While intentionally vague about how the Asana software will work, the two are very clear as to what they want it to do: help people collaborate and better manage their time in an office (and eventually home) environment, where there are a lot of tasks and too much information coming at workers. Put another way, they want it to enable everyone on a team to read each other’s minds and act accordingly.
From an email attributed to Rosenstein: --And still it felt like not a day went by that there wasn’t some miscommunication or misunderstanding that slowed down the project just a little, a death by a thousand cuts. You see it in every organization. One person will think that X is the most important thing they could be working on, but if they’d talked to their manager they would have gotten a different answer, and their teammates might think it was a third thing. These are all problems of information transparency. This problem has only gotten worse with the explosion of information that knowledge workers need to manage, often coming at them from a variety of tools and inboxes, none of which work together.
Both Rosenstein and Moskovitz (a Facebook co-founder) admit this is a hard problem, which is why they’ve started small with a five-person team (one’s an admin) and lots of brand-name Silicon Valley advisers. The most recent funding, which comes on top of $1.2 million raised from angels including Facebook investor Peter Thiel, super angel Ron Conway, Lotus developer Mitch Kapor and Napster founder Sean Parker, could help the company hire more people to build out this magical software. But Asana doesn’t plan on hiring too many people.
While the founders assure me that Asana’s product is completely different from anything on the market today, it comes across as mishmash of Yammer, Basecamp and Google Wave.