventually left Much was the beginning of 2017 on Dhe, then as a company. I think that the markets being a really interesting situation in the last few years as well, which has bean, I think, affecting all companies in this space, but also as a company just realized, like the culture is super important. And I see this is a very long term endeavor. And so with that, the growth rates were good, but not VC, not kind of unicorn level growth waits on Dhe eventually got to the point where it just made sense toe go down this path of wth e of the Bay back scenario,

and so definitely wasn't the, you know, most pleasant, noisiest kind of negotiation and process to go through that. But ultimately we were able t o buy back the majority of our syriza investors and in doing so, I kind of just have full control over the destiny of the company. Now we still have a portion of Syria's A investors and also all the seed investors that still on board. And so we're figuring out some more pieces there. I think on the longer one, we'd love to get to a point where we can give investors that wanted a more short term kind of full liquidity option. And but then other investors let them stay on board and take a return via dividends over a much longer time period. And I think is a company. That's that's what were more excited about what's That's what I'm personally a lot more excited about. I would love to keep building buffer for another 10 years or more and see what, what, where we can take it in the opportunities that we can take advantage off in the markets, when and potentially other markets as well.


Yeah, that's Ah, that was kind of one of my My next question was like a long term buffer plan is it is it, you know, continue the next eight and 1/2 years and keep keep building, as is your building. And I guess where do you see It's sort of in the next five years or so. Yeah,


it definitely is. Keep building, keep trying, tow, You know, solve problems for customers Bill. Great products give great service for customers. And obviously we need to kind of manage like market fluctuations and changes. And things have been a lot changing with Facebook and Twitter and drastically in the last. You're too. And so for me, it's just a very exciting personal challenge as well. It's one thing toe start of products and find initial product market fit and get traction and some success there. And then it kind of transitions from product building, tow company building and then eventually transitions to you. No one kind of problem you solve. One idea is only gonna sustain a certain amount of growth in a market and before things change,

or that initial value proposition kind of becomes a commodity in the market, which is something we've experienced that you've just got to be continually innovating and finding new areas that you can provide value. And I think that's kind of the the stage that we're now is. What is that next wave for us? You know, for the next five years, How can we add the most value to customers? What is the right type of customer first toe pursuing in that time? So I think that's where we're seeing this, you know, transition. Even in social media, Instagram is it is a really big kind of force now, on dhe When we started, it was more Twitter was the kind of dominant everywhere we started. Just focused on providing value on Twitter that the first year of Buffer was only the product was just for Twitter.

So now we're seeing that shift and we realize that we have to adapt as a company. And you kind of have these new startups that have bean, you know, got going in the last two years old or three years and there really like visual focused. And so I think on then, you know, even beyond social media, that I think of the opportunities where we could once we really have a clear kind of target customer mind we can add value. Thio adjacent areas and other other things. And I think that's ultimately what you know, this point. We In the last 2 to 3 years we've introduced to new products on dhe that's helped us diversify revenue streams and also uneven diversified the jobs that we help customers with, which is definitely good for us. And I think over time we might want even divers have further potentially beyond social media on DSO. We're just trying to create a very, you know,

a company that has certain values for a workplace, but also values like in how we like to build products and the level of service we want to provide. And maybe that's kind of what buffer stands for long term. And we can take that approach toe other areas as well. And, you know, hopefully create something that is pretty sustainable and and diversified and and we can get a lot more growth over time, as as well. But also, you know, create something that really can last.


Yeah, my my last question for you kind of going going along those those lines around products is what are some products, Perhaps that you love that that more people should know about their There's some years. It could be something on your home screen or something that you travel with all the times thing you bought recently. What would you I'd recommend?


Yeah, there's a few that Ah well, maybe I have a couple of the newer and then a few that it just kind of like really rock solid ones for a while. So there's a superhuman, the email kind of new email product email client really loving that they keep improving it and introducing these features that just that the the level of, like, products development expertise there is inspiring and they keep solving problems that you're like, Oh, I actually do have had this fall, Ammen And now I could do this so love superhuman. I think Fred's is something we've just started using as a company, and it's kind of sits somewhere between email on DDE Slack, or it's kind of like a supercharged like for more discussion board for the company. For us, it's completely replaced email on dhe. We also like intern internally on dhe. We used to use discourse for internal communication as well.

Basically, Friends is is really based around the concept of a thread, which is kind of like an email. You can create a thread between anyone in the company. And then there's spaces, which somewhat like slack channels. On DSO, you can have spaces for marketing or for engineering or different teams on. Then you can create a thread in a space as well. The cool thing is you can create a thread in a space and then add a couple of people directly if you need to monotonously in that space. And so if you need to collaborate on something with a couple of people in a different area, you can bring them in on the threads themselves, like very kind of flexible and versatile. For us, it's become. What we found is that we would often try and have discussions in slack that Justine five in Slack because it's very synchronous and you know it's just before you know it.

That discussion is gone and slack has threads. But you have to start a thread with a specific message, and then someone has to reply to that in a thread. Otherwise, you know it doesn't it doesn't get kept neatly in a thread, and that's also just gone in the in the feed before you know it as well. So threads is like every it. Fred is more like email, where every thread has a subject, and then people can reply, and it has, like in line replies and things like that. So we found its email is just hard, I think, for company, because everyone gets a lot of email anyway.

You've got externally meld going on and see seeing people and things just kind of awkward. So Friends is neat because it's also something word. Someone new, enjoying the company and just go and browse around and find all the previous discussions. And they're all very like well categorized and uneasy toe finding things. So I think they've It's a fairly recent like product, but they've actually been working on it for a while, but they recently came out of, you know, they were keeping it pretty private. They were doing a lot of testing with just a small group of companies for a while, and then way, we're kind of looking for something solve this problem, and then it was just good good time for So we jumped on. Within a week, we kind of transitioned our whole company onto it. And slack user has gone down email users almost like nothing now for internal e mails. And so it's bean. That's being a huge one for us.


Okay, I'm gonna check this out because I have a use case that this might solve for nice. Well, where can they find you on online work? Were you writing? I know you're on Twitter. Of course we're going to follow you. Yes,


and my website and blawg is Joel dot i s s o. That's kind of the easiest place. And then I also have my Twitter and Instagram and things link from there. My twitter handle is Joel Gascoyne and so just my full name, but yeah, maybe in the in the show notes you can have the link to that because it's pretty hard spell my name.


Yeah, I've learned it over the years. It's taking me a little while. I'll be honest. I learned in order to spell it over the years. Cool. Thanks for things coming on. Joel, It's ah, awesome to hear, hear more of kind of a story to a buffer and that, you know Yeah, I don't need to say this, but I will have been following you for a long time and really respected your due respect to your sort of approach to building. It's It's definitely not the norm. Ah, and how you build Buffer. And And I think it's one of the reasons why why you're you are where you are now. So,


yeah, thanks so much, right? Yeah. It's been a really fun conversation. And I've also just really enjoyed kind of knowing user as a friend meeting at Wiggly over time as well. So yeah, I love what you've done with Product 100. Just the I think, just kind of, like, democratizing idea of, like, discovering products and people collaborating on do, like getting inspiration for building their own products. I think it's been an awesome thing.


Yeah, that's the hope. Appreciate it, Joe. Take care. Yeah, thanks. Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back next week, but in the meantime, shared the podcast, Your friends on Twitter and tag on guest. Do you like to hear in a future episode?

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