"People in ad agencies are exposed to an incredible amount of information every day, from videos to articles and infographics to everything else," says Pieter Walraven, co-founder and chief product officer of Pie, a Singapore-based startup changing the way companies share knowledge. "They're constantly scouring the web for inspiration and looking for the next big trend."
Walraven and his co-founder, Thijs Jacobs, noticed email and chat were used for sharing and organizing ideas within teams. But he says these platforms get too noisy once the group reaches a certain size. They found Pinterest and Dropbox are not ideal, as people ended up using personal accounts for work. Intranet platforms Yammer and Chatter posed other challenges, including being dull and complicated, which led people to give up using them after a few days.
"It's a shame, because here we had all these people collecting inspiring, important things, but without a tool to make these things easily accessible, all their time and effort was being wasted," Walraven says.
Founded in February 2013, the free Pie app is designed to help teams collect, organize, share, and discuss the business-related links, visuals, content, and more that they find in and out of work every day. "Social media agencies and ad agencies are among our most active users on Pie," says Walraven. "For example, Proximity (a digital agency owned by BBDO) uses Pie to create a library of everything for work. They have a board for competitor news and campaigns, one for marketing trends, a board for UX best practices, and so on. Many people throughout the agency contribute to those boards, so the entire team is creating a company library packed with information, which they use to germinate new ideas and reference old ones."
Besides internal sharing, Walraven says agencies use Pie boards with clients. "This drastically reduces the number of back-and-forth emails with their clients and eliminates the nightmare of managing a project through huge, bulky email threads with attachments scattered everywhere. Agencies use Pie to create boards that neatly contain everything for a client project: Google Docs, Dropbox files, relevant articles, competitor references, and so on, including all the discussions on each item."
Let's say you're starting a new infographic project, and you've found a few visual references that will help your designer. Instead of sending your designer an email every time you find a reference, you can create a board on Pie called, "Infographic Project." This board would contain all the relevant information for the project: a link to the creative brief on Google Docs, Dropbox links to previous revisions, and even links to similar infographics. You can copy and paste links directly into the Pie web app or use the "Post to Pie" Chrome extension. When you post something you can select which board you want to post it to as well as the coworkers with whom you're sharing it. Since Pie is free to companies of all sizes, you can create as many boards as you want, and invite as many team members or collaborators to a board as you'd like.
When you post something to Pie, it will appear in the company stream for your coworkers to see and discuss. Every day, Pie sends email digests of the most popular things posted by you and your coworkers so you never miss a thing.
"Our long-term vision for Pie is to build a social layer on top of your content by building smart integrations with other services you already use," Walraven says. "We think teams are eventually going to want a solution for bringing together all of the different services they use to create and collect content, and we want to be there when the market is ready. Some of the much-requested integrations in the pipeline are Evernote, Google Drive, and Dropbox, to name a few."
Watch a video of Pie in action here.
Social Startups is a weekly Social Media Today column written by Shay Moser about the newest and most innovative social companies. Look for the next installment next Wednesday morning. Logos by Jesse Wells.