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Tomfoolery Drops Anchor for 'Bring Your Own Software' Crowd

Tomfoolery Drops Anchor for 'Bring Your Own Software' Crowd

Tomfoolery's Anchor social app is meant for the workplace, but its target audience is the people who would use it -- not the CIOs who might implement it as a company-mandated system. It's meant to forge stronger bonds among coworkers, and Tomfoolery doesn't want a productivity mindset to get in its way. Think of it as a software counterpart to the BYOD trend.

By Richard Adhikari
06/28/13 8:45 AM PT

Tomfoolery on Thursday launched Anchor, an app that brings team-based social networking to the enterprise on mobile devices as well as on the Web.

Anchor basically lets teams and team members interact socially at a time when the growing tendency for workers to bring their own devices, coupled with younger workers' tendency to focus more on their mobile devices than on human-to-human interaction, is creating a society of potential isolationists.

"Our goal is to make a mobile-first application that's typically geared towards people in companies, not selling to CIOs," Sol Lipman, cofounder and chief product officer of Tomfoolery, told the E-Commerce Times.

"We're in the process of a pretty big transition where people are bringing their own software, bringing their own devices, working their own hours," Lipman continued. "We're riding on that wave."

Indeed, the company's website declares its belief that all work is personal.

What Anchor Offers

Anchor has full social networking capability with a focus on teams. It lets users create and join teams around just about any focal point -- projects, topics, workout groups, or events, for example. Users can communicate with coworkers or with collaborators at other companies.

Anchor offers one-to-one messaging and group messaging. Users can post or share photos, links, locations, videos, articles or other content into a team or company feed while chatting. The app provides filters within teams so that all members can see the content and links any member or the entire team has shared.

The app is currently available on iOS and as a full-featured Web app. An Android version is in the works, and a version for Google Glass already exists, Lipman said.

"We conceived of it first as a mobile product and focused our effort on building a mobile product first, and then built the Web product after that based on the feature set that we picked," Lipman noted. "We decided we're a mobile company in a lot of ways, and the mobile phone gives you a lot of opportunities -- as well as constraints, like screen size -- that make for very interesting products."

Anchor will double as a platform to connect more workplace apps to be built by Tomfoolery, as well as third-party apps, through application programming interfaces and a mobile software development kit.

Tomfoolery is talking with other companies but "I don't think we're really prepared to say who our partners are," Lipman said.

People Who Need People

"We shy away from building a lot of productivity products in our core product, because we don't want you to be distracted from the social experience," Lipman stated. "There's no product right now that does what we're trying to do."

Perhaps, but one can't help thinking that Google+ Circles seem to offer pretty much the same functionality. It's hard to put a finger on exactly what Anchor does that would appeal enough to potential users to build up a large user base.

"It seems the only thing unique to Anchor is you can't have a gmail.com email address," Steven Bristol, cofounder of Less Accounting, told the E-Commerce Times. "I've only been in the app for a few minutes, and there's not a lot to do. There's not much to this thing. It's certainly nothing new, [and] I've spoken with support -- there is nothing else."

With Anchor, Tomfoolery "has a basic platform and they might grow it into something, but if you're using the current social apps there's no reason to add Anchor," Bristol added.

The company stresses the social aspect of the application, stating that closeness among members makes a team better.

"Ultimately, we're putting out an extremely social product," Lipman remarked. "We do think that the average worker -- a tech worker or a barista -- is making their own choices on software they want to use to make their life better, and we believe we offer a social network to people who bring their own software."


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