Like many products, Flow was conceived of a frustration with what was available. Many of the MetaLab staff had the same problem: using a selection of different apps to organize our personal, social, and work lives. We use task apps for personal chores and projects, project management tools with our coworkers, and various messaging services with our friends. We had to check multiple apps on multiple devices to answer the simple question of “what do I have to do today?”. Flow was built to be a single destination for everything.
With Flow, you can share a task or list with anybody. It doesn’t make assumptions about how you prefer to organize your tasks—you don’t have to define workspaces or projects. To assign your friend an IOU, you don’t need to first create and invite him to a new workspace for that single task; you just open the task form, write a title, and enter his or her email address. Flow will email them so they can read the task’s details, attach files, leave comments, and invite more people without even signing up. You can invite and delegate to friends and colleagues who don’t have accounts and Flow will send the correct email notifications. You can almost effortlessly get things done, with anyone.
With Flow, you can also get things done from anywhere. The primary interface is a web app, available in any modern web browser on any platform. If you’re away from a computer, we have a free iPhone app that lets you do almost anything on the go. If you happen to go offline, the app will queue your changes and push them to the cloud when you reconnect. We’re building for other mobile platforms too, but in the meantime you can create tasks by simply sending an email to email@example.com; the subject will be the title, the message body the description. Likewise, Flow’s email notifications mean you can follow every detail of a task’s progress from your inbox, and simply reply to leave a comment.
Once you have everything you need to do in one place, the key—of course—is getting it done. Flow makes it easy to know what’s important and what’s being worked on, as it tracks every detail of a task and notifies you of updates via optional iPhone, browser, Mac, and email notifications. You can easily catch up on your team’s latest activity in each app or with a daily email report of yesterday’s activity. The real-time notifications make collaboration a breeze: every change appears to everyone instantly. You can watch tasks get created, completed, reorganized, and scheduled, live. You’ll even see when someone is typing a comment on the task you’re viewing.
Since Flow launched eight months ago, it’s been very clear that they weren’t the only ones who wanted an app like this. That said, while they solved our initial set of problems, there’s so much more that they want to do with their app.
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