Work management tool developed at Facebook is now a $ 900 million business – Quartz at Work


There is the work, and then there is the work required to do your job. And a lot of workers spend more time on the latter.

Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, came to this realization a few years after the social network he helped Mark Zuckerberg build in a Harvard dormitory grew to the point where the majority of his day was spent on e -mails, status updates, and meetings.

“We lived in the dark ages of collaboration,” he says.

And he was not alone. A 2012 investigation McKinsey found that, on average, workers wasted 61% of their time coordinating their work in meetings, emails and discussions rather than actually Make their work.

Moskovitz thought there had to be a better way. And, in classic Silicon Valley fashion, the best way came in the form of software. Together with Justin Rosenstein, an engineering manager at Facebook, Moskovitz created a task management tool for the engineering department. The tool, called Tasks, quickly spread to the rest of the business.

“Every time you walked through the office, you would see people interacting with this system on three out of four monitors,” Moskovitz said. Recount Lifehacker. “It reminded me a lot of the early days of the Facebook product, when walking through a campus computer lab meant seeing it on every screen. “

When Moskovitz and Rosenstein first created Tasks, they had little intention beyond creating a tool to help Facebook teams manage their work and reduce meetings. But it turns out their invention would lay the groundwork for a bona fide venture that, a decade later, would be valued at $ 900 million.

Asana’s age

In 2008, Moskovitz and Rosenstein left Facebook to launch Asana. The idea was that instead of creating a useful tool for a few thousand Facebook employees, they would hire a team to develop the tool for widespread use.

Asana, as both their product and their company are known, has gone beyond the functionality of the original task tool to become something of a virtual conference room for teams. It’s a one-stop place to coordinate tasks, due dates, comments, and priorities. Today (November 1), the company announced two new features: Portfolios, which give employees insight into how their day-to-day tasks align with company goals, and Workload, which helps employees. managers to connect work to the skills and schedules of different team members.


Screenshot of the new Portfolios dashboard.

It has been a great year for Asana. In January, the company announcement $ 75 million in Series D financing, led by Generation Investment Management of Al Gore. Asana previously raised funds from a who’s who of Silicon Valley technorati, including Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel.

Asana pass 50,000 paying customers in September, from 20,000 at the start of 2017. This growth is due in part to the growth of the labor management industry itself. As more and more work is online, the need to manage and document the progress of projects becomes more and more important. Asana’s competitors like Atlassian’s Basecamp and Trello have also had good years.

But the digital trend is not the only driving force behind the rise of this category. More and more companies are hiring freelance and contract workers. While a disorganized collaboration can work quite well when all team members have institutional knowledge of what is going on, the system, as it is, begins to crumble as soon as someone outside of it is team or organization joins. Labor management companies are well positioned to capitalize on the growth of distributed teams, and not just in the software industry.

Moskovitz’s vision for the future of work

In an iconic plaid shirt, Moskovitz, one of the most humble billionaires you can meet, leans back in his chair to reflect on his vision for the future. “For remote working to work well, first of all, we need video conferencing that actually works reliably,” he says, “but we also need something that connotes more emotion.

Emotion can be a strange area of ​​interest for the CEO of an enterprise software company. But for Moskovitz, it’s important that the software doesn’t obscure the people who use it.

“I believe relationships will be more important than ever in the future,” he says. “These new tools aim to help teams clearly understand what is important.

With a net value over $ 10 billion, Moskovitz clearly cares about more than just building another successful software company. It’s working on all the work that goes into our work that counts now.

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