Why Sameroom + 8x8 = (8x8)!

Sameroom

Hello, my name is Andrei. 8x8 just acquired my startup, Sameroom, and our entire team has joined 8x8’s product strategy group.

We’re all really excited and think this is a great move for everyone involved. Let me explain.

Sameroom has been operating in a fairly obscure corner of the business collaboration arena: team chat interoperability. Our original ambition, however, was much broader.

Back in 2013, Peter and I set out to build a collaboration system (we called ours Kato) that offered team chat—text, video, and voice—with excellent desktop and mobile applications, a way to search anything—text, video, and voice—across the resulting archive (your organizational memory!), with excellent speed and uptime. We didn’t worry much about interoperability at the time, because we assumed we were going to convince the entire world to use our stuff and the topic would be moot.

Over the course of two years of building and marketing Kato, we discovered some very uncomfortable truths. Team chat was turning into a commodity with a per-seat price trending strongly toward zero. Enterprise-grade voice and video technology turned out to be incredibly hard and expensive to build. Selling collaboration solutions to teams practicing shadow IT ended up being a remarkably unrewarding experience.

Our pivot from Kato to Sameroom has kept us in the business collaboration game for an additional (and very exciting) two years, but unfortunately similar to the way umpires are in the game at Wimbledon.

Sameroom is intimately connected to all the top-seeded players in the chat collaboration space—Skype, Slack, Spark, HipChat, Hangouts, and many others—by making them interoperable. This makes us a sort of a mediator, a silent observer of the cyclonic tug of war of a battalion of Goliaths and an army of Davids, all yearning to be the user interface of your work. Sameroom’s umpire chair is undeniably an interesting vantage point, offering ample opportunity for analysis and speculation, but we can’t help but wonder what would happen if we got a chance to play another game.

Joining forces with 8x8 gives us that chance.

Not only do we have an opportunity to resume work on our original ambition alongside a company that already sells enterprise-grade voice and video technology—to IT departments, no less—, we get to do this with Sameroom, a team collaboration interoperability technology that frees us from the impossible task of establishing a complete monopoly in order for things to work out. This video explains Sameroom, enjoy.

NOTE: (8x8)! = 64 x 63 x 62 … x 2 x 1 (it’s A LOT)