How simplicity makes collaboration easier with Brightpod

Sahil Parikh, founder of marketing collaboration tool Brightpod, shares why focusing on making the software clean, and "ridiculously simple" instead of the number of features is more important for success.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

Is GTD (Getting Things Done) the one thing that is always on your mind? Especially if you are that lynchpin or that super talented marketing professional who juggles their tasks, e-mails, contacts and a lot of items that keep you occupied for most of your productive time?

Whether you are working in a startup or an environment in a bigger marketing firm which is very process-oriented and specific in terms of the targets, results and metrics that you want to focus on, being productive is always something that keeps you driving on. 

Recently I came across Brightpod. It is a cloud collaboration software that helps digital agencies and marketing teams to organize, manage, automate & track marketing projects, commonly referred to as Pods in their app which actually answers some of these questions of mine:

  1. How much time do I actually "invest" in creating tasks/delegating and essentially doing the activity of using that tool?
  2. And, would it really help if I had something as simple as a notepad but a little advanced to help manage and track better?

So much so, that off late, I've been managing tasks using EverNote. That's when I'm working alone though. So collaboration could be a little simpler, if it'd be cleaner and less cluttered. That's something that I've always wondered. 

And I had a chance to give Brightpod a try and also talk to Sahil Parikh, co-founder of BrightPod, in an e-mail interview.

Now, specifically, this product is very useful for digital marketers especially with their modules that include specific workflows that come in handy especially for digital marketers. Such as scheduling tweets via Buffer, Managing LinkedIn and Wordpress, creating email marketing templates etc. That's something I find relevant from a digital marketer perspective, having worked in that industry. 

While it is simple as of now. There are only some features and templates as part of the workflow as of now. As a digital marketer some additional workflows and platforms could be helpful and that would be the part of the product hopefully soon, considering it's in private beta. How would that happen without losing the simplistic element is something I'd like to see.  

Workflows for Digital Tasks

It actually helps users to create projects, known as Pods. They can various templates of tasks and milestones for separate kinds of workflows. Whether you have an e-mail marketing initiative, a recruiting ad campaign on LinkedIn, a WordPress blog to set up or a Twitter schedule to manage, Brightpod is certainly useful in this aspect.

Another interesting perspective this tool brings with itself is its clean and simple UI and design philosophy which makes my task of adding and managing tasks easier, so that I end up spending lesser time on actually setting/managing and working around the scheduled tasks.  

I tried out an e-mail workflow and Twitter workflow. Setting up the workflows might be a little tricky and might take some time, but once it's set up using the tool was easier.   

Using Brightpod is very easy and doesn’t need much time to get around it. It's a good tool to cut down on all the confusion and clutter caused by long email chains while working with teams and clients on the same project. Plus, its neat and clean UI is a joy to use.


One of the things I like is the simple drag-and-drop of tasks from and out of Focus. The whole experience is simply intuitive. 

Overall, the features are very minimalistic and simpler to use, of the other collaboration tools I have come across. After experiencing Brightpod and some other collaborative tools before, I had a few questions that I think may be useful for all you readers as well. 

Oh, and yes, Sahil was kind enough to give readers of ZDNet a trial code since they are in private beta.

You can sign up using the code "zdnet" on Brightpod.com.

Moving on, here's what Sahil had to say about his idea behind making this product and how it'll help digital marketers do their jobs more efficiently.

Why did you start with BrightPod? What was the inspiration behind it?

About a year ago our team saw an opportunity in designing an app for marketing and creative teams. Most of them currently use a general purpose collaboration tool. We wanted to help them grow their business by making it easy to plan, organize and track all their digital marketing projects in one place.

In addition, clients are spending more and more money on digital marketing. Marketing firms have more work that they can handle. This is where Brightpod comes in.
We have also been witnessing a surge in signups from marketing teams with feature requests aimed at marketing/campaign related projects--stuff that they require. They felt it was chaotic to plan and track progress of various marketing projects/campaigns (SEO, Twitter, LinkedIn, and etc.) when working with multiple people and clients.

Plus, the thrill to put back what I learnt with my previous product DeskAway into a new one written from scratch using the latest technologies. My latest blog sums my learnings being the SaaS space for six years pretty well.

What makes Brightpod different from say something like DeskAway, Asana or Bascamp?

They are all general-purpose project management tools that are designed for generic use-cases. Configuring them to match a specific requirement could be tough. Brightpod is specially being designed to power up marketing teams--startups, smaller creative firms or teams within larger agencies.

Brightpod has pre-built marketing workflows, Dropbox integration, custom workflows, Flow view (drag and drop), Focus page (zoom into your work) and an Attention page (stuff that requires your attention). With Brightpod, we have features that can give your team the bigger picture as well as allow them to zoom into their work

Why the name BrightPod?

I personally just love the name. It came at a premium but I had to get it. To me, a pod signifies a "team" or a "workplace". So, in essence, building a "smart team". Can you spot the brain in the logo?

What additions are you planning in terms of scaling from the digital marketing perspective?

Our product philosophy is LISTEN ME ACT.

LISTEN to what users have to say. Keep listening. Get a feel of what they want and the different ways they use Brightpod.

ME is what we want in the app. We use Brightpod daily so it is important to build stuff that we love and want.

Then ACT.

More than features, keeping the app clean, well designed, simple, clutter-free and fast is our top priority. We are looking at the following features:

  1. Editorial Calendar
  2. Reporting & Analytics
  3. Integration with Social Networks
  4. Integration with Google Drive
  5. Recurring Tasks
  6. Mobile Version etc.

What do you think are major challenges for "collaboration tools" within organizations?

Getting your team onboard a collaboration software is the biggest challenge.

Hence, we have made Brightpod to be ridiculously simple to use with a very clean experience. Our team is betting on simplicity. We don't care if we have fewer or many features. What matters to us is whether our software is easy to use, clean, clutter-free and smart. As we use more software to run our businesses we want to feel good at the end of the day.

One of the challenges I've faced with collaborative tools are email digests/email notifications. They sit in a pile of bulk and don't really help users get around their tasks. Does your product address this problem?

This would differ from person to person. I had a similar problem with LinkedIn notifications but I use filters to send these emails to a Label in Gmail. Similarly, as we talk to our users we feel that:

E-mail notification is important to them so that they can reply on the go.
Some of them have created filters and they look at them once a day.
A daily digest is helpful to sum up their team's work without logging into the app.

From the design front what's your philosophy especially for SaaS based products? How do you incorporate it in BrightPod?

Our design philosophy has always been one thing--SIMPLICITY. Keep thing simple. Keep the UI simple. Have less things on a page.

Again, we don't care if we have fewer or many features. What matters to us is whether our software is easy to use, clean, clutter-free and smart. It is important for people to feel good when they use Brightpod.

You can reach out to Sahil on Twitter @SahilParikh

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